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Positive E-cig Article in the Baltimore Sun (sort of)

Homer Simpson's conscience
An article that appeared in the Baltimore Sun two days ago is being heralded by some in the vaping community as being very positive, mostly because of two statements - one by cancer researcher, Maciej Goniewicz and another by Culumbia University Sociomedical Sciences Chair, Amy Fairchild.

Goniewicz, co-author of the e-cig secondhand nicotine study we discussed last month, is being highlighted by pro-ecig blogs for making the following positive statement in the Sun piece:

"The exposure to nicotine is lower when compared to exposure from tobacco smoke. And we also know that nicotine is relatively safer when compared to other dangerous toxicants in tobacco smoke."

The e-cig community also applauds Ms. Fairchild and is very happy to post the following quote from the Baltimore Sun piece:

"In locales considering extending smoking bans to e-cigarettes, I think that these data weaken the case for more sweeping bans ... and so this begins to answer the question about why e-cigarettes are considered better: they reduce risks to both the user and to the bystander when compared to tobacco cigarettes."

There are definitely a few things in the Sun article that the e-cig blogs are not reporting, though. While it is true that Amy Fairchild states in the article that the Goniewicz study "suggests e-cigarettes are far safer, both in terms of toxins and nicotine, than tobacco cigarettes when it comes to the health effects on bystanders," she does qualify that statement, adding, "more research is needed to know for sure."

Also in the article, Goniewicz states that although the nicotine content in exhaled vapor is lower with electronic cigarettes compared to tobacco cigarettes, "it is currently very hard to predict what would be the health impact of such exposure."

Worse, the study's co-author states, "There are potential harms, including promoting continued smoking of cigarettes and re-normalizing cigarette smoking behaviors," adding, "Regulatory agencies around the world will need to make a number of regulatory decisions about product safety that could have major effects on public health."

The Sun article is not without its flaws. It is obvious that the author of the Sun piece, took the lazy way out. She did not seek out research like the Drexel study, which would have refuted both Coniewicz's  statement about it being hard to predict the health impact of exposure to e-cig vapor as well as Fairchild's assertion that more research is needed. Aren't 10,000 studies enough!?

One must also question the legitimacy of Amy Fairchild as a true "expert." Sociomedical Science is a pseudo-science, at best, after all.

And, of course, where are the thoughts from other e-cigarette research experts like Konstantinos Farsalinos, who told me that secondhand nicotine exposure has never been an issue of concern - even with tobacco cigarettes?

We're all guilty of selective bias, whether it's with e-cigarette issues, political opinions or arguments with our "significant others." We pick the things that support our opinions and selectively omit things that weaken our claims. It's human nature.

Unfortunately, when e-cigarette blogs parse an article and report only the positive things, they are as guilty of creating biased pieces as the reporters they often call out for not doing their due diligence.

As a community, we need to be very careful to report ALL of the facts, though. Otherwise, we run the risk of losing credibility. Once you lose that, it's nearly impossible to get it back!

E-Cig Express Quote of the Day: "I think it's a problem when journalists have the title of their article before they do the interview, because it biases the way they conduct it." - Michel Gondry

E-cigarette Secondhand Nicotine Study May Be Flawed!

exhaling smoke
I'm just your average guy. I make my living from various eCommerce websites (one of which sells e-cigs) and as a freelancer, ghost writing for other blogs.

As a writer, I make it my business to follow everything I possibly can that is related to the subjects I write about. I subscribe to more than 50 RSS feeds and wade through more than 100 articles per day, so I'm pretty up on things in my niches.

This week, I saw several articles like this one that claim that a "recent study" showed there is definitely "secondhand nicotine" produced by e-cigarettes. That article states that ecigs emit "significant" quantities of nicotine into the air. In all actuality, the study showed that electronic cigarettes emit 10% of the nicotine that traditional cigarettes do.

Now, being an "average guy," I certainly don't have the scientific background to parse what little information is available in the abstract of the study. I do have enough common sense (I think) to question a couple of things, though.

Machines Don't Smoke Like Humans

The study states that mechanical "smoking machines" were used in order to generate vapor from three brands of e-cigarettes. There is no mention of the brands used, so we don't know if they were refillable models or the typical crappy convenience store models that most studies seem to use. More important, it does not state what the nicotine concentration of the e-cigarettes were - something I would think would be kind of important!

I could be totally wrong here, but I assume that machines don't smoke like humans. When a human smokes, a fairly high percentage of the smoke or vapor is retained in the human body; otherwise, smokers and e-cigarette users wouldn't receive the chemicals that they have become dependent upon.

Is there a component of smoking machines that replicates the absorption of those chemicals before it "exhales" the smoke (or vapor) into the air that is being tested? If not, how in the world can they possibly use a machine to analyze what a human would blow out after letting the smoke or vapor rest in his/her lungs briefly?

Humans Don't Smoke Like Humans

One of the things that makes the e-cig business so difficult is that every single person vapes differently, so coaching new users of the devices is kind of tough over the phone. There are those who take multiple "sips" with a little air in between as they fill their lungs, people who take one long drag, vapers who inhale very hard, e-cig users who inhale very lightly. ALL of those things affect the kind of vapor that a person is going to get and it will be different with every single e-cigarette model.

Making the GIANT leap of faith that they are somehow able to get the machines to only "exhale" what a human would, which humans are they emulating? The wannabe "joker" who really takes nothing at all into their lungs? The smoker who exhales immediately after the smoke hits their lungs? The "toker" who holds the smoke in their lungs for several seconds before exhaling? All of those things affect how much smoke (or vapor) makes it into the air as well as the concentrations of nicotine that might be in that exhaled smoke or vapor.

Which vaping style did the machine use? And, just as important, what kind of e-cigarette was it? I absolutely guarantee you that the amount of secondhand vapor produced as well as the concentrations of nicotine "exhaled" are going to be quite different with various models, cartomizer and atomizer types. In real life, the amount of vapor exhaled and the chemical concentrations of the "secondhand vapor" is also going to depend largely on the individual that is using the e-cigarette.

10% - 10% = 0%

One of the more famous early electronic cigarette studies was the original Eissenberg study, where inexperienced e-cig users were asked to take 10 puffs of a typical e-cigarette, such as those found in convenience stores. That study suggested that electronic cigarettes deliver, at most, 10% of the nicotine to the bloodstream that tobacco cigarettes do.

Subsequently, after he heard many objections from the e-cigarette community about how novice e-cigarette users are incapable of using an e-cigarette effectively and how better ecig models would have produced better vapor, Eissenberg did a new study that employed seasoned e-cig users who were allowed to use their own favorite e-cigarette models. That newer study found e-cigarettes to be equal to tobacco cigarettes in terns of the amount of nicotine delivered to the bloodstream.

So, which is it? Can a machine really be much better at vaping than a novice? Was it a typical convenience store "cigalike" model? If so, isn't it entirely possible that the 10% nicotone level this study is showing is only there because a machine can't retain the nicotine in its "bloodstream?" If it could, there might have been ZERO nicotine in the secondhand smoke.

Does it Really Matter at All?

When it comes right down to it, this study is really nothing more than a manipulative scare tactic. There has never been a study that shows that nicotine is cancerous. In fact, it is considered to be no more harmful than caffeine.

Nicotine is present in many vegetables, including tomatoes, eggplant and potatoes, so folks ingest it every day, whether they know it or not. The only reason that nicotine has become synonymous with smoking is that it is available in larger quantities in tobacco leaves, thus making tobacco the most cost effective plant to extract nicotine from.

Nicotine is a pretty innocuous alkaloid when it isn't being smoked in a tobacco leaf. What little of it that MIGHT be present in exhaled vapor dissipates extremely quickly in the air. It most certainly doesn't linger for long in the air like tobacco cigarette smoke does.

In a recent interview with James Dunworth, nicotine expert Dr. Jacques Le Houezec dispelled many of the common myths associated with nicotine. The article ends with the following quote by Dr. Le Houezec:

"What I fear most is the lack of knowledge and the misconceptions about nicotine from the politicians, but also from some health professionals and tobacco control advocates. To me this is what is at stake here. There is a great need for education about nicotine. Obviously, there are also lobbies who are actively misrepresenting e-cigarettes because of their own agenda"

James Dunworth seems to have a bevy of researchers at his disposal, so I'm hoping that maybe he can get one of them to answer my question about the smoking machines. If they don't absorb chemicals from cigarettes and e-cigarettes the same way that the human body does, I really don't know how effective a research tool they are for conducting studies about secondhand vapor (or secondhand smoke, for that matter).

Which smoker are these smoking machines most like - the one who doesn't inhale, the one who inhales a little or the one who holds it in their lungs so long, very little vapor at all is exhaled? And, as a follow up, would a "stealth vaper" that holds the vapor in so long that no visible vapor is exhaled be producing ANY "secondhand vapor?"

And finally, what is the point they are trying to make? Is there really a fear that non-vapers will become addicted to secondhand vapor and will unconsciously start seeking out places where people are vaping? That sure doesn't seem to be the case with traditional cigarette smoke does it?

UPDATE: Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos was kind enough to respond to a message I sent to him regarding this study. He has access to the full study and says that they DID use humans as well as machines as part of the study. He did say that I am correct in my other observations, most notably that the presence of nicotine in secondhand vapor is of no concern.

As Dr. Farsalinos put it:

"Nicotine levels observed in the environment were so minimal that there is absolutely no concern. The same applies even for tobacco cigarettes. Environmental exposure to nicotine was never an issue."

In other words, this is just one more scare tactic the anti-ecig crowd has put together to increase the anxiety of people who are not smart enough to realize they are being manipulated. The proof is in the pudding; our elected officials, who have proven themselves over the years to be anything but the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, are swallowing the propaganda hook, line and sinker

E-Cig Express Quote of the Day: "The greatest task before civilization at present is to make machines what they ought to be, the slaves, instead of the masters of men." - Havelock Ellis

Alachua County, Florida Passes E-Cig Ban

alachua county bans e-cigarettes
As I reported a month ago, Alachua County, Florida commissioners were considering an e-cig ban and most said that they needed to see research before enacting an all-out ban on the devices in public areas. Tuesday - barely a month later - they voted to ban the devices in all non-smoking areas, ban the sale to minors and hide them behind counters at convenience stores.

No research at all was apparently done by the commissioners. Instead, they allowed associate director of the University of Florida Area Health Education Centers Program, Kathy Nichols, an anti-ecig spokesperson to have the floor for an hour, where she manipulated the truth in support of the ban.

That was all commissioner Mike Byerly needed to hear. Previously on the fence about banning e-cigs in public places, he said that her testimony convinced him that they could be poisonous to innocent bystanders.

Those who opposed the ordinance were given five minutes to speak.

It should be noted that Ms. Nichols has never done any research on e-cigarettes at all. Instead, she spouted the same old "we don't know what is in them" lie along with the whole "they could be a gateway device to regular cigarettes" theory. She cited the faulty CDC study that she says showed that teen use of e-cigarettes has doubled in the past year. In fact, although the numbers support the notion that twice as many teens tried an e-cigarette, she conveniently left off the other part of the study that stated that regular daily use amongst teens has not risen. In fact, the study showed that only one respondent who tried an e-cigarette wasn't already a cigarette smoker!

When those opposed to the ban tried to bring up the Drexel report, which showed that there are no dangerous emissions from e-cigarettes to innocent bystanders, an attorney for the state objected, stating that it was not a peer reviewed study and therefore could not be used as valid testimony. He conveniently left out the fact that the Drexel report was merely a compilation of studies, many of which HAVE been peer reviewed.

What happened in Alachua County is representative of what is happening in local governments all over the country right now. Anti e-cig zealots are the only ones who are allowed to make a formal presentation; therefore, all government officials ever hear is a one sided debate.

Josh Abel spoke briefly at the meeting as a concerned citizen. After hearing the disappointing (but not at all surprising) news that the ban was passed, Josh sent the following Email to commissioner Byerly and the rest of the county commissioners:

Commissioner Byerly,

I see you as a man of science, and though obviously cautious, are critical and analytical. I am begging you to please take a few minutes to review the following.  5 minutes of nervous presentation was hardly enough for calm, organized thought and presentation. I implore you to read this and use the critical nature you displayed at the hearing. This matter is extremely important to myself and though you would not think so, based on the number of "vapers" that attended the hearing, it is important to the vaping community. The vaping community and myself are being charged with "being a threat to public health". That is what the ordinance you just passed represents.  We are innocent until proven guilty, and the burden of proof lies with the state.  I hope that in reading this you will realize what is actually going on here and that you are currently unaware.

Please visit the following link after reading this email - Please pay attention to the CDC article, the health department used in their  presentation. The part that indicted the number middle/high school student that used electronic cigarettes had doubled from 2011 to 2012. "Three descriptors are examined when surveying about tobacco or drug use— A) Ever use, B) Past 30 days use, and C) daily use", the CDC neglects to exclude the first two and represents their claim of "doubled" with the data from A and B, omitting the very low number representing the most important "daily use" yeah kids experiment and then they move on. Your decision was also based on the fact that state and federal government agencies are slow to make decisions. They don't need to make a decision all they have to do is trickle down anecdotal evidence and fail to do any comprehensive investigation that might produce results that undermine their agenda, thus generating uncertainty,  then distribute what little they have, as fact,  to the local health departments to generate fear in local governments and populations. Then you do exactly what you did. These are probably the best examples of how you are being lied to and manipulated. As a politician you surely aware that half truths are lies.

Additionally, the new ordinance is poorly defined, despite the 11th hour rewording. A proper definition includes all of what want and nothing else. The ecig ban effectively banned the use of theatrical fog machines at school plays and haunted houses, vaporizers that are used in retail boutiques for air freshener and ambiance, vicks vaporizers, humidifiers and even the new biomass plant, if you really wanted. What is worse, the county attorney will then solicit the municipalities to opt in, where does it stop.

The health department (kathy nickols) sited many examples of "harm" caused by personal vaporizers, But those example were statistical outliers, that any data pool is going to have. For example, ecig burns mans face, terrible as that may be, fire authorities determined that he had modified the device. When cell phones first came out and batteries were burning people through their  pockets, was their public use banned?  Next, women with pneumonia  "caused by" ecigs, some people have allergies to PG, red dye #5, peanuts, Perfume/Cologne, you should ban people from wearing too much.  We know what is in the perfume, the same aroma chemicals that are in e-liquid. They are purchased from the same 3 sources - Despite the fact that PG is recognized by the EPA as a legitimate inhabitable disinfectant the health department says "we're not sure it is safe, so you should be concerned" Link to EPA -, clearly stating that PG is safe to inhale. And here is a list air sanitizers that contain PG and perfume, as the ACTIVE ingredients. Vegetable glycerin, has no classification for toxicity according to msds - or this one, links compiled from regulatory agencies

Mr Byerly, with your science background you were very critical of of the points the health department tried to make and called Ms Nickols out on several occasions. I applaud you for not allowing yourself to be spoon fed.  The information is out there, from "reliable" sources and if anyone takes the time to piece it together the answer becomes apparent. EPA, CDC (data, not reports with summarized interpretations), ASCH, NIH - All are federally run and or receive some federal funding.  So if the Drexel report is bad science, or to be dismissed due to its current lack of peer review, then these agencies have similar data, just not compiled. I am wondering, when the Drexel report IS peer reviewed and published, will it still be dismissed? Is it likely that the ordinance will be rescinded Or will PhD Igor Burstyn be conveniently discredited in some other fashion, rendering the report useless? Just because you can legally do it doesn't make it right.

Mr Hutchinson asserts that extremely harmful, illegal drugs can be used in vaporizers, While it is 100% true that you can vaporize "other" things, in-fact almost anything, but you cannot do it without leaving some sign.  As I am sure you have no experience with illicit drugs let me guide you.  Cannabis can be vaporized, but there is no water soluble version available.  And while heroine and Cocaine is water soluble and can be easily vaporized, no junky in their right mind is going to engage in this behavior with the paranoia associated with these drugs. They will use it in a secluded location so to better enjoy their high. But there is something critically important that Mr Hutchinson failed to mention,  there is a distinctly pungent, offensive, aromatic effect produced when all of these drugs are vaporized. So horrible is the smell that no one within smelling distance would fail to immediately notice, and respond to. So the situation suggested by Mr Hutchinson about sitting at a restaurant minding your own business with your children and having an invisible, orderless cloud engulf you, causing you harm, without your knowledge, is a completely falsehood. He either has made poor observations during his trip to Amsterdam or he deliberately omitted this part. I hope it is the first sir.

This ordinance is not enforceable. Unlike cigarette smoke, there is no distinctly offensive smell, so vaping in the bathroom, negates this ordinance 100%. Vaping in the movie theater, blow down and no one is the wiser, they won't smell it. Same goes for a restaurant. And if I am not mistaken due to Florida's preemption county parks would also be excluded. So what has been accomplished? "The commissioner have taken action"... to protect the community. And taken the lead perpetuating this witch hunt at the municipal level, which the cities will most likely follow. I have to say, It is hard to not feel persecuted.

I do not know whether or not commissioner share emails and information, I observed massive differences in levels of knowledge on this issue between the different commissioner, so I will be sending this to all the commissioners.   

I have written and re-written this email adding more and more data, links and observation. It has taken about 2 hours to locate relevant reports and data and compile them is this format, further demonstrating that all the valid information you needed to make the decision regarding a prohibition was available, yet is seems that only the selective information provided to you by the health department was really considered. Due diligence?

Joseph Abel.

Unfortunately, I'm quite sure that Josh wasted a whole lot of his time composing this Email and researching links. The ship has sailed. Once passed, ordinances like this are virtually impossible to get reversed.

E-Cig Express Quote of the Day: "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - C.S. Lewis

Survey: Would You Support Adult Signature Required Deliveries of E-Cig Products?

There has been much speculation involving what the FDA will ultimately decide about e-cigarette regulation. I think most people believe that they will place the same bans on advertising that are already in place for tobacco cigarettes and I'm 100% sure that they will outlaw the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18.

The underage ban has support from almost the entire electronic cigarette community. Frankly, I think most of us are tired of hearing how these things are being marketed to kids with candy flavorings. Make it impossible to sell to kids and you just take one more idiotic argument away from the anti-ecig zealots.

As I wrote about in my post, "Underage Laws Could Kill Online E-Cigarette Businesses," banning sales to minors may also mean that ALL online sales of e-cigarettes would be banned. In case you haven't noticed, the U.S. government is not exactly known for innovative thinking. It's much easier to place a flat out ban on something than it is to come up with a solution that allows adults to purchase something online without also opening the door to sales to minors.

There IS a solution to this problem - one that isn't at all hard to implement. Simply require an adult signature upon delivery. There is no way that a minor could sneak around this law without involving an adult. In that case, the adult who signed for the package and gave it to a minor would be committing a criminal act.

Of course, there are downsides to requiring an adult signature upon delivery. First, you would have to be home when your e-cig supplies package arrives. You may very well have to go to the post office and pick the package up if you cannot be home during normal delivery times. Definitely not very convenient!

The other major negative with adult signature required deliveries is that is costs about $5.00 more to ship that way. Whether your online e-cig vendor offers "free shipping" or not, I guarantee you that you will be paying for that extra shipping charge (it continually amazes me that people really think there is such a thing as "free shipping").

So, this brings me to our survey question. If the only way to keep online e-cigarette businesses viable is by requiring an adult signature, would you support that?
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Commissioner Puffs E-Cig Before He Plans to Ban Them

pitcture of Alachua County Commissioner Robert Hutchinson
Alachua County, FL County Commissioner, Robert Hutchinson, posted a video a couple of days ago in which he tried an electronic cigarette for the first time. The commissioner is on record as a supporter of an ordinance that would ban sales of e-cigarettes to minors, require that they be kept behind counters, out of sight, and prohibit their use anywhere smoking is banned.

According to the Gainesville Sun, commissioner Hutchinson said that if he is going support the ordinance, he thought he should try one first in order to see what they are really all about.

The Gainesville Sun article adds that the commissioner said that he talked to several convenience store clerks who said that they already have a policy in place where they will not sell them to minors.

Hutchinson called the technology, "interesting," adding that one of the positives of an ecig is that it doesn't emit any vapor unless it is being used, unlike tobacco cigarettes that continue to spew smoke into the air when they are being held or sitting in an ashtray.

He sounds like a pretty reasonable guy, right?

Well, you'll need to watch the video, yourself, and make that call. My initial impression was that he created the video as a stunt and seems to be smirking throughout it. Then, I read the comments that appear below the video and was convinced that he has every intention of supporting the ban.

Commissioner Hutchinson is the very first person to comment on his own video, stating, "I'm wearing a turtleneck to appear sophisticated." 

Does that sound like someone who is taking this matter seriously?

A few comments later, the commissioner says "The most salient question in regulating this practice is should an individual be able to infuse the air they share in common with the drugs and/or flavors of their choice? It's clear that second-hand vapor will be breathed by others in confined spaces."

A few comments from people say the same regulation should be applied to people who douse themselves with perfume or cologne, which the commissioner ignores. 

He then adds this juvenile comment, I guess in order to appear cool - "My e-cig vapor contained only vegetable glycol and mango flavoring -- no nicotine. I'm such a lightweight that it made me woozy and I started talking Jamaican, mon."

Clearly someone who has no clue what he is talking about; there is no such thing as vegetable glycol!

 It is commissioner Hutchinson's final comment that really lets you know where he stands:

I am a vaper vaping, and the "smoke" is vapor. By itself, the exudate would probably have no flavor or odor, but I'm doubtful that an unflavored potion exists. One person writing to the BoCC about the issue says that if we outlaw vaping in public places, we should include the smoke machines used in discos. I've read a fair amount about small particulates (PM 2.5) and the danger they pose to the lungs and cardiovascular system, and I could definitely feel an impact, even hours later, from the few puffs I did inhale. Smoking is a filthy, disgusting habit of the ignoranti, and I see little distinction between smoking and vaping.

Yeah, the dude shows his hand by calling smokers ignorant and clearly doesn't care whether there is any danger to the public from e-cigarettes or not. He thinks it is the same as smoking and is a disgusting habit that should be banned, regardless of whether it is harmful or not.

Another Gainesville Sun article is cited by the commissioner within the comments that outlines the discussion that occurred during a county legislative session last week. Scroll to the bottom of page three and continue through to page four and you will see that some commissioners have a much more practical view of e-cigarettes.

Although all commissioners were in support of banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors - something almost the entire e-cigarette community supports - there was definitely dissension when it came to banning them in public places.

Commissioner Susan Baird said that she was unsure if e-cigarettes emit a smell similar to cigarettes and if they don't, she may not be in favor of a ban on their use in non-smoking areas.

Hutchinson responds, saying that they emit the odor of whatever flavor someone is vaping but that he did not know the concentration of nicotine emitted nor how it compares to a tobacco cigarette in that regard.

Here, Commissioner Hutchinson really shows his ignorance. He does not seem to realize that nicotine, even if it did exist in significant amounts in exhaled vapor (it doesn't), is not cancer causing.

Commissioner Mike Byerly adds a voice of reason to the debate, saying that even if something is addictive, it doesn't mean it should be banned. Using that logic, sugar should be banned, he says.

You can also add coffee and alcohol to that list, Mr. Byerly!

Byerly also stated that he didn't know if there were any studies about whether the emissions from e-cigarettes were harmful to bystanders (here's one, Commissioner Byerly).

"If these products actually don’t harm anyone else and don’t create an offense to anyone else, then I’m a little concerned about prohibiting their use by adults in a public place,” Byerly adds.

Yet another commissioner chimes in, showing that nobody addressing this subject has done any research at all about it. Commissioner Dave Wagner states, "there don’t seem to be any definitive studies addressing the health impacts of e-cigarette vapor."

Please, ladies and gentlemen, do your homework! There are more studies about e-cigarettes than you could (or more correctly put, "would") care to read. Start with John Madden's Top 20 Rebuttals to Win an E-Cigarette Debate. It is one of the most thoroughly researched articles that I know of. It should be; John says it took him two months to write it!

If you want a considerably shorter article that will give you all that you really need to know, consider reading my own Ten Things The Shills Won't Tell You About E-Cigarettes.

After reading either (or both) of those articles, you'll be much more prepared to debate this issue intelligently and make "Hutch" Hutchinson look like the buffoon he clearly is!

E-Cig Express Quote of the Day: "Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance." - Confucius

10 Things The Shills Won't Tell You About E-Cigarettes

top ten list
I skim 20-30 e-cig articles per day that appear on the web. Most of them are the same old story, reworded or simply reprinted that circulate about the evils of e-cigarettes. I even saw one published today that reported, "yesterday, the CDC reported that use of e-cigs amongst kids was on the rise" (that CDC report has not only been completely discredited, but it's more than two months old!).

I said I "skim" these articles because I simply can't bear to read the same old misguided or agenda-driven crap repeatedly. Give me something new, journalists of the world, or at least something to show that you did even the slightest amount of research before parroting the words of some shill for Big Tobacco, Big Pharma or the Health Care Industry (an industry that cares far less about people's health issues than how they can profit from them).

Every now and then, I am lured in by a headline that is so outrageous, I have to give the article a read. This week, it was an article on the Wall Street Journal online. A newspaper once known for its straight talk, no bull financial analysis, they seem to have taken the same integrity nose dive that all newspaper dinosaurs have. It's an epidemic, as I discussed in this piece about an idiot journalist who took her sophomoric crack at denigrating e-cigarettes.

The Wall Street Journal article was titled, "10 Things E-Cigarettes Won't Tell You" with the caption, "They're Safer and Cheaper, but They Could Upend Anti-Smoking Efforts." You can head on over to that article if you want to read a totally unabashed anti-ecig piece full of so much disinformation that it can't possibly be unintentional. (Yes, I use the word "disinformation" here instead of the more innocuous "misinformation" because this is clearly an article that is intended to mislead the public).

In response to their astoundingly uninformed piece, I offer my own list that counters their weak arguments, one by one:

#1 - Big Tobacco is Killing The E-Cig Industry

After several years of fighting tooth and nail against e-cigarettes, the tobacco industry seems to have adopted an "if you can't beat them, join them" attitude. Every major cigarette company has either come out with their own e-cigarette brand or they have one in the works.

Unlike the small companies that have driven the electronic cigarette industry, pushing for more innovative and better devices, Big Tobacco is completely content with devices that use technology that is five years old. Their e-cigarettes are weak, expensive to use and very poorly made.

At the same time, they have been pressuring legislators to enact regulation that is so oppressive and expensive, they will be the only companies able to survive it. They have no problem with mandating new taxes on the devices - the higher the better.

Big Tobacco doesn't care that their e-cigs are inferior. When your only choice is between a crappy device and the real thing, they hope you'll go back to tobacco cigarettes. Either way, they win, though!

#2 - E-Cigs Are Undoubtedly Healthier

One thing the anti-ecig shills love to say is that e-cigarettes are not proven to be any healthier than traditional tobacco cigarettes and that more testing needs to be done. This is nothing more than a stall tactic that will give them time to enact so much oppressive legislation, the movement will be killed before any long term effects are ever known.

Lets give the do-gooders the benefit of the doubt. Lets assume that they've never read that even a Former FDA Official Admits Ecigs Are Safer or that E-Cigarettes Improve Blood Problems.

Or, here's a novel concept - why not ask the people who are actually using the devices if they have seen improved health after making the switch as James Dunworth did in his survey - How Electronic Cigarettes Affect Your Lungs: Results of an Online Survey of Users?

If serious scientific data is all that will quell the lust of the anti-ecig movement, why not turn to the foremost authority when it comes to research - Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos? There are several well documented studies that his Electronic Cigarette research Advocates Group has done. And, let's not forget, Dr. Farsalinos puts his medical career at risk every time he does a study that shows that e-cigarettes may be a better smoking cessation solution than the ones being offered by the medical community at large!

If that doesn't do it for the anti-ecig zealots, there's always the technical report known as "The Drexel University Study" which showed that more than 9,000 separate observations have been made about the chemicals inside of electronic cigarettes and their effect on the body. The study, which was made to determine the effects of second hand vapor, found that:

"there is no evidence that vaping produces inhalable exposures to contaminants of the aerosol that would warrant health concerns by the standards that are used to ensure safety of workplaces."

That should be enough, alone, to get the anti-smoking crowd off the backs of e-cig users. If there's no harm to non-users, people should be free to do whatever they want to their own bodies.

No, those who believe in a nanny state think that governments should be in charge of making personal decisions for the public who are too stupid to make decisions for themselves, forgetting that those same governments have no problem allowing the use of real cigarettes and alcohol, both of which do great harm to the individuals who abuse them. And, if the public, at large, is too dumb to think for themselves, why are they allowed to vote for the government officials who insist on controlling their lives?

Instead, they devise devious tests that manipulate e-cigarettes to make them seem more dangerous to a person's health than they really are, like the bogus test we discussed in our article, "E-Cigarettes May Be Harmful ... Maybe not!" or this ridiculously convoluted study!

#3 - E-Cigarettes - Are a More Effective Way to Quit Smoking

Although we cannot market electronic cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid, it is undeniable that a large percentage of e-cigarette users are using them toward that end and have been successful at not only quitting the use of tobacco cigarettes, but have ultimately stopped vaping, as well.

I don't need any research to prove this. Not only am I an example of someone who quit a 20 year, 2-pack-a-day cigarette habit with ecigs, but there is hardly a week that goes by where I don't receive a call or an Email from a thankful customer who has made the switch.

Furthermore, I have the disappearing customers to prove that an amazing number of people have stopped using e-cigarettes, too. When I send an Email to a long-lost customer, asking if there is something we have done wrong that has caused them to stop using us, 9 out of 10 times their response is that they don't use cigarettes OR e-cigarettes anymore. Good for them; bad for me!

There are definitely studies that prove that e-cigarettes are more effective than current pharmaceutical offerings. As we reported in our article, "New Study Shows E-Cigs are Better than the Patch," e-cigarettes with one quarter of the nicotine found in "The Patch" were 25% more effective at smoking cessation than the patch was.

If that doesn't convince you, maybe the ECLAT Study or the American Journal on Health Behavior study will. There are dozens of similar studies and I won't name them all.

The main difference you'll see between studies that reveal that e-cigarettes are effective at smoking cessation and ones that say they aren't is that e-cigarettes don't have multi-billion dollar corporations financing the studies.

Big Pharma, on the other hand, has done everything they can to finance the anti-ecig movement as Michael Siegel points out in his article, "Anti-Smoking Groups that Opposed Electronic Cigarettes Accepted Money to the Tune of $2.8 Million from Pfizer Alone in 2011-2012."

Those that get money from the pharmaceutical industry or who have practices built entirely around writing prescriptions and pushing pills have been known to skew the facts, too, as this article points out - "Biased Doctor Dismisses Ecigs as Smoking Cessation Device."

4 - Almost All Avenues for Advertising E-Cigarettes Have Been Cut Off

The anti-ecig crowd likes to gasp at e-cigarette commercials that are on TV, claiming that they are trying to lure non-cigarette smokers into becoming e-cigarette users, although they have never been able to point to a single commercial that does that. No, every commercial I have ever seen is one that tries to convince current smokers that there is a better alternative.

Back when I got into this industry, you could run Google AdWords, Bing or Yahoo text ads to try to get new business. Those ads showed up for searchers who were looking to buy an e-cigarette already. Then, multimillionaire ambulance chaser John Banzhaf and A.S.H. threatened to sue those search engine giants for aiding and abetting in the marketing of dangerous devices and, like so many corporate cowards, all three companies caved into the threat and disallowed the advertising of electronic cigarettes.

A.S.H. didn't stop there. They threatened PayPal and one of the biggest banking networks in the world - First Data - with lawsuits. As expected, both of those companies tucked their tails behind their legs and cowered in a closet. This caused online e-cig retailers to scramble for more obscure payment processing companies and resulted in credit card processing rates that were triple what they had become accustomed to. If you don't think that resulted in higher prices to consumers, you are fooling yourself!

Even eZine articles was threatened and stopped publishing articles that had anything to do with electronic cigarettes. Facebook, too, has started ripping down e-cigarette company pages as they find them, no doubt as a result of threatened litigation.

All this does it make it increasingly harder for consumers to find real suppliers of quality electronic cigarettes. Instead, they are forced to wade through a ton of bogus review sites that push the e-cigarette models that make them the most affiliate commissions, regardless of whether they are truly decent e-cigs or not.

I'll be the first to sign a petition for stopping the TV ads for e-cigarettes. Why not? Only Big Tobacco or some of the scam recurring billing scheme e-cig companies can afford them. It'll level the playing field a little bit, at least!

#5 - Ecigs Aren't Medicine - Ecigs Aren't Cigarettes

Despite the efforts by the FDA to classify e-cigarettes as medical devices, which would have given them an opportunity to shut down the e-cig movement in its infancy or make them devices that could only be used with a doctor's prescription, a Federal District Court ruled that electronic cigarettes cannot be regulated as medicines by the FDA.

The whole reason for the case was that the FDA was trying to protect its own interests. The health care industry and pharmaceutical companies are the FDA's sugar daddies and without them, the agency would not have the money to even exist.

Unfortunately, the ruling by Judge Leon did give the FDA the authority to regulate electronic cigarettes as tobacco products (but not tobacco). This is not the fault of the court but, really, is the fault of congress, which included in the Tobacco Act a definition of a tobacco product as being anything that is derived from the tobacco plant. Even if only a millionth of a percentage of of a product contains something that was squeezed out of a tobacco leaf, it can be called a "tobacco product."

The FDA, however, has taken this to mean that they can regulate electronic cigarettes exactly the same as traditional cigarettes, ignoring Section 3 of the act, which explicitly states that the FDA must "provide new and flexible enforcement authority to ensure that there is effective oversight of the tobacco industry’s efforts to develop, introduce, and promote less harmful tobacco products."

How do I know they intend on ignoring that provision? Just take a look at the FDA's own summary of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act and you will see that the above mentioned section is conspicuously absent. We'll see how this ultimately pans out but, if the FDA does what it usually does, we can count on seeing them in court again sometime soon.

Judge Leon, in fact, said this of the FDA: "This case appears to be yet another example of the FDA's aggressive efforts to regulate recreational tobacco products as drugs or devices," adding, "its tenacious drive to maximize its regulatory power has resulted in its advocacy of an interpretation of the relevant law that I find, at first blush, to be unreasonable and unacceptable."

I couldn't have said it better, myself!

#6 - Taxing E-Cigarettes Benefits EVERYBODY (except the consumer)

An argument that the e-cig bashers constantly like to make is that they need to be taxed the same way cigarettes are. Without high taxes, people won't be dissuaded from using them, they reason.

This is an argument that is so blatantly stupid, it would be like trying to sell the notion that condoms should be taxed at a higher rate because they lead to more sex. OK, if you think that argument holds water, be prepared for a whole lot more STDs and babies!

Likewise, increasing the tax on something that clearly is healthier than traditional cigarettes will give people far less reason to switch to e-cigarettes. I can tell you for a fact that a HUGE number of people have switched to electronic cigarettes, not out of concern for their health, but out of concern for their wallets. Take away the lower cost, and I absolutely guarantee you that you will see a rise in the number of people smoking tobacco cigarettes!

Of course, the tobacco industry is all for increasing the taxes on e-cigarettes. They don't have to pay the taxes; the consumer does. Anything that makes it a less attractive thing to switch to, Big Tobacco will line up in support of.

The health care and pharmaceutical industries also support a nice, big tax on e-cigarettes. They are losing their ability to push pills when there is a far less costly alternative out there.

More than anything, governments large and small want to tax e-cigs. They are 100% behind any method of boosting the money in government coffers. Politicians know that smokers have been pushovers when it comes to taxes and figure the same will be the case for e-cigarette users.

If the smoking community stuck together and voted as a block, they would have tremendous power. The number of smokers (traditional or electronic) far exceed the number of African Americans, Hispanics and homosexuals combined - all of which are groups that politicians cater to.

In the end, higher taxes will benefit everybody but the cigarette smoker who is trying to switch to a healthier alternative. Maybe John Madden said it best in his reply on Google+ to Delaware's proposed 30% tax hike on e-cigarettes - "This is the most asinine government proposal on ecigs yet!"

#7 - E-Cigarettes ARE NOT Being Marketed to Children

One of the lamest arguments the anti-ecig crowd makes is that electronic cigarettes are being marketed to children. They claim that e-cigarettes are offered in all kinds of yummy flavors in order to lure lollipop sucking six year olds to them.

For some reason, people making this incredibly stupid argument believe that only children like tasty flavors. Tell that to the person who orders a pina colada, a strawberry daiquiri or a mint julep. Inform the alcohol guzzling crowd they they can have one flavor, and one flavor only and see what happens!

As long as we are in favor of banning all but one flavor variety for things that are bad for children and adults, alike, lets throw in ice cream, candy and sodas, too (outgoing Fascist New York Mayor Bloomberg would love that!). I'm not sure how the FDA will justify allowing Equate Smoking Control lozenges to be sold in cherry and mint flavors but not e-cigarettes, though. Oh, that's right, those are "medicines" and the FDA has control over exactly how much flavor they can have. It's not about flavor, it's about the power to control flavor.

The CDC's recent report that e-cigarette "use" has doubled in the last year amongst teens is another blatant case of a government agency bending the truth about as far as it can. There have been dozens of articles that show that study to be the sham that it is. Shanon Steeves did as good a job as anyone pointing out the lies told in that CDC report in her article, "Study Exposes CDC Lies & Scare Tactics."

One of the very best things about electronic cigarettes are all of the flavors that are available. If I want to vape strawberry upside down cake or vanilla gorilla, what business of yours is it? I can't imagine anything much more gross than the taste of a cigarette now. Take away the great flavors, and you might see people making their way back to regular cigarettes again. You'll notice that you hear no outcry from Big Tobacco at all about limiting flavor choices!

Finally, it must be said. It's about time that parents start holding themselves responsible for the actions of their children. Stop trying to push off the baby sitting of your brats onto the rest of society. If your little angel wants to puff on an e-cigarette, where is he or she getting the money to buy it? Where is your parental responsibility in making sure your child makes prudent decisions? Stop blaming your bad parental skills on the rest of us!

#8 and #9 - We're Not Smoking Indoors, We Are Vaping!

More and more states and municipalities are banning or proposing legislation to ban the use of electronic cigarettes indoors. Whether in an office, in a restroom on an airplane or in a public park, there is nothing at all harmful in electronic cigarette vapor that will harm "innocent" bystanders. Please see #2, above, if you have forgotten already that there are no "dangers" from "secondhand vapor."

There is not a single component within e-liquid that has ever been shown to be toxic. In fact, everything we are inhaling and exhaling has already been approved as "safe for inhalation" by the FDA and the EPA. Convenience Store Decisions, of all places, published a recent article stating those very facts - The Upside of E-Cigarettes.

This is not an argument that is made by e-cig naysayers that has anything at all to do with concern for the health of bystanders. No, it's the appearance that they object to. Vaping looks too much like smoking and they just don't like it!

Get over it, whiners! There are tons of things I see happening in public that I, personally, would prefer not to see. Show a little tolerance and, while you're at it, you better make sure "Junior" isn't viewing anything on the internet that you may find objectionable, watching a TV show that may contain adult situations or playing a video game that is too graphic. Oh, that's right; that's not your responsibility!

#10 - Nobody is Switching to Ecigarettes To Do Drugs!

Despite the efforts of "The Big Three" (Big Pharma, Big Tobacco and the Health Care Industry) as well as politicians and government agencies that are funded by The Big Three to alarm the public with all of the above, people with the brains to see through the lies remain unconvinced.

Their latest ploy has been to state that people are using e-cigarettes to smoke crack and marijuana. Really? That's the best you can do now? People are using soda cans, paper towel rolls, aluminum foil and even pieces of fruit to do that. I lived in a neighborhood once where you couldn't even find a car that didn't have its antenna snapped off because crack users were using the antennas as pipes.

Surely you are not suggesting that we ban all of those things, too? I didn't think so! No, this is one last embarrassingly desperate attempt at stirring up the emotions of the incredibly gullible. You can rest assured that there will always be soda cans, paper towel holders and aluminum foil. Once again, it's not about public health, it's just another ploy to get rid of e-cigarettes!

E-Cig Express Quote of the Day: "When people learn no tools of judgment and merely follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown." - Stephen Jay Gould

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