A new trend that is buzzing about now are e cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes (as compared to “analog” cigarettes, in the lingo of the e cig industry) actually do the vaporizing thing in a unique way, by using “e liquid” (how can a liquid be electronic?) concentrates containing nicotine within mixed flavors, including tobacco brands. It certainly sounds like an inviting alternative to weaning one’s self off both smoking and nicotine, by replacing smoking with a vaporizing habit and by slowly reducing your nicotine intake (similar to the patch process), until you get down to zero. And theoretically, you can continue to enjoy the whole process after you have been weaned from your nicotine, as most manufacturers also provide nicotine-free flavors.
There is something very crazy about e cigarettes, the traditional tobacco industry and the Internet. Go to ebay or Amazon and type in “e cigarettes” (or “e cigs” or “e liquids” or other phrases that clearly point to the e cigarette industry), and your results come up blanks. You will find accessories for e cigarettes, but you will not find any e cigarettes or e liquids for sale at either site. Google results will fare a bit better and will give you forums and a few e cig manufacturers, but not one advertisement will appear in the results, because Google will not accept paid advertising for e cigarettes. And that is what is crazy about this whole thing: search for portable vaporizers (and e cigarettes are clearly portable vaporizers), you will find a plethora of products you can purchase on ebay and Amazon, and Google will list pages of information (plus paid ads!) on the same results. And here is the kicker: to cover their greedy corporate asses, ALL of the portable vaporizers sold (intended for herbal uses, of which the majority of such uses are for marijuana - and therefore illegal) issue a warning/statement/CYA along the lines of: this is intended ONLY for the use of tobacco products! So apparently a product intended to REPLACE the use of tobacco products is verboten but if you dangle a product that could nebulously be used for tobacco (but is clearly intended for something greener and cleaner), that is A-OK with the WWW!
Go to Wikipedia and get some background on e cigarettes, and you will see that it is a relatively new industry and, while its intentions are excellent (the Chinese doctor that invented e cigs was motivated by the fact that his father died of lung cancer, caused by smoking), there is still considerable room for abuse. Due to the fact that the product was originally invented and produced in China, the FDA has been reluctant to put their stamp of approval on the whole concept, being somewhat hesitant and reticent to conclude that e cigarettes are not harmful. Now get this… there has been ZERO PROOF that e cigarettes are harmful and there has been very clear proof that smoking tobacco cigarettes are clearly and absolutely harmful, but the FDA apparently is completely OK with the production and consumption of traditional tobacco which will easily and readily kill at least 25% of their clientele (along with their bystander friends), and just as readily screw up the health of the remaining 75%, all in the name of the freedom of individuals to smoke and “enjoy the flavor” of inhaling a burning weeds (which has been soaked in a deadly cocktail of chemicals to “enhance” that nicotine punch… but, shhhh, that is a proprietary secret formula!).
Let’s break this down. Smokers will fidget and slip and slide when asked why they smoke. I know, I smoked and made ridiculous excuses for over 40 years. But it comes down to either liking the flavor, enjoying the process (i.e., habit) of smoking, admitting to wanting to feed the nicotine crave (which is so much easier to kick than any smoker believes), or some other nonsensical and rather vapid reason that makes you wonder why anyone in this day and age would spend $8 for a pack of smokes and then have to find acceptable areas in which to smoke and choke on them. And then they stink afterwards.
With an e cigarette, you can select from a smorgasbord of flavors, so the flavor reason is answered. These e cigs look and act like cigarettes (the battery even lights up an LED end-piece that emulates the burning cherry of a real cigarette), and produce plumes of vapor that look amazingly like smoke, except it is vapor and rapidly disappears and does not cling to the skin, hair and clothing of the user and his or her companions, or into the fabric and walls of the area in which you are vaporizing, so the process of smoking is also adequately dealt with. And since you can choose your own nicotine levels, you have the addiction element perfectly covered as well. And if you want to go down the road of “being different” by smoking, you can be even more different by using an e cig than by smoking, coughing, hacking and wheezing while ducking the clean air freaks that abound in today’s culture. And unless you prefer to pay much more money and create a higher chance of a smoking-related illness, the e cigarettes also slap those arguments down. I have met enough smokers over the years to know that plenty of them would pay more than they are paying for cigarettes if they could really and truly be freed from their addiction.
The big question then again comes down to what exactly are you pulling down into your lungs with an e cig? E cigs are actually broken into two components: the delivery system and the stuff it is delivering. Many e cigarettes delivery systems are manufactured to last for a long time and they are comprised of some simple basic parts (as shown in the image above). The e liquids (the stuff that is vaporized in the e cig systems) commonly contains water and flavorings in a propylene glycol (propylene glycol, the current dominating liquid base, has been utilized in asthma inhalers and nebulizers since the 1950s, and because of its water-retaining properties, is the compound of choice for delivering atomized medication), vegetable glycerin or polyethylene glycol 400 base; all three are common food additives used in a variety of pharmaceutical formulations, so even if you haven’t heard of them, you have probably safely used them before.
Back in 2009, the FDA analyzed an e liquid that is manufactured in China and they discovered it contained diethylene glycol (a chemical used in antifreeze that is toxic to humans), and in several other samples, the FDA analysis detected carcinogens, including nitrosamines. American manufacturers claim to use only high-quality food products, so even if US-made e liquids are more expensive, they may be worth the purchase as opposed to buying cheaper foreign-made e liquids. So it does pay to do your homework, but since most smokers prefer the head-in-the-sand approach (seriously, why do homework on smoking cigarettes when the results have been screaming at you for decades?), this may be more of an effort than one might expect.
However, many institutes and health organizations have given e cigs a thumbs up over traditional unhealthy smoking, so if you are a smoker and want to give quitting another whirl (or your first whirl if you haven’t yet tried and failed), I think it is worth a shot. You get the action, taste and nicotine most smokers think that they cannot go without while avoiding smoking. You can also consult Wikipedia’s article on e cigarettes to get more specific information of research and studies performed, along with current laws around the world concerning the use of e cigarettes.
On the down-side (and belonging in the whacky news section), there is a disturbing article about an e cig exploding in the mouth of a user, knocking out his teeth and part of his tongue and setting his room on fire. The details remain fuzzy (no one can even tell what brand of e cig he was using?!?), but in the world of Darwin awards, this looks like a contender! For what it’s worth, on the very same page as the article are also teaser headlines for the following shock stories: “Glass Table Explodes During Family Meal” and “Exploding Phone Causes Bloody Ear?” Do you sense a trend?
Apparently, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Kentucky actually used logic and reason and is allowing the long-needed change on cigarette warnings to move forward. Having lived in Europe and seen the warnings there (in Ireland, they are typical-Irish blunt: “Smokers DIE young”) and having visited Canada and seen their graphic warnings, I see nothing wrong (and lots right) with leveling the playing field.
Of course, it was a group of tobacco companies who petitioned the courts to have this stopped, using infringement of their freedom of speech as the reasoning to restrict others (those others being government agencies, no less!) from stating and depicting facts of smoking. Seriously, the tobacco companies don’t even try to argue very hard the fact that smoking kills A LOT of people. It’s kind of like the coughing, choking elephant in the room. Let’s ignore it and hope it dies unnoticed and with a quiet thud.
The new rule forcing the victimized tobacco companies to print the awful warnings doesn’t even go into effect until September of this year. Meanwhile, the FDA says that the health effects from smoking tobacco KILL over 1,200 Americans PER DAY. Let’s see, here we are in mid-March; let’s be generous and say the ruling goes in effect September 1. That is about 150 days from know, so the tobacco companies get to kill over 180,000 Americans before they have to provide scarier warnings to smokers about how their cigarettes can destroy their health, or even the health of people near them.
It sounds to me like the tobacco companies are still getting away with mass murder!
I last visited Canada in 2004, when I was still a smoker. At the time, I had been living in Europe for a few years, and was used to seeing and smelling cigarettes wherever I went, both indoors and outside. The first thing that surprised me in Canada was that you couldn’t just walk into any convenience store to buy smokes; you actually had to go to a pharmacy to feed your habit, which I thought was rather odd. Next, I was astounded by the warnings on the cigarette packs; in addition to some of the harshest warnings I have seen written on the packages, each cigarette pack was also adorned with some incredibly disgusting image of the negative effects of smoking, such as that pictured to the left (which is actually one of the milder pictures).
In a meeting, I mentioned to a local Vancouveran (is that what a person from Vancouver is called?) my astonishment at the difficulty of procuring smokes and then at the garish and gross packaging. He told me that within a year or 2 of that sort of advertising, he simply couldn’t keep smoking, so the warnings clearly work.
Even so, it would be naive to think that the tobacco companies would just lay down and let this type of legislation stop them from peddling their wares, and it wouldn’t surprise me if part of their improved peddling plan would be to increase and/or add ingredients to make quitting even tougher for existing smokers (as if quitting isn’t hard enough already!).
So I am not surprised to learn that a massive lawsuit is underway in Montreal to try to take down these purveyors of death at least another notch. Plaintiffs are seeking damages of $25-billion Canadian in two class action suits. The first law suit includes over 90,000 current and former smokers who suffer from some form of smoking-caused illness and are asking for $105,000 Canadian per person. The second class action suit is being filed by 1.8 million smokers who can’t quit (each is seeking $10,000 Canadian).
Being a reformed smoker, and knowing just how bad it is to smoke (but also acknowledging the difficulty of quitting), I believe in the validity of their claim. For years, I resented yet another corporate body taking advantage of my addiction, yet I knew it was up to me to take this on and rid myself of a nasty lifestyle. Even though I am responsible for my choices, I would be rather innocent to presume that the tobacco companies are just sitting back and hoping that their customers will smoke for the rest of their lives (and that they will live long enough to keep their profits rising). It must be very discouraging to be in an industry where you literally kill your customer base and have to keep bringing to customers on board to keep those profits up.
However, even with all of the above considerations, I am 100% behind the plaintiffs in this situation. Companies that deliberately kill off their customers and constantly seek out new victims to replace their current base need to be held accountable for their morbid business plan. I did read an article by some weenie named Lorne Gunter who wants to whip the smokers into even more shame and exonerate the tobacco companies of any responsibility, even if, as he admits, it is likely they did some secret nasty things (such as upping the nicotine doses) to their victims, er I mean, customer base. Just reading a couple of other titles of Gunter’s previous articles (“Time to crack down on gross gov’t waste” and “Cellphone driving bans are nothing but nanny-state intrusions” are just two of his earlier works) tells me enough about Lorne (he hates big government but loves big business), but if you read his op-ed on the smoking lawsuits, it becomes clear that he despises smoking and smokers since his childhood (his dad smoked incessantly and everywhere) and basically offers death-wishes to anyone smoking. Lorne is entitled to his opinion, and I am entitled to my opinion of Lorne, which is that he can suck it up big time. People make poor decisions all the time, and sometimes a majority of people can make really bad choices (such as all the fast-food addicts that bloat themselves into disgusting shapes and smells), but this does not excuse a company for peddling wares of disease and death.
I say make the tobacco companies pay and make them pay large! And Lorne, just go on whining. Tobacco companies losing will cost Lorne nothing, unless he is in the pockets of the tobacco industry as a paid pundit who pretends to only espouse his opinion on matters.
An interesting article has appeared at various online news sources the past week concerning users of “fake pot” suffering from kidney failure. The chemically-produced compound, JWH-018, was created in the lab of John Huffman, a professor of organic chemistry at Clemson University, who was researching how marijuana-like compounds act on brain receptors. JWH-018 was banned in 2011, along with 4 other synthetic cannabinoids, by the DEA. This ban was put into place after skyrocketing use of these synthetics (calls to poison control centers rose from about 100 in 2009 to over 2,700 within one year). So much for fake pot and synthesizing your high!
When comparing fake pot to the real thing, you will find that there has never been a case of the use of actual marijuana causing such physical damage; in fact, the only consistent and proven damage caused by users of pot are legal damages. As you can see by the ads on this site, there are plenty of truly legal herbs (but not ever identified as fake pot, because these are real herbs!) that people can use safely (you will not find any substances banned by the DNA in any of the legal herbs offered here), and if you want to try legal herbs, you clearly should school yourself about the ingredients you are deciding to consume. Additionally, if you run across a site or person offering you “fake pot” that gets you high like the real stuff, be more than wary; be careful!
We at Vapor Savvy ONLY recommend vaporizing whatever materials you wish to inhale, as smoking clearly causes additional negative health conditions. Try vaporizing for a week, and then try returning to smoke. Your lungs will feel dirty, as if you are suffering from smoke inhalation. Oh wait, you are suffering from smoke inhalation and it is self-imposed! Vapor inhalation is so much purer and cleaner than smoking, and the proof is in your own lungs. Try it out!
And if you are still intrigued by fake pot, you may just want to go the real pot route and avoid possible kidney failure or other bodily damages. It may be fake pot, but your real kidneys do not know that!