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Alternatives to Smoking

  • All about Immortal Fog

    Immortal Fog, ecigExpress' all-new premium e-liquid line is touching down in just over three days' time, and you might be asking yourself what's up with the name. Immortal Fog was formulated with two goals in mind. First, it's a line of delicious e-liquid that's sure to appeal to every vaper, and secondly, it's the answer to two of the most important questions about vaping: "why should I vape," and "what do I vape." We'll be discussing the flavors in more detail later this week, so here's why those questions are important.

    Immortal Fog Immortal Fog Logo

     

    The two key concepts behind some of the language we use to describe Immortal Fog are "lifetime" and "journey." The concept of life is very important to us here at ecigExpress because our business began with a respiratory therapist's frustration in watching the negative effects of long-term smoking on his patients' health.

    We wanted to key into this concept because electronic cigarettes are known to help smokers reduce their smoking, or even to quit altogether. The American Heart Association confirms that E-liquids are a safer alternative to nicotine and can help reduce the risk of respiratory illness. In short: if you're a smoker, switching to vaping is going to lengthen your life and improve its quality.

    Immortal Fog Labels Immortal Fog Labels

     

    Well, if vaping's going to help imrpove your quality of life, then what did we mean when I said that Immortal Fog was also about the idea of a journey? Above, you can see the image label for our flavor Infinite Bliss, Immortal Fog is meant to take care of you for every step in your vaping journey.

    Consequently, although we encourage you to try each of our delicious flavors, we very carefully considered how each of them can help you stay away from analogue cigarettes. Thus, The Beast is is an excellent flavor for vapers who are beginning their transition away from traditional cigarettes, Awakening's simple sweetness and uncomplicated flavor profile make it ideal for vapers who are starting to get used to sweet e-liquid flavors, and different flavor notes in Ascension and Infinite Bliss come out at different voltage settings on your electronic cigarette.

    With Immortal Fog, we want to support your journey into vaping every step of the way. With Immortal Fog, we wish you the best, and we hope you'll love our flavors as much as we do.

    Immortal Fog will be available at ecigExpress retail and online stores, as well as at other participating retail locations, on Friday, March 6, 2015.

  • FDA Urged to Grandfather Recent E-Cigs

    Some of you may have seen CASAA's recent blog post, in which they break the news that Reps.  John Boehner (House Speaker), Kevin McCarthy (House Majority Leader), and Fred Upton (Chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee) co-signed a letter to the  FDA , urging them to reconsider the draconian grandfather date in their regressive and misguided proposed anti-e-cig legislation for electronic cigarette hardware.

    This is good news! As we have  been saying  for a long time, enacting a band on e-cig hardware produced after 2007 is tantamount to banning electronic cigarettes entirely - a move that would harm public health while stuffing money down tobacco companies' trousers.

    For those of you who have read it, CASAA's blog post seem over-critical, suggesting that this is an effective short-term solution, but not an effective long-term plan. By and large, CASAA's assessment is correct, and when their action plan is released, we encourage you to follow it.

    However, it is worth mentioning that based on our reading of the FDA's proposed legislation, the new proposed grandfather date of April 2014 would only barely stifle the market. All of the hardware and e-liquids that we have come to know and love would still remain available, and we would be able to continue vaping in confidence, knowing that some of the most time-tested e-cig parts would still be available.

    As usual, it's the little things that help us through. And if you decide to buy someone a starter kit for Christmas, you know they'll be able to keep using it!

  • Youth Smoking Down: Go E-Cigs!

    According to a study released yesterday by the CDC, middle- and high school student smoking rates have continued to decrease. Among high school students, the smoking rate has dropped from 15.8% to 12.7%. This is excellent news. As smoking rates continue to drop among children, we can expect that they will live longer, healthier lives as they grow up.

    However, the CDC also reports that the use of electronic cigarettes among high school aged youth has increased from 1.5% to 4.5%. CDC Director Thomas Frieden has stated that "kids are starting out with e-cigarettes and then going on to smoke conventional cigarettes." This argument is doubtful.

    As Michael Siegel has pointed out on his blog post about this news, the CDC "has not identified a single youth who started with electronic cigarettes and then progressed to cigarette smoking." Why, then, are we getting two stories from the CDC?

    Given that knee-jerk reactions to any kind of tobacco use are part-and-parcel of the crusade against electronic cigarettes, it seems as there is no good reason for a science and health organization such as the Center for Disease Control to say that children are being lured to smoking via electronic cigarettes. Here's why:

    Anybody who has tried both traditional and electronic cigarettes know that the sensation of smoking them is nothing alike.

    Just because cigarettes are known to be the source of health problems does not mean that electronic cigarettes are, too.

    The center for disease control's mandate is not the reduction of smoking - that would more properly fall under the domain of the FDA or the ATF.

    So, the deal here seems to be that the CDC, or at least its director, wants to be visibly seen to be standing on what he wrongly perceives to the the "right" side of the public debate about e-cigs - the side that stands against them. Shame on you, Mr. Frieden, for working to prevent people from quitting smoking. Public health is about saving lives, not about political theater.

  • FDA Friday, September 26: Time to Fight Back

    Hello everybody! I’m back from a much-needed holiday, ready to bring you more of the latest and greatest news and developments on the vaping front. I hope you’ve all been keeping well.

    This week, it feels like I’ve come back to the computer to find out that the rhetoric on both sides of the current public discussion about the safety and value of e-cigs has escalated radically. Michael Siegel, who is always an insightful commentator on the subject, shortly before castigating a study with weak methodology for suggesting that e-cigs don’t help cancer patients quit smoking, draws our attention to an article published by KCUR in which anti-smoking groups admit that all they care about is money and protecting cigarette sales. This is a great, great article, and one that you owe it to yourself to read.

    In related news, now that he is fed up with writing about the bad science supported by opponents of vaping, Siegel has announced that he is raising funds for proper research on the effectiveness of electronic cigarettes. I’m about to donate some money to this great cause, and you should, too!  Now that the CDC demonstrates glee at the tragic news that fewer smokers are trying to quit, it’s especially timely, too!

    “The CDC is actually stating that the finding that fewer smokers are trying to quit smoking by switching to e-cigarettes is a good thing.” – Siegel

    Advocacy analyst Clive Bates suggests discusses what he considers one of the worst papers of all time: a tobacco product risk awareness study that proves that exaggerated risks frighten people. The problem, as Bates puts it, is that by falsely claiming that products such as electronic cigarettes cause mouth cancer, the researchers very likely spread misinformation about a product that has not been proven to cause any kind of cancer at all.

    Better news is KFBB’s Justin Cambell’s report that e-cigs have saved at least one long-term Montana smoker to regain his ability to breathe effortlessly while maintaining his lifestyle. In an interview with vape shop owner Joseph Aluaces, Campbell reports him saying, rightly, that “the reason using patches to quit won’t work is because they don’t address the lifestyle changes of a long time smoker.”

    For those of you wondering what kind of horrible chain of events led to “public health” activists evident disdain for the public, I strongly recommend reading these three lengthy articles by Carl V. Phillips (1, 2, 3), which begins with the bold assertion “Dear public health…you are doing it wrong,” and which includes, among its conclusion, the observation that:

    “THR advocacy in the face of the “public health” establishment is saddled with not just the political burden associated with THR being an “impure” behavior that they hate, but also the entrenched anti-science that public health mis-learned from its origins in clinical medicine.” - Phillips

    To summarize, the language that vaping and THR advocates have begun to use has become increasingly aggressive. Much of this has been in response to language used by “public health” pundits like John Ashton called e-cig supporters “obsessive compulsive abusive Onanists” on Twitter. It is indeed time to fund good science to defend our health.

  • FDA Friday, September 5: Cartoonishly Delinquent

    Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of FDA Fridays. If you haven’t been paying attention, e-cigarette, tobacco harm reduction, and opinions from health officials this week have been completely, staggeringly, and utterly insane. Maybe it’s because it’s back-to-school season?

    The most absurd thing that happened was the publication (and the unjustifiably histrionic press release to go along with it) of an article that, despite its title, in no way suggests that electronic cigarettes are a gateway for cocaine use, of all things. This article isn’t particularly good science in the first place, but what’s worse is that one of its authors, Denise Kandel, is the originator of the deeply flawed “gateway theory” of drug use. In a turn of good news for vapers, CASAA’s press release about this paper was actually read by American journalists, who ultimately reported on this topic with a critical eye, rather than by repeating the content of the press release. These politically convenient distortions cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged. I’m glad this one isn’t.

    In other good news, the journal Addiction published a review of the WHO’s commissioned screed on e-cigarette safety (available for free from the website), showing that the WHO article, as well as the biased review by Grana, Benowitz and Glantz, was alarmist, misleading, and dramatic. Which is good, because it was.

    More about the WHO article, the UK’s Independent reports that Ann McNeil of the National Addiction Centre of King’s College, London, said that “we were surprised by the negativity of the review […] what we do know about [e-cigarettes] is that they are much safer than cigarettes.” This is just a great article, and it’s full of juicy quotes about why vaping is awesome, so you should just go over there and read it.

    More insanity developed stateside recently, as a study on vaping jointly commissioned by both the FDA and CDC decided that for the questions “Do you think you will smoke a cigarette in the next year?” and “If one of your best friends were to offer you a cigarette, would you smoke it?,” “probably not” was tallied as a “positive response.” Surely neither the CDC nor the FDA is reading this, but, seriously, could you be any more cartoonishly delinquent in your responsibility to the public trust?

    Even more insanity: did you know that an article was recently published claiming that third-hand (ie: deposits left on surfaces following use, that would affect a third party) exposure to nicotine is a strong claim against electronic cigarettes? That’s because it isn’t. And yet a poorly-conceived study claiming such a thing somehow made it to press! Even if this was a major concern (it isn’t), this study, in which some public health researchers sprayed some nicotine liquid on surfaces in order to “discover” nicotine on those very same surfaces, claims that it is.

    When stuff like that is the best the anti-vaping zealots can do, it always feels like they’re at their wits’ end. It’s too bad some people take this stuff seriously.

    Thankfully, only part of the world is mad. The American Heart Association, treading a fine line between common sense and the wrong side of the anti-vaping firing squad just came out in favor of electronic cigarettes, stating that vaping is preferable to smoking combustible cigarettes.

    Of course it is. Thanks for noticing.

    That's it for this week! I look forward to your comments!

  • Vape for Thought: Lying about E-Cigarettes

    If you haven’t seen it yet, Carl V. Phillips has been recently been posting his thoughts on the strangeness of the odd use of peer-reviewed journal articles in the field of public health, and in the midst of doing so, rightly criticized the CDC and the FDA for their complicity in the pursuit of junk science and harmful public health policies. You should go and read his posts “What is peer review really” (part 1) and (part 2), followed by CDC refines their lies about kids and e-cigarettes (which contains a copy of the article in question!), his post on the very embarrassing CDC press release, and his post about the FDA’s complicity in the CDC’s lies.

    Briefly, Phillips questions the integrity of the peer review process in academic journals putatively dedicated to the field of public health, with special notes towards the CDC’s claims in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research erroneously reporting that trying e-cigarettes is the same as using them regularly, and argues convincingly that articles published on these topics are rarely, if ever, free from ideological bias.

    What Phillips does not touch on in these excellent posts is why this kind of bad science, and bad scientific reporting, is being promoted. Phillips mentions ANTZ (anti-nicotine/tobacco zealots) as one possible reason. However, it seems to me that any system that rewards lies, improper summaries of facts, incorrect reporting of evidence, and weak analysis of data, can only work to the benefit of those organizations already entrenched within the circles of power: the big tobacco companies.

    Why, exactly, the CDC and the FDA are misleading the public and funneling money into the pockets of organizations which are already that powerful is a mystery yet to be resolved.

    What do you think?

  • FDA Friday, August 22

    Hello everybody, welcome to another edition of FDA Fridays – our weekly analysis of the discussions circulating about electronic cigarettes. This week, as we continue to recover from the rush to comment submission on August 8th, there’s been a rather interesting convergence of themes in e-cig related news and reports: the deleterious effects of nanny state zealots on public health.

    Although overbearing legislation and patronizing public officials are nothing new, but what’s really interesting here, as you shall see, is that there is no justifiable reason for overreacting to the recent popularity of the electronic cigarette.

    The FDA proposal about electronic cigarettes participates in a broader trend towards socially interventionist legislation that is in reality potentially more pernicious than it initially appears to be. Canada’s National Post reports that attempts to regulate electronic cigarettes divert consumer funds towards traditional cigarettes, noting that “some analysts — and e-cigarette business people — have wondered behind the scenes if opponents of such technology are getting paid by Big Tobacco.” This opinion seems altogether too reasonable to ignore.

    In a related article, the National Post reports that many municipal councillors claim that e-cig vapor contains “toxic chemicals.” As Jesse Klein notes in this piece, “there’s not a whole lot of evidence to support these fears, and a wealth of evidence that counters them.” Klein performs an excellent job of laying out the groundwork of scientific research on the subject, and also notes that other concerns, such as that of smoking in public parks, do not apply to e-cigarettes at all. As debates around electronic cigarettes continue to heat up, we should be wary of claims about second-hand e-cig vapor, which seem to be a signal that whoever is bringing it up does not understand the crux of the issues at hand.

    Said crux is, of course, public health. But, despite putative concerns about public health, it seems that too many advocates are willing to throw electronic cigarettes out and throw smokers to the dangers of big tobacco. As one recent article reminds us, the FDA was well aware of the fact that one of the consequences of its proposal was that “nearly all e-cigarette products would be driven out of the market.” How could this happen? The most significant reason, according to Andrew Allison, it’s because governments choose to ignore the growing body of scientific evidence in favor of electronic cigarettes.

    Needless to say, such an approach can be dangerous. Michael Marlow wrote a stunning exclusive for the Las Vegas Review-Journal arguing that “the FDA jeopardizes public health by not adequately assessing the costs of suppressing the e-cigarette market,” and in doing so is “unwittingly [promoting] tobacco use.” This is because the FDA dismisses harm-reduction theory, the public health approach that suggests, rightly, that the public good is best served when citizens are able to reduce their own exposure to health risks.

    As these articles suggest, the question worth asking right now as the e-cig debate continues is “who’s your nanny?” That is to say, the government is simply doing too much, and acting too blindly, in support of the interests of tobacco manufacturers and against public health, to entrust with such a recently-developed product such as electronic cigarettes. The evidence doesn’t show that vaping is bad. To the contrary, it shows that vaping is an effective way to quit, and that we all benefit when we do not put our own health at risk. Just because our nanny wrongly finds something distasteful, now we all have to forego it? I hope not!

  • On lies, science, and vaping.

    One of the sad side effects of the recent popularity of e-cigs and lawmaker’s head-first race to the bottom in order to be seen as “doing something about it” is that a stable of commentators seems to have sprung up out of the woodwork to lie about them.

    For every bit of good news like scientists’ letter to the WHO (which I have discussed here), and local newspaper’s evident understanding that vaping is mainstream, there are still people, like Roy M. Beveridge (as I have noted here), who have taken it upon themselves to say, despite the lack of evidence, that vaping is bad for you.

    One recent example of this is Stephen Glantz, who wrote a letter to the WHO “critiquing” the moderate and liberal views of the 53 scientists who urged this global health organization to encourage research on, and the usage of, electronic cigarettes. Glantz writes that it is a “success” for public health when countries ban the import of e-cigarettes and e-liquids.

    The open-letter response by the original signatories does an impressive job of debunking the misinformation that Glantz has disseminated, showing that he has failed to adequately review the extant literature on the subject, does not understand the benefits of dual-use smoking, misrepresents clear evidence, and fails to understand that even marginally better outcomes are better than the present situation.

    Not counting the many others who signed their name to Glantz’ letter, and setting aside for the moment the present situation with the FDA and the CDC, it is evident that there are a number of people invested somehow in public health who do not seem to understand the Hippocratic Oath.

    It’s hard to say why this is the case, but as public debates heat up around the world, and as research on the effects of electronic cigarettes becomes more widespread, we must be careful to read both the “bad” press and the “good” press with a grain of salt. Although both the upswing in the popularity of vaping and the results of scientific research are on our side, good research is so difficult and time-consuming that it takes a substantial amount of time for strong, replicable results, to come to fruition. In the meanwhile, there are many, many groups who have cast their lots against vaping, largely arguing on the basis of lack of evidence that it ought to be made illegal.

    Mind you, if even Phillip Morris can see the writing on the wall with respect to public opinion and acceptance of vaping, maybe its high time anti-tobacco advocates came clean and recognized that lying to people, or misleading them, is not a good way to establish credibility. Knee-jerk reactions are usually defeated by careful reasoning, so as you read more about this important topic, follow the evidence as best you can and assess claims for yourself. Even if it seems difficult, you don’t want to make decisions about your health based on bad information.

  • FDA Friday, June 6th

    Hi everybody, and welcome to another FDA Friday, where we examine recent discussions that have arisen ever since the FDA decided to propose to deem e-cigs to be “tobacco products.” Last week, there was a bunch of bad news, bad opinions, and interesting food for thought. This week has been a bit slower, but it the news situation at least is looking better.

    On the legislative front, ECF member wv2win spoke at some length with Senator Isakson’s (GA) legislative assistant about the FDA’s deeming proposal. Senator Isakson, as it turns out, is opposed to the FDA action. Better yet, Isakson is also aware that nearly every vape shop in Georgia represents a small business employing between 5 and 15 people, and he seems to be deeply concerned about how an e-cig ban would affect employment. Isakson is among the senators whose friends have successfully been able to quit smoking with e-cigs, and his awareness of the benefits of vaping may continue to spread around Washington. Good job, wv2win!

    There have also been a couple of exciting reports coming from Canada:

    First, the Ottawa Citizen published an article by Mark Tyndall, Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, in which Tyndall comments on the relative lack of effectiveness that public anti-smoking campaigns have had. Tyndall suggests that Canadian policy is characterized by “too little focus on prevention,” reminds us that the negative health effects of smoking have “everything to do with the toxins inhaled through burning tobacco,” and argues that “E-cigarettes are the ultimate harm reduction intervention.”

    For this week’s Canadian content double-whammy, the CBC has reported about the letter a large number of public health experts sent last week to the WHO, noting that five Canadian scientists have signed the tobacco harm reduction statement. In an interview with the CBC, David Sweanor, a Law professor at the University of Ottawa, stated that e-cigarettes are a technology that has the ability to “make cigarettes obsolete.” The CBC report suggests that statements such as these may have a positive effect on public health regulations in Canada.

    More relevant to American readers, the CBC also notes that the WHO will be reviewing its tobacco recommendations at the next meeting, which will be in Moscow, October 13-18, 2014, so keep your eyes peeled when this happens, because in light of the recent UK study demonstrating that e-cigs are the most effective took for quitting smoking, it seems likely that good things may come of it.

    That’s all for this week. See you again soon!

  • FDA Friday, May 23rd

    Happy Friday, everybody, we have exciting news! CASAA has released the second stage of its action plan, and YOU can help! As I mentioned when they first made their announcement, CASAA has developed a multi-stage plan to fight the FDA’s proposed regulations that would essentially ban e-cigarettes.

    You can read CASAA’s second Call to Action here. Please follow their instructions exactly, to increase the efficacy of your comments. The deadline is May 27th, which is only next Tuesday!

    To boil it down, as a consumer, you are entitled to comment on the FDA’s proposal with regards to its relationship with the Paperwork Reduction Act. It seems the FDA has vastly underestimated the sheer number of products its proposed legislation will affect, and the sheer amount of paperwork that will be involved in attempting to register these products.

    In other exciting news, it turns out that a recent UK study has demonstrated that e-cigarettes are 60% more effective than other nicotine replacement therapies at helping smokers quit. You can read articles about this news over at the BBC, or at The Guardian. Bigups to ECF founder SmokeyJoe for posting the link on the forum.

    What’s most impressive about the study is that its head researcher, Professor Robert West, is now so concerned about his sources of funding and potential conflicts of interest that he will continue with his research without them. According to the article at The Guardian:

    [Professor Robert West] acknowledged opponents' fears and suspicions about the commercial involvement of scientists. "I don't and will not take any money from any e-cigarette manufacturer," he said. His department does take money from pharmaceutical companies that make smoking cessation drugs, but they are rethinking that. "I need to be able to talk about e-cigarettes without even the conception of conflict of interest.

    This is great stuff, and great news! Corporate interference in scientific research, especially in medical fields, is well-documented, but as Professor West moves away from suspect funding in his research, his results will become increasingly valuable to the vaping community.

    As we have suggested before, accountable and reliable science is not only what the FDA feels is lacking in the case of E-cigarettes, it is also what smokers and vapers need to make informed decisions about our health. If, as West’s research suggests, e-cigarettes are indeed vastly more effective at helping people quit smoking than other known methods, this information is critical for those of us keen to move forward confidently in our decisions about our personal health. I hope the FDA will listen.

    In a similar vein, Dr. Michael Siegel at the Tobacco Merchants Association recently tweeted that e-cig companies should make more “quit smoking” claims. You can read all about it here at the E-Cig Forum (once again, with thanks to SmokeyJoe).

    More and more news articles and opinion pieces have been trickling in, some more misguided than others. One notable example is this post at Forbes.com by Roy A. Beveridge, M.D. Beveridge is an oncologist, and the Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Humana, a Health insurance company. Beveridge argues that electronic cigarettes should be banned because they can contain nicotine.

    It’s hard to recommend anybody read Beverdige’s opinion, which includes two of the most absurd statements about smoking and e-cigarettes I have seen in a while. First, Beveridge argues “it’s important to note that the same addictive chemical found in e-cigarettes and cigarettes is nicotine, which causes addiction to smoking,” and then he argues that e-cigarettes should be banned because “cigarettes can cause lung cancer” and people should be kept away from nicotine.

    Although he is the Chief Medical Officer of an HMO, Beveridge seems to have forgotten the relationship between correlation and causation. Either that, or he has never been taught it. Although the chief chemical found in cigarettes of both the traditional or electronic varieties is indeed nicotine, nicotine is not an “additive” in cigarettes, as Beveridge claims, it is a naturally-produced substance that occurs naturally in the tobacco plant. It is equally absurd to claim, as Beveridge does, that “nicotine causes addiction to cigarettes,” since cigarettes were not developed until well after humans began to smoke tobacco thousands of years ago. Nicotine causes addiction to nicotine. As for his second claim, that nicotine (instead of cigarettes) causes cancer, perhaps Beveridge is among the 59% of American men who erroneously believe that nicotine (rather than cigarettes) causes cancer.

    If my health care was managed by a company whose Chief Medical Officer does not understand either concepts as simple as cause-and-effect, or the meaning of addiction, I would try to switch providers.

    Overall, it’s been a fairly quiet week this week, aside from North Carolina Senator Richard Burr’s comments on why harm reduction matters. If you haven’t seen the video yet, click here. Electronic cigarettes really do seem to be better for us than burning tobacco, but the FDA, with no sense of irony, seems not to care about protecting the health of smokers.

    Over the weekend, though, it’s time to start tallying up what e-cig products you’ve bought, in order to make sure you get your comment in order and get it in before the window of opportunity closes on the 27th. Tell your friends about CASAA’s plan. Any smoker or vaper you know is going to be affected by this legislation if we can’t do something about it now, while the opportunity exists.  So please, be sure to get the word out.

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