Resources Facts That Everyone Gets Wrong About Vaping
Completely Different Products Are Referred To As "E-Cigs"?

When most people think of an electronic cigarette, they think of the product pictured above on the far left. They look like regular ("analog") cigarettes, you buy them at a gas station, and (if you buy Vuze or Blu, the two most popular brands) they are made by tobacco companies—Imperial Tobacco and RJ Reynolds, respectively. The cartridges in these come pre-filled, and must be replaced with new cartridges. They have very limited flavor selections, and are ostensibly a simple—perhaps healthier—replacement for cigarettes.

Yet despite their impressive sales numbers, the vast majority of those who permanently quit smoking in favor of vaping do not use them. My store doesn’t even carry them. In fact, no vape shops do—just gas stations and convenience stores.

In an actual vape shop, you’ll find products like those in the middle (commonly referred to as APVs—Advanced Personal Vaporizers—or “Vape Pens”) and on the right ("Vape Mods"). APVs (most made by Chinese companies like Innokin) contain electronics allowing the user to regulate the power level, produce a moderate amount of vapor, and are generally priced under $100. Mods (mostly made by American companies like Surefire or various small Greek and Filipino companies) are for use with user-rebuildable atomizers, can potentially produce tons of vapor, and can be quite expensive.

This is important because lawmakers and the media absolutely do not differentiate between the two products, yet there is a world of difference. When they claim that "nobody knows what’s in these things," it makes me wonder exactly what things they’re talking about.

E-Liquid Ingredients Are Not A Mystery

My title at my company is Juicemaster General. I know, it’s an awesome title—I made it up. It means that I am responsible for every bottle of e-liquid that leaves one of our wholesale customers’ shelves, and I make 95 percent of it myself by hand. There are only four ingredients, and we did not find a single one of them on the surface of the Moon.

E-liquid begins with the main base, vegetable glycerin. We (and most other manufacturers) use certified organic VG—the glycerin doesn’t carry flavor very well, but does produce a lot of vapor. The next ingredient is propylene glycol—this is usually cited by alarmists as being a "main ingredient in antifreeze." This is incorrect, as they’re willfully confusing it with diethylene glycol, which has actually been found in mass market e-cig products. I absolutely do not add any of that to my liquid because I do not make antifreeze.

Propylene glycol—or PG—is a main ingredient in albuterol, or asthma inhalers, and is perfectly safe to inhale when vaporized. PG is thinner than VG, and carries flavor very well—the next ingredient, flavorings, are usually suspended in PG. Flavorings are food-grade, can be natural or artificial, and are limited only by the imagination of the juice maker.

A note about these ingredients—the "we don’t know what’s in these things" arguments dissolve in the face of numerous studies like these, showing that not only do we understand completely what’s in these things, but we also have a solid understanding of their (negligible) toxicity when vaporized.

Nobody Wants Minors Buying These Products

In 10 states right now—including mine—it is illegal to sell electronic cigarettes or related products to minors. Legislation is pending in a dozen other states and will doubtless be introduced in more states—and possibly at a federal level—soon.

This seems like reasonably quick action for such a young industry, but that’s because it’s common sense. We haven’t challenged any of this legislation because we don’t want to sell to minors. Sometimes, we’re downright paranoid about doing so. We don’t need to create new customers. Ninety-five percent of our customers are ex-smokers, meaning the tobacco industry has created plenty of customers for us and will continue to do so for a long time. We know that we are selling an adult product, and we want to stay in business. We card anybody who doesn’t look over 25 years old, and I know of no other shop—in my state or any other—that doesn’t do the same.

Much is made of how more teenagers are trying e-cigs or vaping—a common statistic shows that use among teens doubled from 2011 to 2012. While this is true, the statistic omits a lot of relevant information. The e-cig/vaping industry itself more than doubled in size during that year, meaning all use of these products doubled and not just teen use. During the same period, teen use of smokeless tobacco—a product which is not new, is considered the direct opposite of fashionable, and is notably never accused of marketing to kids—also increased by about 30 percent.

Finally—and there is literally no data to be found on this, perhaps because it directly contradicts the current media line on these products—I personally have dealt with dozens of parents who wanted to buy a device for their teenager, to help them get rid of smoking habits they picked up as even younger teenagers. We can’t sell them for this stated purpose, but this factor is conspicuously absent from teen vaping statistics. This could be remedied with one question added to the survey: "Where did you get your first e-cigarette?"

Of course, with the aforementioned state laws in the works, sales to minors will soon be illegal everywhere. But as with the FDA’s proposed regulation of e-cig and vaping products, this likely would have been the case without government intervention. Practically nobody outside of the industry has been made aware that . . .

The Vapor Is Far Less Harmful Than Cigarette Smoke

The average person has probably heard two things about the vapor produced by electronic cigarettes: either it’s perfectly harmless, or it’s worse than cigarettes, forest fires, and nuclear explosions combined. You’ve probably heard more than once that "not enough studies have been done."

Here’s where my job as author of this article gets really easy. In case you don’t have time to read the linked studies in their entirety, allow me to quote:

A 2012 research paper entitled Levels of selected carcinogens and toxicants in vapor from electronic cigarettes: "We found that the e-cigarette vapors contained some toxic substances. The levels of the toxicants were 9–450 times lower than in cigarette smoke and were, in many cases, comparable with trace amounts found in the reference product . . . our findings are consistent with the idea that substituting tobacco cigarettes with e-cigarettes may substantially reduce exposure to selected tobacco-specific toxicants. E-cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy among smokers unwilling to quit, warrants further study."

A 2012 study entitled Comparison of the effects of e-cigarette vapor and cigarette smoke on indoor air quality: "For all byproducts measured, electronic cigarettes produce very small exposures relative to tobacco cigarettes. The study indicates no apparent risk to human health from e-cigarette emissions based on the compounds analyzed."

You may not have realized this had been studied so extensively, and I could link to many more. I’d like to draw attention to that last study, however—the one focusing specifically on "secondhand" vapor. The first inroads being made into legislating our industry are arguing that vaping should be restricted to the same areas as smoking as the vapor isn’t safe. Across the board in our industry, though, the feeling is that . . .

Public Vaping Is A Largely Manufactured Issue

The studies that I’ve linked to above obviously constitute evidence that concerns about secondhand vapor in public places are overstated—if not completely unfounded—and there will doubtless be much more study done in this area. In enclosed spaces—government offices and businesses—there should be no need for any law.

The legislation being bandied about from coast to coast to everywhere elsein the United States ignores how such establishments are completely within their rights to establish their own policies about such things. Proponents of this type of legislation always fail to consider vape shops when talking about it, but being unable to vape in a vape shop means not being able to try liquid before you buy. This is pretty much why people come to vape shops in the first place rather than ordering liquid online.

There is also suspicion in our community that legislation like this is part of a two-pronged federal and local approach aimed at putting the little guys out of business. It looks like the next wave of local ordinances will be aimed at banning the sale of e-liquid containing flavors. Naturally, it’s all about the children, which I’ve previously mentioned is just plain wrongheaded.

But you see how, from the inside, it looks like we’re being squeezed from every angle until we can no longer operate in any way, despite the vast majority of the scientific analysis of our product being favorable. And while Big Tobacco has mixed feelings about this phenomenon—they don’t want e-cigs to go away, they want us to go away so they can have the entire market to themselves—the major pharmaceutical companies are willing to play super dirty to crush vaping altogether, for a very simple reason.

Many Health Organizations Recognize The Benefits

And they’re starting to say a lot of things like this:

American Council on Science and Health: "Tobacco firms already control 99 percent of the nicotine supply, and the firms could soon dominate the growing e-cigarette market. Unless constrained by the laws of the country concerned, tobacco firms could raise electronic cigarettes prices and their profit, decreasing the incentive for smokers to switch to safer products, and protecting firms’ tobacco cigarette sales revenue from competition."

Royal College of Physicians, London: "On the basis of available evidence, the RCP believes that e-cigarettes could lead to significant falls in the prevalence of smoking in the UK, prevent many deaths and episodes of serious illness, and help to reduce the social inequalities in health that tobacco smoking currently exacerbates."

Action on Smoking and Health, United Kingdom: "Electronic cigarettes are proving more attractive to smokers than NRT, while providing them with a safer alternative to cigarettes. There is evidence that they can be effective in helping smokers quit, and little evidence that they are being used by never smokers."

It seems that when impartial public health organizations look at the available, impartial, peer-reviewed evidence, they tend to reach the same conclusion: More long-term studies should be undertaken but, based on what we’re seeing here, vaping is far, far safer than cigarettes and help people quit smoking quite effectively.

But what’s that? You say you’ve heard six dozen talking heads on TV saying that literally no studies have been done on e-cigs? Why, here’s a recentChicago Tribune article that flat out states, "No studies have been done to examine the safety of e-cigarettes. As a result, there is no evidence that doctors can use to assess the impact this product may have on a person’s body. Also, no convincing evidence shows that e-cigarettes are useful in helping people to eventually stop smoking."

The Chicago Tribune has just lied through its teeth. As I’ve demonstrated repeatedly throughout this list . . .

Tons Of Studies Have Been Done

Just tons of them. All the ones I’ve linked here—and many more—demonstrate that these products are far less toxic than cigarettes, more effective than pharmaceutical smoking cessation products, and pose no risk to bystanders. All the information is there but hard to find because it is largely marginalized, taken out of context, or ignored by the media. Many of the links I’ve used are compiled here, and this database is added to regularly—the ever-growing pile of evidence that the media is only giving you one side of the story.

I hope I’ve been reasonably effective in giving you the other side of the story. And now, back to our regularly scheduled lists.