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Truth About Vaping!

The True Story About Vaping and the Unfortunate Way it is Being Misrepresented to the Public.  Can it all be a Trojan Horse manipulated by Big Tobacco?  Read On and Decide for Yourself!

Disclaimers:  

  • It is illegal for a vape shop to make health claims, I am not a doctor.  The “proof” in this article is from the cited sources listed, my personal experience, and common sense.

  • Contrary to much public opinion, most vape shop owners are GOOD people, past smokers who first kicked the habit via vaping, and then opened a shop to help others do the same.  It is VERY REWARDING! We are NOT here to just make a quick buck, or hook our youth on nicotine.  And if I didn’t see the remarkable benefits of vaping over smoking – and certainly if I saw any patterns of health decline by those using legal vaping products – I would close my doors.  Morality is more important than money!

  • Anyone who thinks that vaping isn’t extremely beneficial for public health should read this.

 

LUNG DISEASE REALITY

 

Vaping flavored eLiquids – specifically those registered with the FDA in the US – from June 2019 and for the prior decade since vaping has been introduced in this country around 2010 or so, has resulted in 0 cases of lung disease (lipoid pneumonia) caused by unaltered vaping eliquids that I am aware of, and I can honestly say that being in the vape business for most of that time, I have never heard of it before June 2019. Nor have I heard of any other major health issue from any of my customers that was caused by vaping.  Think about it, I have 3 locations with over 1000 customers, and there isn’t even a small pattern of new health problems associated with vaping – and every other shop owner I have interacted with has stated the same thing.  However, in our experience, vaping has shown to exponentially improve the quality of life of more people - than the few, if any, that it has not - by an extremely wide margin!  I am not only in this business to earn my living, but equally for the rewards of seeing how I am helping former smokers defeat the habit by switching to vaping.  If I for once thought I was causing people to become unhealthier, I would not do it, but I’ve only experienced the opposite!  The mass cases of lung disease that have spontaneously popped up all in the past few months are coming from illegal black market products (most or all containing THC) and NOT products sold in legitimate vape shops like mine.  THE CDC, FDA, AND MEDIA SHOULD BE MAKING THIS MORE CLEAR, BUT INSTEAD THEY ARE CAUSING A BIGGER PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS BY SENDING PEOPLE BACK TO CIGARETTES BECAUSE THEY ARE AFRAID TO VAPE!  WHAT A SIN!

 

I think we can all agree, between the powerful industries negatively affected by the vaping movement - i.e. Big Tobacco, Big Pharma, and the state governments who receive stipends in the form of MSA agreements from them (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobacco_Master_Settlement_Agreement) there is obviously very powerful forces who would benefit dramatically if vaping was eradicated.  So if there were legitimate concerns from vaping, there would’ve been no lack in publicizing these “hazards of vaping” – similar to what we are seeing in the recent months with the constant negative propaganda vaping has been experiencing.  I mean think about it – almost 10 years and millions of vapers in this country, yet no major reports of this lung illness until the past few months, with 1000’s of cases of it?  Add to that, the fact that most of the patients are between 17-20 years old (how many years could they have possibly been vaping?) should tell anyone using a little logic that this is a recent issue, a problem that is new and different, and not something that has culminated over several years of vaping.  Additionally, vaping has been increasing in the U.K. dramatically, without this epidemic of lung issues, or teen vaping crisis either.  Why is it different there? We will touch on that a little more later, but suffice to say that they are vaping virtually identical eLiquids that we do here, and they do not have these lung issues over there.  Combine both of these factors and it’s easy to see that these lung deaths are not due to vaping normal, mass-produced products and are isolated to illegal black market THC products.

 

Headline we see: Vaping is causing lung damage, stop vaping!

What the headline should read: Vaping black market products are causing lung damage, stop using THC cartridges from the street!

Here’s an analogy to consider:  If you buy some chemical additive from an illegal “dealer” and add it to the gasoline tank in your car, and the car blows up – does that make the car the problem?  Or would headlines on the news read “Cars are exploding, do not drive your car?”  Of course not!  The media would tell you to not put that chemical into your gas tank, because who-knows-what is in it.  Well it’s the same with vape eliquid.  You can do your own math, but if there are suddenly 17 and 18 year olds winding up in the emergency room after 1-2 years of vaping, something must be different in the products and methods they are using when they vape. Our vaping liquids have not changed for the most part, so for this massive lung issue to have occurred only in the past few months and concentrated only in the U.S., SOMETHING MUST BE DIFFERENT!  In contrast, if there were indications of a pattern of ill effects on those of us who have been vaping for 5 – 10 years, that would be a cause for concern.  But the former makes it crystal clear that this is a sudden epidemic over short-term use of black market THC cartridges and not traditional vaping products sold in your local vape shops.

 

Remember several years back we had the scare of “popcorn lung” and “exploding batteries” concerns about vaping?  Both have silently slipped into the background as no good evidence supported serious dangers with either.  All in all, there have been very few negative health issues confirmed from vaping, when used with legally produced vaping eLiquids and devices.  And any side effects that have been found by vaping, are significantly less than smoking cigarettes – and we are talking along the lines of 95% less harmful per the PHE (Public Health England) which you can read about here: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/dec/28/vaping-is-95-safer-than-smoking-claims-public-health-england

So to not clarify these facts in the media is a major disservice to public health, and is honestly an unethical attack on vaping.  It confuses the public, and is discouraging millions of tobacco-addicted people from switching to the vaping alternative, which by most scientific evidence carries severely less negative health issues associated with it.  At minimum, adults should have the CHOICE, and not one limited to tobacco and menthol – the exact “flavors” they are trying to get off of.  Although the vape industry cannot use the word “safer” legally, if you ask those intimately involved in the vape community, and the hoards of customers I’ve served in my shops for the past 7 years, the benefits of vaping over cigarettes is staggering.  And I personally have not been made aware of a single customer, when using the product as intended, that experienced anything less than equal to overwhelmingly better health since they made the switch.  This includes asking customers about doctors visits, which I very often do, and again, have not heard of a single one that advised them to stop vaping.  The typical answer I get is “my doctor doesn’t have a recommendation on vaping, but told me to keep doing what I am doing because I am much healthier than when I smoked cigarettes.”  Does science need a lot more time to fully understand the long-term effects of vaping?  Of course, but it is foolish to automatically look at it through the same dark lens as history showed us with cigarettes and now consider vaping as “guilty until proven innocent” in an attempt to not be duped again, as we were by Big Tobacco decades ago.  If vaping proves long term to be a much safer alternative as many believe, but we stomp it out at this early stage out of this fear, that would mean Big Tobaccos deception would strike a 2nd time!

 

A recent statement by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) describing reports from the patients that: Most stated they used black market THC products, some reported using both THC and nicotine vape products, while a smaller portion stated they only used nicotine vape.  Now ask yourself this question: Do you think every patient, mostly teens, when asked by parents and professionals what they were vaping, would ALL admit to using THC?  Probably not.  And in my opinion, that’s why “some have reported only using nicotine vapes.” But you can make your own assumptions on this.

 

So why are these illegal thc cartridges making people sick?  The black market dealers have (knowingly or unknowingly) used a dangerous chemical – Vitamen E oil that when vaped, will reconstitute on your lungs, coating them in a grease-like substance.  It is a HORRIBLE thing, but it’s a NEW issue, not something we’ve seen in the past from the many nicotine vaping eLiquids that have been on the market for almost 10 years.  From my earlier example, most news outlets are claiming that “cars are not safe” and what an injustice they would be doing to the automobile industry if they covered the story the same way they are doing with vaping.  Wow!

 

FUN FLAVORS AND OUR YOUTH VAPING “CRISIS”

 

It is constantly said that fun flavors are attracting teens to vaping, but could it actually be the “nicotine buzz” instead?  I guess it’s possible it is both, however, personally I feel that the overwhelming majority is the latter.  The vaping community, just like most of the general public and parents, do not think it’s good for teens to be vaping.  We need to be careful, though, not to support a false narrative of vaping as a whole as a means to the end goal of removing it from children.  We can ban alcohol, glue, tide pods, and everything else children find self-destructive uses for, but we don’t.  Vaping flavors that actually taste good is crucial to many adults staying off of cigarettes, and to disregard this important aspect in the fight to keep kids away from it is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  The truth is, it is not as much of an epidemic as they are making it.  Some percent of youth vapers would be smoking cigarettes if they did not vape (interesting how the child smoking rates have dropped dramatically while the vaping rate increased, just like with adults!) while I feel most would continue to vape in the absence of the fun flavors, since it’s the buzz and rebellion they are mainly after, flavor is secondary.  Still others would turn to black market and diy vape liquids, which of course is where we find all these people getting lung illnesses.  All and all, the reduction in numbers of youths vaping would be less effected by removing the flavors, and more effective if they removed the JUUL-like “small but strong” high nicotine devices from the market, those are the problem and A FLAVOR BAN IS NOT THE SOLUTION!

 

Since it is primarily under 20 y/o’s who have had these deadly lung issues, we should also address the youth vaping crisis happening right now.  We at The Vapor Edge (and almost every other legitimate vape shop) are in full support of a 21 age limit for purchasing, just as it is with alcolohic beverages, which incidentally, come in all sorts of fun fruit and candy flavors just like vape liquid does.  This is not to entice children, it is to satisfy adults who have utilized vaping to get off of horribly unhealthy tobacco cigarettes.  And many adult vapers say if they could not enjoy these flavors, they’d be much more likely to go back to cigarettes. 

 

And further, the youth vaping issue was not anywhere near the crisis it has become even with all of these flavors available for the past 10 years. In actuality, it coincided with concealable salt nic products such as the JUUL hitting the market and rising in popularity over the last couple of years.  So in my opinion, it wasn’t the FLAVOR, it is the “buzz” and ability to hide their JUUL that caused this situation.  You can come to your own conclusions but an interesting tidbit when comparing why there isn’t an epidemic of teenagers vaping in the UK, as stated in this CNN article (see link below) "Similar choice of flavors exist in the US and UK and yet we do not have the same levels of youth vaping here. Our much lower rates are due to our much stricter advertising regulations and possibly our lower nicotine cap.” To me, this has everything to do with the “buzz” kids can get from the stronger levels of nicotine (specifically in devices such as the JUUL in the US) as they are in the UK, where they are much less potent.  What this means?  To me, this is a clear indication that the youth problem is less about flavor, and more about nicotine strength.

 

The motivation for teens to go through whatever they need to obtain e-cigarettes (asking older friends to purchase, buying from small convenience shops who sell to minors - and charge them MORE than the shelf price, etc etc) causes one to wonder if they would go through this to enjoy a mango flavor as opposed to spending way less on myriad of other ways they may consume something that tastes good. In my opinion, they are motivated in this order 1. Nicotine buzz (just like kids of every generation) and 2. Well heck, if they have the choice between tobacco and mango, of course they'll choose the latter – just like 95% of adults do.  It only takes common sense to realize that most teens will "make due" with tobacco or menthol flavor if they can’t have their mango, meaning a “flavor ban” is clearly not the solution.  There are other options we could and should try first, such as:  Only allow sales in 21 and over establishments such as limiting products to only be sold in FDA-monitored vape shops, kind of like we do with liquor stores.  And/or limit the amount of nicotine allowed like they do in the UK (by law, they allow only 1/3rd of the max strength that we do here in the US, and no issue with teen vaping there, more proof that it's not the flavor that's drawing them in.) And/or remove the JUUL size devices off the market so they can’t be easily concealed.  THOSE are the real solutions to the youth vaping crisis in my opinion.  We all agree, we don’t want a new generation of children addicted to tobacco, but at the same time, we want the childrens parents to live long enough to meet their grandchildren, and combustible tobacco is killing them!  The recent decline in smoking rates has interestingly coincided with the rise of vaping, so let’s not lose that momentum!

 

ARE WE IN THE MIDST OF A CONSPIRACY?

 

I have never been much of a conspiracy theory believer, however, those of us who know the vape industry intimately, and have the “inside scoop” on how massive the number of people who vape is and are in much better health (per their doctors) than when they smoked cigarettes – and not one case of any severe lung issues associated with it – are seeing the depths of what certainly appears to be a Trojan Horse under the influence of Big Tobacco.  One quote that sums up this sentiment as the “darkest episodes in American public health... They have lost all their moorings with evidence and good practice,” can be found in a CBS interview  with Professor David Abrams, NYU College of Global Public Health (see link.)  This highly regarded source on tobacco harm reduction also references the fact that in the U.K. vaping has been steadily increasing, yet there are no emergency room issues with lung disease, etc.

 

So along with the fight against Big Tobacco and Pharma to keep the vaping trend growing, we also need to consider the governments catch 22 with the Master Settlement Agreement (link 1) as mentioned earlier.  In a nut shell, 2 decades ago the major tobacco companies agreed to a settlement for billions of dollars paid to most states annually, but as tobacco use has declined dramatically over the past 10 years – precisely the period that vaping has grown massively – those amounts have become smaller and smaller.  This is having significant effects on states budgets.  And not just that, most states have already spent those dollars years in advance, putting them in a serious bind.  I’m still not convinced of a conspiracy, however it is blatant to see all of the major forces who are negatively impacted by the growth of vaping, and it IS honestly very concerning to me how it’s being portrayed in the U.S.!   Is it possible there is a connection?  And incidentally, much of this MSA money was intended to combat youth smoking, but less than 3% actually goes to that purpose, leading one to wonder how much of this youth vaping issue is really about the kids, when the dollars tell a different story!

 

VAPING RISKS?

The vaping community does not try to convince you that there are no negative side effects from vaping, as of course the safest thing is to breathe only fresh air.  What we are saying is that from all current scientific data, any indications of side effects are more in line with pharmaceutical medications, or artificial sweeteners, or the American diet of bad eating.  Smoked tobacco is known to cause extremely severe health issues, a level of “side effects” in a completely different universe of severity as the former, including vaping.  Again, I am not making a health claim, only stating facts from what we do know scientifically.  You may be interested in checking out some studies which I’ve linked below (see links) to get more educated on the real story of any risks associated with vaping.   If you have seen the anti-vape commercials which note that the dangers of vaping is “people that vape are X more likely to begin smoking” and while that might be true, the main purpose of the vape community is helping people off of tobacco, and there are boatloads of more people going from tobacco to vape, than the other way around.  Well at least until all this recent negative media attention, which is likely causing the reverse effect! Breathing smog, drinking high amounts of caffeine, many of our food choices, etc. “have been shown” to have some degree of negative health consequences, but is much lower on this scale of severity.  From the majority of studies we do have regarding vaping, and my experience in the vast numbers of people whose health has improved (my source here are my customers) puts vaping in the much less risk category – not close to the level of what tobacco cigarettes cause.  We understand the goal of discouraging teens from taking up vaping, and I believe much of the medias focus is for this reason.  We need to be careful, however, from discouraging adult cigarette smokers to switch to vaping via this same negative propaganda surrounding it. 

 

THE RISE OF SALT-NIC

One caveat to all of this is the rise in “salt-nic” devices such as the JUUL.  These are extremely potent versions of vape devices, and NOT what most legitimate vape shops recommend people to use regularly.  From the beginning of the vaping rise in the US 10 years ago until the JUUL and similar pod system devices hit the market a couple years back, the “free base” style of vaping was the norm.  It has a much lower content of nicotine per milliliter and is the purest form of vaping.  Some vape shops have declined to even sell salt-nic, at the expense of considerably higher profits.  In other words, the vaping community has begrudgingly accepted salt-nic and JUUL like devices as they were marketed and widely available very quickly from bigger companies, some owned by Big Tobacco, but not supported by the vaping community in general.  In my shops, I personally advise people to stick with freebase eLiquids unless A) they have been unsuccessful with free-base eLiquid and need that stronger salt-nic “kick” to get off tobacco cigarettes (but then switch to the lesser potent free-base once they do,) or B) as a complementary device – to be used sparingly when it’s not possible to vape the former.  For example, when they have short breaks over long periods during the day at work.  The jury is still out on the “safety” of using salt-nic, however we do know it can easily and quickly escalate your nicotine dependence.  I speak for the legitimate vaping community when I say that we would not be upset if the government took a hard stance on salt-nic.  But that does not go for the free base vaping that has been the core of the industry in the first 5-10 years, cannot be as easily concealed as salt-nic (so less problems with youth in schools, etc) and has helped millions of ex-smokers kick the habit, and in my opinion, taking them away would be a major setback in public health!

 

Referenced Links:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobacco_Master_Settlement_Agreement

  2. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/lung-illnesses-associated-use-vaping-products

  3. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html

  4. https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/09/cdc-refines-definition-of-vaping-linked-illnesses-lowers-case-count/

  5. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/dec/28/vaping-is-95-safer-than-smoking-claims-public-health-england

  6. https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/17/health/vaping-us-uk-e-cigarette-differences-intl/index.html

 

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions on this information:

– Andrew Kloc, The Vapor Edge Vape and CBD Shop

www.thevaporedge.net

ve.prospect@gmail.com