67% Vape tax?!

A new law passed and will go into effect on October first in Washington DC. The law mandates that ALL electronic cigarettes and ALL items associated with will be subject to a 67% tax. In turn this new law and the associated tax will likely drive the brick and mortar vape shops out of the city of Washington DC as it is not financially viable to sell electronic cigarettes under such a heavy tax. Without profits mom and pop shops, or any outlet for that matter, will be unable to keep their doors open. This 67% tax was stated as taking 66% of the profits from one brick and mortar owner.

Touted as a means to create revenue to for the homeless initiative it is thought that this tax would generate 400,000$ in 2016’s fiscal year and 500,000$ in 2017’s fiscal year. Khalaf, owner of M Street Vape, said “That will probably drop to 0$ since vape shops will not be able to stay open. The new law only effects vape shops, it doesn’t target c-stores like 7-11.” This has lead to many vape shop proprietors to seek an exit strategy, out of more than just their lease. Moreover this new law does not target any of the distributors. The way the law is worded it only effects shops that specifically sell electronic cigarettes or those distributors that are located within the district of Columbia.

So come October many vapers in DC will likely have to return to ordering their electronic cigarettes and accessories online. Most unfortunate because they will no longer be able to “try before they buy” and will have to deal with all of the issues that come with ordering a product online.

It seems this law was drawn up hurriedly and with little forethought applied. I wonder if our esteemed politicians ever bothered to consider who might suffer because of this poorly worded and implemented law? It seems doubtful.

95% safer than tobacco study questioned and PHE responds

A few weeks ago Public Health England released a document announcing that their studies showed that electronic cigarettes are 95% safer than traditional tobacco cigarettes. Of course it didn’t take long for the study to come under fire. Electronic cigarettes are a hotly debated topic in many countries. Recently the British Medical Journal and the Lancet questioned several aspects of the study.

The British Medical Journal questioned whether the study’s findings were “built on rock or sand”. While the Lancet described the study as having an “extraordinarily flimsy foundation”. Meanwhile others have questioned the sources of the study by Public Health England. (A governmentally funded organization.)

Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at PHE, said that the claims in the British Medical Journal had been responded to before.” He went on to say “E-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than smoking. One in two lifelong smokers die from their addiction. All of the evidence suggests that the health risks posed by e-cigarettes are small by comparison, but we must continue to study the long-term effects.” He added “The PHE has a clear duty to inform the public about what the evidence shows and what it does not show, especially when there was so much public confusion about the relative dangers compared to tobacco.” In closing he stated “Nearly 80,000 people a year die of smoking related illness and smoking costs the NHS two billion euros a year. By spelling out clearly the current evidence – that while e-cigarettes are not risk-free, they carry only a fraction of the harm caused by smoking – we are fulfilling our national remit.”

Being such a sensitive issue it will not be an easy knot to unravel. When the issue is unraveled which end of the rope will we all end up with? Only time will tell..

Electronic cigarettes stated to be 95% than tobacco!

Despite divided opinions on the issue in the USA a new report from Public Health England, a division of the UK Department of Health, concludes that electronic cigarettes are drastically safer than traditional analog cigarettes. The report weighs in with a huge 95%. That is 95% less harmful to your health than normal cigarettes. The report also states that when supported by a smoking cessation service electronic cigarettes can help users quit tobacco altogether.

“My reading of the evidence is that smokers who switch to vaping remove almost all the risks posed to their health.” Says Professor Peter Hajek of Queen Mary University, London.

The study also highlights the currently held misconceptions about electronic cigarettes. Nearly half of England’s population don’t realize that electronic cigarettes are so radically less harmful than smoking. Due to this many smokers haven’t even tried an electronic cigarette, let alone made the switch. “The problem is people increasingly think they are at least as harmful and this may be keeping millions of smokers from quitting” Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at PHE said in a statement. He also went on to add “Local stop smoking services should look to support electronic cigarette users in their journey to quitting completely.”

These are exciting times for smokers I feel. The wealth of options available to consumers and some proper studies could culminate in freedom from tobacco for millions. Good on you UK. Next we need someone in America to do a sensible unbiased study of electronic cigarettes.

Should electronic cigarettes be included in the MSA?

Before I get into this I want to preface this article a bit. First I am NOT a lawyer nor am I a politician. Second I am an American and I love my country. Third those who do not stand up for their rights do not deserve them. Having covered that let’s get right to it…

What is the MSA? Likely most of us don’t even know or have forgotten the supposed “landmark agreement” reached in 1998. The largest class action lawsuit to date. The MSA, or Master Settlement Agreement, is legislation intended to limit big tobacco’s ability to market to children and to hold them financially responsible for the healthcare costs associated with smoking. Sounds great, right? On the surface I thought so too.

Pull back the blinds a bit and we can see that the MSA is not the blessing the American public was lead to believe it was. Under the MSA, in a nutshell, big tobacco companies are to pay a dividend to each of the 46 states who signed on based on the total sales of cigarettes within each of these states. In return these states would then drop law suits against the participating tobacco companies. Again this seems reasonable, at a glance.

The issue is that many states, looking at you especially California, projected sales for the year based upon the previous fiscal year’s numbers. Using these statistics they then sold bonds to gain access to the funds early rather than waiting for the payout from the tobacco companies. Much to the state government’s chagrin tobacco sales (namely cigarettes) have steadily been dropping, which results in lower MSA funds received by that state. Thus the state governments are fearful of defaulting on their loans. Combine this with the fact that big tobacco tied six states up in litigation for over ten years with claims that these six states were not diligently enforcing their end of the MSA and you can begin to see what a terrible settlement the MSA truly is.  But wait….it gets better…

The MSA is in fact unconstitutional. Article 1, section 10 of the United States Constitution prohibits states from entering into agreements with corporations without the consent of Congress. There was never a vote regarding the 46 state Master Settlement Agreement. Moreover this settlement imposed a 246,000,000,000$ tax on the smoking populous. It did so in a subversive and obfuscated manner. Furthermore the MSA is supposed to guarantee that the state “protects” the four biggest tobacco companies from lower priced competitors who did not enter into the settlement.

Beyond this the states are often not spending their MSA funds on smoking cessation, antismoking awareness, and the treatment of smokers. Take Kentucky for example, one of the six states accused of not enforcing the settlement diligently, has dispersed funds toward agriculture and highways. Now don’t get me wrong, I think that those are necessary and rational expenditures, however they do not follow suit with the agreement. On top of that these expenditures have nothing to do with smoking prevention or healthcare.

So why aren’t things like nicotine gum or patches being included under the MSA? The answer there is quite simple, pharma companies pump massive amounts of funds through lobbyists into the system and thus get preferential treatment. Since the electronic cigarette industry is much smaller (though it is now a two billion dollar a year industry) than both the tobacco and pharmaceutical industry it will not receive the same passes that the aforementioned enjoy. This is why they want electronic cigarettes to fall under the MSA, it all ends in dollars and only makes sense to the powers that be, at the cost of the average citizen. It pains me to see that a dollar matters more than America’s health or keeping families together.

If I remember correctly it was a mere two percent tax on tea that lead to the Boston Tea Party and the events that followed. If we remain passive and do nothing we can expect 30% taxes on e-liquids and devices. For what? Just to line the pockets of big tobacco and state lawmakers? The cost we will pay is more than a financial one as well. We will pay with our health and the tears of the loved ones we leave behind due to health complications from smoking.

Smoking killed my grandfather, my grandmother, and helped to kill my mother as well. Aspire never wants to market to children and genuinely wants to help keep families together. Due to the nature of this situation I personally implore anyone reading this to join CASAA and actively take a stand against the continuing oppression of big tobacco. If we let them take this alternative away from us they happily will. We must rise as one and be heard. Thank you for your time and attention.

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What makes a good mod?

What makes a good mod? This question came up over Skype and it was surprising how many different facets to consider when answering that particular question. The size, the shape, the materials and build, whether or not the mod has a sealed battery, the wattage range, the resistance range, floating 510 connection, nice buttons, a good warranty, elegance or flair, temperature control, protective features, clear and convenient menu, firmware/software updates, wifi connectivity, 4g? The list could go on further I am sure. In an ever changing industry and market such as this it is anyone’s guess as to which way the wind will blow next. That’s one of the things I love about the electronic cigarette industry, there is always a surprise around the corner. Compounding this is the fact that all of this is subjective to each user so everyone will have their personal opinion of what a good mod is.

My friend said that his perfect mod would be something safe, practical, can fit into his pocket, and will not auto fire. Something with a good warranty, one that shows the company believes in their product so that he can also have confidence in the product. He also added that the mod should be easy to understand and use.

My personal idea of the perfect mod should be something small, rugged, swappable batteries, fast charging (just in case), temp control (as an option), solid buttons, a clear easy to read screen with an intuitive menu, and no flashy logos.

Here at Aspire we love to take feedback from our customers. Seeing your ideas materialize makes us proud. So I want to ask you, the reader and the customer, what you think the perfect mod is. Maybe you will see your idea materialized!

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Triton Cleaning?

So now that the prince of the sea has arrived it seems he can be a petulant little child when it comes to his royal hygiene. So how do we deal with such a bratty prince? When my Triton is naughty I shove him under hot water. This works to flush out his insides nicely. Then I shake him violently with his top fill open while strangling him. Once I have shaken his world apart for about thirty seconds I like to use a can of compressed air to get rid of anything that may be collected inside. Finally I set him down and ignore him for about ten to twenty minutes. (This is by no means parenting advice and should only apply to clearomizers, electronic cigarettes, and princelings of the sea.)

 

In all seriousness the Triton is such a versatile tank I think that this is quite a small disadvantage. On the other hand I am confident that our resident mad scientists will outdo themselves again soon enough.

P.S.    Please share with us how you give your prince of the sea a bath.

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Electronic cigarettes; function over form

Function over form?
Can you remember your first ecig? What did it look like? Or maybe you know someone who has or uses a mod that looks like something out of an episode of Dr. Who or Star Wars. You know exactly what I mean too. The big unwieldy futuristic devices that seem more concerned with form than with function. Should your ecig be a fashion accessory or simply your alternative to analog cigarettes? There is no correct answer because this boils down to personal preference. However most of us would prefer a sleek device with a muted appearance rather than something that looks like it came out of a scifi flick.
We love scifi as much as anyone else, don’t get me wrong but nobody really likes being stared and gawked at over our mods. Whether you’re just chilling at home, on the go with friends, at the club on a Friday night, or in the bathroom at work what really matters is how your mod feels and functions, right? And if we can enjoy a solid, well made, and reliable device without attracting undue attention over our preference in how we quit smoking even better!
Let it not go unsaid that there is a time and a place for everything, but is the bathroom really a place where you want to be seen sticking a sonic screwdriver in your mouth? Don’t misunderstand, nobody is hating on Dr. Who here. The point is that there are many different choices out there, some aesthetically pleasing and some not so, subjectively speaking.
No matter what kind of look you prefer the important thing is finding a healthy alternative to the analogs. So whether you want to look like a Jedi or a regular Joe there is a device out there for you.

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Aspire Triton tank system—The first review

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Triton is here and so am I to tell you a bit about it. It’s been a few weeks since the prototype crossed my desk and now that I have the production model I am ecstatic to discuss it with everyone here today. So let’s get right down to it…

The main thing I love about the Triton is the top filling design. As you can imagine, living in this part of China and working for this company, I get to try almost every product in this industry that comes out. So I can say with some measure of reliability that the Triton’s top filling design is a game changer compared to all the leaky top filling tanks I have had pass through my hands. Just a simple twist and the Triton will click from vaping mode to top filling mode. No rubber grommets to drop and lose and best of all truly leakless. Perfect for on the go refills.

Another great feature that I really like is the adjustable airflow control. Unlike it’s predecessors the Triton has what I would call “truly adjustable airflow control”. What do I mean by this you may ask? With the Atlantis and Nautilus series of tank systems the airflow control would click into place. The Triton has no such limitations. You can really fine tune and dial in your preferred airflow setting. This allows the Triton to match a wide range of vaping styles. The same clickless design is used on the base as well as the drip tip. The airflow at the drip tip is really nice when I run higher wattage settings. Personally anything above 70 watts feels too hot and the drip tip’s airflow fixes that right up by carbureting the vapor as it passes through the drip tip. Most impressively I find the flavor isn’t impacted much, if at all by the introduction of more air.

The coils are also a bit different from the Atlantis coil, though they’re still compatible. In the two subohm coils we are using a surgical grade stainless steel (316l) tube. The tube design allows for more surface area of the filament to contact the juice which means greater vapor production and more intense flavor. I have found these coils to last a bit longer than the kanthal variants I use normally. Though I should state that everyone vapes differently and due to that your mileage may vary.

Last, but definitely not least, we have an optional RBA system for the Triton. The design is unique and simple. So simple that even I could build on it and I am pretty lousy when it comes to building. I did it for a while but when the Atlantis first came out last year my life was changed. (I did not work here at that time btw.) So for all of you who have been clamoring for an RBA your wait is over.

In closing I really do love the Triton. It has AND does it all.

 

Happy vaping

 

Proper Vaping Etiquette

Should electronic cigarettes be treated with the same harshness as traditional combustible tobacco? Who are any of us to decide for the group? I do think that those who vape disrespectfully or rudely do not help things. As with any new technology it will not be widely accepted immediately, if ever by some. It comes as no surprise that so many places have enacted laws to treat vaping the same as smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. Considering the subjective nature of the topic I want to first reiterate that this is merely a personal opinion. Furthermore it’s only the opinion of an American living and vaping abroad.

Iam of the mindset that I should not vape in a place or situation where I would not normally be able to smoke a cigarette back home in America. I choose to treat it the same as I would have treated a cigarette in the past. It’s my opinion that nobody would want me to blow cigarette smoke in their face so why should I blow a cloud of Kentucky Bourbon, Madagascar Vanilla, Coconut, and Almond at them? Generally being aware of others and concerned with their comfort is one thing that can easily separate the vapers from the smokers. Beyond that we, as vapers, have some incredible social hurdles and misconceptions to clear. Making it more difficult makes no sense.

It’s not as bad as it was before since vaping has been in the media’s eye for the past year at least. However vapers still get a lot of attention, especially due to the fact that most devices look more like a beta max video cassette or lightsaber. With electronic cigarettes looking more and more unlike traditional cigarettes we can expect a certain amount of curiosity or derision. For me, being in China, I can expect to receive googley eyes and stares whether I vape or not. When I first started vaping my device resembled a lightsaber or a sonic screwdriver, so the attention it caused me to receive was almost unbearable. The key difference is that I live behind a language barrier so offering any sort of articulate explanation is impossible. I still try my best to explain what I am doing and what it is in the most friendly way possible, despite my terrible Mandarin. My point is that when we encounter the curious we, as vapers, get the chance to put our best foot forward and educate someone about electronic cigarettes which could lead to the conversion of one more smoker. This person might be someone’s mother or father, or maybe someone’s sister or brother. To me it’s a beautiful thing to educate another about the benefits of this technology.

I can sum this up with a single word, “respect”. With so much controversy surrounding vaping as an alternative to cigarettes and as an industry I can understand wholeheartedly how people do not want to have vaping classified as a tobacco product and regulated accordingly. I also understand how some may think that following the regulations in place for smoking in public may lead the greater public to come to view vaping as the same thing as smoking. The caveat to this is that the damage even one rude or irresponsible vaper could  do to vaping and the electronic cigarette industry is immeasurable.   So I implore all of my fellow vapers all over the world to vape respectfully and responsibley. The future is ours to make!