My journey into vaping

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Day 129: You vape? You’re still smoking! (reprise)

Vaping is not smoking. If you take nothing else away from my entire blog, please understand just this one point. If I have not inhaled the smoke from burning tobacco, then by definition I am a non smoker.

Nicotine is not the enemy. And for the record, smokeless tobacco such as Swedish Snus is not the enemy either. “No Tobacco Day” my ARSE. Nicotine itself has not caused either addiction or withdrawal when used to treat disease.

I choose to continue Vaping for as long as I want. I use nicotine because I enjoy it. My choice. Do you enjoy caffeine? Alcohol? Chocolate? Tea? I am not using nicotine to relieve withdrawal symptoms. I am using it because I perceive a benefit from its use. If you ask me to define that benefit, first define the perceived benefit you get from tea, or chocolate. ALL of it. If you can, then contact me and I’ll define my total perceived benefit of nicotine use for you. By switching to a low risk delivery device for nicotine use, I’m putting my health (and no one else’s) at about the same risk as you do using those consumer products. It is not an addiction – the definition of addiction must include harm – it is a habit. I get benefits from nicotine use which I miss long term when I stop, so therefore I am much less likely to relapse to smoking if I continue recreational nicotine use indefinitely. See also Carl Phillips. I love that man’s augments so much. He makes sense.

But you’re normalizing smoking behaviour! No. I’m really not. You see I’m NOT SMOKING. There might be hand-to-mouth and vapour, but it isn’t smoking, and it isn’t all that bad for me. I’m not doing anything worse than eating a bar of chocolate in front of your kids (read that chocolate link. Seriously.) How can NOT SMOKING normalise smoking? It doesn’t – if your child asks you what I’m doing you can be a good parent and tell them that I’m using a safer alternative to stop me smoking lit tobacco. Or tell them that I’m using it instead of smoking so that it doesn’t smell bad. You can indoctrinate educate them against ecigs in the same way as you have smoking – remembering that hopefully one day they’ll be able to pull you for bad science. Come to that, why should I have to do your parenting?

You’re glamorising smoking! But I’m not smoking! See above. The things I use look like Kryten’s Groinal Attatchment and I look like a total twit using one. If you look at the smoking toolkit results (use a search engine. I’m not alive enough to do research today) it isn’t the young and the beautiful using these things at all. Yes marketing should be aimed at adult smokers only; but honestly, can we not knee-jerk in any direction over it? I’m so fed up with it all.

You’re giving your money to tobacco companies! So what? Whether I actually do spend with tobacco companies or not is really beside the point. It is my choice what I buy and who I buy from. I choose not to buy cigarettes. You’ll buy low/no alcohol products from alcohol companies, and sugar free products from confectionery manufacturers. Give me a break. I’m actually more angry with the pharmaceutical companies over ecigs, but that’s a whole different rant.

Wait till the long term studies are in. I can do simple maths. “Long term” is like the definition of temporary. Like putting something here “for now.” I needed to switch 5 years ago; so do many like me. Advising people to wait, putting people off trying low risk alternatives could push them past that one cigarette that one day proves to have been the one that killed them. Telling them to just quit really isn’t helpful. I don’t care if you did it cold turkey or the Alan Carr way; those methods didn’t work for me and it wasn’t for lack of trying. So stop imposing it on me. I’m not telling you to vape.

But the flavours! For the love of… ADULTS LIKE FLAVOURS. My taste buds have just come back. I’m enjoying tasting things again. What part of this is unclear? ADULTS LIKE SWEET FLAVOURS. There is a famous advert for sticky sweets which has a jingle which ends: “kids and grown-ups love it so.” There is no conspiracy to addict a new generation to nicotine.

If you don’t vape, can you not just shut up and leave me alone? I’m not hurting you, and I’m not hurting your kids. Depart in short sharp jerky movements and let me vape in peace.


Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.

Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.


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Day 128: I really love scientists that do good quality, well researched science.

I’ve been watching this story unfold all day. I’ve been watching social media and reactions to the various places where it’s being reported here in the UK. The basic story is that 53 scientists have written to the W.H.O asking them to reconsider its intention to classify e-cigarettes (and other forms of reduced harm smokeless tobacco product) in the same way as tobacco cigarettes, because they risk missing a huge chance to reduce the harm done by tobacco smoking. You can see the full text of the letter here (PDF).

The first site I saw pick up the story was the BBC. When I first looked at that article last night it was mainly positive, with a howlingly negative last statement. It looked then as if the last word on the article was basically telling smokers not to switch. Now they have Martin McKee saying this;

 “The health community is completely divided on the subject of whether electronic cigarettes are safer than real cigarettes.”

It’s really not. The consensus of scientific opinion is that smokeless tobacco is definitely safer than real cigarettes. The only argument is, “How much safer?”

“While the signatories to this letter are clearly supportive, the World Health Organization, correctly, bases its decisions on the best available evidence.”

I hope you’re right. By all anyone ever held sacred I pray you’re right in this one point. Please write down those words on a stick of bubblegum and have it ready, because I really hope you’ll have to chew on them for a very, very, long time.

 it would be “premature” to advocate the use of e-cigarettes until their safety had been established.

You know I’m going to give you that Carl Phillips quote here again, don’t you. Well you’re right. I am. Because it’s the idea of harm reduction in a nutshell and Martin McKee just doesn’t get it. If you switch from smoking lit tobacco to a safer alternative form of nicotine and continue your nicotine use for life, your accumulated health benefit is better than smoking for one further month and then stopping nicotine use entirely. The average smoker takes ten years to give up. I’m now twenty two years past my first quit attempt. Please do the maths. In my opinion Martin McKee’s advice is very harmful.

the present analysis shows that anti-THR activism is deadly. Hiding THR from smokers, waiting for them to decide to quit entirely or waiting for a new anti-smoking magic bullet, causes the deaths of more smokers every month than a lifetime using low-risk nicotine products ever could.

The last word in the BBC article is given to Richard Evans, vice-chairman of the Welsh Pharmacy Board who believes e cigarettes should be regulated in the same way as traditional cigarettes. He said:

“At the moment the products that are on the market – we don’t know what standard they are. They can vary from product to product – there is no uniformity at all.”

So what? There’s no uniformity in coffee or tea either. I didn’t know that I was getting a uniform dose of the thousands of chemicals in a cigarette when I smoked. This is the overreaction to nicotine again, and is actually completely irrelevant. People use smokeless tobacco and e cigarettes in the same way as we smoked. We self titrate the levels. Want to see what your medically regulated standardised uniform device would do to my ability to stop smoking? Look here.

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, from the BMA and Prof John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, both cried in unison: “please think of the children.” They linked to this study done by Stanton Glantz which has been discredited as utterly inaccurate even by the ACS – please read this article: Stanton Glantz is such a liar that even the ACS balks: his latest ecig gateway “study”.  For a brilliant analysis of the flaws in that study please also see Clive Bates on the subject.  I really can’t believe that the BBC would allow links to such junk science in a serious article. There is no evidence to support a gateway. If there is one it leads OUT of tobacco smoking. There is no evidence that vaping renormalises smoking. If it does anything it normalises NOT smoking.

The Daily Mail starts off reasonably well, and then we get:

critics say that not enough is known about the long-term effects of the devices


the unregulated status of e-cigarettes is problematic. ‘The concern is that the safety and effectiveness of e-cigarettes is still unknown. Until we have more substantial research we would encourage all smokers who wish to quit smoking to use ‘stop smoking’ services and approved nicotine replacement products.’

The Guardian does the same. As does the Telegraph, but they add “glamorise and normalise smoking.”

Yes, we know we need long term studies, but yet again, ad infinitum, sic ad nauseum, how long do we wait and how many smokers choose not to switch because of these opinions in the meantime? They are not “UNREGULATED” they are currently covered by more than SEVENTEEN regulations. The problem is that the proposed regulations, both here and in the States, will not simply produce safer products; it will kill the ecig. Stone cold dead.

The letter which those scientists wrote is a point by point rebuttal of the arguments that have turned up in opposition to it. It also puts a beautifully argued and rational opposition to all of the other arguments I’ve seen against the adoption of low risk alternatives to smoking. Clive Bates published a reader’s guide to the letter which I highly recommend to anyone confused by any part of what’s been said. Please do compare the quality of the research done by any of the signatories of that letter, with the research quoted in rebuttal. I know beyond a doubt which opinions I trust more.

My last word here goes to one of the signatories of the letter, Professor Robert West, one of my personal heroes. He said this: “If we fail to take this opportunity that electronic cigarettes are potentially providing, then we really are condemning people to death who would have otherwise lived. That’s what’s at stake.”

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Image Courtesy Lorien
Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.

Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.





Day 127: Why do they want me to smoke?

I will never understand these people who claim they want to support me to give up smoking. By encouraging me not to vape, they are encouraging me back to the cigarettes. These are my only two choices, by the way, and no admonition to “grow a backbone” will change that. I either vape or I smoke. Right now I vape. More than corruption, more than greed, more than corporate machinations we’re fighting entrenched opinions, people so blinkered they can’t see the decent balanced reasonable arguments for their own bias.

“ A man convinced against his will, is of his own opinion still,”

That quote has been around since at least the 17th century, it’s so old that its original attribution seems to have been long lost. In all of history there are none so intransigent as those who refuse to accept that they might be wrong. It is simply bad science not to revise an opinion when presented with evidence that refutes your original position.  Studies can be disagreed with as much as you like, point out errors in methodology, attack the weakest point of the argument. But accept when you’re wrong.

Ash Scotland released a report which is surprisingly positive and not overly biased in it’s findings. I’m happy to say that they have done as I hope other bodies do, and given the risk versus benefit as we see it now. The way it’s phrased could still sound too hard a cautionary note from the harm reduction point of view, but I say that only because the negative points are liable to be cherry picked from it and used as sound-bites or highlighted text bullet boxes in upcoming news articles. I tip my hat to them, they’ve proved themselves to be good scientists.

Then the news bites generated off the back of that report start appearing, and e cigarettes suddenly become a negative impact on cessation statistics:


Which leads to headlines like this from the BBC.  Edited to add: Which leads to tweets from twits like this:


This is so misleading as to appear malicious. NHS smoking services “quit attempts” may have fallen, but the numbers of smokers has declined. The number of smokers has gone down a lot  because people have switched to e cigarettes, which according to ASH Scotland’s own report, aren’t all that bad. People who are vaping are not smoking. If I don’t set fire to tobacco leaves and breathe in the smoke, then I’m not smoking, nor am I generating second hand smoke.

I’m one of the people who lives in Scotland and chose to stop smoking without using NHS quit smoking services. I stopped smoking by switching to a personal vapouriser.  Using NHS cessation services I have relapsed at two months, Six months, two years and five years (and that isn’t all of my quit attempts) over the last 20 years. This time I have no cravings at all and no side effects, and I’m far more confident I’ll never want to smoke again as long as I can carry on vaping. Oh and I’ve reduced my nicotine level significantly. Nice to meet you. Please do get in contact if you’d like to meet some anecdotal evidence.

Then we have the expected hyped negative overreaction to the EU “mythbuster” on e cigarettes, they named the file “Tobacco mythbuster” (at the time I downloaded it) which says it all really. The whole of this document is, in my opinion, utter rubbish. I’ve refuted every point many times over now. This just underlines the fact that the EU still doesn’t really understand the impact of their own legislation on the people most affected by it.

I’m absolutely gobsmacked by this next one. If a vaper brought out an argument this specious (and actually it isn’t that plausible) in favour of vaping, we’d be taken out and collectively lynched. But this man gets paid for this drivel. This is the actual finding of the study – not a negative point cherry picked out, I promise. On my honour.

when young adult smokers saw someone using an e-cigarette it made them want to smoke as much as if they saw someone smoking a cigarette.

Yes, you read that right. When a SMOKER saw someone using an e cigarette, they wanted to smoke. You know I don’t want some of these people convinced that vaping works. There will be too many downsides to having them on my side in this fight. Can you imagine what it would be like? Tobacco would be banned so fast you couldn’t say “civil liberties.” We’d have no choice – and that would be worse than the position we’re in now.

Perhaps they have done us an unwitting favour though; I’ve said before that we value something more when we fight for it. Perhaps by making us fight, they’ve made us vapers the same sort of minority against The Man that we were when we were smoking. With apologies to the good guys in smoking cessation services, can you imagine what the crusade for e cigarettes would be like were it run by the zealots? Let them stew in their own juices, the Vogons and him. We must never lower ourselves to that level.

“Never argue with a fool, the onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.” Mark Twain.

The post I just wrote finishes above that line. I shall be adding this paragraph to every post on this blog. This is an appeal from me for you to stand with my vaping crowd and support us in staying off cigarettes. Please go and sign this legal challenge to EU law; it is not just another petition and we need YOUR help whether you vape or not. Thank you:

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Day 126: I was a psychology student once; say no to nocebo.

Once upon a time the placebo (Latin, “I will please”) effect was established as factual in basis. The effect is so enshrined in scientific fact that it is taken into consideration during (relevant) scientific studies. When it was first established, the effect was used to describe both positive and negative reactions . However the negative reaction effect seems to have been largely ignored. Negative placebo, which is now referred to as “nocebo”, is a very interesting concept.

From the Skeptic’s [sic] Dictionary:

A nocebo (Latin for “I will harm”) is something that should be ineffective but which causes symptoms of ill health. A nocebo effect is an ill effect caused by the suggestion or belief that something is harmful. [] Because of ethical concerns, nocebos are not commonly used in medical practice or research. Thus, it is not unexpected that the nocebo effect is not well-established in the scientific literature. However, there are some anecdotes and some studies that are commonly appealed to in the literature to support its validity.

Lets do a little thought experiment. Let’s imagine a single twenty-something female pack-a-day smoker, drinks 1-2 units of alcohol per night, tending to choose white because “it’s got less calories in it.” She commutes to an office job by foot and train. She’s slightly overweight and she worries about her health. How many negative health stories does this fictional woman see and hear in one day? How many times does she see that garish health warning on her pack of cigarettes? How often does she get told that the food she was eating would make her fat, even if she opted for healthier choices? How many times does she hear that [BLANK] is the new tobacco? How many times a day does she subconsciously tell herself “this will make me fat” with each mouthful of food?

How much harm is the nocebo effect of all of the white noise of misinformation doing to all of us?


Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.

Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.



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Day 125: Vaping; Beware the evil Nick O’Teen

Most of the issues we’re facing as vapers is because of the demonisation of smoking. I remember back in the early 80s seeing an anti smoking campaign about the evil “Nick O’Teen” – blaming all the ills of smoking on nicotine. This narrative – that nicotine was out there trying to corrupt and kill the young – was totally accepted and acceptable. We’ve had 25 years of indoctrination against nicotine, when Nicotine really isn’t the enemy nor should it be so feared as to produce the hysterical anti-vaping nonsense we’re seeing everywhere.

The dialogue about nicotine has to be changed. Sense on science still link it with arsenic in the statement:

Natural is often used to imply ‘healthier’ and‘safer’. This is misleading because many natural substances are neither healthy nor safe (e.g.nicotine or arsenic). Chemical scientists use ‘natural’ to describe substances that are derived from nature…

They won’t change this, and they can’t see why I believe that they are wrong to make this statement, in this way. I simply asked for a different example to be used in that context, not for a statement on the comparative toxicity of nicotine and arsenic. By leaving that statement as it stands they contribute to the very misunderstanding of science that they are seeking to correct.

In articles we see “Nicotine-laced liquid” and “Highly addictive and toxic nicotine.” It’s really not. Nicotine has not caused addiction or withdrawal when used to treat disease. The nicotine that is in e cigarettes is the same high quality pharmaceutical grade nicotine that is in the NRT products. We know that is the case because Trading Standards ensure that it is the case. So how is the nicotine in NRT magically OK, and the nicotine in e cigarettes magically evil? Is it because in NRT its a medicine, and in e cigarettes its not. I’ll argue that point till the cows go out again. Caffeine is a natural substance that is toxic in high dose. It has a similar effect  to nicotine on the body in use. Caffeine is used medically to improve the uptake of pain killers (amongst other uses) and as a consumer product, with guidelines but no legal limits or restrictions.

How toxic is nicotine? Not as toxic as you might think:

“the frequent warnings of potential fatalities caused by ingestion of small amounts of tobacco products or diluted nicotine-containing solutions are unjustified and need to be revised in light of overwhelming data indicating that more than 0.5 g of oral nicotine is required to kill an adult.”

Yes it is toxic, we should keep it out of the reach of children and pets, we should apply common sense to its use and storage. Because common sense isn’t common I will add my normal nicotine safety warning to this post. I will add it not because I don’t believe what I’m writing here, but because I don’t want to minimise the possible dangers. I’m trying to achieve a balance between the extreme negative, and common sense. You wouldn’t want a baby or your pet drinking strong energy drinks or chewing caffeine tablets either, would you? What we should not do is become hysterical about the evils of having it around us. Exhaled vapour doesn’t contain enough nicotine to have any effect on children, or pets. “Third hand” nicotine is really nasty scaremongering; it is as ridiculous as my saying we get third hand caffeine from surfaces in rooms where coffee has been made and consumed. You wouldn’t want your children exposed to third hand caffeine, they could pick it up on their hands crawling around. It could be a factor in ADD. And so the scaremongering starts. The thing is that nicotine, rather than being “an insecticide – why would you want to inhale that!” is a natural part of foodstuffs we all eat. We all consume tiny amounts of nicotine every day, and trying to eliminate it from a normal diet would be impossible and probably unhealthy. It is a natural substance. In those tiny dietary doses and when it’s not consumed by setting fire to the leaves that contain it and breathing in the resulting smoke, or drinking the nicotine e cigarette liquid, or putting twenty patches on your skin at once, it is relatively safe.


Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.

Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.



Nicotine is classed as a poison in its pure form.  Keep your Electronic Cigarette and cartridges / fluids locked away and out of the reach of children and pets. Toxic if swallowed. Very toxic in contact with skin. After contact with skin, wash immediately with plenty of water. In case of contact with eyes, rinse immediately with plenty of water and seek medical advice. In case of accident, or if you feel unwell seek medical advice immediately, show the label to the medical practitioner.


Day 124: When vaping is outlawed only outlaws will vape.

Currently the e cigarettes that vapers use to successfully switch are diverse, customisable and can be tailored to individual needs. There are many flavours, strengths and types of e liquid, and contrary to the belief of some dissenting voices, these are being purchased and used by adult vapers. These products are the ones that have produced the positive results in smoking cessation statistics, and very few negatives in uptake amongst non-smokers of all ages. However maligned the products are, however negatively the marketing of them is misconstrued, the products on the market today are working.

In 2016, under the current regulatory framework, we will see two types of e cigarette. One will be medically licensed and the other will be the newly EU TPD compliant consumer product. Leaving aside the fact that only two medical licences have been applied for (and according to ECITA’s analysis of the process are in my opinion unlikely to be granted) lets look at what these products would be like.

The medically licensed product.

The first thing that would be lost from the experience are the flavours. Just this one point would make these products ineffective for me to have been able to switch from smoking to vaping. I would have lasted three days. Even though the accusations of “marketing to children” could not be applied to medicinal products, each flavour would have to undergo its own rigorous testing protocols, each of which is prohibitively expensive and unnecessarily over complicated. I understand why some people in public health would consider this a good thing, but testing of flavours for inhalation to advise consumer products standards is already being done. Dr Farsalinos continues studies into why vapers like flavours, why they are important and the safety of them. He is producing good quality work which I would like to see continues and is taken up by others. As has been stated many times, flavours in ejuice are important, they are a huge part of the mechanism by which vaping becomes an effective replacement for smoking.

There will be a limited choice of juice variability. Apart from the flavours, the other thing that varies with individual vapers is the ratio of PG to VG in our juices. Medical products will have to medically test each ratio they manufacture in each flavour with the same complex and expensive testing procedures, and are likely therefore to only produce a single ratio. If it’s high in PG, that will mean a fair proportion of the people vaping now won’t be able to vape at all. If it’s high VG the same thing will happen. Even going middle of the road at 50/50 would have the same effect; vapers need variety. Making my own juice, tweaking the flavours and PG/VG ratios to be perfect for me, would also be impossible.

The next thing that these products are likely to have is fixed dosage. This means that there is less variability in the experience of using one, which makes it less like smoking. The ability to tailor the experience on the individual device would be lost for a start. For instance dialling up the wattage for the stimulant effect of the first vape of the day, and dialling it back in the evening for relaxation. Smokers tend to instinctively smoke in different ways for the different effects, vapers can do the same thing when vaping; the ability to do so very quickly becomes instinctive. Again we lose another big chunk of the effectiveness of the device.

It will be tamper proof, which means I can’t tinker with coils, kanthal wire and wick any more. I’m not a cloud-chasing sub-ohm vaper and I have no desire to be so. Coiling and wicking a rebuildable simply allows me to further customise and tailor my experience to best suit me, so that vaping is better than relapsing to smoking for me. Those who do cloud chase, do it for the same reason, it makes vaping fun for them, and any risk is still minimal compared with smoking tobacco. One must always remember that the risk of vaping is versus tobacco smoking, not against an unattainable zero risk profile gold standard. For me rebuildables with 1.4 -1.8 ohm single coil at no higher than 12w (and generally around 8w) gives me the best flavour and experience. Finding that combination took me a couple of months, and it was fun working out how to get there. My best friend vapes exclusively on mini protanks at 2.4 ohm at 8 watts. How likely is it that one medical product would suit us both perfectly?

It would also very probably be fugly not aesthetically pleasing. The beautiful designs of hand crafted vaping equipment are artwork. From the stunning engraving, to the colours. The finishes on the ergonomically shaped hand carved wood, these products are the ones being created by vapers, for vapers. No medical device will ever live up to the standards already set. We who were shut out in the rain and the cold for so long, now demand beauty in our equipment, and joy in our experience. I’m sorry, but a plastic thing that looks like a menstrual product really won’t be as effective. Our beautiful products are not there to entice non-vapers into nicotine addiction, any more than beautifully designed cigarette lighters are there to entice the unwary into smoking. They are there because vapers want to use beautiful things to celebrate a positive life choice. This is also part of the mechanism which makes vaping effective.

Medical products will put the new vaper into the wrong mental place for an effective switch. Prescribing something as a medicine to cure an addiction to tobacco, with counselling, is treating us as if we have an illness which needs a cure. This puts us back into the “quit attempt” mindset every past failed quit (damn you, NRT) has instilled us with. Fear, self-loathing, shame, social outcast status. Withdrawal fears, weight gain fears, mood swing fears, self esteem fears; failing a quit attempt is humiliating. I’ve already seen one friend of mine so terrified at the thought of going through all of that again its taken FOUR MONTHS to get her to really try an e cigarette. She would never have even tried a medical product, and I understand her point of view perfectly. I wouldn’t have done either.  We would instinctively brace ourselves against an expected unpleasant experience, and so are more likely to have an unpleasant experience and relapse. This is why the variability and the customisation and the flavours and the diversity and the fact that we “switch” rather than “quit” is so important. It changes the head-space of the new vaper, puts them in a different mindset which is far more positive.

Finally these would only be produced by the big companies that have the money to pursue medical licences: The pharmaceutical industry, and the tobacco industry. One produces NRT and the other cigarettes; I don’t believe either of them really wants to make the sort of products that vapers want and need.

Medically licensed e cigarettes are liable to be about as effective as a chocolate fire-guard.

The consumer products.

On the face of the directive flavours are not banned, BUT there is so much red tape around the introduction of each individual flavour that the TPD does effectively ban them without banning them. So fewer flavours. Here again the TPD regulated devices have failed me; I could not have switched without them. I would still be smoking. 20mg cap in nicotine concentration strength means that many vapers would not be able to switch. This again makes the e cigarette less effective. Making my own juice; banned. I can’t buy the nicotine base any more, even though the strength of base I buy is low enough to be vaped without being diluted, it’s both stronger than the legal limit and in bigger bottles. Less effective. There will be a limited choice of juice variability. Consumer products will have to produce test results for each ratio they manufacture and are likely to only produce a single ratio. Less effective. Leak proof. Leak proof filling mechanism.  There goes everything I could possibly use except the cartomiser system that wasn’t effective enough to let me switch. Definitely less effective.

Variable voltage and or wattage devices: Effectively banned, test data for every possible wattage or voltage setting would have to be provided. Customising the experience on a single device would be impossible. Tanks over 2ml: Banned. Which means that all of the vaping tanks I use are no longer available, Rebuildables – not tamper proof. Banned. There goes my RSST, and my drippers. There goes my customisable experience. Less effective.

All of the many small companies making the second and third generation gear will vanish. With gone them the innovative new designs that have brought vaping so far in such a short time will also stop. There will be no fourth generation. The juice companies will either stop trading or continue with a greatly reduced range. The only thing that will survive is what was available about 7 years ago; the very beginning of the e cigarette. There are two major industries who are setting themselves up to be ready to sell cartomiser type cigalikes. E-cigarettes that use single fill cartomisers containing juice with less than 20mg strength.  Pharmaceutical and tobacco. Isn’t that a surprise? The TPD was designed to hand the effective higher dose ecigs over to the pharmaceutical industry, and leave the less effective products in the consumer market. The fact that the tobacco companies are also placing themselves to be able to profit from the back swing of the market is just good business sense.

“On nicotine containing products the need to ensure a level playing field for pharmaceuticals and products with high nicotine dose was confirmed. For products with low nicotine content labelling provision was introduced to facilitate consumer choice/information”

The outcome of the regulations won’t actually achieve any of these things. Consumer choice will be eliminated, the e cigarette will go back to it’s primordial soup stage, and the disinformation will have won. What it will do is kill the e cigarette stone cold dead. You can see that it limits consumer choice so effectively that the products themselves will become ineffective. It will also promulgate a thriving black market of products that will be less safe than those we have on the market today. It’s a whacking great pile of foetid dingo kidneys, mashed up by Vogons, reformed, chopped up, recycled as manure, digested and regurgitated like leftover kebab on hangover Sunday.

Those that made the regulations will nod knowingly in 4 years and say it proves that they were right all along: companies couldn’t market to children so they closed down, flavours were obviously a part of that because look at how few flavours there are now, the beautiful vaping gear will all have gone so obviously that was all a big tobacco lie. And the fact that vaping is no longer effective and smoking cessation rates have gone back up? Well it was all hype. A flash in the pan. They will also nod sagely as the black market products produce health issues, and say “we told you so.”

I’m sorry if that sounds like a rant, but I and many like me can see exactly where this is going, and we are afraid its too late to stop it.


Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.

Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.


Day 123: My response to the Public Health Matters blog

Our advice to smokers remains to stop immediately, completely and permanently. That’s the first point in the blog, and most smokers will at that point click away in disgust. Every smoker who has tried to quit using the methods that are endorsed by Public health are products of those past quit attempts. The problem with that picture isn’t the failure rate of NRT (although that is shocking) so much as the human cost; when we relapse to smoking we feel shame, guilt, self-hate and social stigma. All of the negativity piled up against the smoker by the “de-normalisation” of smoking comes flooding home to roost once again. The “weak willed spineless” relapsed smoker grows an even thicker skin against the anti-smoking message.

E-cigarettes haven’t been around for very long, so no reliable long-term studies of the risks they represent are available.With the regulation we currently have, as consumer products, it is hard to give smokers the reassurance they need about how safe e-cigarettes are or how effectively they deliver nicotine.

This is counter productive to a positive harm reduction message. How long do we have to wait until long term studies are done? Five years, ten years, fifty years? Carl Phillips:

“.. discouraging a smoker, even one who would have quit entirely, from switching to a low-risk alternative is almost certainly more likely to kill him than it is to save him. Similarly, a strategy of waiting for better anti-smoking tools to be developed, rather than encouraging immediate tobacco harm reduction using current options, kills more smokers every month than it could possibly ever save”

We need information based on current knowledge. Like Dr Farsalinos’ study on how effectively these devices deliver nicotine. It isn’t true that we need more long term studies to know that they are safer than the product which they are replacing. Given the risk of smoking versus the possible risk of smokeless alternatives it is surely up to the individual to decide which legal consumer product they would prefer to use. Rather than repeat, “we don’t know,” just give the risk v benefit as we see it now, with a warning that this may change with ongoing research. That was good enough for me to make the switch. To paraphrase Carl Phillips again, even if the risk from vaping is found to be only 95% better than that of smoking, the health benefits still outweigh the net health costs of switching for life. The likelihood of it being a worse risk to health than smoking is so small as to be ludicrous.

The current diversity of unlicensed e-cigarettes and the variability of their contents also presents a challenge.

The word “unlicensed” is unnecessary in this sentence. E-cigarettes are currently covered by more than 17 regulations, including Trading Standards and CHP regulations. By describing them as “unlicensed” the corollary is that they are dangerous. That is harmful to the harm reduction message.  The diversity of e cigarettes is part of the mechanism which is helping smokers switch. The variability of their contents is also by design although mentioned here as a negative. Nicotine levels in e liquid is tested in UK laboratories to ensure that the strength on the label is accurate. Tests reveal that the standards are being upheld.  I did not know, nor did I care, what nicotine dose I was getting using lit tobacco. I use my personal vaporiser in the same way, self titrating my nicotine levels. Absorption of nicotine from e cigarette use is on a par with that of NRT. It is implausible that a vaper would overdose on inhaled nicotine from vapour. A smoker knows the symptoms of overindulgence and simply stops use. A vaper does the same.

PHE supports the regulation by the MHRA of nicotine-containing products – including e-cigarettes – as medicines, to give people access to safe products that are also effective.

At this point however positive the rest of the bog is, Public Health have lost my support for their position. Cigarettes are not medicines. E cigarettes which are currently working well to replace cigarettes are not being used as medicines. Medicalising my nicotine use goes back to shaming me for being weak willed enough to want to use nicotine. The twin track approach – with the EU TPD strangled consumer products and MHRA approved horrors as the only choices – is only mentioned in comments to the blog. This is a disaster in the making. Everything I find effective will be illegal to purchase in two years. I won’t even be able to make my own juice.

the nicotine delivered by these products is highly variable.  Without reliable standards, smokers may find their attempts to cut down or quit undermined by products which fail to reduce nicotine withdrawal adequately.

That really isn’t true at all; a vaper would up the nicotine level, or change devices. This is why the diversity works, and why the community of vapers is such a huge part of what makes vaping work. It’s also why pioneers like Louise Ross will (I’m certain) be very successful supporting new vapers. Anyway we have reliable standards of nicotine content in juice now. It’s also not the case that vapers vape to relieve withdrawal – nicotine isn’t as addictive as tobacco. If it were nicotine that was the only part of what makes vaping work, then NRT would be as effective. In a recent blog post Caerulea reports after a PH event. In one presentation John Britton showed an image of a woman smoking, with the caption “NRT doesn’t do this.” She says:

[That] moment [] made me say ‘Shit – they’ve got it! They’ve finally got it!’ and grab Dave Dorn’s arm, this was from John Britton, and the caption is his, not mine. A happy smiling smoker. An attractive, normal woman. Smoking. They admitted that NRT just is not going to cut it. It has an image problem. He looks at us with our vibrant and strong community and then states ‘There is no NRT community’ to the room – and the room laughed!

The people in the room may have “got it” but to me the message being put out elsewhere seems to tell a different story.

We need to develop an appropriate response that is firmly rooted in the evidence


“Light touch” or “right touch,” licensing them as medicines is a retrograde step. The evidence doesn’t support this inappropriate response.   Meanwhile the spread of negative propaganda goes on unchecked, which means that the people who are losing are the potential future vapers. I think that the correct approach would be to strengthen the current consumer regulations under which vaping is regulated, and let vapers carry on as before. We do have the right vested interests in making sure that the products we use are safe and effective.


Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.

Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.

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Day 122: where am I now in my vaping journey.

Vaping has become a hobby for me, more than either smoking or giving up ever could. I’ve made a load of new on-line friends, produced more writing on one set subject than I ever thought possible. I’ve learned to coil, found my own wick material (Natural Cotton Dishcloth Knitting/Crochet Yarn)  which I love. I’ve learned to make my own juice and I’m confident that although I won’t beat anyone in a cloud contest, I can produce decent flavour and vapour from my gear. Here’s what I was on the day before yesterday – note that I’m not on the Affro-dizziac tonight, I’m on my home made bubblegum.


Although that looks like a lot of money’s worth, I really haven’t spent that much. This is hobby vaping on a budget. Using my common sense and shopping around the most expensive thing there was the VTR. And look, three of those things are rebuildables! If you’re new to vaping and are a bit intimidated by the whole idea of getting into coiling, trust me; if I can do it (with help from a second pair of hands and eyes that doesn’t know what they’re doing), anyone can. I have wonky hands, grip issues, double vision and I can’t manage most fine hand movements, but coiling is easy – and your coils don’t have to look perfect, they just have to work. Once you know how, it’s simple.

Yesterday I watched Professor Robert West on VTTV, and it was an amazing show. I was a little depressed looking at that image thinking how much of it would be outlawed under the new regs come 2016, but he gave me hope again. The tide seems to be turning as more and more people look at the evidence both for and against vaping, and come down on the side of common sense. I hope that in 4 years I’ll be able to look back at the beginning of this blog, with the latest greatest mod and a really nice atomiser, with a cracking flavour of juice. Blow out a cloud and say then as I say now, “God I love vaping.”


Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.

Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.

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Day 121: If you vape, advocate!

I’ve seen this little tagline slogan appear from vapers in the States, where their fight against bans and the FDA is gaining momentum. As I said in a comment on this blog; I’m stealing it unashamedly. We need to advocate in two ways; firstly, we need to tell people that vaping works as a direct replacement for smoking. Secondly, we need to tell the people who make the rules that vaping won’t work if they scaremonger, ban, tax, over regulate and do all of the other things they’re doing wrong right now.

When I first started doing my research into vaping four months ago, I didn’t look at vendor sites. I went to google and looked for results from other people like me who had switched. Back then I didn’t even know the word “Vape” existed, less that there were hundreds of people just like me out there who had managed to switch. I stumbled across a youtube channel: Robert the Armed vaper, which lead on to Vaping Cookie and Phil Bursado. Through VTTV,  and RY4 Radio which convinced me it wasn’t a US only phenomenon – remember I knew nothing – and on to UK Vapers then planet of the vapes and finally ECF.  Yes I was doing research, but it wasn’t safety or health concerns that I looked at first. I checked them later. I didn’t sleep at all that night.The one question I wanted answered was, “Does this vaping lark work, and will it work for me?”  the answers I got, from vapers who advocate, was a resounding, YES, Vapers, tobacco free, actually using devices that replaced smoking for them, and enjoying it. I went to a vendor site and ordered an itaste VV3 with a mini protank II and some juice,

I started this blog before I tried my second generation ecig. I started it so that I could document the attempt as a blogging exercise, but it has become so much more than that. I now blog to advocate to pay it forward from those that advocated to me.  Without vapers, strangers who held out a hand to me, I wouldn’t have switched. That is one of the most important parts of advocating. Just being another anecdote standing there saying, “It works for me.” Makes a huge difference.

I never intended for this blog to become political. This was always going to be a newbie resource. I started vaping at a time when vapers had been fighting for my right to vape before I even knew vaping existed. I have to wade in and join the lines in that fight; to do less than stand with them now lessens the tears and the frustration and the anger that they’ve  experienced on my behalf in the years before I started vaping. I will advocate in that sense too; calmly stating facts, changing opinions “One heart and mind at a time.” to quote Dave Dorn. I love the EFVI initiative, it is massively important, and we need to get everyone signing it. Dodoboxes need to be everywhere, from Libraries to pubs to GP and dentist surgeries. BUT we can’t rest on our EFVI laurels, or wait for other people to take up legal challenges to the rules and regulations. We need to be out there, correcting misinformation, pulling people on bad science, writing and asking people to cite their research and look at their misconceptions. Calmly and quietly, one opinion, one bad idea, one heart and mind at a time. If you vape, advocate.


Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.

Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.


I’d just like to state once again, for the record, that I have no financial links with any tobacco, pharmaceutical or e-cigarette (mod, battery, atomiser or juice) vendor or manufacturer. I do not get paid for link clicks on this blog, nor is this blog ‘monetised.’ Any adverts you may see here are placed by wordpress themselves, and I get no revenue from them. I have received one gift from one e cigarette vendor, but was not asked to review or endorse the product in return. I do not make money in any way from this blog. I am simply a newbie vaper, blogging my story.


Day 120: Four months vaping today – why didn’t I start vaping sooner?

In the reactions to yesterday’s blog post I found I had hit a chord that resonated amongst my vaping friends. There is a core of us who wish we had heard about vaping sooner. I can only give my experience of this, more anecdotes, I hope someone picks it up and adds it to a survey question at some point because I think the answers will be telling.

“If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is”

Those were my words, against a link to a cigalike ecig. I remember posting it somewhere – facebook or twitter or LiveJournal – and asking my friends if they thought it might be the answer. If there was some way I as a smoker could have my cake and eat it. That has to be a good five years ago now. I did buy that ecig, and it was “too good to be true” in that it didn’t directly replace smoking for me. What if I hadn’t bought a cigalike from a company which actively discourages moving on to second and third generation products even now. What if I had been taught to use it correctly in the first place. What if I had bought a good quality second generation product, or even bought that first ecig from a different retailer with a bigger range of products and better, more balanced, information.

What if these products had been freely available everywhere I could buy cigarettes or tobacco?

I would have switched sooner.

I would have been able to directly replace smoking with vaping five years ago. That means I would have avoided four miserable quit attempts, and been nicer to be around when I relapsed to smoking while living with an ex-smoker. Looking back I turned into something I really don’t like every time I gave up my beloved tobacco. And yes, I did love it. Both times I had given up smoking while in a relationship with someone who didn’t smoke, almost the first thing I did once out of those relationships was buy a pack of twenty and mentally stick another single finger up at the world in general.

I needed to know these things existed

If there’s no marketing, no means by which the message gets out, how are smokers like I was supposed to find out about these products. If the only information being put out there is scaremongering and hysterical puritanism-driven advice to “quit or die” do you think that it’s going to be easy for the average smoker to make an informed decision.

I didn’t intend to quit before I saw the ecig

I didn’t intend to quit when I bought my first ecig. I was curious to find out if it worked well enough to let me get round smoking bans. I didn’t know that there were more effective ecigs out there. Up until the point I saw a second generation device I had absolutely no intention of giving up smoking again. I was adamant that I was never going through another quit attempt. Anyone telling me to do so got my standard response that there was nothing that replaced smoking for me, and that I was better off physically and mentally smoking than not smoking. Quit attempts for me mean; weight gain, mood swings, tears, anger, carbohydrate cravings and the fact that my intense need to smoke a cigarette never eases with time. I bought my second generation device and began documenting my switch to ecigs as a blogging exercise; I tried to mentally set myself up to succeed as best I could in order to give myself the best chance possible. But in reality all that made me try it was one simple fact that vapers were repeating over and over again. The fact that for them vaping directly replaced smoking. That I was not embarking on a quit attempt which for me were always horrendous.

I didn’t quit: I switched

And I don’t intend to give up using an ecig. Some medical practitioners are horrified by this, as if somehow my deciding to replace an addiction to tobacco with a habit of smokeless nicotine use means that I have not stopped smoking. I have not put a paper tube filled with tobacco between my lips, set fire to it, and breathed in the smoke. I have used an ecig ad lib in a similar way to the way I used tobacco; not exactly similar as they are different delivery systems, but not so different from cigarettes as NRT. You see I didn’t know what dose of nicotine I was getting when I smoked a cigarette, but I learned to titrate my levels instinctively. E cigarettes are less effective in delivering nicotine, and studies show that it is highly implausible that a vaper could overdose on nicotine by vaping. I don’t need to know the dose I’m getting, I just need to experiment to find the level which suits me; by which I mean find the level which makes me feel as though I’ve had a cigarette.

I’m not using it as a medicine

If I had been handed a personal vapouriser by a medical professional which had measured doses, and I was told that I could only have x number of puffs over y amount of time I wouldn’t have been able to switch. Taking something designed as a consumer product and making it medicinal takes away a huge part of the mechanism which makes it work for me. I need to be able to use it ad-lib, more when I need more, less when I need less. I need to be able to change strengths and flavours, and I need (as a 43 year old woman) all of those flavours to be there. Without them I would not have switched.  Medicalising my nicotine use, shaming me for being weak willed enough to want to use nicotine past the magic thirteen weeks therapeutic level… actually all boils down to one thing.

What do you want us smokers to quit, Nicotine or tobacco?

I can’t do both. Neither can a lot of people. We have a choice of vaping or smoking and no amount of shaming, demonisation, bans, restrictions, health warnings, plain packaging, sin taxes or any other puritanical crusade against enjoyment will stop that. You’re dealing with a percentage of smokers with whom you have never yet been able to engage. Listen to us.  Vaping is working to directly replace smoking as it exists today. The scaremongering, the horror stories, Public Health “experts” shouting unproven nonsense against it is working against the best interests of the people who matter. I get really angry about this, because we’re talking not just about my health when smoking, but about my mental, physical and emotional health when being put through yet another doomed-to-fail quit attempt.

Yet still, I am just an anecdote.


Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.

Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.