bekivapes

My journey into vaping


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Day 160: Applying the KISS principle to the CE4

I was sent a little CE4 and ego style battery starter kit for review through Amazon Vine. It’s just another CE4 on an ego style battery, standard fare for starter kits and in my opinion not a bad vape. The CE4 is always going to have its built in drawbacks; it’s polycarbonate, disposable, cheap and cheerful. But on the other hand it produces not a bad vape, it’s about as faff-free as you can get and it is cheap. You do have to get reasonable quality though. Bad CE4s are bad and produce that foul burnt taste that make them useless. In one hand I have this little CE4 with 18 mg watermelon 60pg 40vg juice, in the other I have a kraken (Cracking!) clone, set up with cotton at 1.4 ohm on the nemmy clone with vamp vape 50/50 at 12mg from concentrate. I prefer the kraken. Of course I do. I get a smoother, richer vape from it and the flavours are more intense BUT I have to faff with it to get it right. It’s a genny, of course I’m going to get the odd dry hit, no matter how careful I am. If I get a dry hit, then I have to re-wick. A dry hit is nasty.

But on the CE4 its pretty much fill and vape, no faff, no hassle. Highly unlikely to dry hit. It is a simple process that even I couldn’t have got wrong at first. And the vape is all right. It’s not as rich and full as the kraken, but it is actually OK. I might well have been better off starting with that than I was on mini protanks with the VV/VW I had. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been though – working out how to fiddle with settings sent me in search of more information a little sooner maybe.

What I’m saying is this. When recommending stuff for the newly switching we really do have to find some sort of lowest common denominator. A faff free start, that doesn’t cost a fortune, which just works as well as it possibly can straight out of the box. Eliquid which isn’t too rough and isn’t too sweet, a variety of pleasant flavours. We all know how subjective juice is. (Short break to re-wick the genny here. Case in point.) What we more experienced vapers need to remember is that we’ve come a long way from that day when we took our first vape. We’ve learned a lot, and had a lot of misconceptions corrected. We can’t impose that knowledge on others. Each of us has to make our own way through the learning curve. Dismissing anything that we consider inferior to what we now use, ridiculing those who enjoy the simple vape, isn’t always helpful. Live and let live. Horses for courses. I love the variety of vaping gear, juice and set ups, but for the new user we really should apply the KISS principle. There is nothing wrong with a good quality CE4 on an ego style battery when suggesting a starter set.

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


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Day 157: Bubblegum and other irrelevancies.

The BMA today proved themselves more idiotic than I thought possible. Apparently the fact that bubblegum flavours exists in vaping products is evidence that ordinary vapers – like me – “want a new generation addicted to nicotine.” Because of course nicotine, separate from tobacco smoke, is so highly addictive that it has never been proven to cause addiction when used to treat disease. I must have taken a wrong turn in that statement somewhere. Perhaps the BMA have new evidence on the addictiveness of nicotine when removed from tobacco smoke, because they would need it in order to back up their statement that “Nicotine is very addictive” without qualifiers. This is the same nicotine that N.I.C.E have approved for long term use in NRT, and that is being prescribed for that purpose by GPs in the UK. It isn’t magically clean of taint when in NRT, and dirty in e cigarettes. Best friend just said “These are the so – called intelligentsia, the ones we’re supposed to look up to? I wish someone would let the intelligent ones out of the cupboard along with that one honest banker.”

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This more than anything is proof that the BMA are not looking at the evidence base at all. If they were they would have found Clive Bates’ excellent discussion on the gateway, which was ignored when I tweeted them the link. They would also have found Dr Farsalinos’ research into why adult vapers like flavours and why they’re important. They are trying to promote legislation against a bottom-up solution to a problem which the top-down, finger wagging, puritanical, ideology driven, quit or die establishment has failed miserably to solve, because it’s too busy lining its pockets off the back of the misery of smoker’s quit attempts. The medical establishment in the UK is utterly blinkered to reality. The tweets sent out by @TheBMA on the subject of Ecigs are unprofessional, and are not supported by evidence.

I’m heartily sick of this nonsense. Ecigs are not being marketed at children. The existence of flavours is not proof that those products are being marketed to children. The target market for these flavours are adult vapers. I would like to see one solid piece of evidence that any e cigarette manufacturer is marketing directly to children. Just one will do. I have time.

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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 156; Vaping is not smoking. (reprise)

I stand in solid support of smokers. I refuse to help demonise smokers in any way. There is one point that I want to make absolutely clear though; vaping is not smoking. Vaping is an alternative to smoking with reduced risks. So let’s get this straight.

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The majority of e cigarettes in use today do not look like cigarettes. Those that do tend to have LEDs that don’t light up red in order to visually disassociate themselves from the tobacco cigarettes that they replace. Burning tobacco has a distinctive smell which makes it very simple to distinguish a vaper from a smoker.

Using a device as a safer replacement for tobacco smoking does not normalise tobacco smoking. It cannot do so. Banning vaping because it looks like smoking is like banning water because it looks like vodka or gin. The gateway argument is a divisive diversionary campaigning tactic, and those who use it should be ashamed to call themselves “experts” when they use pseudo-science as evidence. Although further research and monitoring of the situation will always be a good idea, banning the use of e cigarettes in public places sends out the wrong message to smokers.

“If I have to go outside to vape, then I might as well smoke. They say it’s just as bad for me anyway, so why bother trying. Nothing else has ever kept me off the fags, so I’ll just keep on smoking”

The freedom to choose a safer alternative, and to continue its use in order to enjoy the benefits of a legal consumer product is being undermined by political ideology and puritanical scaremongering. Thankfully I’m not alone in believing this to be the case. Actual scientists, using real science, have come to the same conclusions:

Thus, the concern about public health is used as an excuse to hide political ideology. Similar to religious wars, the campaign against electronic cigarettes is irrational and inherently anti-scientific. Health authorities judge behavior that is doing no harm as politically undesirable, a distressing interference with fundamental human right, in my opinion. [Source]

The BMA today voted against both common sense and common decency to promote a ban on vaping in public places. I would like all parties concerned in the promotion of this vote to declare all relevant financial and commercial interests. Of course, they won’t. I would also like to see them explain the reason for this decision, along with the all of the evidence used to reach it. I won’t be holding my breath.

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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 155: It’s for your own good.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, or a medical expert, I am giving my opinion and backing it up with the research I’ve found. Please draw your own conclusions and do your own research. My opinions should never be taken as medical advice. I am not a scientist, or researcher and I might be wrong.  I’m not suggesting that any non-smoker should take up the habit of either smoking or vaping, nor am I suggesting that anyone should self medicate with any recreational substance.

“E-cigarettes aren’t currently regulated as medicines, so you can’t be sure of their ingredients or how much nicotine they contain – whatever it says on the label. The amount of nicotine you get from an e-cigarette can change over time.” [source]

I am absolutely sure that the ingredients of my eliquid are as stated on the label. If you look at the ECITA guidelines you can see good practice in action. The ingredients are: Propylene Glycol, Vegetable glycerine, PG based flavourings and nicotine. There is no need for the “dose” of nicotine to be absolutely accurate per puff on every device, nor is there any need to be concerned that the amount of nicotine obtained in serum levels from vaping changes over time. In order to explain why I believe this to be the case I need to go right back to smoking, and several studies on nicotine “self-titration” behaviours from smoking, best accessed as part of the discussion on the addictiveness of nicotine found here;

The “Nicotine titration” phenomenon is a strong argument in favor of research by the smoker of a satisfactory optimal dose of nicotine. Thus, if we change his cigarettes, he modifies his smoking parameters to keep constant his nicotine dose [17]. Smokers are able to extract the same amount of nicotine from low and high yield cigarettes [18]. In my laboratory, Caroline Cohen showed that when smoking at the same pace in 30 minutes two different cigarettes yielding equal CO and tar, the high-yield cigarettes were smoked less completely than regular cigarettes, and that smokers spontaneously lighted their own cigarettes later and smoked them less completely. They did not like at all these high-yield cigarettes, which they felt frankly aversive. Thus nicotine has a satiating, but not a rewarding effect, [19]. Also, in all my tests on rats, nicotine has been shown regularly aversive. We can therefore hypothesize that the titration phenomenon, rather than expressing the research of a reward minimal dose (threshold effect), rather express a “ceiling effect”, limiting consumption before the dose becomes aversive. In the event that the smoker could adjust his absorption of nicotine at a personal best, it was logical to try to improve the success of nicotine replacement therapy by adapting the dose to that absorbed by the smoker spontaneously, calculated from the salivary cotinine. The result is absolutely negative. [20]. [Source]

Smokers already know – instinctively and by habit – how to “dose” themselves with nicotine to satiation from smoking. Changing the amount of nicotine to a dose which was “too high” made the smokers dislike the cigarettes, smoke them less frequently, and dislike the experience. It is not beyond reasonable doubt to expect that vapers will, with experience, learn to titrate nicotine levels similarly when vaping, and indeed evidence suggests that this is the case. From Dr K. Farsalinos;

In this study a liquid with 18 mg/ml nicotine concentration was chosen, based on previous findings from our group showing that this is approximately the level of nicotine concentration needed for experienced vapers to consume 1 mg of nicotine in 5 minutes (which is similar to the level of nicotine in the smoke of one cigarette when smoked according to ISO 3308)7. Despite that, the main findings herein showed that such a liquid is insufficient to deliver nicotine to the blood stream as rapidly as smoking. In fact, it took about 35 minutes of vaping with the new-generation device at high wattage in order to obtain plasma levels similar to smoking one cigarette in 5 minutes. The first-generation device was even less efficient in nicotine delivery; even 65 minutes of ad lib vaping was insufficient to deliver to the bloodstream nicotine at levels similar to smoking. This was reflected in participants’ answers to questionnaires, showing that satisfaction and craving reduction was higher after using the new- compared with the first-generation device. Moreover, better nicotine delivery may be the reason why new-generation devices are more popular in dedicated users, most of which have quit smoking by using ECs10, 11. Considering that it is reasonable to expect EC users to self-titrate nicotine intake in a way similar to smoking20, this study indicates that there is an inherent inability of the EC to deliver nicotine to the blood stream at levels similar to tobacco cigarettes within the same time-period of use,..

Just as you don’t need a label on a cup of tea to tell you what level of the active ingredients you’re taking in, I don’t really need to know that the dose from each puff on my e cigarette is pin-point accurate either. After all I didn’t know, nor did I care what the dose was per puff from a cigarette. I’m not using it as a medicine to treat withdrawal. I’m using it to get the nicotine I used to get from smoking in the same way as I used to get it from smoking. A direct replacement.

This is also why the “fact” that my nicotine intake changes over time is actually a good thing. My nicotine intake from cigarettes changed over time as well – and I deliberately smoked in such a way as to ensure this would happen. Nicotine can be used as both a stimulant and a relaxant depending on how it is self-titrated on intake, therefore I am able to directly replicate this ability as a result of the variability in the “dose”. Regulating it as a medicine and removing the variability makes it less like smoking, and therefore less effective as a direct replacement for smoking. I did not smoke to relieve nicotine withdrawal. I do not vape to relieve nicotine withdrawal. I vape to nicotine satiation in order to keep my perceived benefits from nicotine use while reducing the harm from the delivery system. Harm reduction.

The leading deontological tenet of modern health ethics is the obligation to provide people with accurate information so they can make informed autonomous decisions about their own health. Thus, whatever one might think about actively promoting THR as public policy, it is per se unethical to mislead people in order to manipulate their health behavior, even if it is “for their own good” 

I am not using it as a medicine. I know what’s in it and in my experience I do indeed self-titrate my dose. Please engage with vapers and ask us what we do rather than impose regulations on us from the top down which will only destroy the very mechanisms by which vaping works.

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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 154. We don’t yet know the long term effects of vaping on the body

“We don’t yet know the long term effects of vaping on the body”.

No, we don’t. We need long term studies for that. We can take a really good educated guess at what those long term effects are likely to be though. Look at this study. Peering through the mist: systematic review of what the chemistry of contaminants in electronic cigarettes tells us about health risks. Igor Burstyn

“Current state of knowledge about chemistry of liquids and aerosols associated with electronic cigarettes indicates that there is no evidence that vaping produces inhalable exposures to contaminants of the aerosol that would warrant health concerns by the standards that are used to ensure safety of workplaces. However, the aerosol generated during vaping as a whole (contaminants plus declared ingredients) creates personal exposures that would justify surveillance of health among exposed persons in conjunction with investigation of means to keep any adverse health effects as low as reasonably achievable. Exposures of bystanders are likely to be orders of magnitude less, and thus pose no apparent concern. “

So we know that there is a risk – and vapers are very much aware of the fact that vaping is likely to not be 100% safe. We do call for more research. In the meantime we do a benefit versus risk analysis and apply harm reduction. I have tried to give up smoking many times, each time I relapsed to smoking. Therefore I am at high risk of relapsing to smoking on any given quit attempt. The benefit versus risk has to include that added possibility of my relapsing to smoking. Given that we go to a direct statistical analysis to the benefit v risk of switching to a SAFER (not 100% safe) product, and sticking with it for life.

One common misleading claim is a risk-risk comparison that has not before been quantified: A smoker who would have eventually quit nicotine entirely, but learns the truth about low-risk alternatives, might switch to an alternative instead of quitting entirely, and thus might suffer a net increase in health risk. While this has mathematical face validity, a simple calculation of the tradeoff — switching to lifelong low-risk nicotine use versus continuing to smoke until quitting — shows that such net health costs are extremely unlikely and of trivial maximum magnitude. In particular, for the average smoker, smoking for just one more month before quitting causes greater health risk than switching to a low-risk nicotine source and never quitting it. Thus, 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.  [Source] Emphasis mine.

And this, from the same study.

Stated estimates for how much less risky ST is compared to smoking vary somewhat, but the actual calculations put the reduction in the range of 99% (give or take 1%), putting the risk down in the range of everyday exposures (such as eating french fries or recreational driving), that provoke limited public health concern. Even this low risk is premised on the unproven assumption that nicotine causes small but measurable cardiovascular disease risk (as do most mild stimulants such as decongestant medicines, energy drinks, and coffee), since such risks account for almost all of the remaining 1%. Perhaps just as important, even a worst-case scenario puts the risk reduction at about 95%, meaning that any scientifically plausible estimate shows THR has huge potential health benefits. There is no epidemiology for the new electronic cigarettes and very little useful epidemiology for assessing long term use of pharmaceutical nicotine products. But since most of the apparent risk from ST comes from nicotine, and the other ingredients in the non-tobacco products are believed to be quite benign, we can conclude that the risks across these product categories are functionally identical from the perspective of THR.

Lastly this, again from the same source;

The leading deontological tenet of modern health ethics is the obligation to provide people with accurate information so they can make informed autonomous decisions about their own health. Thus, whatever one might think about actively promoting THR as public policy, it is per se unethical to mislead people in order to manipulate their health behavior, even if it is “for their own good”

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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 153; Don’t shoot the messenger?

NHS Choices News posted a take down of the opinion piece from Social Change Uk. It’s a good and reasonably balanced piece, except in the way they report the “dangers” of e cig use. They’ve had some 1 star ratings on that article though.

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The article is, mostly fine. I give it five stars for the take down. Well researched and seriously hitting the whole thing where it needs to be hit. It doesn’t go far enough in my opinion, but it is pretty damning as it stands. What don’t I like about it? This:

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This isn’t balanced, nor is it fair. E cigarettes do not need to be regulated as medicines in order to be sure of the content. They are covered by consumer products regulations now, and Trading Standards enforce these. The fact that the amount of nicotine I get from an e cigarette “changes over time” isn’t a problem, nor should it be cited as one. Nothing is 100% safe – it’s an impossible standard. And although some have been found to contain toxic chemicals, the reality is that with a few exceptions these are at TRACE amounts. I don’t like this; the possible drawbacks to vaping could have been reported here in a far more balanced way.

I think you’ll find that any negative reaction coming from vapers is a result of this bit of the article, the rest of it? The anti e cigarette movement won’t like that piece much. There are people actively campaigning against anything which can be seen as putting vaping in a positive light.

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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.