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Pennsylvania Governor Proposes a 40 Percent Tax Increase on E-Cigarettes

angry-man-shouting-at-chalk-income-taxGovernment taxation (on both the state and federal levels) continues to be one of the most discussed issues in the e-cigarette community.

Since his election last November, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has been adding budget proposals to the books – one of which involves a controversial tax increase on e-cigarettes. Wolf has proposed increasing this tax in his state by 40 percent, which has angered Pennsylvanian e-cigarette users, the local vaping industry and anti-smoking organizations.

The proposal aims to increase the taxes of wholesale vaping products, cigars, loose and smokeless tobacco.

According to a survey conducted by the National Tobacco Behavior Monitor (and released during the conference for the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco), roughly 3 million people in the United States have begun using e-cigarettes or other vapor smoking products.

Bill Godshall, executive director and founder of Smokefree Pennsylvania, feels that taxing e-cigarettes at 40 percent is ridiculous considering that no other product has a tax that high. Godshall is also confused by Wolf’s desire to tax e-cigarettes but not tax any other products that contain nicotine, like nicotine gum, lozenges and patches.

In addition to taxing e-cigarettes, Wolf also wants to levy a price increase on tobacco cigarettes of $1 per pack. Godshall, however, is in favor of this increase, stating, “Cigarettes cause 99 percent of call tobacco-attributable morbidity, mortality and health care costs.” If this increase passes, Pennsylvania smokers will be paying $2.60 in taxes alone on their cigarettes.

The American Vaping Association (AVA) is also against Pennsylvania’s proposed tax. AVA president Gregory Conley feels that given the state’s smoking population (more than 2 million), it is wrong to deny these smokers a safe nicotine alternative.

In addition to vapers suffering from the tax increase, the owners and workers of Pennsylvania’s vaping retail stores will suffer because Pennsylvanians will likely start shopping across the borders or online to avoid taxation.

Of course, in the event that Wolf’s taxation proposal passes and you’re unwilling to pay the exorbitant price that your e-cigarettes will cost you, you still have the option of purchasing affordable, high quality vaping devices right here.

We invite you to browse our selection of premium e-cigarette starter kits, as well as our blog and knowledge center for other e-cigarette topics, legislation and news.

Rise in E-cigarette Counterfeiting

counterfeit

Counterfeit merchandise is not uncommon. Everyone is familiar with the concept of people selling cheaply produced products by passing them off as high-end brands like Rolex, Ray-ban and Louis Vuitton.

Well it seems British e-cigarette manufacturer Liberty Flights Ltd. is now facing a similar problem.

Let’s face it, most people like to save money. Therefore, as the popularity of e-cigarettes rise, there is higher demand for a cheaper way to gain access to these vaping product. Those in the counterfeiting business are more than willing to provide such a product as long as there’s demand for it.

Imitation Liberty Flights have been discovered in several worldwide markets. Like other counterfeit products, these e-cigarette clones are made of cheaper materials and sold well below retail prices.

While counterfeiting in many other instances won’t harm a consumer (i.e. knock-off sunglasses or purse are unlikely to cause you physical harm), using low quality materials can seriously damage e-cigarette users (particularly e-cigarette batteries). In addition, counterfeit e-liquid often contains much higher than normal levels of nicotine.

Some brands, like British American Tobacco PLC, are partnering with forensic experts to research instances of counterfeiting. In these instances, some manufacturers have noticed e-cigarettes that falsely use their traditional tobacco brands (for example, Kent and Vogue).

For now, e-cigarette counterfeiting is a new concept and still being considered a minor problem. Nevertheless, experts feel that the trade of illicit e-cigarettes will continue to grow along with increased demand.

This rise in counterfeiting will only add to the already long list of aspects of e-cigarette regulation that weighs heavy on the shoulders of the vaping industry.

Typically, having a product counterfeited is viewed as a negative (and yes, it is when you consider that a business loses out on money and has their product’s copyright infringed upon); however, it could be interpreted at least as further proof that e-cigarettes are in high demand.

That’s our “glass half full” take on it anyway…

For more information about EverSmoke e-cigarettes, browse our inventory and read about other vaping topics in our blog and knowledge center.

The War on E-Cigs

7fe32cb6d9a2459c08c20a8f6c5f15adPropaganda, half truths, twisting of scientific studies, and misreporting are running heavily rampant these days when it comes to e-cigarette research and usage. With recent reports, such as the one published by the New England Journal of Medicine that went viral through the media a few weeks back, followed by the state of California’s public health department running a statement that e-cigarettes should not be used due to their production of “chemicals” and that they can be viewed as a gateway to smoking tobacco, it seems that there is an unusual amount of negative information swirling, based on speculation, aimed at discouraging users from vaping.

What these reports fail to do, all the while playing up hype and sensation, is focus on the positives electronic cigarettes have accomplished in a short amount of time.

Smokers don’t turn to electronic smoking to gain a new habit. They do not enter the world of smoking as a result, either. They look to these products as a means of transitioning away from traditional cigarettes, as with vaping they have more control, more options, and can enjoy the experience of smoking without involving any tobacco.

“It is stunning that a public agency entrusted with the health of the population of California would promote such a one-sided, scientifically impoverished document” remarked Sally Satel, who disbunked much of the speculation and false reports in a piece for Forbes. Also noteworthy, is that even the newly appointed Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy has stated that there is a “desperate need for clarity” when it comes to electronic cigarettes. Obviously a blatantly negative, harmful label cannot be placed on e-cigarettes, so the media really needs to halt their efforts in doing so!

So, what is the deal? Why is the anti-smoking coalition so drastically anti-e-cigarette? Is it because electronic cigarettes make the idea of stopping tobacco usage too easy? Too simple? Too enjoyable? Is it the concept of an alternative, similar yet different, too hard to grasp because there should not be a pleasurable option? Whatever the reasoning may be, it’s time for these “public health experts” to take a hard look at the reality of e-cigarettes, and see the benefits right before their eyes. Instead of focusing on the idea of e-cigarettes being a scary endeavor out to tempt young people into the world of smoking cigarettes, they should be compounding their efforts into lobbying for e-cigarette regulations that guarantee product quality and purity. As this industry is in its infancy, only the future will tell, however one thing we are certain of, is that electronic cigarettes are not going anywhere!

E-Cig Use in California: Let’s be Unbiased, Shall We?

California E-Cig RegulationsThe popularity of electronic cigarettes has grown exponentially lately, and as a result, there is more talk than ever in the media regarding them. News on their effectiveness, what’s in them, how they are used, and who is using them are constant headlines, fueled by last week’s major focus on them on the subject of formaldehyde, it seems like right now everyone is talking about e-cigs.

Following the New England Journal of Medicine piece, (a biased and erroneous article) stating that electronic cigarette produce more formaldehyde than traditional cigarettes, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a statement this week stating that all residents of California should abstain from using the products. Citing that formaldehyde, nicotine, and other toxins and chemicals are the foundation of this statement, they feel e-cigarettes are not a valid option to traditional smoking, and they are a public health risk.

Members of the electronic cigarette community are outraged, as it seems this is just another notch on the belt of California’s ongoing propaganda against smoking and electronic smoking. It is astounding that an entire state is willing to take a stand on the usage of a product millions have embraced, citing a lack of scientific evidence, without having any actual scientific evidence to back up their claims! It is immensely unfortunate that such a broad, biased statement could be implemented to the whole state of California’s residents, and not based on scientific research and factual information. Caution is understandable, but fear mongering and attempting to make “concerned” claims runs more along the lines of propaganda, and less about the actual, factual e-cigarette research.

Yes, they do highlight the fact that e-cigarettes contain nicotine, but what they do not focus on is that users have the option to have nicotine-free liquid, as well as the ability to choose the level they desire. Instead, the head of the CPDH, Ron Chapman, states the nicotine in e-cigarettes is as addictive as the nicotine in traditional cigarettes, and that is sufficient basis for users to abstain.

We are all for regulations that serve a purpose and make sense, such as in the case of age restrictions, and adults taking measures to keep their products out of the hands of minors, however on matters of public health, it is imperative to the public to be served accurate information. The future of vaping will surely be met many more times with cases such as this one, and as difficult as it is to face such harsh admonishing, we’ve come too far and made too much progress to back down.

The Truth About Formaldehyde and E-Cigarettes

anastas-formaldehyde-toxic-300_tcm18-164951This week, a news story broke across all major news outlets reporting that according to a new study, e-cigarettes produce more formaldehyde than traditional cigarettes.

What was not reported in the study was that the device used to vaporize the liquid was used incorrectly, and the aerosols produced we’re not true formaldehyde. When you consider that this was a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine and written by scientists, it is rather unfortunate that the whole truth was not reported and facts were omitted. It was a classic case of misreporting in favor of a biased viewpoint, creating great media sensationalism.

After the study was published, Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, who is one of the international leaders of electronic cigarette research, published a counter piece analyzing the  NEJM report, dissecting the research and comparing it to how a vaporizer and e-liquid would actually be used, and what the user would be more likely to encounter.

What he found was that the vaporizer used in the study, (which was an unnamed brand and model)  was used at several different settings. When used at normal settings, the device produced no formaldehyde hemiacetyls during vaporization. For example, the voltage was at 3.3, creating 6-7 watts, with a puff time of 4 seconds.

When the settings were turned up to their highest, 5 volts and 14-16 watts, at 4 seconds, the device vaporized the solution and produced 15 times more formaldehyde (hemiacetals) than traditional cigarettes. However at such a high voltage and wattage, the atomizer would absolutely be overheating and absolutely capable of producing formaldehyde hemiacetyl compounds.

It must be noted that formaldehyde hemiacetyls are not true formaldehyde; they are a combination of formaldehyde and alcohols, and there is no evidence to prove they have the same effect, or any toxic or carcinogenic properties.

To vapers, those who use vaporizer devices, the highest settings would never really be used because consuming liquids vaporized at such a high degree would taste entirely awful! In fact, there is a commonly known term for this and it’s called the dry puff phenomenon. Therefore, under the premises documented in this study, it is unlikely the majority of e-cigarette users are going to experience or encounter these elevated levels of formaldehyde. Similarly to the way most people would not be inclined to consume severely overcooked meat, (which contains carcinogens) most vapers would have no interest in vaping with overheated atomizers.

So, if you vape and were alarmed by these headlines, examine at your particular usage. If you use a variable voltage device, check your habits. If you find yourself dry puffing or using it at the highest available setting, you may have to readjust your habits. Otherwise, vape on and try to take such misreporting with a grain of salt!

The Deal with Diacetyl

Sensient-Flavors-says-it-is-addressing-worker-health-and-safety-issues_strict_xxlRecent discussions of e-cigarettes and what is contained in e-liquids has been centered on a substance known as diacetyl. Diacetyl is a chemical typically used to impart a buttery flavor, and though it is regarded as safe for ingestion, it is absolutely not when inhaled.

Because of the info regarding diacetyl as unsafe for inhalation, many anti-e-cig media outlets have been assumptively, and erroneously, reporting that all electronic cigarettes contain this substance, based on the World Health Organization’s findings, in an effort to continue the negative stereotype that surrounds e-cigarettes. What they fail to realize and report upon is, is  that not all brands use the chemical as a flavoring, EverSmoke being among them.

In fact, on a test of a variety of brands of e-liquid to see if they contain diacetyl, done on a TV program in the UK, only 1 of the 4 tested contained the substance! 1 in 4!

So, the big deal with diacetyl in e-liquid is that it is linked to a horrific lung disease known as “popcorn lung,” or bronchiolitis obliterans. It can occur after prolonged exposure to diacetyl that has been heated and inhaled. It affects the bronchioles, causing them to be obstructed and inflamed, restricting airflow, making breathing difficult, and coughing and wheezing prevalent.

Currently, researchers are studying the effects of diacetyl, and testing different brands’ liquids to determine whether they contain the substance, and what effect it is having. Dr. KE Farsalions, a prominent European physician who has done many studies on the effectiveness and benefit of electronic cigarettes, has lead the research on diacetyl. In a presentation he did at the Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw this year, Dr. Farsalions sampled approximately 160 different e-liquids, mostly manufactured in Europe, in an effort to show what the exposure to diacetyl is exactly for vapers, particularly on a daily basis.

The outcome if this study showed that 74% of the e-liquids he tested contained some diacetyl, most often found in sweet liquid flavors. Even more disconcerting, however, was that a great number of these sweeter liquids contained levels of diacetyl that were higher than the safety limits were supposed to be. Even still, however, the range is anywhere between 10 and 100 times less than the exposure from traditional cigarettes.

So that is the current situation with diacetyl and vaping. Pick and choose your products wisely, and ultimately opt for a brand like EverSmoke, that is committed to keeping the diacetyl fake butter flavor out of our products! And for those of you who are scientifically-inclined, you can check out Dr. Farsalion’s study here (PDF download).

What is the Deal with Teens and Vaping?

Teen Use of E-CigsOne of the areas that concerns legislators and lawmakers most, on the subject of electronic cigarette products is that which regards usage by those who are underage, most often teens. The FDA recently ruled in favor of laws that prohibit minors from purchasing the alternative products, among the first e-cigarette regulations to come into effect nationally.

So what is the deal with e-cigarettes in the mainstream? Are teenagers even interested in them? Are they using them more voraciously than cigarettes? Do e-cigs really pose a problem that causes concern about teens becoming hooked on nicotine?

Teenagers have long been drawn to experimentation, and the majority of adult smokers picked up the habit during their teen years. Whether a result of rebellion or pleasurable escape, teens always have and always will be looking to test limits – be it their parents’, schoolteachers’, or those in place by society; cigarette usage among youth has always been a hot button topic. Even though tobacco companies marketed their products to impressionable young people in decades past, this practice has long been halted. Over the past 20 years, cigarette usage among minors has been on dramatic decline, especially when it is considered how unfashionable smoking has become. Less teens are looking at smoking as a cool way to rebel and create an image.

As recently reported by Forbes, the most recent statistics on high school students smoking, shows numbers that have fallen from 15.8% to 12.7%, which are the lowest numbers ever. While the usage of e-cigarette use by high schoolers has rose, from 1.5% to 4.5%, which includes those teens who have used a vapor cigarette at least once within a 30-day period, it is being looked at as less negative and rather encouraging. It is a suggestion that high school smokers are interested in alternatives, and are using electronic cigarettes instead of traditional cigarettes as a means to stop using tobacco.

If teen tobacco smoking is declining at great numbers, and teens in general are not interested in smoking, yet are turning to electronic cigarettes as alternatives, it is clear that vapor smoking is not serving as a gateway to traditional smoking for impressionable youth as anti-smoking groups claim.

To put it bluntly, the electronic cigarette industry aims to market and sell their products exclusively to adults over the age limit, and as teens will inevitably get their hands on things they have no business with (traditional and electronic cigarettes alike), vapor cigs are not luring teens into lifelong smoking habits.

And the Word of the Year is… Vape!

imagesVapor smoking, AKA Vaping, AKA to vape. It’s all gotten quite popular and mainstream year by year. And now the act of using electronic smoking devices has gotten so great, that the fine folks at Oxford Dictionaries have declared “vape” the word of the year for 2014. The electronic cigarette industry is quite pleased, as we should be!

The ‘word of the year’ is typically bestowed upon a term that has garnered a great amount of attention, has gained widespread acceptance, and appears to have obvious staying power. Vape managed to surpass other cultural favorites for 2014 such as “bae” and “bud tender,” due to it’s constant presence in popular culture. In major US cities, it has become as common to see traditional smokers as much as vapers, using their devices on the streets and in other public places.

What this is also indicative of is that vaping is here to stay, whether or not the tobacco industry, legislators, or naysayers like it. Millions of smokers have experienced the difference in what vaping brings to the table, and have chosen to smoke without the tobacco.

And now vaping has become such a culture of its own, with it’s own slang, millions of hashtags and posts across social media pages, thousands of retail shops appearing all over the country, and people obsessing over every different type of product they can get their hands on! Most importantly, though, vapers are able to get a highly satisfying experience in a method they are exceptionally comfortable with, and are noticing much greater results in comparison to smoking cigarettes. This is further evidence that shows that vaping is the future of smoking, and it is completely overtaking smoking.

To directly quote the editors at the Oxford Dictionaries precisely, as they explain why “vape” is the perfect term of the year: “As e-cigarettes (or e-cigs) have become much more common, so vape has grown significantly in popularity. You are thirty times more likely to come across the word vape than you were two years ago, and usage has more than doubled in the past year.”

Yes, it is clear. Electronic cigarettes are officially mainstream. Vape has entered the English lexicon.

E-Cigs: Great for Saving Money and the Economy

Improve-the-EconomyIf you’re an e-smoker, you are probably aware of how amazing e-cigarettes are for so many reasons, however one of the best is that they are having an excellent effect on the economy. Here’s a look at how this amazing industry is contributing to the growth of our economy.

-Most electronic cigarette businesses are small businesses, and small businesses drive the economy. It is a positive sign of economic recovery when individuals are starting businesses and succeeding. Many e-cigarette businesses are mom-and-pop endeavors, which add jobs, services, and revenue to their local communities.

-Innovative products contribute to growth. Technology is everywhere, and people are more and more interested in technologically advanced products. E-cigarettes provide an advanced method of a traditional product; cigarettes, while adding benefits, eliminating negatives, and fulfilling needs while costing less.

-Added jobs. As the electronic cigarette industry grows and expands, despite the predictions of e-cigarette regulations, the market’s need for workers expands as well in so many areas. The need for jobs shows economic growth and stability, as so many jobs were lost in due to the recession of 2008-2009.

-Sales are soaring. The e-cigarette market is growing into a $2 billion industry this year; which is no small feat for an industry that barely existed a decade ago. What’s even more exciting is that the industry is expected to continue this fast-paced growth, and statistics anticipate within 10 years the market will hit $10 billion annually.

-Smokers now have a valid alternative to traditional cigarettes, unlike cessation devices that do not provide the same sensations and feeling of smoking. As an “alternative,” electronic cigarettes give users everything they want, without actual tobacco, smoke, odor, or tar.

As you can see, the electronic cigarette market is having a very positive effect on the economy. This industry has inspired smokers to choose a more modern, more convenient product that comes with the benefit of being smoke, and tobacco-free. Business is booming, jobs are being added, and products are selling. It is definitely a great moment for the smoke-free movement.

Where the E-Cig Industry is Headed

558750_475283232573762_170760175_nElectronic cigarettes are growing in use and popularity, and as the market begins to transition from a niche to a more mainstream sector, there are a variety of factors playing into where the industry is headed. As a whole, the success has been exceptional, with millions of smokers having tried the products, and many having switched outright to using them over traditional cigarettes. While we have a very good understanding of where the market is headed, these are the factors that are currently playing the largest role in the future of electronic cigarettes.

Vaping in Public: there are restrictions in some places regarding vaping in public. Many nonsmokers and many people in the general public are not aware of e-cigarettes, how they work, and the fact that they produce no odor or smoke. Many business owners are still on the fence on how to regard electronic cigarettes, so they (unfortunately) prefer to group them into the same category as traditional cigarettes, because even though they are alternatives, they would rather avoid confusion or confrontation. Where this goes in the future remains to be seen, however certain cities, such as New York, have banned e-cigarettes from public use, just like traditional cigarettes. Hopefully other major cities do not follow suit in such an unjust way.

Public Health: The subject of e-cigarettes and public health has garnered a lot of attention as of late. A group of international scientists recently wrote an open letter to the World Health Organization citing electronic cigarettes as a valid alternative to tobacco cigarettes, especially in regards to public health, and how they can potentially save lives, from a scientific viewpoint. The subject of health remains one of the most poignant issues surrounding e-cigarettes, and we can certainly expect regulations that approach this topic.

FDA Rulings: The FDA recently set forth e-cigarette regulations that will prohibit them from being sold to minors, a move most companies hoped for, giving further credibility to the industry, as well as keeping products intended for adults out of the hands of those who are underage. The FDA has also began regulating standards of production, which also benefits the industry in a positive way.

Industry Concerns: Before the recent FDA rulings, many feared that the products would be limited drastically, even banned, leaving customers unable to purchase them. Fortunately, it seems that this sort of action will not be taking place, as the FDA and the e-cigarette industry will be working together in a cooperative manner.

E-Cigarette Marketing: There are rules for everything, and the FDA does not take lightly to how e-cigarettes are marketed. Online and in the tangible world, marketing language for e-cigarettes is very specific. E-cigarettes are strictly intended for use as an alternative to other products, and companies are prohibited from calling them an aid to quit smoking. In order to be considered as such, a product needs strict regulation and guidelines from the FDA.

The road of success is rarely a simple or obstacle-free one, however despite these circumstances, we are confident the industry will continue to flourish. In the meantime for e-cigarette users, one of the most important factors to keep in mind for their own personal benefit is to stay up to date with current  e-cigarette laws, which will inherently affect them as the industry grows and evolves.