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Vape News In Brief: October 2nd, 2017 Edition

Vape News In Brief: October 2nd, 2017 Edition


Welcome, fall, and welcome to a new month of Vape News In Brief! As those familiar with this column know, once a week or so we scour the internet, grabbing all the headlines pertinent to the world of vape. This is what we've found…

The 40 percent vapor products tax is still killing the brick-and-mortar business in Pennsylvania. Local media, for their part, is doing well by continuing to call attention to vapers' plight.

We're not sure what purpose it serves, but for those of you keeping a list of celebrities who vape, add controversial political pundit Sean Hannity to the list. After video of the professional talker surfaced puffing on what appears to be an Njoy cigalike (the company sponsors some of Hannity's content), he insisted on Twitter that vaping was "not real," though it apparently helped him kick a cigar habit.

While Americans battle local vaping legislation and factual misdirection at the national level, British subjects are receiving encouragement from their government to give vaping a try. During Stoptober, a monthlong campaign that aims to help smokers kick the habit, public health officials are encouraging tobacco users to give quitting a try using any means necessary, including e-cigarettes. Local vape shops are even introducing incentives to give new quitters a boost along the way.

While Australia struggles with whether and how to legislate vaping, new information finds that only 35 percent of Australians are aware that vapor products are far less harmful than tobacco. The confusion, according to Colin Mendelsohn, an associate professor at the University of New South Wales School of Public Health and Community Medicine, arises from the fact that the dangers of vaping in smear campaigns focus on comparing the practice to complete abstinence from nicotine. Since only 0.3% of vapers do not and have never used tobacco, he (correctly, we feel) argues that the proper health comparison should be between switching to vaping and continuing to smoke – and there's virtually no doubt left in the scientific community that quitting smoking through vaping is preferable to not.

Does taking steps to ensure product quality put e-liquid manufacturers at risk of heightened scrutiny from other government organizations? That's what Oregon-based ECBlend seems to think, as the company was hit with a $29,000 fine by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for potentially failing to label containers of waste liquid that might contain nicotine and, therefore, be hazardous substances. The company is certified by the trade group American E-Liquid Manufacturing Standards Association. "AEMSA sets the standards for e-liquid manufacturing," says ECBlends CEO Joe Foley. "We’re engaged in producing a high quality product that is extremely safe. I don’t know specifically, but in a general sense the [Environmental Protection Agency] has been looking at AEMSA members that have been inspected by the FDA as well."

Signs of the vapeocalypse: continuing a trend, smoking rates in the Southern tobacco stronghold of North Carolina hit an all-time low in 2016. Again. When e-cig use rises, tobacco use falls – the data showing a causal relationship can't be much longer in coming.

JUUL, the revolutionary next-generation cigalike maker that's re-popularized low-power vaping with ridiculously high amounts of nicotine (in excess of 50 mg/ml), has been coming under fire lately for appealing to children – a common attack used against just about every form of vaping over the years, to be sure. In this news story, the devices are being blasted for being too sleek and compact (a large part of their appeal), with critics expressing worry parents won't be smart enough to tell the difference between a vaporizer and a USB drive, thus making it easy for children who are able to get their hands on the age-restricted devices to hide their vaping from adults.

Florida Man admits to stealing more than $12,000 worth of vape gear and bottled iced tea from his former employer.

A good place not to be: In the United Arab Emirates, cigarettes carry a 100% tax on every pack. Vaping is still illegal entirely. And local doctors are doubling down on their anti-vape stance, making the false equivalent noted in the Australian argument above that not vaping is better health-wise than vaping, while ignoring or downplaying the more pertinent fact that vaping is still much less harmful than smoking.

In a further pivot away from their core product, Philip Morris International is investing $1 billion to establish an advocacy group committed to getting people off combustible cigarettes (and, presumably, onto using their PG-soaked "heat not burn" replacement cigarettes).

That's what we've got for this week – see you next time, same vape time, same vape website!