Monthly Archives: October 2012

Best Newbie E-Cigarette

newbie e-cigaretteIf you have smoked for some time and recently came across the idea of an electronic cigarette, you are now probably wondering what model/brand of e-cig you should start with.  I am sure you have found many different options out there but are unsure what would be the best choice for a vaping “noob”.  Well here are some guidelines and points to consider when buying your first e-cigarette.

1. Any e-cigarette is better than smoking.  Don’t let the choices overwhelm you.  Don’t worry about buying the perfect e-cigarette right off the bat.  The fact that e-cigs are so much cheaper (in the long run) than tobacco cigarettes, gives you some margin for error.

2. Don’t get caught up in the add-ons and accessories.  There are many options from portable chargers to drip tips to laynards.  Just get the basic kit to try.  You may even want to start with a disposable just to get an idea of what it is like.  The only issue with disposables is that if you don’t like the e-liquid that comes in it, there is no way to change it.  This leads to the third point.

3. Get an easy to use unit with multiple e-liquid flavor options.  Flavor is based on the individual and what your friend likes may not suit you.  So flavor options are important.

4. Don’t buy from out of country.  E-cigarettes are still in regulatory no-mans land.  If you buy from outside of your country, customs may be an issue.

5.  Our recommendation in Canada?  SmokeInstead.ca is a good option.  They carry Aurora which is a great starter kit for newbies.  They also carry Joyetech products for more advanced vapers.  In the US, try E-Cig.org for some reviews and ratings on different options.

Is Health Canada Contradicting Itself?

Health CanadaSince 2009 Health Canada has placed a ban on marketing or selling e-cigarettes with nicotine.  Their stance is they need market authorization in the same way a nicotine patch or gum needs authorization within Canada.  As we mentioned in the past, non-nicotine electronic cigarettes are fine, since they do not contain any substances that warrant involvement with Health Canada.

What is curious is that it appears Health Canada does know the benefits of vaporization over combustion, as they state on their website with regards to vaporizing marijuana:

The advantages of vaporization apparently include the formation of a smaller quantity of toxic by-products such as carbon monoxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and tar, as well as a more efficient extraction of THC from the cannabis material (47,48,49,43,50). The subjective effects and plasma concentrations of THC are comparable to those of smoked cannabis with absorption being somewhat faster with the vaporizer (43). The vaporizer is well-tolerated, with no reported adverse effects, and is generally preferred over smoking by most subjects (43)

And as Brad Rodu (Professor of Medicine at the University of Louisville) points out in his recent blog post:

Among the comment’s scientific references, the most frequently cited is a study of vaporized marijuana published in 2007 by scientists at the University of California at San Francisco (abstract here).  It concluded:
“Whereas smoking marijuana increased [carbon monoxide, CO] levels as expected for inhalation of a combustion product, there was little if any increase in CO after inhalation of THC from the vaporizer. This indicates little or no exposure to gaseous combustion toxins. Combustion products are harmful to health and reflect a major concern about the use of marijuana cigarettes for medical therapy as expressed by the Institute of Medicine… Vaporization of marijuana does not result in exposure to combustion gases, and therefore is expected to be much safer than smoking marijuana cigarettes. The vaporizer was well tolerated and preferred by most subjects compared to marijuana cigarettes.”
From this, let’s make a leap:  Health Canada would recommend, if you were intent on smoking marijuana, that you vaporize it because it is better for you.  However, they would NOT recommend, if you were intent on smoking cigarettes, that you use an e-cigarette.
Yes, there are other nicotine replacement “therapies” such as the patch or gum, but these are to quit smoking.  What if a smoker wanted to keep smoking and getting nicotine, but wanted a safer method?  Is Health Canada going against it’s stated mission of “helping Canadians maintain and improve their health, while respecting individual choices and circumstance”.  If they know vaporization is safer than combustion and they want to respect individual choices, they why would they deny Canadians the option of an electronic cigarette?
We encourage you to write Health Canada and your Member of Parliament and ask them.

 

Electronic Cigarettes Featured On SNL

e-cigarettes on saturday night liveThe time has come when e-cigarettes have made it into pop culture via Saturday Night Live.  Although in the past, such icons as Johnny Depp in The Tourist and Katherine Heigl on David Letterman have introduced the electronic cigarette to the masses, SNL holds a special place when it comes to shaping and displaying pop culture.

It is a great step for the e-cigarette, especially considering the content surrounding the use of the smokeless cigarette. Actor Fred Armisen used an e-cigarette during the skit and then proceeded to tap it against a plate  in an attempt to put it out.  The electronic cigarette itself is the basis of the joke.  Our take away?  E-cigarettes are so much like tobacco cigarettes that the general public doesn’t see the difference…..there is no burning, no ashes, no tobacco, so no way to “butt” it out.

If nothing else, this get more smokers interested in vaping which considering the mortality rate of smoking, is a great thing for everyone.

Although the clip is on Hulu, which can only be viewed when within the United States, once aired the video and it’s repercussions for the e-cig industry will be fully realized.

Electronic Cigarette Article From The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority

We came across an article written in January, 18th, 2012 by Susie Stachan from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  The article, entitled “E-cigarettes not the answer to quitting smoking” (full article can be found here) is full of misleading and incorrect information.  And although we respect what the WRHA has done over the years, we also believe in facts and science so here are some corrections.  Below are excerpts from the article and our opinion on their factuality.

Proponents say e-cigarettes help them to cut down on the health risks, eliminate the odour of burning tobacco, and cut down on the amount of nicotine they get with each inhalation.

The issue here is the word proponents, or rather than missing word “users”.  The fact is, the internet is full of e-cigarette users praising the technology.  It should be important what e-cigarette users and current/former smokers have to say, but it appears it is not.

Yet e-cigarette kits are both sold online through Canadian websites, and in stores in Winnipeg, all of which contain nicotine.

Simply not true.  Some electronic cigarette retailers do sell e-cigs with nicotine, but many do not.  One example is this online e-cigarette retailer which carries a couple different brands, all without nicotine.

Health-care providers don’t know if they are a safe alternative to regular cigarettes, or if they are a bid by Big Tobacco to continue having people buying their product.

How can they not know?  Everyone in the industry and on the forums know the big players, and they aren’t tobacco companies.  In fact the first sign of the tobacco industry getting involved in electronic cigarettes was when the tobacco company Lorillard bought the established e-cig brand, Blu.  Most e-cigarette companies are small start-ups with some better funded companies slowly rising to the top.

As for the safer alternative, let’s compare.  Tobacco cigarettes contain 4000 chemicals and kill about half the long time users.  E-Cigarettes use propylene glycol, glycerin, water, flavoring, and optionally nicotine.  All ingredients (minus the nicotine) are approved for use in food.  Nicotine is found in all NRT products.  And there have been multiple tests of the electronic cigarette.

“There are concerns about second-hand smoke, too. There’s no clear evidence on what’s in that vapour, and whether this will have a second-hand smoke effect on other people,”

At the time of the article, there wasn’t.  But now there is testing showing that e-cig vapor is not dangerous to bystanders indoors.

In May 2009, the FDA’s Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis tested the contents of 18 varieties of electronic cigarette cartridges produced by two vendors: NJoy and Smoking Everywhere. They found known cancer-causing agents in a number of the cartridges, and also that the actual nicotine levels did not always correspond to the amount they purported to contain.

What the FDA found was trace amounts of TSNA (Tobacco-specific nitrosamines) and as Dr. Michael Siegel noted on his tobacco harm reduction blog: “The rest of the story is that an independent scientific expert report has now confirmed that – at least in the case of NJOY electronic cigarettes – there is no evidence that these products pose any increased health risks compared to FDA-approved nicotine replacement products and that they pose much less health risk than FDA-approved tobacco cigarettes.”

We do believe that nicotine content should be regulated to ensure accuracy.

The Winnipeg Health Region offers smoking cessation support and supplies patients with nicotine patches and gum while they are staying in region hospitals.

That is great.  But seems odd that they would recommend a patch or gum with nicotine rather than recommend an electronic cigarette with no nicotine.  Last time I checked, they don’t give alcoholics beer so they will stop drinking.

We hope all public health organizations in Canada will base their opinions and recommendations on facts and science and not blindly tow the company line.

Testing Shows Electronic Cigarette Vapor OK

Ever wonder if that vaper next to you blowing out plums of vapor is effecting you?  The scientific answer is no.  A study recently peer reviewed and published in the journal Inhalation Toxicology concluded that “Non-cancer risk analysis revealed “No Significant Risk” of harm to human health for vapor samples from e-liquids” and “For all byproducts measured, electronic cigarettes produce very small exposures relative to tobacco cigarettes.  The study indicates no apparent risk to human health from e-cigarette emissions based on the compounds analyzed.”  The full abstract can be found at the IVAQS (Indoor Vapor Air Quality Study) website.

It appears unfortunately that they did not test the non nicotine e-liquid, however since e-cigarette liquid with no nicotine is made up of the same stuff as that with nicotine (propylene glycol, glycerin, water, flavoring) it would be logical to conclude it would have the same, if not better results.

The study compared the emissions for an e-cigarette to those of a traditional tobacco cigarette as well as from a stand point of current regulatory standards for indoor pollution.  It was not surprising that “for tobacco smoke most findings markedly exceeded risk limits indicating a condition of “Significant Risk” of harm to human health.”  And although it was not surprising to those knowledgeable about e-cigarettes, it may have been for others to find out there was not any actual risk to non-users of e-cigarettes in vapor filled rooms.

We wish the National Vapers Club much success in using this scientific data to battle past and future electronic cigarette bans.  These bans were full of hypotheticals and unfounded bias.  At least now the lawmakers will have to concede that their laws are based on their own perceptions and not facts. Long live the e-cigarette!!!

Can Electronic Cigarettes Save All Canadians Money?

The debate over tobacco use, tobacco taxation, and the health care costs associated with tobacco use in Canada has always been heated.  Smokers generally take the position that it is a private activity and they should have the freedom to partake.  They also argue that the money they spend on cigarettes, which about 63% to 80% is taxes, pays to offset the costs of future health care for smokers.  Non-smokers are generally adamant that the revenue from tobacco sales is a far cry from covering all the associated health costs.

So lets look at the numbers.  This is from a CBC article last updated in 2007 using statistics from 1993.  Although these numbers have changed over time, this will give us a relative comparison between tobacco tax revenue and associated health care cost:

They estimate that, in Canada, the societal costs attributable to smoking for 1993 were approximately $11 billion, of which $3 billion was spent on direct health care costs such as hospitalization and physician time. The remaining $8 billion was due to lost productivity. In comparison, it is estimated that in 1993/94, revenue from taxes on cigarettes totalled $2.6 billion. – from The Cost of Smoking on CBC.

As you can see, it is fairly straight forward.  The tobacco tax revenue generated was approximately $400,000,000 less than the money spent directly on health care costs.  This doesn’t include the additional $8 billion estimated on lost productivity due to smoking.  So how can electronic cigarettes help?

Let’s just say that every smoker switches to e-cigarettes.  Let’s say, hypothetically that e-cigarettes, like other smokeless tobacco, carry a harm rate of 5% of tobacco smoking, as estimated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. That equates to a cost of %5 of $3 billion or $150 million.  There is no lost productivity for smoke breaks with e-cigarettes (provided Canada doesn’t get pseudo-scientific and ban indoor use) and only 5% of the lost productivity due to hospital stays.  So on the high end it would be 5% of the lost productivity associated with smoking, or $400 million.

With no extra taxation on electronic cigarettes, the total monetary loss is at $550 million.

The net monetary cost of tobacco cigarettes is around $8.4 billion.  This does not take into consideration the cost of human suffering and death associated with smoking cigarettes.

Based on these rough numbers, electronic cigarette use has the potential to save the Canadian government $7.85 BILLION.  No matter how you do the numbers, e-cigarettes will cost the Canadian government, and hense the people, less money than smoking.

If you just argued that all smokers should just quit altogether, that has been tried and has failed.  Replacing tobacco smoking with vaping is a reasonable and achievable goal with the help of regulatory agencies and public health advocates.