Monday, 11 August 2014

Happy Birthday, Scott !

Today happens to be Scott Bonner's birthday, so I thought that it is the perfect time to pay my respects to him.

I started using electronic cigarettes in the summer of 2011 and spent the next couple of years finding out more about them.

Scott Bonner was one of my biggest influences back then, I learned so much from watching his You-Tube videos about e-cigs. I can remember the joy of finding out that he had uploaded a new video and would sit and avidly watch each and every single one. Even if he was reviewing a product that I had no intention of buying myself, I would still watch them over again just to learn and find out about what was new on the electronic cigarette scene.

Scott's You-Tube Channel

I would go so far as to say that if I had to pick someone who had helped me learn about e-cigs - someone who has been the biggest influence for me over the previous 3 years - then Scott would be one of the first names to spring to mind.

This is just my personal view, but I am fairly sure that there are thousands of other people out there that think the same way.

So, THANK YOU, Scott.

I hope that you have a Happy Birthday.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Blucigs TV ad campaign, and the Pro kit.

Blucigs were formerly known as Skycig in the UK, and now owned by Lorillard (a giant US tobacco company).

Have launched their multi million pound TV ad campaign which will run continuously between now and the end of December.

It aims to be seen by 50% of adult smokers per month - and to have been seen by 90% of all adult smokers by the end of the year.

This is the full version - the TV version contains a subtitle with the words:
"Contains nicotine, 18+ only, Blu ecigs are not a smoking cessation device and have not been evaluated by the MHRA"

And on the subject of Blu cigs, I purchased one of their new Pro starter kits to see what they have done with it.

It is basically an evod starter kit for 19.99, nothing new there. Here are my initial thoughts :

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

A vaping great week on holiday !

Last week, I was lucky enough to be able to take the opportunity to have a week off work and go on holiday.

I decided to travel South and visit some family, but that meant driving around the country, and that meant going past some vaping shops.

Now, I love visiting e-cig shops whenever I am away from home - for a chat and to say hello, so I wasn't going to let this holiday be any different.

First stop - on my way down the M1 - I took a little diversion and went to see my friend Stuart, who works at the Ecigwizard shop in Kettering.

I was glad that I did - It was great to meet up with Stuart and have a natter, in between the steady flow of customers. His enthusiasm for the shop was plain to see and I wish that I could have spent more time there. The next time I am passing, I will certainly pop back to sit on the sofa and chat about e-cigs.

Two days later, I was in Peterborough. I had been invited to visit the Ecigwizard headquarters, and spent most of the day as a guest of Chris Carr, who took me on a tour of the factory. I have been selling their WizMix brand of e-liquid in my shop for quite some time now and it is, and always has been, a very popular range for my customers. 

I was glad that I went. Incredible to see the sheer commitment, dedication and enthusiasm of the whole team behind the company, experience the mesmerizing effect of watching the bottling machine go round, and to finally meet people like Sam, for example, that I have spoken to on the phone several times.

The following day, it was time for something a little different and a trip to SweetCloud in Farnborough  to say hello to Jan.

I had met Jan, at her Sweet Cloud shop, back in January - and since then the shop has literally doubled in size! She has extended into the shop next door. If you are ever in the area, then I thoroughly recommend you pay a visit to this shop - hundreds of flavours of e-liquid available, in a choice of PG, VG or 50/50 and choice of products from a CE4 up to a Innokin 134 - and everything in between.


After these 3 visits, one distinct common theme was the genuine sense of enthusiasm and enjoyment of working with e-cigs. It seems to be the same all over the country.

But alas, all good things must come to an end, and eventually it was time for the long ride home !


Saturday, 8 March 2014

the XL Pro e-cig from Intellicig (Nicoventures/BAT)

The XL Pro is the new starter kit from Intellicig, a company owned by BAT.

It is interesting that it has been timed to launch just after the Puritane from Imperial, however the e-cig itself is completely different.

It works using a glass Aspire BDC tank and a variable voltage, Spinner, type of battery.

Here is my initial demonstration of the XL Pro and a quick run-down on how it works.

It is a good starter kit, there is no doubt about that.

I personally use an Aspire tank on a Spinner on a fairly regular basis, and have been doing ever since the Aspires first appeared a short while ago, so there is nothing especially new here.

It seems as though they have looked at what is available and then come up with a checklist of what would be needed for a good starter kit.

- Refillable
- Glass Tank
- Changeable coil
- Variable Voltage battery

The results are then neatly bundled into a well presented box and supplied with a good set of instructions.

It is noticeable that BAT are using the Intellicig brand to develop their 'Generation 2' e-cigs.

I have a feeling that they will run with this kit, whilst at the same time developing new clearomisers and atomisers in anticipation of the Tobacco Products Directive legislation.

It seems to me to be a good tactic for them to have the 2 brands, both Intellicig and Vype - and the strategy appears to be for the Intellicig label to supply regular e-cig products whilst the Vype brand is used for BAT specific products that they have developed themselves.

Actually, I was both pleased and relieved when I saw the kit. Why ? - because it wasn't a "let down". It was good, it worked, and it is the kind of starter kit that I would have come up with using currently available products.

This is part 2 of my XL Pro video

So, it seems like Nicoventures are trying to get some market share, with the launch of this starter kit.

An whilst they are committed to having a licensed medicinal product, they clearly recognise that the real growth is going to be in the generation 2 consumer products and they don't want to be left behind in either sector.


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Martin McKee is not an expert on e-cigs

Martin McKee
Martin McKee
It seems like we just keep going round and round in circles on this one.

Martin McKee was on BBC Newsnight last night (38 mins in), perpetuating the myth that he is an "expert" on e-cigarettes - he isn't

As Christopher Snowdon pointed out in this post HERE, - McKee has shown no interest in e-cigs until September last year, and then after posting 2, rather dubious, opinion pieces - he is suddenly elevated to the status of an "expert".

After his dismal appearance on BBC Radio 4, which I commented on HERE, it is surprising how he manages to maintain the facade of expertise on this subject.

Let us just remind ourselves how Martin McKee is viewed by REAL e-cig experts :

Going back to his performance on Newsnight, last night - Martin McKee did his usual trick :
In order to try to mask his lack of knowledge, understanding and research on electronic cigarettes, he always brings the subject round to smoking.

He does it every time - simply because he is out of his depth on this.

When confronted with evidence that the EU TPD could result in 105,000 deaths due to restrictions on effective e-cigs, he doesn't have an answer for this, because he doesn't understand the subject.

When asked a direct question, by Kirsty Walk, he replied "thats not the question we should be asking" - because he had no answer - he was unprepared.

Now, if I published a couple of posts about gas boilers, would that make me a qualified gas engineer?
No, of course not.

So lets say this again, Martin McKee is not an "expert" on the subject of electronic cigarettes. He has demonstrated this time and time again - he has done no research and seems to be completely unqualified on this topic.


Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Puritane e-cigarette, by Fontem Ventures.


On sale from Monday 24th Feb at Boots the Chemist

The Puritane e-cig has generated a lot of publicity recently, much more so than the average new e-cig launch. I think that this is for 2 main reasons. Firstly because the Puritane is made by a company called Fontem Ventures which is part of Imperial Tobacco and, secondly, because the Puritane will be on sale in Boots the Chemist.

Boots have a very high level of consumer trust, and so its says a lot for the quality of the Puritane.

I was lucky enough to receive some samples of the Puritane to try out and these are my first impressions.

Lets have a look at the presentation - The Puritane comes in 2 formats, a disposable and a rechargeable version.

The packaging is very neat and professional looking, with plenty of information and instructions on the back of the packet.

Here is a size comparison of the Putitane next to the Vype, one of its main competitors.

The Cartomisers are made in the UK. The Puritane holds 1.1ml of liquid and has a highest strength of 1.6% nicotine. Personally, I would prefer to use a higher strength of nicotine, especially in this form of e-cig, but I have to remind myself that this is just the first product from Fontem and I am fairly sure that there will be several variants available in the future.

Fontem appear to be approaching the e-cig market with a different strategy to BAT.

BAT have played a very slick advertising and social media campaign to make their product appeal to smokers as an alternative.

Fontem seem to be playing it in a more cautious, but well thought out, way. With total reassurance about quality at the forefront - and completely guarding themselves against false claims of providing any form of "gateway" or "marketing at kids" - by providing the product over the counter in a respected chemist.

The Puritane would not be suitable for me - but then again, it doesn't aim to be - I am not part of the target market. This product would appeal to someone who is a smoker and who would like to try an e-cig, but who has, so far, had various concerns about electronic cigarettes, a fear of the unknown. That it is available from Boots will provide a high level of reassurance about the quality and safety of the Puritane.

Will it be a success? Of course it will, but how much of a success depends on how it is advertised and marketed. Fontem do seem to play their cards very close to their chest, but I have a feeling that we will not have to wait very long for the marketing to begin.

This is just the first step for Fontem and Imperial, on what will end up being a very long journey for them.


Monday, 17 February 2014

the Vype national TV advert


The TV advert for the VYPE electronic cigarette, due to be shown from tonight (Feb 17th) until April 6th.

The advert uses the tagline “Experience the Breakthrough”  It shows a man and woman running through a city before passing through a cloud of vapour and being propelled into the air.

This version of the advert uses the words "satisfaction for smokers" - however the TV broadcast version will use the words "satisfaction for vapers"



Friday, 7 February 2014

Another e-cig fire scare story.

Another week, another piece of poor reporting about electronic cigarettes.

This time it is from Alison Stacey, the 'Health Reporter' in the Birmingham Mail.

I always thought that journalists were trained to check their facts and do some research before publishing a story, but some seem to think that they can write about a subject that they know nothing about in the hope that their readers will know even less and not notice.

E-cigs are under a political threat, and there is no shortage of stories about them - the news is being checked, daily, by hundreds of e-cig users and campaigners - so the days of poor reporting on the subject going un-noticed are well and truly over.

The original article appeared HERE on Feb 6th.

It is a fairly typical example of the "E-cig burst into flames and nearly burnt a house down" type of article.

As per usual, it completely fails to mention that the single most common cause of house fire deaths are tobacco cigarettes and therefore even with the occasional accident, e-cigs represent a much less risky option.

Lets have a look at the article itself.

It gets off to a bad start with an error in the opening sentence :

"The dangers of smoking were brought home to a Birmingham grandmother when her e-cigarette exploded ‘like a firework’ in her living room."

Sorry, I thought it was an article about e-cigs - and yet it starts out with the 'dangers of smoking' - electronic cigarette users are not smoking, they do not contain tobacco and they do not emit 'smoke' so with even very basic errors like this from the start then we know that the author is clueless on the subject.

The article explains that the person involved was
"charging the electronic device for the first time when it burst into flames at her house in Weoley Castle."
Luckily, nobody was injured - however the article continues in order
"to warn others about the potential dangers of the popular e-cigs."
And now we get to the account of what happened as the victim explains :
“I had nipped upstairs as I was tidying up and heard an almighty bang,”

Yes, that's right. She had put the e-cig on charge and then just 'nipped upstairs' and all of a sudden the device burst into flames.

The thing is, a slightly different story is told on the victims own facebook page, where several days earlier she told her friends that the e-cig was charging overnight and it was her husband that came home to discover the fire. No 'nipping' and no 'almighty bang'.

Next, the article goes on to describe the actual electronic cigarette itself, and Alison Stacey provides more evidence that she is out of her depth on e-cigs as she incorrectly calls it a
"Kangertech protank 3 cigarette". The e-cig had been purchased
"from a man in her local pub for £25"

Because Alison Stacey does not understand the subject that she is writing about and appears to have done little, if any, research - she clearly does not realise that the Kanger product was the ONLY component that has not caught fire - the Kanger tank that fits on to the battery appears to be untouched - which indeed it would be because the Kanger component would have to have been disconnected in order for the battery to have been charging up.

To anyone that knows about the subject, the battery is most certainly not a Kanger battery and neither is the charger. In fact, I recognise the charger, it is one of these :

The charger is designed to charge a different type of e-cig battery and has an output voltage of 5.0volts - which means that we might be getting to a, realistic, possible cause of the fire
- a 5.0v charger was used to recharge a 4.2v battery.
In other words the wrong charger was being used.

And this is why the whole story falls apart. You see Alison Stacey seems to have done no basic fact checking before publishing an article on a subject that she clearly knows little about.

She didn't seem to check any aspect of the story.

Instead of trying "to warn others about the potential dangers of the popular e-cigs", she could have done this :

- Advised readers to make sure that they are using the correct charger. Indeed this is the main piece of advice provided by the Fire Service about e-cigs.

- Encouraged readers to initially purchase from a reliable outlet.

- Explained to readers that these incidents are rare and considerably less frequent than fire caused by smoking

- Informed readers that care should be taken with all rechargeable batteries including laptops and mobile phones, which carry the same risks (especially if the wrong charger is used).

This really is another article written by someone that does not seem to understand the subject.
 As I said earlier, journalists have gone past the time when they can write about e-cigs without scrutiny. If they don't check their facts then they will be picked up on it.


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Martin McKee - talks rubbish, no research and out of touch

Martin McKee
Martin McKee

Last night, Prof Martin McKee appeared on BBC Radio 4 on their Inside Health show.

He was there to talk about the subject of electronic cigarettes, a subject that he displays little or no understanding of, so one has to wonder why he was chosen ?

The answer, it seems, was that it was down to a bit of a mistake, because the presenter wrongly thought that he was a "leading light" on the subject.

Indeed, that is how this part of the show started, with the words:
" I am joined by three leading lights in the field" - which explains the mistake.

You see, when it comes to electronic cigarettes, Martin McKee is most certainly not a "leading light"
This is how he is viewed by his peers, on e-cigs :

Hardly the words that describe a "leading light"

McKee's opening words are the just the start of what will become a torrent of errors

What concerns me is the way that the tobacco manufacturers have got in on the market.  They’ve suddenly realised that this is an opportunity for them and they’re really pushing them very hard, they’re taking over the small manufacturers who produced them early on

The tobacco industry has really done very well at promoting smoking by getting smoking into movies, for example, but by using e cigarettes they can get the images which look exactly like smoking into pop videos for kids

This is becoming a regular ploy of Martin McKee - in order to try and mask his complete lack of research and knowledge on the subject of electronic cigarettes, he will always try to refer to tobacco companies as often as possible.

I am going to come to the "pop videos for kids" a bit later on.

He doesn't understand the market - tobacco companies are not taking over the smaller e-cig companies, this is quite simply not happening, but because McKee hasn't done his homework, he doesn't know this.

Out of the hundreds of e-cig companies - 2 -just 2 - are owned by a tobacco company, and which 2 are these ? (no Martin, no clues - go and do your own homework) - these are 2 companies that specialise and sell "generation 1" electronic cigarettes.

E-cig market share - Dr Lynne Dawkins

So the only involvement of tobacco companies in the e-cig market is in the sector that has 18% of the market (and a minority of this sector, at that). The overwhelming majority, 82%, is completely untouched by tobacco companies.

He doesn't know what he is on about, does he ?

Knowing nothing about electronic cigarettes, his only option is to continue to ramble on about tobacco and cigarettes.

And when you’ve got bans on cigarette advertising you can put these things all over the place and most people looking at them from a distance will say – those are cigarettes

Really ?

From a distance ?

Really ?

You decide -

One of the largest billboard advertising campaigns from one of the leading brands in the sector (no Martin, this isn't one of the tobacco company brands) - but "from a distance".

Honestly, how many people are going to look at that and think to themselves that it is obviously an advert for Big T ?

Next up, in the face of a much more knowledgeable statement from Professor West (a genuine leading light), Martin McKee is forced to say that there is little or no gateway effect into smoking and seemed to panic at the thought of his only other argument crumbling into pieces so he goes on to say

And remember that the industry is producing these really targeted at kids – the flavourings that are in them – bubble-gum flavour – that’s not a flavour for adults is it?  So they’re clearly being pushed at children. 

Firstly, on the subject of certain flavours not being a "flavour for adults" - I work in an Off-Licence as part of my day job, and I see adults buy Gum, Candy, Chocolate and Sweets - each and every single day of the week - any listener who heard this statement would also know that he is talking rubbish and out of touch.

Secondly, one of the main features that electronic cigarettes have, the big advantage over smoking, is that people can choose any flavour they like. It is not hard to find over 100 different possible flavours for e-cigs, and yes, one of those would be bubblegum. Market Forces determine the flavours, Martin, nothing else. If a flavour sells then companies make more of it. If a flavour doesn't sell then companies make less of it - this is how it works, it is not very hard to understand.

The fact that bubblegum flavour is readily available - is proof that adults do like this flavour and this it is not just for children - the market forces, consumer demand proves this.

Later on, Martin McKee continues with his theme of "kids" with this gem
And I think if you look at pop videos – anyone might want to look at the latest Lily Allen video where e cigarettes are very prominent, that is clearly targeted at kids.

Remember earlier on, towards the start, McKee mentioned that tobacco companies were putting e-cigarettes into pop videos ? - well the brand featured in this video is not one of the tobacco company brands - So I would still like to see an example of a tobacco company brand in a pop video, this isn't it.

As for "clearly targeted at kids", you can view the official Lily Allen video here.

Targeted at kids ?

The part that has an image of an e-cig is at 2.30mins into the video and as the ecig is shown, the images that immediately follow are that of bikini clad dancers slapping their inner thighs and then slapping buttocks and pouring champagne over first their breasts and then their buttocks.

Accompanied by the words :
"forget your balls and grow a pair of tits, its hard out there for a bitch"

Now, I am not an advertising expert, but I think I am safe ground when I say that this is not an example of "targeted at kids"

Only an imbecile would look at those images and words and then say:
"clearly targeted at kids"

Martin McKee is clearly out of his depth on this subject, to the next time he speaks, he uses the old trick of returning to talk about the tobacco industry (not relevant, as previously discussed)

And if I can pick up on that I think we really need to get inside the mind of the tobacco industry here,

Again demonstrates his complete lack of research and knowledge

But if you want to buy an e cigarette refill you’re talking about £8 a go if you buy it off the internet.


because they’re really advertising cigarettes, they’re not actually advertising e-cigarettes.

Eh ?

...Before dropping his biggest clanger of the night

Well because in public health of course we endorse the precautionary principle.
The precautionary principle - if you regulate or restrict electronic cigarettes and/or their adverts, is there a risk that more people might smoke as a result ? - If the answer is either 'yes' or 'perhaps' or even 'just possibly' - then the precautionary principle would say that these restrictions should not be considered.

He even gets that wrong.


Monday, 27 January 2014

the Pfizer links of Dr Sarah Jarvis, the Sky News E-cig Liar

Sky News viewers were hoodwinked into thinking that they were watching the views and opinions of a medical expert acting in her capacity as an impartial Doctor explaining concerns about electronic cigarettes - when, in fact, they were watching a Pfizer spokesperson attack a competitor product.

On Sunday afternoon (26th Jan), I was having a relaxing day off. I had heard that the news was full of articles covering the Governments decision to restrict the sales of electronic cigarette products to people over the age of 18.

I poured myself a drink and turned on the Sky News channel to watch what was going on, and sure enough, it wasn't long before the e-cig news item appeared.

You can watch it HERE. - Although, if you do watch it for the first time, then my advice is not to make the same mistake as I did and watch it whilst pouring a drink because there is every likelihood that the drink will end up all over the screen.

It all seemed to be pretty much the usual sort of e-cig coverage, until they cut to the clip of Dr Sarah Jarvis for a medical opinion. - I say medical, but really it should have been pharmaceutical company opinion.

You see, Dr Sarah Jarvis, Pfizer spokesperson, now dubbed 'The Sky News E-cig Liar', came on to the screen to declare that :

1 - There are huge variations in the level of nicotine in e-cigs
2 - They contain antifreeze and 'cancer causing chemicals'

Now, we seem to be going over old ground with this, but lets just repeat it again.

Of course there are variations in the level of nicotine, people want different strengths depending on their personal preference, so the implication that Dr Sarah Jarvis is making is that there is a variation of the declared amount of nicotine, in other words the labels are not accurate.

This is false, not only is she accusing sellers of committing an offence by having inaccurate labels, she must be unaware that e-liquids (both imported and UK made) are regularly tested for compliance in Government approved laboratories and the nicotine concentration is always very accurate. All of the e-liquids that I use have been tested, companies will usually email you a test certificate if you ask them, and many even publish their certificates online. Indeed, liquid testing is a condition of membership for companies that are members of ECITA, the Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association - but almost all large e-liquid companies do this, regardless of membership.

Next, we move on to the issue of antifreeze and 'cancer causing chemicals'

So much has previously been written about this, that all I need to mention is that exactly the same chemicals are found in approved nicotine replacement therapy products, such as Quickmist.

Propylene Glycol has been extensively tested for over 40 years and is regarded as safe. It is the propellant used in asthma inhalers, amongst many other things and yes, it is sometimes used in antifreeze for products such as drinking water.

The 'cancer causing chemicals', TSNAs, have been detected in such very low levels that the trace levels are considered to be harmless - and they are at the same levels as those found in Nicotine Replacement Therapy.

So why the scare tactics from Dr Sarah Jarvis ?

Why mention 'huge variations' in nicotine, if it wasn't to cast doubt in the public mind over the quality ? - lying

Why mention the antifreeze and 'cancer causing chemicals', if it wasn't to imply contamination and chemicals that are present at a level that might actually cause cancer ? - lying

You would have thought that Dr Sarah Jarvis might actually know about the subject but she is either supremely ignorant on this matter, or she has a deceitful agenda - it must be one or the other.

The thing is, she does actually know about this subject

You see, Sky News didn't actually mention that Dr Sarah Jarvis is sponsored by Pfizer, a pharmaceutical company that produces Champix and other drugs like Nicotine Replacement Therapy
- a company that is in direct competition with electronic cigarettes.

In this Pfizer video, she urges the message, "don't go cold turkey"

This is just a screenshot, to save you from accidently pressing play, but if you want to you can see the video HERE.

And on Pfizer's own 'Don't go cold turkey' website, there is a pic of e-cig hater, Dr Sarah Jarvis.

She is featured on Pfizer's very own website HERE.
AND don't take my word for it
when I say that she is a spokesperson for Pfizer,

Pfizer themselves call her a Pfizer spokesperson - HERE


And more news coverage here, confirms Dr Sarah Jarvis as a "spokesperson for Pfizer"
In summary, Sky News viewers were hoodwinked into thinking that they were watching the views and opinions of a medical expert acting in her capacity as an impartial Doctor explaining concerns about electronic cigarettes.
When in fact they were watching a Pfizer spokesperson and Champix vendor attack and smear a competitor product.
Figures from Professor Wests 'Smoking Toolkit Study' show that products such as NRTs are suffering from a drastic loss in sales directly due to electronic cigarettes.
One thing is for sure, with her Pfizer links, Dr Sarah Jarvis certainly has a conflict of interest when making statements on the subject of e-cigs.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

A Review of "The Rise of the E-cigarette" - broadcast ITV 23rd Jan

The ITV programme, entitled 'The Rise of the E-Cigarette' did represent a milestone for electronic cigarettes in the UK. It was the first time a documentary about e-cigs was shown on mainstream television, broadcast as part of the Tonight show series.

[ I will update with a link to the show here, when ITV re-upload to their webpage ]

Lets have a look at the issues covered in the show, and the background to it.

As an electronic cigarette user, I was really, and I mean really looking forward to watching it, although I did have concerns about how the subject was going to be presented. Fair and impartial media coverage of electronic cigarettes is a rarity and so I hoped for the best but expected the worst.

The Day of Jan 23rd

Regardless of how impartial, or not, anyone considers the documentary to be in itself - there is no doubt that it was responsible for a day long media onslaught on e-cigs.

Every single ITV news broadcast throughout the day carried a headline.
"World Health Organisation warnings over e-cigarette toxins"

Each news show carried a clip of Glenn Thomas, of the World Health Organisation, declaring that e-cigarette users inhaled dangerous toxins.

Not one single news item asked him for any evidence to justify this claim.

The Rise of the E-Cigarette - the show

On to the show itself, which started with a tagline "what do we know about them and are they really safe?"

The show began with the background information that people smoke and that 100,000 people die from smoking in the UK every year and that sales of electronic cigarettes are increasing at a phenomenal rate - but mentioned that they had found concerns from health organisations about their safety.

After only 2 minutes and 20 seconds they had managed to show the clip of the World Health Organisation warning about "toxins" - not ONCE, but TWICE.

The show started with Chris Choi explaining to the public what an e-cig was and how they worked.
And from the very beginning it went wrong.

Using a 4 year old e-cig model that is no longer on sale, they managed to get the basic components wrong, and with information like this going out on television, it is no wonder the public are misinformed about electronic cigarettes.

Next over to South China to visit an e-cig factory. With the images in the background showing a clean, hygienic, professional, production line - the programme chose not to even mention this and instead focus on the factory managers, clearly responding to leading questions, declaring their concern about poor standards. Of course a factory is going to say that a rival factory makes products of a lower standard, that is just how it is. Faced with the opportunity to mention high standards, visible in the background, the show focused on the low. The only reason that this part was shown was to discuss concern over low quality - there was no balance.

Back in Britain, the show reports that the "concerns" are not holding back a phenomenal take-up

The show cuts to a scene of happy people in a bar, enjoying their e-cigarettes - explaining how much they like them and how much money they are saving.

It is at this point that the tone of the show changes slightly. They take a visit to see Lee Nesbitt who owns 'The Electronic Cigarette Shop' in Newcastle, and describe him as a "Nicotine Salesman" rather than shopkeeper or e-cig supplier.

A quick mention that "regulation has failed to keep up" and that the NHS says that there is "no research" on the long term effects.

And then back to Lee Nesbitt.

It is at this point that Lee is put on the spot, he is made to justify each and every single claim that he makes about e-cigs. Questioned and evidence demanded for anything positive that he says.
This is in complete contrast to they way the WHO are interviewed, where no evidence is apparently needed and each of their claims can be taken at face value.

Professor Robert West

At last a dose of sanity - on comes Professor Robert West, and who should know more about the risks of using an electronic cigarette than the Director of Tobacco Studies at Cancer Research UK ?

He exposes the stupidity of the WHO spokesman, and the BMA spokesman that appears later, and makes them look like fools - with one simple statement - so what if more research is needed? This should not stop smokers switching to them because we know what the ingredients are and that they hundreds of times safer, if not more.

[ reproduced with a copyright defence of "fair dealing" under section 29(1) of Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 ]

VapourTrails TV

And the good news continues as Chris Choi visits the team and VapourTrails TV, where he took part in a VTTV show that was originally broadcast on 27th November - you can see the original VTTV show - HERE.

Chris listens to e-cig users such a Lorien Sea who said that she would never have stopped (smoking) without electronic cigarettes and also looks at 'Generation 3' electronic cigarettes - which Chris incorrectly states have controls which "vary the level of nicotine".

Back to normal

After the brief respite of Prof West and VTTV, the show gets back to normal with a discussion about how companies up and down the country are banning the use of electronic cigarettes on their premises and a trip to a pub that does allow e-cigs to chat with e-cig users.

Electronic cigarettes could kill !

Reporting the positives, such as Prof West and VTTV needed to be outweighed by something worse.

Just when you thought that you had already seen the awful smears against electronic cigarettes before, just when you thought that it could not get any worse ...

It does.

The Tonight Show stoops to the lowest of the low and brings up the story of Terry Miller, a lifelong heavy smoker who switched to electronic cigarettes and then died shortly afterwards.

They interviewed the still grieving widow who thinks electronic cigarettes might be to blame.

Mr Miller died of Lipoid Pneumonia, which his widow described as "oil on the lungs" and the Tonight Show stoops to such a low level that they went below shame.

The implication, with a crying relative, that e-cigs might have been to blame for the death of this man - they must have known what they were doing and left a cover all that nothing was proven, but that the implication is there.

It really does not take much research to find out that this conclusion is very unlikely, in fact nearly impossible.

The Tonight Show could have told the widow (and the viewers) that the official cause of death reported by the coroner was interstitial lung disease. That most cases are caused by smoking - They didn't

The Tonight Show could have said that endogenous lipoid pneumonia, also called cholesterol pneumonitis, is generally observed in persons with chronic bronchial obstruction, as often occurs in smokers. - They didn't

The Tonight Show could have said that there no oils in electronic cigarette liquid, because the atomizers do not work with oils. - They didn't  

It would have been incredibly easy to check the facts, to ask for evidence - They didn't if they had checked medical facts then they would have found information like this:

This was gutter journalism at its worse. Poor research. Well lets be kind and say that it was poor research rather than a deliberate intention to deceive.

With just a short time spent on checking facts they would have realised that there was no reason whatsoever to include this item in the show.

They quite simply didn't check their facts on this.

On with the show

They inform the viewers that many countries have banned e-cigs and crucially that the World Health Organisation says that we should not use them and for the THIRD time, yes the THIRD time, they repeat the same clip from spokesman Glenn Thomas of the WHO talking about how users of e-cigs "inhale toxins" 

- did they ask Glenn for any evidence of this ? NO.

Back now to how e-cigs are also being made by a tobacco company and a discussion about adverts.
For no reason at all, they include an interview with, what must be, a super fussy mum who says that she once heard an e-cig advert on the radio when her children were in the car.

... and on to Dr Ram Moorthy of the British Medical Association who is made to look like a fool when his assertion that e-cigs are being "aggressively marketed" at teenagers - made to look like a fool because the show immediately points out that the Advertising Standards Authority hasn't seen any evidence of this or even received complaints about this.

The Ending

The show ends with the report that the EU is about to introduce regulations for e-cigs to restrict advertising and limit the strength and that users are protesting about this.

In Summary

My view is that the show should not have repeated the WHO statement about users inhaling toxins so many times - that they should have asked the spokesman for evidence about this and grilled him for this evidence in the same way that they treated Lee Nesbit, the shopkeeper.

They did present some plus points, and ended with Professor West, whose view is that so what if more research is needed, smokers should still switch because e-cigs are "100 times safer".

It could have been a good show, but  it wasn't
It could have been an "okay" show, but it wasn't

For me, it will always be a poor show because of the unnecessary, misleading, poorly researched, misinformation about a man that died in a way that was clearly un-related to e-cigs but dressed up in such a way to imply that e-cigs might have been to blame - the worst e-cig reporting I have ever seen, and that is saying something.


Thursday, 16 January 2014

An Interview with Dr Smokeless

I first heard about Dr Smokeless after reading an article in a Sunday newspaper about electronic cigarettes. An electronic cigarette shop based in Ilkeston which is owned by a General Practitioner.

So, I contacted the shop and spoke to Julian, who works at Dr Smokeless and he agreed to do a short interview.

What I uncovered was the fascinating story of a General Practitioner called Dr John Ashcroft who used a thirst for scientific knowledge and a desire to do the very best for his patients, to come to the conclusion that the very best advice that he could give to smokers was to switch to an electronic cigarette.

Dr Ashcroft helped to establish a retail outlet called Dr Smokeless so that his patients, and others, had access to electronic cigarette products.

Here is my interview with Julian, from Dr Smokeless.

How did the idea for Dr Smokeless come about ?

I guess this is more a question for John than myself although during a routine appointment with my GP. - which happens to be John Ashcroft - he asked me if I smoked to which I pulled out my rather large variable voltage device, he smiled and pulled out of his jacket pocket a varied sample of disposables he had collected in the interests of science.

I'd been vaping on and off for some time and explained how personal vapourizers were a kind of upgrade from the standard disposables that were just coming onto shop shelves.

Not long after, he spoke with a man called Steve Brimble, and he gave me a call as he knew I was currently free and asked me if I'd be interested in the shop.

Is there anything that you think makes Dr Smokeless unique ?

The one thing that makes our shop unique -at least to my knowledge and at this current time - is the fact that it is part owned by a practice owning GP.
The other side of the business coin is a RAPIDLY expanding business named Mister Smoke who create & supply our fantastic e-juice and the majority of our hardware. I feel it is extremely important to be so close to the source of the e-liquid so we can assure and inform our clients as to the safety of what they are vaping.

Dr.Ashcroft (the eponymous one) has three surgeries which have a floating smoking cessation clinic. It is through this that we offer a cash voucher for people to spend in the shop on any Ecig product.. This is offered to patients as an alternative to avoid NHS prescriptions for other NRT options.

Is Dr Ashcroft a vaper himself ?

I suppose you would have to ask him yourself as to his habits but I know we set him up a unit so that he could demonstrate it at conferences and he hasn't given it back!

Only joking, he brought it in for a top up!

I don't believe he is a regular vaper but I have seen him vape a very low nicotine juice to demonstrate to a journalist so he stands by his words and his products. He has never smoked.

... and how do you find it working with a GP ?

As to how do I find working for a GP....... GPs are people too you know. It's great actually as he is 100% behind this.... More so! He absolutely believes that for every patient/customer who switches to vaping that their life will improve immediately and it truly does, I have seen it first hand.

A lot of our referred customers are only too aware of the end result of smoking and even when the "worst" is confirmed, they can at least use vaping to help them fight back against the cause of their illness. I think that is extremely important for people when they are facing chemotherapy and similar treatments. It is dangerously easy for their spirits to drop and just say "I may as well give in and carry on smoking"!
It is a positive thing that can actually be achieved quickly and I have personally seen the boost people get by taking control.

What would you say is the most popular e-cig that you have ?

By far and away though our best and most popular would be an Ego 650mah battery with the Evod tank! We finally have this combination as a starter pack. The battery lasts a good days worth of moderate to high vaping and the tanks are tough,good looking, reusable and cheap to run!
Three pounds a week would be the average spend for normal use (15-20 cigarettes a day habit).

You would have to be a world champion vaper to defeat this combination.

What are your thoughts for the future of e-cigs in the UK?

Optimistic but concerned.....

What do you think about the proposed new regulations for electronic cigarettes ?

We are totally behind quality control and common sense safety and age related regulations but I haven't yet heard any actual clear sensible proposals for regulating e-liquids yet. I am truly angry at a lot of the misinformation and knee jerk uninformed negative comments! What do these people hope to achieve? How long will their triumphant glow last if they do manage to ban or massively restrict something that bears no relation to their own lives?

Why am I told not to vape in certain buildings even though it is legal (and this is before any legislation)!
There is more propyl glycol in someone's out breath when they use an asthma inhalor!!!

It is in deoderant and perfume!

Smoking is dead and it needs to be buried along with all the negativity!

I feel like vapers are being accused of trying to bring smoking back through stealth! The majority of us hate smoking!

And  please if you support your right to smoke free nicotine or nicotine free vaping please show your support by supporting the World Vaping Organisation and signing up, it could save lives.    

Whats next for Dr Smokeless ?

That depends a lot on whether we can all change public perception of vaping. I would love to see NHS support for nicotine withdrawal vapourizers at least.

My main hope is that many more doctors can educate themselves and their support teams so that we can prove that vaping is not only safe but saving lives and improving standards of life!

Also on a less grandiose scale, we are in the process of building a website on which to host support videos and some clinical information so people can see for themselves the facts and reality of what we are doing.

End of questions

Julian added :

" I hope my answers are concise enough and sorry if they are a bit passionate at times but I truly am worried for the future of Vaping. Please check out the World Vaping Organisation site. I didn't want to get side tracked but felt it was vital to mention it! "

Thank-you very much, Julian, for taking the time to do the interview for my blog.

Dr Smokeless can be found here :

Dr. Smokeless
196 Cotmanhay Rd.

0115 9 309 687


Thursday, 9 January 2014

Chris Davies MEP and his Pyrrhic Victory for ecigs

King Pyrrhus

Pyrrhic Victory (defn.) -  A Pyrrhic victory is a victory with such a devastating cost that it is tantamount to defeat. Someone who wins a Pyrrhic victory has been victorious in some way; however, the heavy toll negates any sense of achievement or profit.

If ever there was a perfect, modern day, example of a 'Pyrrhic Victory' it is the victory that Chris Davies MEP claims to have secured for electronic cigarettes in the EU.
E-cig users are aghast at the current proposals, which would ban the preferred strength of liquid used by nearly half of all users, ban every atomiser device currently on the market, limit the unit quantity of e-liquid, create a maximum capacity of atomiser, ban advertising and cross border sales, introduce a 6 month waiting period for each new product to come on to the market and leave the door wide open of any Member State to introduce compulsory medical regulations for e-cigs thus destroying the market by forcing e-cigs to be like NRT.

This looks like a defeat to me, and it certainly bears little or no resemblance to the original Amendment 170 which passed through the European Parliament with an overwhelming majority vote from MEPs.

But to Chis, it looks like a "Victory" - and if it is a victory of sorts then it can only be described as a Pyrrhic victory, for sure.

Last night (Jan 8th 2014), Chris Davies MEP took to twitter to explain how lucky we all are with this result.
It must be good because an (un-named) e-cig maker said that they could "work with" the new proposals.

It hardly proves the point that he has managed to find 1 (nameless) "e-cig maker" who says that they can live with the proposal. Of course it is possible to find a company that would welcome a situation where all superior competition was wiped out leaving the field wide open to provide a second rate product.

It is rubbish to say that it is much better than the alternative, when the real alternative would be that Article 18 of the TPD is wholeheartedly rejected and replaced with informed bespoke regulations.

And, of course, this logic that the rules are fine because a "maker" says they will work with them misses out the single most important stakeholder in this process - the e-cig user.

Talking of e-cig users, Chris Davies went on to tell users exactly what they should be thinking.

Thats right, we should start to realise that we have "won" !!!

Because we clearly don't realise that we have "won", but the second sentence is far more informative - the cracks start to reveal that we never actually stood a chance in the first place - a theme he continues to explain in his subsequent tweet :

We never stood a chance, because no-one gets what they want with EU laws. I would disagree with him on this point, but that is a whole other discussion.

The lack of understanding appears when he says that the ecig changes are the "biggest ever achieved"

What we have now is the biggest e-cig change that has ever been achieved - an expanding, innovative, popular market that for the first time ever can represent a real challenge to the tobacco smoking status quo.

Anything that hinders the current progress is a step backwards, so for that reason, the only way that a real victory can be declared is if Chris Davies and his fellow MEPs totally reject Article 18 and come back later with some bespoke e-cig regulations, in consultation with e-cig users.