Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Stealthvape Personal Problems Helpdesk

Stealthvape’s helpdesk has been inundated of late. While we endeavour to deal with issues in a timely and constructive fashion we are unfortunately unable to assist with some problems…especially yours Mr R Venn of Bath; you really need to stop emailing that personal graphic picture and go see the urologist.

Let’s be clear here, no one manning the desk has what we would term official medical training. Personally, I’ve read all of James Herriot’s books (except for ‘Blossom Comes Home’ and ‘Smudge, the Little Lost Lamb’); Rob has Casualty on Blu-ray and Emma paid close attention when Madge was hospitalised in ITV’s Benidorm. But none of this qualifies us to answer those types of questions, Mr Venn.

We do know our stuff when it comes to Glantzism, though.

Firstly, have you suddenly discovered that you are desperately afraid of particulates? Worse, do you find yourself in a confused state because you are unsure what particulates are, how they got into your house and why the Home Office isn’t putting a limit to the numbers gaining access to the country? Maybe it has happened to someone close to you? Maybe it has happened to someone far away that you don’t like very much?

Particulates are small, foreign bodies, hard to see and almost impossible to have delivered if you live in a village. Stanton Glantz, hence the name of the disease, is petrified about particulates…vaping produces oodles of them apparently and he is overly concerned about the size. Yes, Mr Venn. I am fully aware that we are discussing size but that does not mean I’m going to address your issue – no matter how ultrafine yours is. Men like Glantz have a history of being overly concerned about size. Although commonplace, it is still misguided and irrational. So, could someone suffering from Glantzism rationalise her or his way out of this dilemma?

Let’s try an analogy.

Imagine an obnoxious adult; let’s call them Mr R Venn of Bath for sake of argument. Mr Venn is repugnant, easy to see (albeit offensive to the eyes) and therefore possible to avoid. But now imagine that person as a child. Does being smaller make them more dangerous? Clearly not, unless they remain in charge of an articulated truck doing 58mph on the open road. The size of Venn junior in no way increases danger to others although it makes it easier for him to creep up on you unannounced.

Let’s try another: Imagine being placed in a sealed sauna. In this room you will be breathing in loads of ultrafine water particles. Now imagine the sealed room is filled with water with you in it. If you find that mental image as disturbing as I found Mr Venn’s picture then this is probably an opportune moment to relax and find our happy place: imagine the sealed room filled with water and Stanton Glantz in it.

As Mark Twain said, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.†It’s not the size of a particle that poses danger to vapers, it’s what that particle is, Mr Glantz. And, if that particle is nicotine then it poses no greater risk to the health of a vaper than has already been documented in the peer-reviewed studies you are choosing to ignore.

So, dear reader, you can see there is no reason to be alarmed at the outbreak of Glantzism. What can not be solved with a liberal application of common sense can always be cured using the sealed, water-filled room.

*Next week: Mr R Venn of Bath raises a question regarding the use of euphemisms and the word ‘mod’.

What I did on my holidays

They were the highlights because my family would attempt to ruin the endless days of bliss by dragging me away to a part of the country where the sun never shone, the portable black and white couldn’t get a signal and the toilet needed emptying far too regularly.

Like all things we go through during those years, you never fully appreciate them until they become distant memories. The Kendal Mintcake, the pokey smoke-filled cinema, the boys at the campsite football match who thought my 70s hair made me a girl – oh, cherished memories.

At my smoking peak I was burning my way through 60 Rothmans a day while working as a sales rep. At no point during this period did I think “Hey, I love this thing so much I ought to hang out with some other people who do it to too.â€

Now, fine, smokers do tend to congregate. We did it down the bottom of school playing fields, in works canteens and (for those who carried on into the smoking ban) doorways. The enforced conviviality of standing with strangers in alcoves must have had a lasting impression on us, a desire to share our experience.

Becoming a family man you have to draw up a set of rules, no one issues you with a book on Dadhood…and if they did it would probably be a pile of toss written by someone who wants you to indulge in non-competitive games and refrain from using coarse language. It saddens me that while researching this piece a number of such tomes are readily available from your local bookstore. Little do they understand men – we don’t need no stinking instructions.

For anything.

So where do we draw our inspiration from? Well, in my case it is repeating all of those things that I hated as a kid so that my kids can look back fondly on the stupid things I made them do; we share our experiences, we pass down our stories.

The vaping journey has taken me into forums where the notion of “Hey, I love this thing so much I ought to hang out with some other people who do it to too†doesn’t seem as stupid as the fag-based version. And one, the Planet of the Vapes, arranged to hold a big get together for all of us keyboard warriors so that we could stand in the Lake District with a pint in hand and not recognise each other from our online avatars. We don’t share opinions about politics, football or an awful lot – unsurprisingly seeing as we are a cross-section of society. We share vaping and, seemingly, a liking for alcohol.

During one summer I stood at the top of Hardnott Pass holding the dog’s lead. I don’t know what the weather was like back then but I suspect it was raining. Last weekend I stood there with a couple of leads and two kids. And the sun shone on us all.

I have no idea if it is possible to extrapolate that all the vapers I was with were really nice people and therefore all vapers are really smashing types? I’ve no idea if forcing children to revisit the horrors of their parents’ past is as character-building as I’d like to hope…even if I feel a failure because they enjoyed it so much.

What I do know is that the primary school notion of  ‘it is good to share’, experiences or otherwise, was deeply rewarding. Sitting sharing beers with vapers while swapping stories of nonsense I wondered if my Dad had felt the same?

Kids being kids

It was this love of being a self-appointed moral arbiter and fighter for a just & fair society that led to my father picking up the torch when he complained to the Chronicle & Echo about a popular brand of real ale moving from cask to a pressurised system.

It would have been my shoulders that had to carry the weight of putting the world to rights were it not for the intervention of my brother. An early career in a newsroom opened my eyes to the proliferation of angry old men displacing the regret over the aging process by vilifying everything they once did.

Consequently I was amused to see the reaction to “Vaping Boy†this week.

Anger and notions that this was a clandestine plot by the anti-vaping industry gushed onto the modern day virtual equivalent of the print letters page.

“Ban this filth!†“Disgusting!†“Complain and get it taken down!â€

Now I’m not going to judge the lad (aside from a gentle mocking of his inability to differentiate between vape and smoke), I was 12 when I bought 10 Embassy No.6 from a vending machine in the High St. I was a year older when I covered our village bus shelter in graffiti.

The fact is young kids act like this, they explore the world and make a succession of poor choices just like we all did. My wife, from a respectable middle class family, spent her 13th birthday face down in a pool of vomit and vodka. Lil’ Asap may go on to a lifetime of nicotine addiction, he might even be one of the very few to make the leap from vaping to a more unpleasant alternative, who knows? Despite launching into the mighty world of booze like global stocks of it were more limited than the remaining oil reserves, the wife has cut out a lifestyle drinking culture for herself that involves a half of lager in her slippers and sleep by 9pm.

What is the appropriate response? I’ve no idea, I do know what my response was though – and it was the same as when I saw a comment by Martin McKee: laughter.

He isn’t the first kid to try vaping, there was one walking around Vapefest with his parents in 2012, and he certainly won’t be the last. Pretending it’s not taking place or hoping to hide the activity from the outside world is no better than the lies made up by Glantz. Deal with it and twist it into a positive would appear to be a positive step. Use it to amplify how the industry abhors vendors who sell to children, take it and run with the notion that kids have always experimented with smoking and if this prevents them from doing so then society wins.

Just don’t tell me that insulting him and getting his online account blocked is anything approaching the right thing to do as I would be forced to write a strongly-worded letter of complaint.

*These opinions are my own and do not reflect those held by Stealthvape

The M Word

In the book, Orwell argues powerfully against the control of language, because those who tell you what words you can and can’t use are automatically dictating how you communicate. Through the censorship of words or by changing their meanings, Newspeak replaces English and thereby limits the opportunity of the individual to express or formulate thought. The endgame for “The Party†is that no one would be able to question its absolute power because they would no longer have the words to do so.

Taking the notion to an extreme end of the spectrum, Chomsky says “if we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.â€

On Vaping forums we will happily debate the potential dangers related to coils oxidising and what may be released into the lungs. We will discuss the nature of wicks and the likelihood of particulates finding their way down to our alveoli. But mention the M-word and the ban hammer will loom large.

“Smoke inhalation delivers damaging carcinogens and an onslaught of other damaging materials directly through the bronchial tree and into the lungs. The most immediate effect is the irritation of the windpipe, but long-term exposure to any source of hot smoke is unnatural and very hard on the lungs†– not my words but those of Royal Queen Seeds. Something so strikingly similar to any number of vaping-related forum posts and yet this doesn’t relate to tobacco discussion, it belongs to a comment about the combustion of a different leaf entirely. A leaf consider so taboo for vape-talk I’ve even made up an image through the imaginative use of nettle leaves.

If we are so keen to ensure that others have the opportunity to use nicotine in a manner accepted to be orders of magnitude safer than through smoking then why is it we spurn any direct reference to Mary Jane? When people using traditional means to access cannabinoids are opening themselves up to combustion products (88% of the smoke compared to 95% pure through vaporising) shouldn’t we be more welcoming to these vapers? These are purely rhetorical questions; I am not a user and have no vested interest.

I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.” ~ Voltaire

Clearly, we are comparing something that is legal (albeit with impending restrictions) to something illegal in most countries but exceptions apply and the technology is the aspect of interest. A reason given online would go along the lines of ‘we are at an important juncture in the formation of legislation and could do without the association to illegal substances.

The response ought to be: but if the argument is about health promotion and harm reduction then surely this transcends legality of substance in the wider interests of society? If we support the idea of vaping for a healthier population and lower costs on the health service infrastructure then should this be restricted only to those who vape the substance we agree with?

Vaping does not encourage people to smoke, the discussion of vaping does not draw people who do not smoke into vaping and, by extension, talking about the use of Maui Wowie in vaporisers will not culminate with lines of new people outside late-night snack shops.

The rights and wrongs of this topic will never be debated in our forums, we will continue to allow ourselves to be censored, which can only be doubleplusbad.

“Take away the right to say “****” and you take away the right to say “**** the government.† ~Lenny Bruce


Have I Got News For You

Stealthvape’s biggest news of the week has to be ‘The Return of Little Bill’. How wonderful it was to see the mass of messages flooding onto Facebook and Internet forums wishing him a speedy recovery and how understanding customers were that delays might happen. There can’t be many business markets where a vendor is positively encouraged to take time with deliveries because “other things in life are far more important� We know that vapers are a special bunch of people; this week confirmed it even more.

The launch of the OCD connector has been warmly received by Vapeland’s modders and orders are flying in from all parts of the world. It would be wonderful to see pictures of it in action – why not post a picture or two up onto the Facebook page?

Back out in the real world, NHS Scotland has taken a lead role in standing up for common sense and good science by including electronic cigarettes in its advise to smokers. For the first time in the United Kingdom a health organisation has recognised the popularity of vaping and has instructed all of its smoking cessation services that they should not tell vapers to put down the ecig in favour of NRT products.

Previously, only the NHS Stop Smoking service in Leicester had taken on board such a proactive stance, but now the 24% of Scottish men and 22% of Scottish women who smoke will have the opportunity to vape as part of an integrated policy to reduce smoking-related disease, (figures from ASH Scotland). The guidance sent out states that “current expert opinion on the limited evidence available suggests that they are likely to be considerably less hazardous than tobacco smoking.â€

Fiona Moore, public health adviser at NHS Health Scotland, said “increased interest and inquires about e-cigarettes had prompted us to revisit guidance, amid concerns the numbers using quit services were falling, meaning they might be missing out on the extra support these gave.â€

 Plus, as the saying goes, when America catches a cold Britain sneezes; news from Fortune magazine demonstrates a 24.2% rise in the sales of e-cigarettes and it is predicted that this strong growth will continue at around 25% per annum through to 2018. The market for vaping devices is now conservatively estimated to be worth $1.5billion in the States alone.

Harking back to the research produced by Robert West in the journal Addiction, last month, the progression from 1st to 3rd generation devices is marked. It is also confirmed by the findings of the ASH UK report into vaping and so vendors should continue to see increases in trade despite the looming TPD regulations (however they may be interpreted by Parliament).

It will be interesting to see how the 3rd Gen market develops over the rest of this year as a number of traditionally limited run manufacturers appear to be setting, or have set up an online presence. With Mikro Engineering making the latest run of the Challenger available through Facebook, the Hellfire website advertising atomisers in stock, and new to the market manufacturers set to release products at Vapefest demands for home-made high end devices has never been bigger.

Popping back across the pond there are more positive signs, as reported by Bloomsberg Businessweek. In an interview with Mitch Zeller, head of the Food & Drug Administration, he was quoted as saying that regulators were going to have to keep an “open mind on the potential for these emerging technologies†with regards the health benefits of vaping. That the head of the FDA is now using phrases like “It’s time for us to start looking at nicotine differently†will come as a massive slap in the face for anti campaigners.

Meanwhile, in Boston, gubernatorial candidates were asked for their thoughts regarding the rise and rise of the e-cig. To which one candidate, Mark Fisher responded “I trust that the good citizens of the Commonwealth can decide for themselves how to run their lives and pursue happiness without any interference from the State regarding the sale of e-cigarettes. If the State were to be involved in this, then what’s next, banning Santa Claus because he smokes a pipe, is overweight and has rosy cheeks after enjoying an adult beverage?â€

I hope not, Mark, because I’m pretty sure that would upset Little Bill and he’s had enough to cope with this year.