Monthly Archives: July 2016

The SV Efficacy Survey


A small but vocal collection of public health experts repeatedly suggest legislators and policy makers should ignore personal anecdotes; while this is understandable if given from one or two people, it makes little sense when faced with large groups all saying the same thing.

We believe in vaping as a harm reduction tool. Public Health England (PHE) declared it to be at least 95% safer than smoking in August 2015. The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) agreed with PHE, and added in their Nicotine Without Smoke report: “E-cigarettes appear to be effective when used by smokers as an aid to quitting smoking.â€

Our survey reached over 3,000 people on social media. From that, 337 replied that gives us about an 11% response rate (over double what is expected from such activity usually). What is notable is the uniformity of response to certain key questions, the key one being whether vaping worked for them as a quit tool.

The 2% representing “Other†are those who still dual-fuel (smoke and vape). The length of time vaping demonstrates that it has kept the 98% from returning to cigarettes.

We identified a handful of dubious submissions from the responses and pulled those from the data set, leaving 330 genuine submissions. 99% of our respondents classified themselves as full-time smokers prior to switching to vaping.

We appreciate that this is a tainted sample group; we did not consider asking people who had tried vaping but returned to smoking. The problem for them, we believe, lies in the inadequacy of some starter kits to provide a satisfying vape. As can be seen from our results, respondents appear to be advanced vapers who are comfortable in tailoring their vape to give a satisfying experience.

Four fifths of the respondents are long-term vapers, clear indication that they found the switch from smoking to be preferable. While 2% continue to dual fuel, none of the rest of the respondents classify themselves as smokers any longer. Two thirds consider themselves to be “vapers†while the remaining people think of themselves as “non-smokersâ€.

But it’s the desire to escape from the harm of smoking that drove them here. The majority of respondents began smoking as young teens and smoked for a considerable number of years. As identified here, smoking cessation faces the twin difficulties of motivation and nicotine withdrawal.

Where vaping succeeds is that it delivers nicotine far more effectively as users can self-regulate their intake. Plus, it delivers it in a safer way that mimics smoking. The following chart illustrates the failure of traditional routes tobacco smokers make to escape from smoking:

Failure to escape from tobacco resulted from attempts mainly using nicotine gums, patches and inhalers – but 70% of the failures came from people attempting to go cold turkey. Vaping appears to be an easier transition for smokers looking to swap to something safer, but also offers the potential to gradual reduce nicotine content until clear of any addiction if that is what the user desires.

What makes the failed attempts understandable, and the success they experienced with vaping all the more remarkable, is that our survey illustrated not just the time people smoked for but also the volume. Most of the respondents reported that they previously smoked more than the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes per day, the rest stating up to a pack. Nobody claimed to be a light or social smoker.

Almost all of the respondents successfully quit an addiction to either traditional cigarettes or roll-up tobacco.

There are all manner of costs related to a smoking habit, and these are borne out in the reasons people gave for wanting to quit and continuing to vape. Respondents said they vape instead of smoking for the benefit of their health, the cost savings and (what places it above traditional NRT) for pleasure. Although the question asked for the main reason for vaping, many suggested that it is a combination of those three options.

Although being experienced in coil building is not essential to finding success with vaping, almost half of the replies showed that users always built their own.  This said, sixteen percent of users never build their own coil and yet no longer smoke.

What powers the coils for our successful ex-smokers?

A regulated mod offering temperature control is used by 75% of respondents, 47% use non-TC regulated devices and 38% of people still love the simplicity of a mechanical mod. But what sits on top? What do our contributors prefer to pop their coils in?

By far the first choice among our vapers is the rebuildable tank, with drippers and the recent revelation that is the subohm clearomiser making up 90% of the preferred choices.

To be successful in making vape work as an alternative to smoking means finding a good set up as shown above – but it also means discovering what type of juice the user gains the most reward from in order to maintain the desire to quit.

Flavour profiles are reasonably evenly distributed after the 40% popularity of fruit flavours. A few years ago, the British market was dominated by tobacco flavours but in this survey it only occupies 11% of the replies. By far the majority of “Other†comments mentioned coffee as the flavour of choice. 

Smokers often ask what is the best flavour to buy when they consider making the switch. As the chart shows, this is an impossible question to answer, as one juice flavour can taste differently to different taste buds. Plus, preferences change as a sense of taste returns the longer someone is away from tobacco cigarettes.
 
What does appear to be the case is that the majority (55%) of our respondents prefer to make their own liquid for day-to-day vaping. Most of the rest are split between cheap and expensive UK manufactured brands (33%). 
 

Our story so far has been one of success, people successfully quit smoking and we have identified the type of vape gear that enabled them to do so. But what next?

In the short to medium term, the participants in our survey expressed content with being vapers and continuing to vape. Health “experts†opposed to the technology would claim that this illustrates a ‘failure to quit’. Given the previously cited reports from PHE and the RCP, we argue that the results are a glowing victory for harm reduction. Eighty five percent of people want to continue vaping and benefit from it being 95% safer than smoking and 10% see it as a stepping stone to no longer using nicotine.

The Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) will challenge the ability to make DIY eliquids and the ease of buying premade juices next year. A third of our participants also believe it will change how they source their hardware. Just 3% intend to comply with the demands of the TPD. We would share with you some of the comments made about the TPD but children may be reading. Given the popularity and success of rebuildable tank atomisers, it’s not surprising that people aren’t looking forward to pointless volume limitations of 2ml.

One of the fears raised by the TPD was that it would limit the opportunity for current smokers to find out about vaping being a safer and more enjoyable alternative. Currently, it looks as though social media platforms are relatively unaffected and almost 40% of our success stories originated from direct human interaction. Plus, as the numbers of vapers has grown it increases the potential for these conversations to happen in the future.

Why is this important? Health. It has been noted in many scientific studies that vaping leads to health benefits for ex-smokers. Our survey revealed a catalogue of tobacco-related ailments people were suffering from prior to switching to vaping. 72% of people informed us that they suffered in some way from smoking while 13% revealed extreme conditions including heart attacks, strokes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

In 1976, Professor Michael Russell wrote: “People smoke for nicotine but they die from the tar.†Vapers choose to use vape because it’s safer than smoking – but they also report a dramatic improvement in their health as a result of switching. A whopping 93% of respondents reported that they were healthier as a direct result of vaping – people who had desperately struggled with previous smoking cessation attempts.

Comments made referred to improvements in breathing and a reduction in coughing. People also claimed to suffer from fewer chest infections and, what should delight public health officials, many claimed to be partaking in exercise such as running and cycling. It is disconcerting that the media doesn’t appear to report this aspect of vaping, but then vapers feel strongly about the negative coverage in the whole.

Respondents feel that the media fixates on negative stories and gives a misleading impression as to theoretical dangers at the expense of actual benefits. A recent study carried out by Professor Robert West (on behalf of Cancer Research UK and the Department of Health) found “a declining minority of current smokers believe e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettesâ€. The media has a direct impact on the poor perception of vaping among the people it would help most.

The relatively high safety message given out by PHE and the RCP resonates with most vapers but some believe vaping is totally safe, there’s no evidence to support that view. The difference in perception between current vapers and existing smokers is becoming ever more striking. Hopefully ongoing dialogue can resolve this.

Almost 60% of our participants believe that vape products should be available on prescription to current smokers looking to switch., with a further 25% undecided on the issue. The same level of support is not forthcoming for current smokers under the age of 18. 51% of our respondents feel they should not have access with only 26% thinking teens should be able to vape in order to escape from smoking.

Our final question asked people what their biggest concern related to vaping was. By far the most common theme was over-regulation by governments and the possible impact on current vapers and smokers. Many see it as possibly forcing them back to smoking, others lament the restriction on equipment and some fear smokers will be put off trying vaping in the first place. Some worry about future restrictions on the types of eliquid that can be sold or access to basic ingredients in order to make their own.

Another theme was that of media coverage, as was highlighted in one of the survey questions. The third most cited topic was that of research and long-term health impact being an unknown. While the latter might be of importance to current vapers with no intention of quitting, it has little impact on those who use vaping as a vehicle to leave nicotine altogether. The trouble with long-term studies will be the time it takes to carry them out – but it should be noted that there are no reports of people being treated for vape-related illnesses at the moment.

This was an exceptionally interesting activity to carry out and we will be sending press releases out (hopefully) to encourage some positive news coverage. Our question regarding the efficacy of vaping was emphatically answered: vaping works. Research tells us it’s healthier than smoking, our replies detail the health improvements that have been experienced and the success achieved. Thank you to everyone who took part.

Vaping Past and Future


The extra 24hours vaping is not going to be the only thing vapers will notice in what no one has yet called The Year of Change: Doctor Konstantinos Farsalinos became a well-known figure within the vaping community over the last twelve months. If he wasn’t publishing scientific studies or ripping other studies to shreds, he spent the last twelve months being interviewed and advocating for vaping. It will come as an almighty shock then that the TPD is forcing him to throw in the towel.

We found someone in Greggs who was willing to speak on the doctor’s behalf. “For sure, it is going to be a different world without him,†said Carole, a semi-professional Come Dine With Me viewer. “But I will be continuing to support Konstantinos.†Supporting indeed, as he is due to announce his intention to take up bare-knuckle fighting and is set to take on Brad Pitt behind the Wetherspoons in Kettering next month. Cynthia Pett-Dante, Pitt’s manager, has yet to deny the speculation.

Farsalinos isn’t alone as many vapers and advocates questioned whether it was worth bothering following the news from the European Court. Scott igetcha69 is moving over to making videos reviewing cross-stitch patterns, Mark Toddy McTodd is on the verge of announcing his intention to begin stamp collecting while the whole of the UK Vapers forum is rumoured to be set for a makeover – as an online venue for fans of Um Bungo juice drink, renamed UB Drinkers.

How can the vaping world change so dramatically? Well it all comes down to the things Jeremy Mean of The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) hasn’t said. We are all fully aware that atomisers will be restricted to 2ml in volume and that refill containers are to be limited at 10ml – but has he also said that you can only vape on a Tuesday? No. This mean-spirited individual could well have an untold number of plans yet to be announced.

The likelihood is that if a juice or device manufacturer wishes to obtain a licence then not only will they have to undergo a costly and lengthy administrative procedure – but they will have to do it while wearing roller skates, a tutu and singing the theme tune to Happy Days. Falling over or forgetting any of the words will result in immediate disqualification. We know this as well-funded Big Tobacco corporate lawyers have been spotted and photographed preparing their submissions.

But then there are the resolute bunch of hardened vapers and vendors who will refuse to be oppressed. For them the only recourse is going to be subterfuge and flying under the radar. Stealthvape is in the process of moving premises to Zanzibar while Scopes Eliquid are appraising whether or not Trading Standards can get to them if they relocate to a trading estate in Syria. We believe they said Syria but could have misheard them saying Slough – either way they’d probably be equally inaccessible.

For those who intend to stick with the new approved products we will sign off this forecast by predicting the likely winners of the end of year awards. There is no doubt that best mod and atomiser will go to the only legal one on the market: The British American Tobacco Shitstick™. Juice of the year will be either Ashtray Experience or Stale Tabs from Phillip Morris’ Taste of Ash range.

Or maybe it won’t be this bad, no one knows.

You Too Can YouTube


Barely a week goes by when someone doesn’t ask to be sent the entire stocked range so that they can use their five subscribers to send vape company turnovers into the stratosphere. Do not laugh, it is almost highly probable that Auntie Joan, Granddad Kevin, Lucy from down the road, Pikey Dave and Jazz2000 have huge buying power and are incredibly influential in the vaping community.

What is incredible about these requests is that they come from reviewers with amazingly high video production standards. Clicking on the links they supply is like being taken into worlds co-created by Steven Spielberg and James Cameron – with maybe a hint of Alan Parker.

When you combine awesome reviews with the comments you can see why vendors feel compelled to give away products for nothing. Or, as Pikey Dave writes after one scintillating two minutes and nineteen seconds: “Innit tho lol yeh woooâ€. We’ve touched on this before but with the huge growth in the number of vapers here’s a detailed brief for anybody considering making a competent review online.

Location – Location – Location

Do not worry that you don’t have direct access to Pinewood Studios. Why not film your reviews in the toilet or maybe that cupboard under the stairs? People are clamouring to witness your hideous taste in home decor, the unwashed pile on the sink behind you or that photo of you and Pikey Dave being arrested in Poundland. On the other hand you may think this is a brilliant moment to show off the old computer Auntie Joan never uses now and the tablet you got for Xmas – put those in the background and the public will naturally assume that you work at Jodrell Bank or GCHQ. This is a mistake, vendors will believe you are too rich and should buy your own things for review. Likewise, some vapers may labour under the misapprehension that you are in league with the MRHA and have seized control of their webcam.

Maintain Your Focus

Remember, this isn’t about the product. Many successful Youtubers make this schoolchild error and invest in a decent camera in order to obtain boring close-up shots that reveal the fine details. Who needs that? These videos are about you getting free shit and being able to talk aimlessly for as long as you want without interruption. All anyone wants to see is a badly out of focus lump of metal being held in front of a badly out of focus hand – keep them guessing, keep them keen.

When Only The Best Will Do – Don’t

Do not buy the best equipment; this stuff will ruin it for everyone. Viewers will be able to see what you’re talking about and who needs that? Stick with the camera on your phone or the laptop. The only deviation from this advice is that you should invest in a selfie-stick. There is a gaping hole in the reviewing community for someone who can talk about things while holding a camera that is constantly moving. Be prepared to think outside the box.

Peaks and Troughs

Life is a rollercoaster so there’s no reason why the review shouldn’t be as well. Spend time getting Grandad Kevin to make a flashy set of intro splash screens for the opening. Augment them with music that is a) pounding, b) something only you and deaf people would like and c) finishes abruptly just as the song gets going. The opening credits need to be the high point of the experience so that everything can go crashing downhill rapidly.

Juxtaposition

Black and white, hot and cold, up and down…life is about opposites so what could be a better follow on from a tight, loud and visually terrifying opening sequence than for you to speak in a monotone or so quietly that people turn their monitors up to full?  Nothing, that’s what. Imagine you are giving a talk about small stones to the massed ranks of the Grimsby Rock Appreciators & Small Stone Fanciers Society – this is the mental image you cling on to. Talk like you do when asked how you are, that monologue where you actually drone on about your backache and foot fungus to a bored and disinterested acquaintance in the street. Put inflection into you voice only for those bits that are teenager-like statements but spoken as if they were a question.

Shine A Light On Me

No. This is something aliens do when they come to abduct people. Light is the enemy – ask any self-respecting member of the Galactic Empire or new First Order. This is where sticking to your guns with cheap filming products enhances your production values. Just in case that atomiser briefly rushes into focus a suitably dark room will render the viewer unable to see it. Providing a great visual service is not important, this is work to help a community, a calling greater than nurses or serial killers have.

A Right Stitch-up

Yep, we all saw the newspaper. We know that the only reason you and Pikey Dave were caught was because someone grassed you up to Poundland’s overweight security guard. But take that feeling of being framed and translate it into your filming. Who needs the video to occupy the whole screen with landscape format when it’s all about painting you in a portrait? Hold that phone upright and make sure you left a big, fat fingerprint on the lens. Filming in portrait mode doesn’t just make your review unique – your channel will be flooded with six people (more than doubling your views) pointing out why this is a crime greater than that perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge in the Killing Fields of Cambodia. Framing is everything.

Atmosphere

The only thing better than straining to hear someone drone on about a mech mod is trying to hear them over the sound of a washing machine or a train. Or anything at all that makes it impossible to pick out a single syllable. Consider relocating to a house next to Heathrow. Failing that, get Auntie Joan round to watch Celebrity Big Brother while you record.

Supported Ever More

The final advice to be furnished is that you may wish to give consideration to: think about getting a mate involved. It could be that you are simply too chipper, talented or too interesting and this won’t do. If this is the case then you need Pikey Dave to sit next to you wearing a hat at a jaunty angle. Give him the responsibility for speaking while you wave things in front of your face and nod.

We hope this will help you in setting up your channel and look forward to receiving your begging letter presently.

*All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.