I was at a festival last weekend and saw my first custom / hacked vaporizer, similar to the one at right (click to embiggen). The hack is putting in a coil with less resistance that heats the liquid faster. The other part of vaping culture is the creation of different liquids, some of which have gotten vaporists in trouble with organizations like the Girl Scouts (because of Thin Mint vaping liquid).
Related to that, I thought this response to the World Health Organization’s call to regulate vaporizers was interesting:
“For the WHO to suggest that e-cigarettes are as risky as other tobacco products would send an erroneous and bleak message to the millions of current e-cigarette users who have used them to quit smoking,” Robert West, a University College London researcher and a signatory of the letter, says in a statement. “It would discourage smokers from trying them and we would miss out on a major opportunity to reduce smoke-related deaths globally.”
Ah, for the lazy, hazy days of the opium den.
At least the WHO hasn’t succumbed to the Cult of Non-Smoking. It really seems like a lot of anti-smoking measures here in the US are more designed to punish the smoker than to actually protect the public. Smoking Puritanism…
And the powers that be only too happy and eager to rake in the ‘sin taxes.’
Vaping has really become a thing, hasn’t it? Shops are springing up in every little shithole town in my neck of the woods. I recently went to a festival and saw scads of people sucking on their fake cigarettes.
It certainly stinks less than regular cigarettes or cigars, and if it’s less harmful than tobacco, more power to the vapers, I say.
My teenager says kids at school are vaping, which isn’t good. But better than smoking cigarettes, I reckon. Back in MY day, we had a good old-fashioned spliff in the girls’ room…
After thirty years I quit smoking in a week with one of these. Now, two months later, I don’t even use the vapor thing much. I’ve been completely off nicotine since the first week.
We have a steam vaporizor that shoots out Vicks when the kid has a cold. Thinking about getting a cool mist one.
I had no idea we were drug addicts.
We’re getting our edge back!
It’s how I quit smoking. I used it less and less and realized one day that was going days without a hit and only took a puff when I thought about it. It works.
@jayjaybear: Like what?
@jayjaybear: aesthetics matters. I like going to bars and not smelling like four day old ass when I get home.
Mike in NC
I quit smoking about 15 years ago, but the wife could never let it go. Smoked about a pack a day until friends convinced her to go to the e-cigarette. She was down to one actual cig a day until we went to Europe a couple of weeks ago, where apparently everybody still smokes! She even went and bought a carton of Marlboro Lights on the ship, and I’ve been trying to get her to throw the goddamn things away ever since we got back (both of us with bad colds courtesy of the airplane).
I saw a dude vaping in San Francisco last week while I was waiting for a cable car.
And not a hipster or a ghey, a real boat-shoe-and-polo-wearing Murkin.
@ice weasel: That’s awesome, and if it took an e-cig to get it done, I’m glad that option was available to you.
I quit a 20+ year, pack-a-day habit — it’ll be two years on Sunday. Hardest thing I ever did, from a sheer pulling-my-hair-out, wanna-go-HULK-SMASH perspective.
@Joel: Oh, absolutely. I can totally understand INDOOR smoking bans, especially in restaurants and bars. It’s the municipalities that are passing “No smoking in public” ordinances that look a lot more like punishing people for daring to enjoy doing something the anti-smoking people consider nasty. Outdoor smoking (and I don’t include patio or sidewalk seating for restaurants and bars in that) is minimally dangerous to non-smokers. Smoke disperses much more readily outside than indoors. And I also see the need and use for “no smoking within 20 feet of building entrance” stuff, too. I’m not a fanatical smokers’ rights person. I just think there IS a point where it goes too far and some people are trying to go right past that point.
I’d never seen one of those e-cigs until a few weeks ago when I was at a local restaurant. I kept seeing a neon light go on and off in a nearby booth and looked over and saw it was one of these e-cigarettes. The guy was puffing on it every time he used it the neon light would go off. Instead of blowing the smoke or vapor at the woman across the table from him, he blew it at the backs of the people sitting at the table next to him. Total dick move because the people at the next table couldn’t see what he was doing since they were facing away from him.
Eventually the waiter came over, said something to him and he quit using the thing. Don’t know if that was a coincidence or the waiter told him to stop using it inside.
People who smoke in public spaces are basically the same thing as people who eat nothing but Taco Bell and fart, loudly and continuously, in public.
And if vaping gets rid of that horrid cigarette/cigar odor for the rest of the nose-wielding public, then bring on the vaping.
Check into the Firefly. I believe Wired ran an article a few weeks back.
Ever tried to sit out on the beach when there are smokers about? The breeze makes it so half the beach can smell someone’s godawful cigarette.
Paul in KY
@Betty Cracker: You can use those for vaping substances other than tobacco.
You mean a baby’s bottom?
Paul in KY
@Betty Cracker: Glad you quit & it is so hard to do. Just keep on keeping on.
@jayjaybear: Smoking still pongs even outdoors. Smokers are acclimatised to smelling whiffy and their general sense of smell is trashed anyway so they don’t notice the stink. We do. I make active efforts to avoid following a smoker in the street, never mind the chance of getting a hole burned in my clothing as they wave their portable fire about randomly.
Japan has “no smoking outdoors” zones, usually around train station entrances, schools and hospitals and that’s a country with a lot of smokers to the point where places like McDonalds still have smoking areas. Very few people smoke in the street though and there are no discarded cigarette butts left lying around.
i live in one of those municipalities. the best part is that the sidewalks and curbs aren’t full of piles of butts.
i’d have much more sympathy for smokers if they didn’t treat the world around them as a huge fucking ashtray.
Villago Delenda Est
These vile devices should simply be banned. Those profiting from it are parasites. Fuck them.
If you’re a smoker you can pretty much blame your fellow smokers for those bans. Because they’ve come about as anti-littering bans because smokers refuse to clean up after themselves when they smoke. The choices are to have cops follow them around and cite them when they throw the butts away, or just ban it. It’s cheaper to ban it rather than raise taxes to pay for those cops, so it’s banned.
If the general population of smokers weren’t such a disgusting group of litterbugs with their butts, outdoor bans wouldn’t have gotten the support they needed to pass most places. People like having clean parks without a lot of trash strewn about and since the 70s we’ve gotten really good at not littering. Except for cigarette butts – which smokers drop everywhere and don’t even realize that they’re littering.
big ole hound
@Betty Cracker: Easy peasy. Same here only for 40 years. Had by pass surgery and things got screwed up so they put me in a coma for 28 days, Voila, no more smoking. Family members still puff and I love that light up smell.
Villago Delenda Est
@jayjaybear: Fuck nicotine addicts. No mercy for them.
Cry me a fucking river. If that’s what the science says, that’s what the science says. No one has a right to commit fraud.
@jayjaybear: I kind of agree with this. “It SMELLS!” Well, yeah, so do lots of things. Whatever, get over it. That’s the road that leads to HOAs and not being able to have garden gnomes on your lawn. Or for fining people for holes in their jeans. That sort of thing. For the record, smoking is stupid.
Villago Delenda Est
@Pee Cee: Steve Martin routine:
“Do you mind if I smoke?”
“No, do you mind if I fart? It’s a habit I have…”
As a carded Prop 215 holder we’ve been using vape-pens for a couple years now. I have to admit the convenience of it is sweet but I find smoking only oil isn’t good for my lungs. I now juggle it about with more traditional approaches. The sad part of the popularity is I used to be able to go into Giants games at AT&T park & really enjoy the game from my seat. This year they made vape-pens illegal there. Damn those bastards. How am I expected to get a buzz? On their $10 beers?
Just to make sure I am being clear I don’t use it for nicotine. Never have smoked that.
@Villago Delenda Est: Especially after eating, I really like to light one up. They have special sections on planes for me.
Paul in KY
@Villago Delenda Est: What about using them to smoke dope?
These are quite popular here. Smoking is banned so widely here in CA that it make sense we would have been quick on the uptake. I have mixed feelings about it:
1) I’m all for whatever help people kick smoking which is dangerous to all.
2) The reason the smoking ban in CA was eventually embraced isn’t because it’s healthier for the people around the smokers, but because smoking violates the ‘your freedom ends where my nose begins’ rule, and vaping isn’t much better on that front. I don’t want to walk through a cloud of anything that is expelled from your body, and I don’t think I’m alone on that. Too often smokers, like the ammosexuals and proselyters and perverts use their hobby as a deliberate way to push personal boundaries.
But public policy here is very conflicted on the issue around those two viewpoints. My guess is vaping will be tolerated publicly and smoking cracked down on, and when smoking is sufficiently taboo and the first viewpoint falls away, then the public will start pushing against the second one.
@jayjaybear: I’m glad you don’t have an adverse reaction to cigarette smoke. Having a daughter and a husband that get migraines when exposed to smoke. There are also kids with asthma who react when they come in contact with smoke. I’m not certain that someone’s right to smoke should trump the rights of people who are affected by cigarette smoke.
I work around a lot of smokers, several have gone to vapor and none have quit. Most are back on the regular cigarettes but a couple stuck with the e jobs. I am as yet unimpressed with their alleged ability to break the habit (good for you if it helped you) and want to see more actual studies done by actual groups who don’t have a vested interest in selling the things.
Even after that there are 2 potential problems.
Hooking kids: now you can eliminate that whole hacking and coughing & the stink giving you away to your folks. Its fun and easy . . . and HARMLESS – as far as you know.
Manipulation/adulteration: We saw with the tobacco companies that as early as the 1940’s they understood they had a drug deliver system & they manipulated their product to facilitate the best (for them) way to deliver the drug. This ended up adding several chemicals to the leaf that caused a lot of problems for smokers over time, not the least of which was a worse addiction. Who is regulating the vapor manufacturers to see to it they do not go down the same road?
That said there has been some hysteria on the subject & a little cool rationality and more study would help.
Nothing like a smoking post to bring out the scolds offended at the way people SMELL.
Shall we institute mandatory daily shower ordinances? How about perfume bans? Bans on Indian curry?
Not to mention all the butts the smokers casually toss everywhere. I think anti-smoking laws can go too far- my city bans smoking anywhere on the property of a multifamily residence, which seems a bit much- but it ought to be tightly restricted.
Shinseki has resigned.
I am sorry to hear that.
@Villago Delenda Est: no mercy for addicts? Thank you for self-identifying as a sociopath.
From what I’ve seen here in North Texas, e-cigs aren’t being used to try to quit smoking. They are being used because people think they will be allowed to use them in restaurants and other buildings.
@NonyNony: The littering didn’t bother me quite so much until I had a toddler. ‘Small manmade thing on the ground? I shall pick that up and stick it in my mouth.’ You try and stop as much of that as you can, but when 95% of the small manmade things on the ground are butts, that pretty quickly moves a parent into the hard ban camp.
Good for you for quitting. I’ve become a total nag about smoking since my dad died last year at 74. He had smoked for 50 years and every cause of death on the certificate was smoking-related (kidney failure due to high blood pressure caused by smoking, lung and kidney tumors caused by smoking, severe COPD/emphysema caused by guess what?)
Sure, a few lucky people can smoke their whole lives and not suffer any bad effects, but they’re in the minority, and do you really want to gamble that maybe you’ll be in the minority when the odds are greater that they’ll be taking out a chunk of your lung in your 60s?
@Paul in KY:
Vaporizers of all types are very popular for marijuana here in Colorado. They’re expensive though.
You can get types that only vape oil or wax, or types that will vaporize flowers. Since I’m growing my own I only smoke the flowers directly, and a vaporizer is so much easier on the throat and lungs.
@? Martin: Having lived in California, the reason smoking has been banned in outdoor public spaces & inside people’s personal residences in many cities is because California progressives are prone to scolding nanny-statism and NIMBYism of the highest order. Berkeley voters are infamous for that kind of mind-set.
I smoked for the better part of 40 years, and quit in a couple of weeks using one of these. As soon as I tried it I knew it would work, and I simply replaced my cigs with a puff off this . . . lowering the nicotine content every few days until I was down to zero. At that point it became unnecessary and just too cumbersome to carry around. Not saying that it works for everyone, but it certainly did for me. It’s been ten months, and I’m not even tempted.
I don’t think they should be puffed on anywhere cigarette smoking is frowned upon, though. That seems pretty obnoxious.
The e-cigs are, in most cases, just another nicotine delivery system. You’ve given up the smell, but you haven’t broken the habit yet.
And, dammit. Shinseki was doing a good job. Fuck you know-nothing pikers who cut funding for the VA year after year.
@? Martin: so bad B.O. & farting & perfume should be banned too?
Paul in KY
@jnfr: I have tried the wax in a regular pipe & one of those contraptions where you have to use a glazing torch, etc.
The ‘contraption’ is just too freaking complicated, IMO. Also the wax is a little strong for me. 2 hits & you are blotto.
Have purchased a vaporizer I plan on making use of at Bonnaroo.
Yeah … those same people usually think that the beach sand is there for them to dispose of their cigarette butts. And beer cans.
But I agree that smoking bans can possibly get too restrictive. At your own home or apartment if you’re a renter (and the landlord’s okay with it), I don’t think a ban should apply.
Villago Delenda Est
@raven: Oh, this is bullshit.
It’s not his fault. He’s being punished for the intransigence of Rethuglican fucks who will happily abandon veterans if it saves the parasite overclass 5 cents in taxes.
@Elizabelle: He was in charge, shit happened under his watch, the buck stops with him. One of the things they teach officers in other people’s militaries is that they must closely monitor what people under their command are doing, not just listen to reports of what they claim they are achieving. I don’t know what it’s like in the US military, not after Abu Ghraib and the like but the reported corruption in the Veterans Administration system should have been spotted and dealt with a long time back. Shinseki signally failed to do this, it’s time for someone else to step in and DO THE JOB.
@Goblue72: I don’t think you realize just how pervasive that smell is. After California banned it, we didn’t notice that much of a change at first. But combined with our emissions laws, we later realized we could tell if someone in another car was smoking, with the windows up. We then later realized that we could often tell if a car in front of us had a smoker in it, even when they weren’t smoking – and this is over the vehicle emissions. When we visited my Mom in Iowa, where smoking wasn’t banned, it was intolerable for the kids. They yanked us out of every restaurant and public space as soon as they could. My mom was still too acclimated to the smell to realize.
The popularity and pervasiveness of smoking basically fucked up the entire country’s day-to-day sense of smell. Showering and perfume and diet have never had that effect on the public.
if they actually help with cessation, great.
in no way shape or form do I trust the tobacco industry when they says they are less harmful than traditional cancer sticks, or create no secondary smoke problems.
when there have been 10, 20, 30 years of longitudinal studies on the effects of habitual use their might be an argument for not limiting public usage…. until then, Big Tobacco is pulling the same grift they have always used to addict more walking dead for profit. for this reason alone municipalities should ban the use of them in public spaces. If users are truly trying to quit, then waiting until they are in a private space will only aid that effort. Outside of that, IMO users who force the rest of the world (and restaurant/bar employees) to share the consequences of their addictions, are no different than the monsters who love to brandish their tiny AK 47 penises in public. Its just BT trying to re-brand themselves as good guys protecting freedumb. They also seem to be pretty specifically trying to enlist the support of those who want to toke up in public too.
no one can demonstrate yet that using vaporizers is any safer or less harmful than the traditional tobacco delivery systems.
Villago Delenda Est
@Robert Sneddon: If the subordinates are actively covering up their actions (which appears to be the case in Arizona) then what is the boss supposed to do? Call in the Psicorps to monitor their thought waves?
When this was discovered, an investigation was started immediately. Shinseki did all that was humanly possible to do.
Shinseki is being punished, again, for his demonstration of what asswipes the neocons were in the Iraq dog and pony show.
I don’t get this — supposedly what e-cigarettes do is deliver nicotine, or some other flavored vapor, to the smoker. There’s no smoke, and hardly any odor. How is this dangerous or any different than nicotine gum? I can’t see why people are freaking out about these things, quite frankly. Is it just that they somehow “look” like regular cigarettes?
Villago Delenda Est
@Goblue72: Nicotine addicts. Fuck them, and fuck you. With the diseased dick of Dick Cheney.
So? What business is it of yours if they continue to use nicotine, as long as it’s not inconveniencing you anymore?
And to whoever mentioned breathing in something that came out of someone else’s body…um, air? Carbon dioxide? You can’t help BUT breathe in something that someone else breathed out unless you’re going everywhere in scuba gear.
Speaking of smoking stuff, this seems significant:
@jonas: Gum and vapor are like apples and oranges. With gum, the nicotine stays in one place…the user. With smokes and vapors, the nicotine is shared with everyone.
@Villago Delenda Est: Go troll some other bridge.
@jayjaybear: You’re a dense one this morning, aren’t you. See my reply to jonas above.
Oh. Personal chemtrails. Got it.
Villago Delenda Est
@coin operated: Like osmium, he is.
@raven: I was in a bubble for 3 weeks with family and company. Is Shinseki out because he screwed up or because they needed a scapegoat?
No, no. I get what you’re saying. I understand your point. I just think it’s probably batshit paranoid. And god knows, Villago isn’t being any kind of sensible or coherent this morning on this subject. He sounds like he’d gladly go hunting smokers if he didn’t think he’d be executed as a mass murderer.
Gin & Tonic
@Villago Delenda Est: like I said – sociopath.
An amazing amount of sanctimony on all sides of this issue. Truly breath taking. Perhaps only a mention of GG can get this crowd from “I think X to fuck you all in less time.
Villago Delenda Est
@TooManyJens: I’ll bet it was “bipartisan” in a pretty narrow sense.
Well, there WERE 49 Rs and 170 Ds voting for it, but the opposition was lopsidedly Rethug…179 Rs and 17 Ds. Not voting was 11 and 12.
So, yeah, “bipartisan” but not all that much.
Villago Delenda Est
@Goblue72: OK, let’s rephrase.
The TRUE sociopaths are the ones who work so hard to addict all these people to nicotine for ongoing parasitic profits.
Don’t tell me you sympathize with RJ Reynolds or anything, or else we’d have to conclude that the identification of the sociopath is 180 degrees out of phase here.
My understanding is there is one study that shows e-cigs really help people quit and that one is being called into question.
I can’t help it. Whenever I see my sister-in-law with her e-cigarette and talking about how it helped her quit smoking, I think of this:
@Villago Delenda Est: You seem nice.
Villago Delenda Est
@jayjaybear: No, I don’t think I’d target smokers as a priority. Pretty low down the target list, if at all. As long as they don’t pollute the shared air, I can at least pity them for allowing themselves to become addicts.
No, there are far more dangerous types out there need attention, if we’re going to go on mass murdering sprees. The WaPo editorial board, for starters. The GOP congressional caucus. The neocons. Banksters. Teahadists. Wahhabists. People who don’t clean up after their dogs. Knights who say “Ni”.
@Pee Cee: And I get to listen to your children shriek and whine, so …
Villago Delenda Est
@Shakezula: I try. Sometimes I get kinda crazy when I haven’t had my caffeine fix early in the morning.
Did I just say that out loud?
@Villago Delenda Est: you need the chill the eff out and STEP OFF.
If you meant it to be about the cigarette manufacturers & not those addicts to cigarettes, you would have – or should have – said so. But you didn’t. You were quite clear. So own your words and don’t act like a puss.
Do I personally sympathize with RJR and other tobacco companies? Of course not. But to suggest I do just because I don’t feel like cigarette addicts deserve no mercy is YOUR problem, not mine.
@karen marie: and deal with them kicking the back of my chair on an airplane. And keep me up half the night on a red-eye.
@Villago Delenda Est: wait, when you get your coffee will you suggest tumbrels for more or less people? I vote more! ;)
All the smokers here… so weird. I don’t know anybody on the non-virtual world who smokes. At all. A cigar if a baby is born perhaps, a few take some glaucoma medicine while on vacation. But cigarettes?
Villago Delenda Est
Totally OT, but why, in the name of all that is holy, is Noisemax headlining this?
Cindy McCain: Gwyneth Paltrow Is a ‘Joke’
Firstly, who gives a rat’s ass what Cindy McCain thinks about anything?
Secondly, did Ms. Paltrow say something bad about Gramps? Oh, it turns out that she said something about enduring online comments is like being in a war, and grizzled combat veteran Cindy took offense at that.
As popular as vaping is, I’m constantly shocked at the amount of disinformation out there.
1. It’s hardly a “hack,” it’s just applying Ohm’s Law to affect the amount of vapor produced.
2. No, you cannot vape “other things” with standard eliquid atomizers. That requires an entirely different type of atomizer, and generally different hardware. There are a ton of vaporizers designed specifically for herbal atomization, and they are inherently different.
3. Lots of people are jerks about vaping in public
4. It really does help people kick cigarettes
5. I hate seeing kids vaping, but it truly is better than them picking up a pack of Camels. And the vapor does NOT always contain nicotine
Yes, vaping is my hobby. I do it more for the tinkering aspect than nicotine delivery. After a year, my nicotine level is nearly zero.
@? Martin: I lived in California when the ban took effect. And after. For many years. I never once while driving a car with my windows rolled up could ever smell someone’s smoke coming out their tailpipe and into my car.
You either have an X-men mutant level sense of smell or you are hyperbolically paranoid. Seriously, you are being beyond ridiculous.
Villago Delenda Est
@Goblue72: Didn’t like that suggestion much, did you?
Yeah, I really am more pissed at the pushers, not at the addicts. It’s just that the addicts’ smoke gets in my lungs and it pisses me off.
All the apparent contradictions of the anti-smoking movement suddenly make sense when you realize that the most interested major player is Big Pharma, which wants a monopoly on nicotine replacement.
@Goblue72: Thank you.
@Someguy: Your puzzlement puzzles me.
@Rex Everything: That doesn’t make any sense. People don’t use NRPs indefinitely.
@Someguy: It isn’t just for glaucoma nor vacations any more…..
@Villago Delenda Est:
Fuck you. I’ve been smoking for many years. I have tried every fucking way to quit that you can imagine–patches, gum, cold turkey, Chantix, therapy, hypnosis, you name it–multiple times each and none have worked for me. I’ve been thinking about vaping to try something else.
You are being an ass here. I am not happy to be a smoker, but it was something that I did when I was too young to know better. I am, as everyone I know IRL tells me, a very considerate smoker. I don’t smoke indoors ever, even in my own home. I stay 20-30 feet from any building entrances. I never litter my butts, but even go so far as to carry a portable airtight ashtray when I’m somewhere it’s likely there will be no ashtrays or receptacle outside. I smoke in my car, but no one ever rides in it but me. Obviously, you’ve never smoked or you would have a little empathy for those of us who do but who don’t expose others to it, who don’t litter the world with the detritus of their bad habit and who have made multiple attempts to quit. Your self-righteous bullshit makes me want to blow a big fucking smoke ring right in your face. A thing I would never do to anyone but assholes.
@Shakezula: Actually… they’re literally worse than nothing as quit aids, and smokers who want to quit with them spend decades bouncing between them and tobacco. (geg6’s experience, related above, is absolutely the typical experience.) And every state with a smoking ban has a quitting program that consists of doling out subsidized pharmaceutical nicotine. It’s a racket.
I see all sorts of claims that they’re a safe alternative to cigarettes, but no data to support it. I do see some that suggests there’s a lot of bad stuff in there, but less than cigarettes. Then I see they’re unregulated, so maybe that was just one batch and the next one could be purest formaldehyde and asbestos with a dash of nicotine for all we know.
The big thing is, people like nicotine. They like that high. They rely on it. It’s the caffeine for the people who need more. I want it regulated and as safe as possible. Maybe that can be done. Maybe it can be done without having all sorts of crap added. I would like to think so. Good luck getting anything done, world.
Villago Delenda Est
@geg6: Yes, you’re right.
I’m being an ass.
No question about it.
I guess Cole’s lack of anything to talk about last night got to me. Someone has to maintain standards around here.
@Villago Delenda Est: well that’s your problem. You just can’t accept you’re acting like a complete douche.
@Someguy: see Kael, Pauline, re: Nixon election.
@Rex Everything: This is down there with anti-vaccination/anti-SSRI rants. NRs work, they’ve been proven to work. It has also been proven that people will make a number of quit attempts before their quit sticks. And having used my state’s quit line as well as the Legacy program to quit, I can tell you that to suggest anyone is going to get rich by pushing nicotine replacement products is … Well, I’m sorry, it’s just fucking stupid.
that is reasonable and rational – so it just can’t be part of the discussion here! Please tell someone to fuck off so we can get back to the topic at hand.
The problem, as it is with THC, is that we know the product is a drug but we allow it to be sold without inspection and controls. What the cigarette companies did should serve as an example of what happens when you allow drugs to be sold unregulated. But to actually get the Fed to regulate them would literally take an act of Congress – so we know that will never happen. If, in 30 years, we find vap (or THC) users dying and uncover that companies had decided a little arsenic would make their product more profitable we will all feign surprise. Who would think companies acted exactly the way companies have always acted when profits were the priority?
@Someguy: I’m not a cigarette smoker. I just think that the scolds go to far, moving from truly public health concerns to what is essentially a higher form of scolding.
From what I’ve seen of e-cigarette marketing, they’re advertised as very safe and intended to appeal to adolescents. They’re sold alongside chewing tobacco and cigarettes, not with nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, and other cessation products.
As I see it, use of e-cigarettes to quit smoking is a side-effect unintended by their makers. Their purpose is to get young people to start a nicotine addiction.
@jon: I got no issue with any of that.
@Schlemizel: because regulation of pot has turned into such a great idea.
Now, if its more an approach similar to how we regulate our food labeling, that Id support.
Ding ding ding.
No, that’s incorrect. They do not work; quit rates with them lag behind cold turkey & hence they are literally worse than nothing. http://whyquit.com/pr/082613.html
(They do have superficial success in the period from 6 months to one year, and sources that hawk them always emphasize a timespan on this scale. Unfortunately this is about the length of the NR therapy program, after which smokers resume smoking at atrocious rates.)
I know, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline are total nonprofits.
@jonas: There is still some second hand smoke.
Yes, it has nothing at all to do with smoking-related deaths like my father’s. Nope, it’s all Big Pharma. Why, if Big Pharma hadn’t told us that smoking was bad, we wouldn’t have even noticed his kidney failure, COPD, and multiple tumors!
Paul in KY
@jayjaybear: I think smokers are down the list a bit…
@jayjaybear: I’m a fanatical breather’s rights person, and I am your worst enemy. Bring on the public smoking bans! Everywhere.
Fuck your carcinogens!
@Someguy: It’s a class thing. Liberal academic types tend not to smoke cigarettes anymore (though that certainly wasn’t the case 40 or even 30 years ago). Lots of working folks still smoke.
R.J. Reynolds is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful corporation I’ve ever known in my life.
You must not have a very good sense of smell, then. I can smell smoke coming from a car in front of me even with my windows rolled up. And since both of my parents smoked for 50 years, I know what cigarette smoke smells like.
And people aren’t complaining that cigarette smokers smell bad — they’re complaining that cigarette smoke makes everyone else smell bad. Every time I came back from visiting my parents, I would have to re-wash all of the clothes in my suitcase even if I hadn’t worn them because everything smelled like cigarette smoke.
after i quit smoking, before DC banned smoking in bars, i would come back from a show and reek of smoke. i’d have to change and take a shower when i got home.
after the ban and the only smell was sweaty punk rock kids in the crowd, wouldn’t you know it but that shit wouldn’t follow you home.
i guess B.O. and cigarette smoke aren’t the same thing. incredible!
@Bobby Thomson: And you know who’s paying the biggest price for all this smoking? Working people. Poor people. The bodies of kids living in poor neighborhoods are assaulted every day by a vast array of environmental toxins. It’s a huge problem for everything from their lifelong health to their immediate cognitive abilities.
Smoking may be only one aspect of that problem, but it’s one that is more readily solvable on an individual basis than many of the others. Generally polluted air is not a reason to justify smoking; air pollution is a plague on all our houses that needs to be addressed in every possible way, including those that happen to be politically correct.
If nothing else has worked, it may be worth trying e-cigs. Weird thing to keep in mind: it’s not uncommon for people with undiagnosed ADHD to self-medicate with nicotine (that’s probably what my dad was doing). If quitting smoking makes you feel like your memory has suddenly gone to hell, you lose your motivation to do things, etc. it’s possible that you’ve been self-medicating for ADHD and didn’t realize it, so it would be worth getting screened.
The most useful quitting advice I saw came from Garrison Keillor, who said that he quit by giving up a specific cigarette each time. So the first week, he gave up the after-breakfast cigarette. After a couple of weeks when he didn’t miss that one anymore, he quit the after-dinner cigarette. Then the after lunch. Then the before bedtime. Etc.
Wonder what the Girl Scouts think of this?
@Rex Everything: From your link
The fact that they completely ignore the possibility that there could be millions of failures of people who tried their hardest to quit cold turkey (and were not affected by government literature) shows that it is a biased site pushing an agenda. They are however correct in pointing out the weakness of the poll but doing that pretty much undermines the entire article. You can’t really draw any conclusions from the poll they cite since it does not measure success rates for the various quitting methods, only how many people successfully used them.
@Villago Delenda Est:
That’s about on the level of “Cat declares penguins to be ‘a menace.'”
@Mnemosyne: Uh…what you describe isn’t what I meant by “contradictions,” apparent or otherwise. What you describe is the impetus for the anti-smoking movement at its most straightforward, simple, & necessary.
Yeah, they’re clearly a pawn of the Big Cold Turkey interests.
“Frank Purdue is the kindest, bravest etc…”
J R in WV
They needed a scapegoat, and he was gallant enough to tell the Bushys that their war “plan” in Iraq/Afganistan was a piece of broken tripe, so they hated him from that too.
So he was the natural candidate for scapegoating after the VA failed to deal with thousands of wartime vets on a reduced budget per patient. Because Republicans balanced the budget on the backs of veterans even more than on the backs of the rest of the nation.
If the e-cig thingies can get smokers to quit smoking, then great and my hearty congratulations to all who succeed. I’d have had my dad for decades longer had he been able to break the habit. Instead, the habit broke him. Fuck you, tobacco.
They, however, primarily exist as a pathway to craft new, young smokers and as such, need the crap reguiated out of them. Recall how long it took to place tobacco under FDA regulation. We can all agree that under President McCain, the June 22, 2009 promulgation of the Tobacco Control Act would have still occurred. Right?
No doubt the libertarians will use this to claim the Republicans are open to at least medical marijuana. The roll call is needed to debunk that:
Democrats: 172 for, 17 against
Republicans: 49 for, 172 against
I’ll bet the only reason Boehner allowed it to be voted on was precisely to get cover for the Republicans on medical marijuana. He doesn’t vote, but the Republican leadership was *against*: Cantor no, McCarthy no, McMorris-Rodgers no.
@Percysowner: Not-Joe the Not-Plumber would like to have a word with you about rights…
@Villago Delenda Est: If his subordinates on the battlefield were covering up, say, civilian massacres or selling weapons to insurgents then he’d better get to the bottom of it damn quick or get replaced by some general who could actually do their job of managing his subordinates.
Snap inspections, unannounced boots on the ground visits to VA hospitals and facilities, look at the books, ask questions and cross-check the answers, accountants at his elbow and lawyers on speed dial. Nothing like that hit the VA system in question and it should have. The first sign of flop sweat, the first serious complaints from customers, the first dodgy set of paper records and the hammer comes down, it’s what generals do for the most part. Shinseki didn’t do his job well enough to keep it and it’s time someone else stepped up to the responsibility. President Obama gets the blame for putting Shinseki in the position in the first place. He didn’t know Shinseki would let things slip by him but there’s a weird tendency in the US towards worshipping generals as uber-competent supermen who should automatically be in charge of important civilian affairs after they retire from the military. Riiiiight.
It’s a slam-dunk that they are much safer than cigarettes. Cigarette harm is mostly from various combustion byproducts – all of the lung cancer and emphysema risk and at least most of the heart disease. There’s no long-term research on ecigs yet, but the long-term research on oral tobacco use (Snus) in Sweden isn’t finding any net long-term detriment. It’s known that nicotine per se had bad effects on blood lipids but it also tends to make people eat and weight less, so that might balance out the direct bad effects.
They could add in something toxic, of course, and that’s a good grounds for regulation.
I’m not really sure the VA counts as “civilian,” though. Most of the people who use it and work for it are ex-military, so you’re drawing from a very specific group of people. Some of the doctors may even still be active military at the larger hospitals. It makes sense that you would put an ex-military man in charge of the agency that oversees benefits for ex-military members.
Not quite — some studies have found an increase in oral and pharyngeal cancers. It’s less bad for you than smoking or chewing tobacco, but it’s not risk-free.
Are you sure about that, or do you just not know anyone who smokes around you? I know several people who smoke, but smoking restrictions have made it so they don’t smoke a lot, and they don’t smoke around me. Some of them I would never have known about if somebody hadn’t told me.
@Mnemosyne: In that case why not have a serving officer in charge of the VA? After all it’s a military organisation, it’s just full of civilians who happen to be ex-military and who are no longer subject to the UCMJ and no longer wear uniforms and drill and… oh.
Rather than a retired general who knows bupkis about delivering healthcare to several million customers nationwide why not choose an experienced professional administrator with a track record of healthcare delivery who can actually, you know, do the job in question? Unthinking worship of the officer class is endemic in US society — you dodged a bullet when Captain John Sydney McCain III, USN (retired) didn’t get elected to the Presidency but 45 million US citizens still pulled the lever in 2008 for the biggest screwup the Navy ever had the sense to not promote to Admiral, in large part because he served. Haig, Powell, Wesley, Petraeus, the list goes on and on…
“Heckuva job, Shinseki.”
@Chyron HR: It really bothers me that you would misquote me in a way that so completely misrepresents my views, to wit:
I’ve criticized portions of the BJ commentariat plenty, but to their credit I’ve never seen them stoop to this. Pretty shitty of you.
For the record, I think smoking is hazardous and every smoker should quit. Smokers should stick it to Big Tobacco by quitting. They should stick it to Big Pharma by quitting in the most effective way.
It’s a scandal that public quitlines and quit programs uniformly promote an inferior pharma-based method of quitting. And that pharma’a propaganda arm is now trying to paint e-cigs as a public health menace (while, incidentally, selling products that cause suicide ).
@Rex Everything: To be fair, your original comment struck me as fairly conspiracy-theorist in that it appeared you were suggesting that quitting meant giving into pharmaceutical companies. If you look back at it unbiasedly, you should be able to see how it easily could be interpreted that way.
But we do not regulate the purity or strength of pot – thats what is needed. There should be a “proof” standard like there is for booze as well as regulations about inspection and what can be added.
I think you can have both — the military has an extensive system of hospitals for active-duty members, plus there’s the VA system that draws ex-military to work there. That’s why I said above that they should recruit the new VA secretary from within either the VA system or from one of the military hospitals, but get someone with an MD or an RN who understands the clinical/patient care side who can’t be snowed by hospital administrators.
ETA: Bringing a completely new person in from the outside to shake things up is vastly overrated, especially in healthcare. My husband works for a (private) home health company and they keep bringing people in from the outside to fix things who then spend months being brought up to speed. Why not get someone from within the system who’s already up to speed, even if they are ex-military?
@slag: I apologize for making a misleading comment, but I don’t see how it could be construed as “quitting smoking = giving in to the pharma companies.” I said the contradictions in current anti-smoking crusades, which are alluded to by Robert West in the post above, are clarified when you ask cui bono.
I can’t see what this has to do with the idea that smokers shouldn’t quit??
I know someone who quit by a similar tapering off approach. She had been smoking unfiltered, so she switched to filtered, then low tar/low nicotine, then smoking less of each cigarette. Eventually she had tapered off enough she got to the “why bother” stage and gave them up completely. She’s one of the people who can be driving with the windows rolled up and tell what brand of cigarette somebody is smoking a couple of cars ahead.
@geg6: Try it. It worked for me and my wife. Don’t get the Blu or others that look and feel like a cigarette; get the battery with the chamber. It helps change the habit. Plus, you can get a whole bunch of favors that way. Secondly, when you reach the point where you don’t feel like you need it, keep plugging it in and recharging it anyway. Always have it ready to deal with that stressful moment that makes you want to smoke.
J R in WV
I guess it’s OK to sell a brain-chemistry altering drug in an effort to assist people in quitting an addictive fatal disease causing drug like tobacco… But if the brain-chemistry altering drug causes suicide it becomes very difficult to see the balance tipping in favor of the drug to treat drug addiction.
I think advertising drugs should be illegal – including alcohol, wine, smoking tools and substances, and caffeine containing beverages. Advertising isn’t free speech, it’s paid for speech. Lying shouldn’t be protected either, and most drug commercials spend more time talking about side effects (sometimes I have to look the side effects up to see what they’re talking about there, too) rather than plainly explaining what the drug is supposed to treat.
A very good friend spent 9 months using nicotine patches to break all the little habits that go with a big tobacco smoking habit. Was a biochemistry expert, worked in a lab at Duke, then for various pharma companies, now an independent contractor running world-wide drug testing clinical trails. Very educated and experienced in health issues, and it still took nearly a year to stop using nicotine, knowing very well how ugly COPD and cancer are.
If vapeing can help folks stop, that’s great. Still can’t advertise it in my book. I will say the fumes from vapeing are not nearly as noxious as from burning anything.
I hope the move in the House of Reps towards getting the DEA off the backs of medical marijuna folks works out through the Senate and a Presidential signature. Busting people who are trying to help sick folks isn’t cool at all.
@ice weasel: Congratulations to you:) I smoked for 30+ years and my son always begged me to stop. He took me to a vape shop, bought me all my stuff, and I’ve been analog cig free ever since. Steadily weaned myself to lower and lower nicotine until zero nicotine when I vape. I will never smoke again and I feel amazing. It wasn’t difficult at all to quit smoking. Never thought I could, but there you have it. Haven’t smoked since Sept. 23, 2013. I’d advise EVERYONE that smokes to try this…life will change for you. For the better.
So if Big Pharma benefits when you quit, why quit?
Not everyone can quit cold turkey. My dad tried to quit multiple times — including cold turkey — and failed. The nicotine gum helped him taper down to the point where he was finally able to stop entirely.
It’s also weird to me to complain about Big Pharma making a profit on over-the-counter drugs. Is Big Pharma only making ibuprofen so they can profit off the pain of others? When you have a cough and buy Robutussin, aren’t you just putting money into the pocket of Big Pharma?
This is incorrect. Nicotine itself has some fairly potent pro-cancer effects (it encourages tumor growth and metastasis), and some of its natural metabolites are carcinogenic. This explains why smoking increases the risk of all kinds of cancer, not just in tissues that get direct contact with tobacco. It also explains why smokeless tobacco is also highly carcinogenic.
Also, too, for the folks who quit: nicotine helps you burn an extra 100 calories a day, and it takes your body up to a year to re-adjust after you quit (basically, as far as your body is concerned, as soon as you stop giving it nicotine, you’re eating at least an extra 100 calories a day, every day.) That’s in addition to nicotine’s appetite-suppressing effects, and the more you smoke, the more weight you could gain after quitting.
So keep in mind that you may have to cut calories and/or exercise more after quitting until your body adjusts to the change.
I can’t see any reason at all to regulate candy-flavored poison-liquid. If gas stations want to sell gummi-bear flavored toxins, I say “why not?”.
pseudonymous in nc
I’m all in favour of harm reduction stuff towards nicotine, which is a fucking insidious drug.
The basic point that vapers have to face is this: right now it’s a hacky-geeky subculture with a slight libertarian edge (like many hacky-geeky subcultures) and if they want it to catch on, then it’s going to be with regulations and taxed and the hobbyists and modders aren’t going to be in charge any more. That’s how it goes.
Paul in KY
@Roger Moore: Nicotine is a poison, used by plants to kill insects.
@geg6: You sound just like me when I smoked…except I never smoked in my car:) Go to a vape shop (don’t buy an e cig at a convenience store…NOT the same!) You can try it before you buy it…it’s a wonderful thing. It will be YOUR decision when to decrease the amount of nicotine you vape with, when YOU feel ready…lots of people smoke AND vape…that wasn’t for me. Once I took to vaping, I never thought about cigarettes again and knew I would never smoke another one. Do it. Do it now and don’t look back. Good luck to you and your healthier life!
@Mnemosyne: Thanks very much.
@Betty Cracker: Thank you.
Actually, with the smokeless tobacco it appears to be the nitrosamines. It’s definitely not the nicotine.
Smoking loads smokers up with aromatic hydrocarbons, which are carcinogenic in many ways. That’s almost certainly the cause for the widespread cancer increase in smokers, not nicotine (well, that and the nitrosamines). Nicotine can enhance the growth of certain tumors, but it’s not associated with cancer in whole-animal models. To be precise, that’s not proof that it’s not carcinogenic at all, but it must be orders of magnitude better than the other products of smoking.
Not to be all appeal to authority here, but Roger is an actual scientist who works at this place. I’m afraid I have to lean towards his knowledge and experience with cancer when it comes to how carcinogenic something is.
Some of which are formed in the body by reaction of nicotine with nitrite rather than being present in the tobacco before consumption. AFAIK this is the reason tobacco use is strongly associated with stomach cancer in countries where people consume large amounts of cured meat.
I don’t think it’s fair to tout my employer as something that makes me an expert on the topic. My own work is too distant from this to claim professional expertise on carcinogenesis; I’m just an interested non-expert who knows how to read scientific literature.
@Paul in KY: Nicotine ingestion makes humans ill as well. A toddler who drinks a bottle of e-cigarette fluid would become seriously ill.
The fact that manufacturers put gummy bear, cotton candy, or banana split flavor into that poison only makes it more likely.
@Robert Sneddon: I read today that the cooked appointment books stuff started under Pres. Shrub, and the problem was first noted at the top levels then, enough so that the Obama transition team was informed about it as part of the “here’s the keys, good luck!” procedure.
I recall a Newsweek cover story about ecigs, noting that as of last fall, most of the stuff was made in China, and the vaporizing base is the same stuff used to make artificial fog in theatre productions: propylene glycol or ethylene glycol. The former you may recognize as the stuff you add to your car’s radiator. Neither seem like the sort of thing you should be sucking into your lungs while thinking “risk-free!”.
@Fair Economist: They could add something dangerous. And they did, or so it seems.
@Roger Moore: I thought you worked for MI6.
Gosh, yeah, that would be a weird thing to do. Bit what I was doing was pointing out that Big Pharma is seeking a monopoly on non-carcinogenic nicotine.
If I thought no one could or should benefit from nicotine gum/patches, I’d be calling to ban them. Obviously, since I’m not calling for that, I’m not expressing the view you’re ascribing to me. I’m saying pharma nicotine is paid for & promoted by municipalities as the only quit method, when statistically it’s a poor method.
I’m glad your father was able to quit with gum. Many people have quit with e-cigs. Why is the WHO discouraging their use? Robert West of University College London asked that question; I provided an answer that strikes me as plausible. But then, I’m not too savvy & sophisticated to entertain the possibility of $$-fueled corruption.
No, no. Not my point at all.
Big Pharma benefits by suppressing other quit methods.
That was my point.
Given that I’m still trying to get the smoke smell out of a mattress my cousins mother gave me two weeks ago, I can get behind e-cigs, even though I think they look stupid.
You really don’t see the contradiction between saying these two things, do you?
And given how poisonous nicotine is, I’d really prefer Big Pharma to continue to have the monopoly on producing it rather than having people mix it up in their bathtubs. At least Big Pharma can be regulated.
ETA: As someone who has struggled with a couple of psychiatric problems that were only helped with medication provided by Big Pharma, I’m suspicious of people who tell me that addiction or other mental illnesses can be overcome with Willpower! and we should shun things like the Concerta that prevented me from being fired from my job because ADHD meant I couldn’t concentrate. YMMV.
I really don’t! Really!
(btw…you really understand that there are drug-free methods of quitting smoking, don’t you?)
@Rex Everything: Presumably those methods don’t involve nicotine vaporizers, and so they’re tangential to this discussion, right?
For people who are only physically addicted, sure. I’m sure that works great for them. For people who have other underlying problems that the nicotine was helping them cope with (like ADHD or depression), going cold turkey is a really, really bad idea because they will inevitably fail and then feel even worse.
To repeat myself: I am not advocating the banning or suppression of pharma nicotine.
But you are advocating that everyone go cold turkey and claiming that going cold turkey is always superior, and that is just not true.
It’s not a matter of “banning” pharma nicotine. It’s about figuring out who’s a good candidate for going cold turkey and who will need additional support.
No. I’m not. I said quitting cold turkey is statistically the best method—statistically, it helps the greatest number of smokers quit permanently—and therefore it’s a scandal that municipal quit lines and the advice of large health organizations steer smokers indiscriminately into nicotine-replacement therapy.
You have one (1) study showing it’s superior. CDC studies disagree with you.
If you want to claim that the CDC is bought and paid for by Big Pharma and is slanting their studies in their favor, then you have a big hill to climb to prove that.
? You linked to a study abstract with 5 authors. What does the CDC have to do with it?
The one you linked to said trials with a followup <6 months were excluded. Anyone who's quit smoking or watched a smoker try to quit knows that should be more like <3 years.
Ironically, I tend to agree with you that people trying to quit should try cold turkey first and then use nicotine support if that fails. But that’s quite different from a Big Pharma conspiracy to pressure people into continuing to use nicotine.
Uh, really, you had no idea that the CDC is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which published the study I linked to? You really don’t know what a literature review study is?
Why are you even arguing this if you don’t know these incredibly basic things about medical research? I know them and I have a freakin’ film degree.
Nice to see other people debating whether or not my method of quitting smoking meets their approval. Be sure to let me know the verdict when you’re done quibbling about it.
@Mnemosyne: It’s on the NIH’s PubMed website. Along with virtually everything else published anywhere. That’s what PubMed is, a repository of the body of research. That absolutely does NOT give every study found thereon the imprimatur of the CDC/NIH.
Yes, I know what a literature review study is, hence my reference to the trials that were excluded. I find it interesting that you want to assume I’m ignorant on the subject of medical research. Why is that?
Because people who complain that Big Pharma is running everything tend to be conspiracy theorists who at best selectively read medical studies to enforce their biases. See anti-vaxxers for the same behavior.
@Mnemosyne: You’re making an ass of you and me.
(Gosh, do anti-vaxxers think everything they find on PubMed carries the endorsement of the CDC?)
Yes, I can’t imagine why I would think you were a conspiracy theorist who sees Big Pharma hiding behind every door.
@Mnemosyne: Guess I should have had a trigger warning.
the CDC isn’t part of NIH. CDC and NIH are separate agencies under HHS. just because NIH published a study doesn’t mean dick about the CDC.
and rex points out correctly that pubmed is a file repository for all manner of work, not a list of merely NIH studies.
no offense, but if you’re going to lecture others about reading the literature at least get some basic facts right.
@jayjaybear: Cigarettes have a 24 Nicotene Level. If I vape at 12 or 6 or 3, it stands to reason; yes, I have not quit, but I am a lot better off than puffing that cigarrette.
@Villago Delenda Est:
Anecdotal evidence: at a studio I worked at a few years ago, one of my co-workers had smoked traditional cigarettes for 37+ years. Started as a teenager; pack-a-day minimum as an adult. He had difficulty quitting traditional cigarettes. He switched to a high-end electronic cigarette, and he was able to finally part with traditional cigarettes. The e-cig lets him control his nicotine dose, and the only side-effect so far has been a tremendous improvement in his health. He can now walk up more than one flight of stairs without losing his breath. He’s also saving at least $3000/year by not buying traditional cigarettes.
Another plus was that his vaporizer did not set off my husband’s allergies to smoke. My husband grew up in a two-smoker household, and he and his brother became allergic to smoke in general. Both men gag whenever a whiff of cigarette smoke or incense comes their way. However, e-cig vapor does not trip their allergies at all.
My former co-worker has since helped other traditional smokers transition to e-cigs, and they, too, have seen enormous improvements in their health and well-being. They, too, are also saving significant $$$ by not buying traditional cigarettes.
I see e-cigs as a way to switch traditional smokers to something less harmful for both them and for society.