E-Cigarettes & What The FDA Doesn’t Want You To Know

E-Cigarettes & What The FDA Doesn’t Want You To Know

July 20, 2017

Smoking, one of the most substantial health concerns we face as a society, is expected to lead to the loss of approximately a billion lives by the end of this century. In a recent column addressing this issue and how electronic cigarettes may play a role in remedying it, Dr. Gilbert Ross, M.D. talks about how and why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is “shielding smokers from the good news about e-cigarettes.”

 

FDA Reaction to the Growing E-Cig Industry

FDA

Electronic cigarettes have potentially helped millions of smokers say goodbye to the effects of burning tobacco. A recent study even showed that e-cigs are as effective as the nicotine patch in helping smokers reduce or eliminate tobacco consumption.Considering how harmful smoking is and how difficult it can be to quit, one would think that any product that helped anyone kick the habit would be welcomed by health organizations with open arms.

Though a logical conclusion to draw, it’s unfortunately not the right one. In fact, the FDA has made its staunch opposition to e-cigarettes perfectly clear. According to its website, the FDA has stated its “intent to issue a proposed rule that would extend FDA’s tobacco product authorities” to products like e-cigarettes, essentially lumping them into the same category as tobacco cigarettes.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ross says, clinical studies continue to indicate that electronic cigarettes could actually “help smokers quit.” Perhaps one of the doctor’s biggest concerns is that, when the time comes for the FDA to make its final decision regarding e-cig regulation, all of that compelling scientific evidence will be ignored.

Related: Support for E-Cigs for Smoking Cessation

Basic Logic vs. “Willful Ignorance” and “Greed”

Basic Logic

Dr. Ross isn’t the only medical professional who shares this perspective. Dr. Michael Siegel of Boston University School of Public Health agrees that the FDA’s warnings against e-cigarettes are unfounded and illogical. According to Dr. Siegel, this is what the FDA is communicating when it warns the public away from electronic cigarettes: Why risk using a product that may present unknown health risks when you could continue smoking cigarettes, a product for which we already have a long list of proven health risks?

Unfortunately for many vapers in the U.S., giving up electronic cigarettes because they haven’t been officially deemed safe would mean returning to smoking tobacco, a habit that is the very definition of unsafe. Until the FDA fully investigates e-cig ingredients, it’s likely that the products will continue to be condemned.

How do you feel about the way the FDA has approached electronic cigarettes? If you could talk to the authorities in charge of the proposed regulations, what would you say to them?
 

Regulations

E-cigarette Regulations: How Far Should They Go?

July 18, 2017

When the FDA released its 241-page e-cigarette regulations proposal in April 2014, we were a little relieved. We’re already using a common sense approach, in the spirit of and in absence of regulation, with an emphasis on prohibiting the sale to minors and being transparent with our e-cigarette ingredients, as are many other e-cig companies. So what’s the FDA’s deal?

 

E-Cigs & the FDA: Frenemies?

While the proposed e-cig regulations weren’t quite as harsh as they could have been, they could still stall the e-cig industry and hand it over to the only groups that can afford costly regulations: Big Tobacco and Big Pharma. So how far should FDA e-cigarette regulations go?

 

FDA’s Premarket Approval for E-Cigs

FDA’s Premarket Approval for E-Cigs

While we have no issue with reasonable and evidence-based e-cigarette regulation, a few things in the FDA’s e-cigarette proposal concerned us. One is premarket approval.

Those familiar with tobacco regulations under the Tobacco Control Act know all about the premarket approval. Today’s tobacco regulations went into effect in 2009, with a grandfather date of February 2007. This means that any new tobacco products have to go through lengthy and expensive premarket approval from the FDA. However, most companies that have subsequently wanted to launch new products have chosen not to go through the premarket approval process, but instead go through the substantial equivalence (SE) process, which requires an existing approved product being on the market that is substantially equivalent.

If the FDA proposal goes into effect as it is written, e-cigarettes would have the same grandfather date as tobacco products – February 2007. There weren’t many e-cigarettes on the market in 2007, so this date would mean that most e-cigarettes on the market would not be able to use the SE process and could potentially face a long and costly application process.

 

Grandfathering E-Cigs: Turnabout is Fair Play

Grandfathering E-Cigs: Turnabout is Fair Play

Recently, the e-cig industry gained a powerful ally: Congress. Yup. Congress. Members of Congress, led by political doghouse resident and House Majority Leader John Boehner, have come out in support of rational e-cigarette regulations. In a letter to the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell, Boehner and his colleagues argued that existing e-cigarette products need to be grandfathered in as of the April 2014 date that the FDA e-cigarette regulation proposal was released.

Without this grandfathering, it would be next to impossible for smaller, less funded companies to get premarket approval for e-cigarettes, which is the FDA’s whole point. Vaping advocates estimate that 99% of the vapor industry will be wiped away without amending the grandfather date listed in the deeming rule. Basically, it appears that Boehner and Co. want to grant e-cig companies the same exemptions Big Tobacco got in their own industry. This would give a lifeline to smaller companies (like ours), providing adult consumers with the choices of products they want and, ironically, potentially keep Big Tobacco from dominating the e-cig industry that they only recently joined. Think the tobacco industry can recognize irony when they see it?

Common Sense E-Cigarette Regulations

Common Sense E-Cigarette Regulations

We recently spoke up to challenge a lot of the e-cig safety concerns that is becoming ubiquitous in the media – and we will continue to do so. Rampant misinformation can lead to emotional, politicized and harsh e-cigarette regulations. The thing is, you’ll find that most e-cigarette companies are already taking measures to protect kids and to ensure that their e-cig products are manufactured to the highest standards, while focusing on an adult target audience.

People who truly care about public health should be embracing electronic cigarettes, as this Forbes.com opinion piece suggests. It’s just common sense, which is basically the message that some members of Congress are sending to the FDA. (We hope they are listening with open minds.)

What’s your view? What do you think about the FDA’s proposed regulations, and how far do you think they should go?

 

The Smoker’s Guide to Vaping

The Smoker’s Guide to Vaping

July 7, 2017

Kicking a tobacco habit is never easy, but when it comes to helping smokers quit, e cigarettes have shown to be generally more effective than nicotine replacement therapies such as patches and gums. Switching to vaping can be a challenge at first, which is why you should do some research to prepare for the transition. This guide to vaping will tell you everything you need to know before you enter the world of e cigs.

Helpful Tips for Switching to Vaping

Vaping Devices

When you go to buy your first e cig, you’ll likely feel overwhelmed by all of the options. To help narrow things down, there are a few basic types of e cigs you should be aware of:

  • Cig-a-likes, which look like tobacco cigarettes and typically use disposable e liquid cartridges
  • Vape pens, which are bigger devices with refillable e juice tanks that are button operated
  • Mods, which are larger devices that offer features like temperature settings and voltage control

Picking a device that is comfortable for you to use is an essential first step to becoming a vaper. Most smokers prefer cig-a-likes because they are so similar to tobacco cigarettes. Research has suggested that some mods may deliver nicotine more efficiently than cig-a-likes, but you can always up the nicotine strength of your e liquid to get a better fix. White Cloud’s 5.4% nicotine strength should satisfy most heavy smokers.

Understanding E-Liquid Nicotine and Flavors

E-Liquid Nicotine and Flavors

Choosing the right device is only half of the challenge; finding an e-liquid that suits your cravings is equally important. You may have to experiment a bit to find a flavor you like, but nicotine strength is the most important factor for smokers to consider. White Cloud offers six different nicotine strengths including a nic-free option.

So how much nicotine are you currently taking in? A single tobacco cigarette usually contains between 10-20mg of nicotine, but only 1mg gets absorbed into the smoker’s bloodstream. Nicotine patches usually contain between 5-22mg of nicotine released over a 24 hour period while gums, lozenges, inhalers and nasal sprays typically come in 1-4mg doses.

However, measuring nicotine content in a liquid is slightly different than measuring it in a solid. Although some companies still use milligrams to quantify their nicotine strengths, White Cloud uses nicotine by volume, or NBV, which is similar to how alcohol content is measured. White Cloud has a helpful tutorial on choosing the right nicotine strength based on your smoking habits.

As for flavors, smokers tend to gravitate toward e-liquids that taste like tobacco, but your options are practically limitless. It’s common for vapers to become less sensitive to certain flavors over time due to a phenomenon called vape tongue, but switching to a different flavor and then switching back again can remedy that problem. Just make sure to only buy e-liquids from reputable manufacturers who disclose their ingredients.

Understanding How to Inhale Vapor

The Differences Between Vaping and Smoking

Smokers typically don’t put much thought into their smoking “technique,” but vaping requires a different approach to achieve the same effect. Recent research has found that e cigs are less efficient at delivering nicotine than tobacco cigarettes, so vapers take in less nicotine per puff than smokers do. That’s because the other chemicals in cigarettes act like jet fuel so that smokers feel the effects of nicotine instantaneously. Since e juices lack those extra chemicals, it takes longer for the good feelings to kick in.

Also, smokers who switch to vaping often have trouble achieving a throat hit, or the tingly feeling in the back of your throat when you inhale. Upping your nicotine strength can help with this issue, but so can adjusting your vaping technique. Taking short, quick puffs from an e cig will not produce very much vapor; you’ll have to take longer drags than you’re used to. There are two primary approaches to vaping:

Mouth-to-lung, or MTL: Vapor is taken into the mouth momentarily before inhaling into the lungs. The user tastes more flavor but feels less of a throat hit.

Direct-to-lung: Vapor is taken straight into the lungs, which results in bigger clouds and a more intense throat hit.

While mods and vape pens require you to press a button to activate the heating element, most cig-a-likes are controlled by the user’s breath, which is another reason smokers prefer them.

Understanding Vaping Side Effects

Understanding How to Inhale Vapor

It’s common for smokers to feel sick after they abruptly stop smoking. They may experience chills, fever, coughing and a number of other flu-like symptoms. This phenomenon is called smokers flu, and although switching to vaping can calm your anxiety, you’ll probably still feel ill for a few weeks as your body cleanses itself of tobacco and the other carcinogens in cigarettes.

Smokers flu is not a side effect of vaping, but new vapers may experience a sore throat from vaping too much, too often. That’s because the two base ingredients in e-liquids, propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, attract moisture and therefore dry out your mouth and throat. Drinking plenty of water can help you stay hydrated. If you find yourself vaping a lot because you can’t get enough nicotine, then consider going up to a higher nicotine strength.

Can E-cigs Really Help Smokers Quit?

Can E-cigs Really Help Smokers Quit?

Despite what you’ve heard from the anti-vaping lobby, e cigs were not created by tobacco companies to lure people into smoking. In fact, the opposite is true: The first commercial e-cig was created by a doctor named Hon Lik who lost his father to cancer resulting from years of tobacco use. Dr. Lik envisioned a device that would help smokers transition to a safer alternative, and we now have over a decade of research suggesting that e-cigs are indeed safer than cigarettes. Today, the Royal College of Physicians in the UK actually recommends that doctors encourage their smoking patients to switch to e cigs as a harm reduction strategy. Doctors in the US have been hesitant to embrace e cigs for smoking cessation, but the data doesn’t lie. Taking up vaping has helped a lot of people reduce or eliminate their tobacco intake.

Join the Vaping Community

The vaping revolution has brought together ex-smokers, public health advocates, tech enthusiasts and many others who have found common ground in the principles of tobacco harm reduction. If you have questions about vaping, there are tons of people who will gladly educate you. Thousands of former smokers have successfully switched to vaping, and most of them want to share their experiences and help others escape tobacco addiction. You’ll find that many local vape shop owners are former smokers, so they can likely provide advice on switching to vaping from smoking as well.

Aside from communities on social media sites like Reddit, there are a number of vaping forums such as the ECF where you can connect with other vapers. The White Cloud customer service team is always willing to offer tips to new vapers, so don’t hesitate to contact us if this article has left you with any lingering questions!

The Beginners Guide to Vaping E Liquids and Flavors

The Beginners Guide to Vaping E Liquids and Flavors

June 29, 2017

Opponents of electronic cigarettes often raise concerns about the lack of transparency surrounding the contents of e liquids. Fortunately, all reputable e cigarette companies, including White Cloud, take pride in being upfront with customers. This installment of our Beginners Guide to Vaping series will examine what’s in e liquid and which factors you should consider when switching from smoking to vaping.

What’s in E Liquid?

What’s in E Liquid?

White Cloud is committed to letting customers know exactly what they are vaping. We offer dozens of e-liquids to satisfy every vaper, and each one is comprised of the following ingredients:

  • • 84.6% – 92% Propylene Glycol and Glycerol
  • • 0% – 5.4% Nicotine
  • • 8% – 10% Flavorings
  • If you’re trying to wean yourself off of tobacco cigarettes, picking the right e liquid is essential to your success. There are three major factors to consider when purchasing e liquid: your personal tastes, the amount of nicotine and the ratio of propylene glycol to glycerol.

    E Liquids and Nicotine

    The Effects of Nicotine on the Body

    Most e-liquids are available in various nicotine strengths. For example, all of White Cloud’s flavors come in six different nicotine levels, including a nic-free option. Although many e-liquid brands quantify their nicotine levels in mg, or milligrams, White Cloud uses NBV, or nicotine by volume because it provides a more accurate measurement of how much nicotine the user is consuming. Most smokers don’t know how much nicotine they consume daily, which is why we made a guide for choosing the right nicotine strength based on your smoking habits.

    Nicotine strength is the most important factor to look at when shopping for e-liquids, but you should also know that the type of device you use has an impact on nicotine delivery. Mods and other e-cigs powered by manual batteries that let you adjust the temperature and wattage settings generally produce more vapor than cig-a-likes, which means the user gets more nicotine in each puff. Therefore, e-liquids with high nicotine content may be too harsh to use with such devices.

    What are PG/VG Ratios?

    What are PG/VG Ratios

    Propylene glycol and glycerol are FDA-approved excipients commonly used in processed foods, beverages and medications. There’s a good chance that you consume them both unknowingly on a regular basis. Glycerol is also called vegetable glycerin, or VG, and propylene glycol is abbreviated as PG. In e-liquids, they are responsible for producing the vapor that delivers nicotine and flavoring to the user.

    Many vapers don’t have a strong PG/VG ratio preference, but different proportions of these two ingredients produce slightly different effects. E-liquids that are higher in PG tend to be more flavorful and provide a stronger “throat hit,” or the tingly feeling smokers are used to when they inhale. The nicotine level also affects the throat hit – the higher the nicotine strength, the stronger the throat hit.

    E-liquids with more VG are milder, yet they produce denser clouds of vapor. If you find a particular e-liquid to be too harsh, try a version that is higher in VG; if you’re not getting a strong enough throat hit, look for e-liquids higher in PG.

    E Liquids and Flavorings

    E-Cigarette Flavors

    E-liquid manufacturers use food-grade extracts to add flavor to their products, so many of the ingredients in e-liquids can be found in various candies and snacks. If you vape e-liquid from a reputable seller in the U.S. such as White Cloud, you can assume that all of the ingredients are generally recognized as safe for consumption by the FDA. Research on the effects of inhaling such extracts so far suggests that vaping is harmless for both vapers and bystanders.

    However, there is one ingredient in particular that has gotten a lot of bad press: diacetyl. Diacetyl has been used for decades to produce an artificial buttery flavoring for popcorn. Factory workers who inhale large quantities of diacetyl over time can develop an unpleasant disease called “popcorn lung,” which is why media outlets freaked out when a few e-liquid companies started using diacetyl in their products. Of course, reports failed to mention that the quantities of diacetyl found in the e-liquids weren’t even remotely close to dangerous levels; in fact, regular tobacco cigarettes contain 750 times more diacetyl than the e-liquids in question. Nonetheless, White Cloud doesn’t carry any e-liquids containing diacetyl or any other ingredients that have come under such scrutiny.

    Related: Popcorn Lung and Vaping

    How Does E Liquid Smell and Affect Taste?

    How Does E Liquid Smell and Affect Taste?

    For some of us, the smell of tobacco smoke is comforting and nostalgic, but most nonsmokers just think it’s disgusting. Thankfully, the vapor produced from e-liquids is mostly odorless. Any aroma from e cig vapor comes from the flavoring, which is often quite pleasant and may be mistaken for air freshener or fresh baked goods. However, if you really want a tobacco flavored e liquid, White Cloud has you covered.

    Another downside to smoking tobacco cigarettes is that it dampens your senses of smell and taste. Ex-smokers find that switching to vaping improves their senses, yet there is a phenomenon called “vaper’s tongue,” which occurs when you lose sensitivity to specific e-liquid flavors. Fortunately, vaper’s tongue is avoidable and reversible by staying hydrated and switching up your flavors.

    Which E liquid is Right for Me?

    You should be picky about what goes into your body, which is why you should only vape e-liquids purchased from reputable sellers who disclose their ingredients. No two products are alike, so keep experimenting until you find a flavor, nicotine strength and PG/VG ratio that satisfies you. If you’re trying to make the transition from tobacco to e-cigs, take comfort in knowing that there is a ton of research that suggests whatever you’re vaping is safer than smoking.

    Making the Switch to Vaping

    If you’re still considering making the switch to vaping, you’ve come to the right place. In the final part of this beginner’s guide, we’ll provide helpful tips and tricks so you know exactly what to expect when transitioning from smoking to vaping.

    The Beginner’s Guide to How E Cigs Work

    The Beginner’s Guide to How E Cigs Work

    June 21, 2017

    Previous installments in our beginner’s guide to vaping series have touched on the history of electronic cigarettes and the evolving research and legislation surrounding them. Now that you’re familiar with the history of vaping and the terminology that goes along with it, it’s time to finally delve into the figurative nuts and bolts of how e cigs work.

    What is E Cig Vapor?

    What is E Cig Vapor?

    As you’ll recall from our glossary of vape terms, all e cigs have three essential components: a battery, a heating element and the e liquid. E liquids contain a base of either propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin, or a mixture of the two, along with artificial flavorings and nicotine, while nicotine-free options are also very common. The heating element “vaporizes” the e-liquid, which the user inhales and exhales to produce an effect similar to smoking.

    Most e cigs are designed to closely mimic the sensation of smoking, which understandably makes people worry about the contents of e cig vapor. Unlike secondhand smoke, which we know is dangerous, studies have shown that e cig vapor is harmless to bystanders. That’s because e liquids, or e-juices, are composed of just a few ingredients rather than the hundreds of chemicals in cigarettes. Other studies have also found that e cig vapor dissipates in the air within seconds after being exhaled, rather than lingering in the air for hours and contributing to “third-hand” smoke given off by traditional cigarettes.

    An Overview of Vaping Devices

    An Overview of Vaping Devices

    When new vapers go shopping for their first e cig, they are often overwhelmed by the many different types of vaping devices, ranging from cig-a-likes and vape pens to regulated and unregulated mods, or advanced personal vaporizers (APVs). With so many options to choose from, where do you even begin? Well, if you’re a smoker looking to ease into vaping, then you may want to start with the cig-a-like.

    A cig-a-like is just as the name implies: it is the original e-cigarette that closely resembles a traditional cigarette, both in function and aesthetics. Cig-a-likes are usually shaped just like a tobacco cigarette, but with a little more length to accommodate the battery, which is usually activated upon inhalation. The result is an experience much like smoking, except you don’t have to carry around a lighter or worry about containing your ashes (because no combustion = no ashes). Cig-a-likes are also compatible with prefilled e liquid cartridges, so all users have to worry about is keeping the cig-a-like charged and changing cartridges when the time comes, unless they go for disposable e cigs which don’t require any recharging or changing of cartridges – they are simply recycled when depleted. Cig-a-likes are indeed the best option for hassle-free vaping; however, seasoned vapers do tend to move onto “bigger and better” things.

    Vape pens and APVs take vaping to a new level. These devices come with a lot more user customization and maintenance than the simple cig-a-like, so they are recommended for more experienced vapers; however, there is a wealth of information out there for those who want to skip the cig-a-like experience and get straight into customizing their vaping experiences.

    Vape pens and APVs come in a range of shapes and sizes and are equipped with refillable tanks, which the user must fill with e-liquid. These devices also require extra maintenance, including cleaning and changing coils and wicks, as well as cleaning tanks after extended vaping or when changing flavors. Aside from aesthetics, user customization and maintenance, there is also one big notable difference that sets these devices apart from cig-a-likes: the battery.

    Automatic vs. Manual E Cigarette Batteries

    Automatic vs. Manual E Cigarette Batteries

    Some regular e cig users vape through life without knowing there are actually two types of e cig batteries. Most of the traditional cig-a-likes come equipped with automatic batteries, usually lithium polymer, that activate when the user takes a draw. Such devices are popular because they function similarly to tobacco cigarettes, and they often include safety features that prevent overheating.

    Manual batteries, on the other hand, are button-operated. What this means is that in order to heat the e liquid to produce vapor, the user must press and hold a button to activate the battery – something many ex-smokers may find inconvenient while vaping and while carrying the device in their pockets. Some vapers have literally set their pants on fire due to these types of batteries accidentally activating in their pockets. So, while manual batteries give the user greater control over the temperature and electrical current, such freedom does come with risks.

    Manual e-cigs are also usually powered by lithium-ion batteries, which are commonly used to power portable devices, such as power tools and electric vehicles. Lithium-ion batteries have a tendency to overheat and their packaging offers little room for the heat to escape, making them more dangerous than their lithium polymer counterparts; however, their low cost and availability make them a convenient option for powering e cigarettes. Your best bet when deciding to use a manual, lithium-ion powered e cigarette is to follow the do’s and don’ts for e cig battery safety.

    Ohm’s Law and E Cigarettes

    Ohm’s Law and E Cigarettes

    There is quite a bit of science that revolves around vaping, and (unless you were a science geek in high school) you might not remember the term “Ohm’s Law”. Well, if you’re headstrong on jumping into advanced vaping, then it’s time for some fun with science. In fact, vaping has taught vapers so much about science, there is even a popular meme floating around the Internet, which states, “You learned more about electricity from vaping than you ever did in school.”

    Ohm’s Law is all about the science of electricity, so it makes total sense that it is an important concept to understand when it comes to using electronic cigarettes. Now, we’re not saying you need a degree in physics to use or design an e-cig mod, but you should have a basic understanding of Ohm’s law when using advanced personal vaporizers. All too often, inexperienced vapers tinker with their devices to create bigger vapor clouds without much knowledge of how Ohm’s Law works or just how dangerous it can be to essentially “play with fire”. One of these tinkering methods has become known as sub-Ohm vaping, or “sub-Ohming,” which simply means firing an atomizer at under 1 Ohm of resistance. This strategy will produce some impressive vapor clouds, but failing to properly calculate the current can result in an electrical fire in your face. So, if you don’t want your 5 minutes of fame to be featured in a sensationalist news headline about exploding e cigs, then be sure to check out the extensive Ohm’s law vaping guide provided by our friends over at Vaping360.

    So What’s in E Liquids?

    About White Cloud E-Liquid Flavors

    Now that you’ve been given a crash course on how e-cigs work, you may be wondering what ingredients go into e liquids and how they get their flavors. Well stay tuned because we’ll be telling you all about it in Part 4 of this Beginner’s Guide to Vaping series.