Hong Kong Passes Law to Completely Outlaw E-Cigarettes

October 15, 2018

Just as public health experts around the world have been warming up to vaping, the government of Hong Kong is trying to institute a total ban on e-cigarettes. The proposed ban would make it illegal to sell, manufacture or import e-cigs within the territory.

Hong Kong Bans E-Cigarette Sales

e-cigs banned in hong kong

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor officially declared the ban in October 2018, but the government has been threatening to prohibit e-cig sales for over a year. As recently as June 2018, the government decided that e-cigs would be regulated as tobacco products; however, due to pressure from anti-vaping activists, Hong Kong officials announced a sudden reversal of that policy.

The ban would also apply to heat-not-burn tobacco products. Unlike e-cigs, heat-not-burn products contain actual tobacco, but they work on the same principle as vaping: The tobacco is slowly heated to vaporize the nicotine. No combustion is involved, but heat-not-burn products are indeed tobacco products, so they are likely more dangerous than e-cigs.

Ironically, tobacco cigarettes remain legal despite decades of evidence linking smoking to heart disease, cancer and dozens of other health problems. This inconsistency is likely due to the fact that tobacco sales bring enormous tax revenue to the government. E-cigs simply can’t compete with Hong Kong’s $1.2 billion tobacco market.

The Status of Vaping in China vs. Hong Kong

Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997 when it joined the People’s Republic of China under the condition of somewhat autonomous rule. While e-cigs remain legal throughout the rest of China, Hong Kong has the ability to declare its own laws within its borders. Nonetheless, since goods travel freely between Hong Kong and the rest of China, the government will be unable to stop people from bringing their e-cigs from the mainland.

Related: The Vaper’s Guide to Traveling through Asia

In fact, Hong Kong is just south of Shenzhen, China, also known as the vaping production capitol of the world. Therefore, the ban will probably stop short of criminalizing vaping altogether. Still, vapers in Hong Kong could be forced back into smoking if e-cigs become harder to obtain.

Modern e-cigs were actually invented in China by a doctor who wanted to provide a safer alternative for smokers. A decade of research has repeatedly led to the conclusion that vaping is about 95 safer than smoking tobacco, yet many public health officials across the globe remained resistant to e-cigs until very recently.

As more smokers have switched to vaping, people are starting to realize the benefits of providing a safer way to satiate nicotine cravings. Unfortunately, health experts in Hong Kong are bowing to pressure from advocacy groups that rely on outdated science to push their political agenda.

Why Are E-Cigarettes Illegal in Hong Kong?

The Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health, the College of Community Medicine and the Medical Association of Hong Kong collectively voiced their displeasure at the government’s plan to regulate rather than ban e-cigs. In response, public health experts in Canada and the U.S. have joined together and sent a letter to Hong Kong officials imploring them to reconsider the decision.

“We believe this campaign is ill-conceived and inconsistent with the international evidence,” the letter states. “We are writing to urge the government to resist this pressure and to use ‘risk-proportionate’ regulation rather than prohibition to exploit the opportunities and minimize any risks associated with these new technologies.”

Future of vaping in hong kong

To be fair, Hong Kong’s government is following the advice of the World Health Organization, which the authors of the letter accuse of cherry picking research to paint e-cigs in a negative light. Opponents of vaping often cite concerns about the appeal of e-cigs to young people, which is a serious concern, but it’s not a reason to keep e-cigs out of the hands of adults who are trying to beat their tobacco habit. Furthermore, while there needs to be more research on the long term health impacts of vaping, the fact that vaping is safer than smoking is indisputable.

“Why would a government prevent a smoker [from] switching to a much lower-risk product and, in doing so, perhaps save his own life using his own initiative and at his own expense?” the authors ask Hong Kong public health officials. The letter continues: “We respectfully ask by what logical, scientific or ethical argument does it make sense to ban the much safer products while leaving the highly harmful dominant product, cigarettes, widely available throughout Hong Kong?”

The Future of E-cigs in Hong Kong

If all goes as planned, Hong Kong will soon join 27 other countries that have completely banned e-cigarette use and import. Meanwhile, public health advocates in the U.K. and New Zealand are actually endorsing vaping as a safer substitute for smoking. Hopefully, the rest of the world will soon catch up and realize the potential for e-cigs to save lives.

FDA Comments Cause Stock Market Uncertainty

October 1, 2018

Big tobacco companies have long been fearful of e-cigarettes cutting into their market as more smokers switch to vaping. Nonetheless, the FDA comments regarding the recent crack down on flavored e-liquids has sent tobacco stock prices soaring. Who is really benefiting from the latest attack on vaping?

The FDA vs. Flavored E-Cigs

In April 2018, the FDA launched the Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan to address public concern about teen smoking and vaping. Shortly after, the administration began issuing warning letters and monetary penalties to companies that make or sell e-liquids resembling “kid-friendly” items like candy, juice boxes and cookies. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb called it the “largest ever coordinated initiative against violative sales in the history of the FDA.” Now, the FDA is giving e-cig makers an ultimatum: Submit a plan to prevent teens from using your products, or have them taken off of store shelves.

A few years back, the FDA proposed requiring all vapor products to undergo an expensive review process, but the agency is now focusing on flavored e-juices. The future is uncertain, but businesses could be required to revise their packaging and marketing strategies. Worse case scenario, all flavored e-liquids could become subject to FDA approval. Manufacturers have also been warned that they could be penalized if their retail partners are caught selling their products to underage customers.

Tobacco Stocks Climb After FDA Comments

Tobacco Stocks Climb After FDA Crackdown

Big tobacco investors welcomed the news as stocks in cigarettes suddenly surged. For example, Altria Group and British American Tobacco had their best days in ten years. Likewise, Philip Morris International and Imperial Tobacco both saw stock prices rise by 3 percent. Tobacco stocks have been in steep decline since e-cigs became widely available, which is why tobacco companies have been raising cigarette prices every year.

Ironically, tobacco companies have become some of the biggest manufacturers of e-cigs. Brands like Vuse, MarkTen and Blu E-cigs are all made by the same people who make traditional cigarettes. These companies can afford the massive fees that come with seeking FDA approval, and even if their products are pulled from the market, they can make up the losses in tobacco sales. Most companies that exclusively make vapor products have no such financial cushion, so stronger regulations and additional FDA comments could snuff out much of the e-cig market.

Unfortunately, thousands of retailers are also getting caught up in the chaos as they must choose between getting rid of their inventory or facing fines. Either way, American businesses will lose money. Tobacco companies will remain profitable while the people who sell their products will suffer.

What’s the Fuss About Flavored E-Cigs?

While e-cig opponents have accused e-cig makers of purposely marketing to children, tobacco harm reduction advocates claim that flavored e-cigs help adult smokers who want to wean themselves off of tobacco. A new study published in the British Medical Journal suggests that vaping helps smokers “transfer cigarette addiction to nicotine addiction,” which is far preferable since vaping is 95 percent safer than smoking.

Although the American medical community has warmed up to e-cigs significantly in recent years, the FDA has cited rising rates of teen vaping as cause for concern. For now, the statistics on teen vaping are inconclusive. Hopefully, the FDA won’t throw out the metaphorical baby with the bath water by banning e-cig flavors altogether.

E-Cigs for Adults, Not for Kids

E-Cigs for Adults, Not for Kids

No one wants young people to take up vaping, which is why White Cloud has a state-of-the-art age verification process for all of our online sales. That said, the myth that vaping serves as a gateway to smoking has been thoroughly debunked. If anything, e-cigs have provided an escape route for thousands of smokers who have beaten their tobacco habits. The FDA is right to be concerned about teens vaping, but banning flavors only benefits tobacco companies, who have already made enough money at the expense of public health.

FDA Takes Action Against Youth Vaping

FDA Takes Action Against Youth Vaping

September 25, 2018

The FDA has proclaimed that there is a new epidemic sweeping the United States. While the vaping-public may not agree, the FDA has set it’s sights on electronic cigarette use amongst teenagers, and youth vaping in general. Instead of making the focus of their efforts on specific brands that have established themselves in the e-cig market by appealing to young adults and teens, the new target is the flavors that manufacturers offer in their cartridges, pods, and tanks.

According to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, “certain flavors (of e-cigarettes) are one of the principal drivers of the youth appeal of these (e-cigarettes) products.” Additional comments made by Commissioner Gottlieb in a press release from September 12th include claims that youth use of electronic cigarettes has “reached an epidemic proportion.”

How FDA Comments Effect E-Cig Companies

The FDA has sent a letter to 5 manufacturers: Juul Labs, MarkTen, Vuse, blu, and Logic. In this letter, they are calling for drastic steps to be taken to display to the FDA how flavored products from these companies, arguably the largest in the space, will be kept away from minors. If the companies do not comply within 60 days, and do not show a goodwill effort in making products less available to underage users, they run the risk of being banned from the market.

Is a Flavor Ban Going to Help?

E-cigarettes were created to help adult smokers find an alternative to traditional tobacco products. This is a point that has been echoed by White Cloud, as well as other major e-cigarette companies, since e-cigarettes have become commercially available in the United States over a decade ago. Putting a ban on flavors unfairly places adult tobacco users in a precarious situation, where many have relied on flavored e-cigarettes to help them remove cigarettes from their lives.

Juul Stands in the Crosshairs

Over the last two years, the craze over Juuls has blown to epic proportions, and in turn, has brought this issue of flavors to the forefront of the FDA. Incredibly popular amongst college students, and also becoming the most commonly found e-cig device confiscated in high schools, Juul e-cigarettes delivery an alarmingly high dose of nicotine (5% NBV) through “pods” that carry flavors such as Fruit, Cucumber, and Mango. Dubbed “the iPhone of vaping”, using a Juul has become the “cool” item to own, and its popularity has trickled down to teenagers.

A Nicotine Strength Problem, Not a Flavor Problem

When manufacturers like Juul are able to mask a 5% NBV product with fruity flavors like Fruit or Mango, they are offering a nicotine volume that a 2-pack a day smoker would encounter. Here at White Cloud, we will only recommend our products in that strength to the heaviest of smokers looking to make the switch to vapor products. Even then, we encourage these customers to work their way down the scale in NBV, in hope that they’ll be able to wean off their addiction to nicotine to a level that they will eventually be able to “forget about.” As of recent, Juul has begun to offer two flavors, Virginia Tobacco and Mint in 3% NBV, which is more comparable to one pack a day of cigarettes; still an alarmingly high amount of nicotine for a young adult or teenage to be consuming.

What is White Cloud Doing to Combat Youth Vaping?

White Cloud’s online sales approach has placed us at the forefront of stopping underage sale. Our multi-step age verification process includes havingNo-Hire Policies for Smokers Now Being Extended to Vapers each customer submit information that we then verify using Lexus Nexus before allowing the customer to place any orders. We hope that more electronic cigarette distributors will begin to take similar approaches to combat the sale of vapor products to underage teens.

What are your thoughts on the FDA taking aim at e-cigarette flavors? Would you stop vaping and go back to traditional tobacco products if your favorite flavor was no longer available for purchase? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

How Much Nicotine is in Cigarettes?

September 15, 2018

If you’re trying to switch from smoking to vaping, selecting the right nicotine strength is vital to your success. Fortunately, e-liquids typically tell you exactly how much nicotine they contain on the packaging label, but how do you know how much nicotine is in a cigarette? This guide will help you determine the amount of nicotine you’re used to consuming so that you can choose a comparable e-liquid. First, you need to know a little about nicotine in cigarettes and its impact on the human body.

How Much Nicotine is in Cigarettes?

The average tobacco cigarette contains about 12mg of nicotine with amounts typically ranging between 8-20mg; however, more important than the overall nicotine content is the amount of nicotine your body absorbs via smoking, which is about 1-How Much Nicotine Does a Cigarette Have?2mg per cigarette. How much nicotine you actually take in depends on the cigarette brand, how often you smoke and even genetics.

Smokers also control how much nicotine they consume based on how they inhale. This process is called self-titration, and it’s usually performed subconsciously. Therefore, it’s hard to say how many cigarettes someone must smoke before they become addicted to nicotine. Nonetheless, the FDA has recently proposed limiting the nicotine content of cigarettes to lower the risk of addiction.

What is Nicotine?

Nicotine is best known as the addictive substance in tobacco, but that doesn’t mean nicotine is harmful by itself. Tar, ammonia, carbon monoxide and the other toxins found in traditional cigarettes are what cause smoking related illnesses such as cancer and heart disease, but nicotine is the chemical that makes tobacco habits so hard to break.

According to research, e-cigarettes can help smokers satiate their nicotine cravings without the harmful effects of smoking. They work on the same principle as other nicotine replacement therapies, like gums or patches, but e-cigs are possibly more effective since vaping closely mimics the act of smoking.

How Nicotine Affects the Body

If you’ve ever tried to quit smoking cold turkey, you likely experienced some mild anxiety, irritability and intense cravings for cigarettes. These symptoms, often referred to as “The Smoker’s Flu”, are caused by nicotine withdrawal. Slowly decreasing your nicotine intake can prevent withdrawal and drastically increase your chances of quitting tobacco.The Effects of Nicotine on the Brain

On the other hand, taking in too much nicotine at once can result in nicotine poisoning, which causes many of the same symptoms as withdrawal. Additionally, consuming an excess of nicotine can lead to increased heart rate, nausea, insomnia and even ringing in the ears. If you’re a light smoker, then vaping an e-liquid with high nicotine content could make you feel sick.

While ingesting large amounts of pure nicotine would be dangerous, it’s not possible to overdose on nicotine from smoking or vaping. Your body can tell when it’s had enough, so you would start feeling ill long before you consumed enough nicotine to pose a serious threat. Nonetheless, the more nicotine you consume on a regular basis, the more addicted you become.

The FDA Seeks to Regulate Content of Nicotine in Cigarettes

In July 2018, the FDA announced its intention to eventually limit levels of nicotine in cigarettes to below addictive levels. Creating very low nicotine cigarettes has been a goal of tobacco control scientists for decades, but enforcing such a rule would be extremely challenging. Regulations of that magnitude take several years to implement, and the process could easily be derailed by Congress. Of course, there’s always the potential for a black market to emerge.

Although the FDA was previously hostile toward e-cigs, tobacco harm reduction advocates have been successful in shifting public opinion. Since we know that vaping is 95 percent safer than smoking, there’s no reason to deny smokers an alternative that can save their lives. Thus, the FDA is now hoping that reducing nicotine content in cigarettes will encourage more smokers to switch to vaping while preventing future tobacco addictions altogether.

Smoking Nicotine in Cigarettes vs. Vaping Nicotine in E-Liquid

Although e-cigs were originally invented to simulate the act of smoking, there’s a big difference between vaping and smoking. While tobacco cigarettes contain additives that accelerate the nicotine in cigarettes delivery, e-liquids are composed of just water (PG), nicotine, vegetable oil (VG) and flavoring. Consequently, vapers take in less nicotine per puff than smokers do.

On top of all the tar, cigarettes contain ammonia, which creates a “freebase” form of nicotine that is even more potent. The compounds in cigarette smoke also act as monoamine oxidase inhibitors, which reinforce nicotine’s effect on the brain making cigarettes even more addictive. The absence of these chemicals in e-cigarettes make self-titration much easier. In other words, vapers have a better idea of how much nicotine they’re actually taking in.

Which Nicotine Strength Should You Choose?

As you can see, comparing tobacco cigarettes to e-liquids is a bit like comparing apples to avocados. To make matters more confusing, different e-cig companies measure nicotine content in different ways. For example, White Cloud uses NBV, or nicotine by volume, because it most accurately reflects an e-liquid’s potency.

To better help all smokers transition to vaping, White Cloud offers six different nicotine strengths ranging from 5.4 percent NBV for heavy smoker to a nicotine-free option for vapers who miss the feeling of smoking but no longer need nicotine. Social smokers or those who smoke less than one pack each day should start with our 0.8 or 1.6 percent cartridges. The 2.4 percent NBV strength is ideal pack-a-day smokers while the higher strengths are only for the heaviest of smokers looking to reduce their consumption.

Nicotine vs Caffeine: What’s the Difference?

September 5, 2018

Nicotine gets a bad wrap. Because it’s believed to be the addictive ingredient in tobacco cigarettes, and everyone knows that smoking kills millions every year, many people assume that nicotine is a dangerous substance.In extremely high doses, nicotine is indeed poisonous; however, in moderation, nicotine may be as benign as a cup of coffee. But where does it sit when comparing nicotine vs caffeine?

Nicotine vs Caffeine: The Differences and Similarities

Nicotine has more in common with caffeine than the other chemicals found in tobacco cigarettes. For example, nicotine and caffeine are both alkaloids derived from plants that naturally stimulate dopamine production in the brain. Both chemicals are stimulants that act on the central nervous system, and they have positive effects when taken in small doses. The biggest difference between them is how they are consumed.

No one disputes that nicotine and caffeine are addictive. People who regularly use either substance will experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and fatigue if they suddenly quit cold turkey. That said, nicotine may not be as addictive as once believed.

Nicotine vs Caffeine: Possible Therapeutic Benefits

More than half of Americans consume caffeine every day for a short term mood and attention boost. Others use it as an appetite suppressant, while some brave individuals consume caffeine rectally via coffee enemas to improve gut health.

Interestingly, caffeine and nicotine share a peculiar therapeutic benefit: Both substances have demonstrated potential for slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Pure nicotine, which can be extracted from tobacco leaves or synthetically produced, can also reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure. Aside from Alzheimer’s, nicotine could soon be used to treat neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease, ADHD and even Schizophrenia.

It should be noted that ingesting large quantities of caffeine or nicotine in their pure forms can be dangerous, which is why vapers should keep their e-liquids away from children and pets. Young people may be more prone to nicotine and caffeine addiction since their brains are still developing, so minors shouldn’t have access to either substance.

Vaping vs. Smoking: Nicotine Delivery

Some former smokers have taken up vaping as a substitute for tobacco use. E-cigarettes work by vaporizing a water-based liquid to closely mimic the act of smoking. Not all e-liquids contain nicotine, but most ex-smokers find that slowly weaning themselves off of nicotine makes the transition easier. For others, the physical act of vaping is enough to curb their tobacco cravings, so they prefer nicotine-free e-liquids.

One of the advantages of vaping over smoking is that vapers are in control of their nicotine intake. Smokers generally have no idea how much nicotine they are consuming. E-liquids typically tell you exactly how much nicotine they contain, and many brands offer various nicotine strengths. White Cloud, for instance, has six different nicotine strengths including a nicotine-free option.

Studies suggest that nicotine is not the sole or primary cause of smoking addiction. Although nicotine is addictive by itself, the other chemicals in tobacco cigarettes also play a role by increasing the efficiency of nicotine delivery. E-cigs, on the other hand, give vapers smaller and more consistent doses of nicotine.

Vaping vs. Smoking: The Potential Risks

Considering that vaping is 95 percent safer than smoking, medical professionals around the world are encouraging tobacco users to give e-cigs a try. Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health in the U.K., has called for a law requiring stores that sell tobacco to also carry vapor products. The RSPH also advocates calling e-cigs “vaporizers” or “nicotine sticks” to further distinguish them from tobacco products.

Vaping is in no way beneficial to your health, but it’s certainly safer than smoking, which is the world’s biggest preventable killer according to the World Health Organization. Unfortunately, anti-smoking campaigns and public health advertisements often conflate nicotine with tobacco use, which has led to the erroneous assumption that e-cigs are just as dangerous as traditional cigarettes.

Psychiatrist Mike Russell said it best four decades ago: “Smoke for the nicotine, but die from the tar.” Today, scientists are questioning whether or not nicotine addiction by itself is necessarily a bad thing. Many ex-smokers continue using nicotine patches and gums after beating their tobacco habit with no major health problems. Although more research is needed regarding the long term impact of vaping on the throat and lungs, we know for sure that nicotine isn’t the culprit behind smoking related illnesses.