Hope Rises for Vapers as they #TellTheirVapeStory

By Cali Steam Blogger
on January 16, 2019

Hope Rises for Vapers as they #TellTheirVapeStory

Stacey Hess was born in the heart of the tobacco industry, and tried her first cigarette when she was attending grade school. "It's kind of what you did in the South, when you're 13 years old. I think things are a little different down here.” For the next 20 years, she couldn't kick the habit: "I tried the gum, I tried the patches, I've tried the lozenges, and none of that stuff worked." What ultimately did work was vaping.

"I immediately realized I was feeling better," Hess said. "I could breathe better. It doesn't take long for your lungs to kind of heal themselves."

Reporter asked, "Did you feel like there were changes going in your lungs?"

"I did," she replied. "I wasn't coughing when I woke up in the morning any more. That was a big thing. I think a lot of smokers go through that: They cough as soon as they wake up. I wasn't doing that any more, and I haven't done that since."

Hess is now hoping to share that feeling and, she's convinced, help save lives, as a volunteer for an advocacy group called the Louisiana Smoke-Free Association.

But e-cigarettes are winning over more than just former smokers. In fact, they are gaining cautious support from a growing number of public health experts. In June no less than the American Cancer Society noted that while the long-term effects of e-cigarettes are "not known," they are "markedly less harmful" than traditional smoking.

"Nicotine's not. It's all the components of combustion. Nicotine's not a completely benign compound – it has side effects. But the cause of cancer, and the carcinogens in tobacco, are the products of the combustion."

In other words, it's not the nicotine that will kill you, it's the smoke. But Gottlieb and others are quick to point out that what may be a helpful for adults looking to quit is also enticing to teenagers.

"What I've learned, not only in the tobacco industry but also taking on the sugary beverage industry, is that they also falsify data. And so that's what's most alarming. If the FDA's going to really be studying this, I want independent, pure, empirical research and data to drive this policy conversation."

But walk into a vape shop anywhere in the country, and you see another side of the industry. About half of the vape market is still made up of small businesses mostly staffed and owned by former smokers like Steve Nair and his wife, Brandy.

The FDA is still reviewing the impact of vaping, and figuring out how to regulate the entire world of smoke-free tobacco products, a process that is expected to take years.

People like Stacey Hess, though, aren't waiting. She's now trying to convince her father – a smoker for 40 years – to try vaping ("It's not for me," he laughed), while also enjoying what she says are the benefits of a smoke-free life.

Like father, not quite like daughter: Stacey Hess swears by vaping, but her dad is sticking with traditional cigarettes.

Hess said, "I wish I had never started smoking to begin with."

The reporter asked, "How's your health?"

"My health is improved. I actually went to Denver last month. And, you know, the elevation is a little different up there, and I actually did a hike and I wasn't winded. And I was like, man! There was no way I could have done this before!"

Top 5 Picks to Watch in the Vaping Industry for 2019

By Cali Steam Blogger
on January 05, 2019

Top 5 Picks to Watch in the Vaping Industry for 2019

As we ring in the new year we look to the hottest topics that’ll shape 2019 in the world of vaping. Below are our top five categories of items we believe will impact the industry.

  1. Regulations & Taxes
  2. Technology
  3. Consolidation of the Industry
  4. Continued Growth in Users
  5. Product Diversification

Regulations and taxes will continue to be the focus around the globe as the FDA in the United States continues to fight “the epidemic of youth vaping” and local cities fight for various flavor bans. We’d also expect governments to continue to look for additional revenue streams from vapor products as they are an easy voter target for more government funding.

Technology again will be at the forefront of the industry with lightning fast innovations coming to closed pod systems, e liquid flavors and nicotine levels etc. We’ll see the focus of products on safety and reliability as those have been struggling points for the industry in the press for many years. Expect to see cross over products within the closed pod systems sector with interchangeable systems that’ll be adaptable to multiply systems.

We’re also expecting to see a ramp up of companies consolidating within the industry. This could mean vape companies themselves will begin to join forces or cross industry consolidation similar to the Juul and Altria partnership. As the industry matures the thousands of vape companies that sprung up over the years will look to consolidate to further grow and expand their offerings.

As with any new industry the vape industry will continue to grow. There will be a huge push into 2019 to convert additional traditional smokers to vaping. This will be a continued trend across the globe as additional research will point to the benefits of vaping over traditional cigarettes.

Lastly, rounding out our top five choices is product diversification. We are already starting to see traditional vaping companies pivot into industries like CBD and hemp. This will continue as vaping companies grow and look to increase their brand loyalty on other similar products. We expect to see some exciting ventures into new product offerings from vapes, CBD and cannabis in those areas where it’s legal.

Although there are many challenges and hurdles yet for the industry to endure we see a bright future for our customers and vapers alike. Welcome to 2019 and have a safe and Happy New Year from the Cali Steam Team.

Senators Introduce New Bipartisan Anti-Vaping Bill(s)

By Cali Steam Blogger
on December 10, 2018

Senators Introduce New Bipartisan Anti-Vaping Bill(s)

A bipartisan bill to help schools fight the supposed “epidemic” of teenage vaping was introduced in the Senate this week. The legislation was introduced as the “Smoke Free Schools Act,” ignoring the fact that vaping doesn’t involve smoke.

The Smoke Free Schools Act is suppose to help schools find ways to combat the scourge of vaping and nicotine addiction, which the bill’s mentions is a major issue of teens today. The act would address the following concerns

- Specifically bans vaping in schools and childcare facilities

- Amends Title IV of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to clarify that e-cigarette prevention is an allowable use of funds

- Instructs the FDA to partner with the CDC and the Department of Education to conduct studies of best practices for schools to discourage e-cigarette use

- Instructs the FDA to study gaps in knowledge of the harms of e-cigarettes among youth, including injuries and poisoning

- Seeks further information on the dose-response association between e-cigarettes and combustible tobacco, and the current efforts by schools to use federal funding to combat e-cigarette use

- Instructs the Federal Trade Commission to consider including e-cigarettes in any studies they do relating to the marketing effects of traditional tobacco

The bill doesn’t seem to accomplish much, except to clear the way for federal funds to be spent on “e-cigarette prevention.” That probably benefits the drug warriors, police, and treatment specialists that have already scored big by creating anti-juuling campaigns and educational presentations for parents and students.

The bill was introduced by New Mexico Democrat Tom Udall and Utah Republican Orrin Hatch. It’s supported by groups like the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the National School Boards Association, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National PTA, and the Society for Public Health Education.

The Smoke Free Schools Act is the second bipartisan anti-vaping bill launched this year in the Senate. The first was Dick Durbin’s SAFE Kids Act, co-sponsored by the Illinois Democrat and Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski.

The Durbin-Murkowski legislation would require e-liquid manufacturers to prove that their non-tobacco flavors are proven smoking cessation products. That’s a standard no non-pharmaceutical product can meet. Such a law would spell the end of the independent vaping industry.

In related happenings, a letter demanding FDA action on e-liquid flavors was sent by 21 Democratic senators to Commissioner Scott Gottlieb the other day. The lawmakers want what they always want: full enforcement of all components of the Deeming Rule immediately, flavors off the market, and the wishes and needs of vapers and smokers ignored as usual.

The Increase in Teen Vaping May Lead to Less Teen Smokers

By Sponsored Post
on November 20, 2018

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

The FDA calls teen vaping an “epidemic,” but the influence of e-cigarettes on teens’ overall health might be more complicated than assumed, according to a new study out Thursday in the journal Tobacco Control. It suggests that while teens and young adults in the U.S. did start flocking to e-cigarettes these past few years, they also significantly cut back on smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes during the same time period. So could vaping be the silver bullet that kicks tobacco to the curb?

Vaping advocates have long claimed that e-cigarettes can and will help current smokers wean themselves away from smoking tobacco cigarettes, with the eventual goal of making it easier for them to quit nicotine altogether. But the evidence supporting this prediction has been mixed. A study earlier this year, for instance, found that adults who became dual users of e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes were actually less likely to quit their habit in a year’s time than people who only smoked cigarettes.

When it comes to teens, other research has found that vaping’s popularity has had no major positive effects on their smoking rates. Some studies have even suggested that vaping is creating new smokers, with teens who start vaping becoming more likely to eventually transition into tobacco than non-vaping teens.

But researchers behind current research say that past studies haven’t looked at teen vaping trends alongside smoking trends long enough for us to be sure of anything. So they decided to analyze and combine data from five different nationwide surveys of teens and young adults in the United States.

Mirroring other research, they found that vaping shot up in popularity around 2014 and has stayed popular in the years since. But they also found a faster, inverse drop in traditional smoking rates during those same years.

According to one survey of teen drug use, annual rates of any smoking in the past 30 days among 12th graders have been declining by 4.5 percent over the long term. But during 2014 to 2017 there was an additional 9.1 percent annual reduction of any level of smoking.

There are a few caveats to the study’s findings, though. Like other population studies, it can only tell us that an indirect connection between teen smoking and vaping exists, not whether one trend is directly impacting the other or vice versa.

“The most important takeaway from the study is that the public health implications of vaping are complex. We should not just focus on vaping, but should consider its effect on smoking,” he said. “Smoking presents far greater health risks, so that any reduction in smoking that arise as a result of vaping needs to be given strong consideration in evaluating any additional health risks that vaping may present.”

Vape Advocacy Efforts More Important Than Ever

By Cali Steam Blogger
on November 14, 2018

Vape Advocacy Efforts More Important Than Ever

Vape advocacy is everywhere, whether joining or creating groups to invite vapers to join, informing your “vape family” of significant news stories and current event updates, writing your state’s legislators, educating the non-vaping portion of society, organizing pro-vaping events, there is something you can do to help the industry move forward.

The many forms of advocacy for vaping to inspire much debate and aggressive tensions shared back and forth. Although we are referring to the Internet, we’re also referring to the vaping lifestyle which is surely a phenomenon we know and love so well from watching it evolve into a promising culture of common unity and innovative industry of entrepreneurs. It’s given options to an entire community that felt discouraged and hopeless at times stuck in addition.

Additionally, we have also witnessed it spiral into a state of confusion, denial, poor communication skills, demonstrating irresponsible business practices, feeling overwhelmed disappointment and fear. The industry in its infancy was a world of free wheeling practices with extreme marketing appealing to almost every smoker on the market.

However, the industry as also become agreeable to reasonable regulations within the United States by the FDA and the European Union. We’ve come together as a community to unit ourselves on the common ground of providing options for those that want to smoke. Yet we continue to find ourselves in the crossroads of change.

So what are we left todo as a community at this point? Well, we can still do a lot. We need to continue to tell our vape story to friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers. We can also try to recruit other smokers that haven’t transitioned yet to vaping and introduce them to a new world of smoking. Additionally, you should continue to stay active with your local government representatives. A simple call or letter goes a long way in the fight for reasonable legislation.

So, stay involved and continue to be a voice for the continued success of the industry. As current news swirls of foreboding changes don’t let that stop you from reaching out and telling how much good the industry has brought to you individually.

Latest News from the FDA Regarding Potential Vape Sale Restrictions

By Sponsored Post
on November 12, 2018

Latest News from the FDA Regarding Potential Vape Sale Restrictions

This week it’s expected that the FDA will ban closed pod systems from being sold in convenience stores as reported by the Washington Post. Furthermore, it’s rumored that they will go as far as banning the sale of certain flavors to help curb the use of vapor products by minors.

This regulatory change will have great impacts on customer choices as it could drive lots of foot traffic back to vapor stores or online to get their products. It’s unclear how any of these changes will be regulated and the timeline for these changes.

Just a few months ago the FDA did send warning letters to four major vape producers including JUUL Labs to present plans within 60 days of how they were going to curb underage usage. These potential additional changes might be the FDA’s response to those proposed plans from these companies.

The FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. continues to hold vaping as an “epidemic” for teenagers. He’s already threatened on multiple occasions to ban flavored e liquid and enhance restrictions on obtaining vapor products.

As you can imagine, big tobacco manufacturers have seen an increase in their stock prices and customers could undoubtedly return to smoking conventional cigarettes as the barriers to obtain vapor products continues to increase. This is something we obviously do not want to happen. We’ll be watching these activities closely and posting additional updates to our website when official statements are made by the FDA. If restrictions extend to flavors we’re sure to see additional changes within the industry to adapt to these changes.

Comment below of what you feel about this developing story.

CDC Says E-Cigarette Use Among Teenagers is on the Decline

By Sponsored Post
on June 21, 2018

CDC Says E-Cigarette Use Among Teenagers is on the Decline

The days of Joe Cool advertising cigarettes are long gone. Instead, today’s students are routinely warned about the dangers of smoking. Regulators have been less sure what kids these days think of e-cigarettes, fearing that the flavor options might be tempting more youth who would otherwise not try tobacco. E-cigarettes, a relatively new form of tobacco use, overtook cigarettes in popularity among youth in 2015. The results of the latest National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) puts some of those fears to rest, showing that teen vaping has fallen for the second-consecutive year.

According to the CDC, use of e-cigarettes by high schoolers has dropped from 16 percent to 11.7 percent since 2015. This means roughly a million fewer youth tobacco users, a shift with the potential to cause major benefits to public health.

The numbers are a welcome sign for the vaping industry, which has been working to persuade regulators that the introduction of vapes has not increased youth tobacco use.

“The CDC’s statistics demonstrate once again that e-cigarette curiosity amongst youth peaked in 2015 and now remains at a statistically significant reduced level in 2017, having dropped two years in a row,” said Tony Abboud, president of the Vapor Technology Association, a trade group for the vaping industry.

For the industry, the survey results provide hope that American regulators will follow their British counterparts, embracing vaping and e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to traditional tobacco use. In one encouraging sign, the American Cancer Society (ACS) on Wednesday released a public health statement on tobacco use that acknowledged the different health impacts of “electronic nicotine delivery systems,” or e-cigarettes as compared to smoking.

Could Vaping Really Be the Most Significant Public Health Benefit this Decade?

By Cali Steam Blogger
on May 19, 2018
1 comment

Could Vaping Really Be the Most Significant Public Health Benefit this Decade?

It is hard to separate American history from the smell of tobacco smoke. The first English colonists grew tobacco as a cash crop for more than 200 years, smoking remains a $100 billion dollar industry today. Over the course of the last decade, though, nicotine habits are becoming increasingly separated from the smell of smoke. Vaping has seen rapid growth as more and more smokers turn to it as a means of reducing health side effects and aiding in kicking the habit. Regulations at the state and federal level could hamper or halt this process, though. This is where customers like you need to get involved.

The vaping industry is remarkable in that it is an example of how innovation can disrupt even a well-established industry. It’s the first time that another distribution chain has grown to challenge the traditional tobacco distribution chain. Although major tobacco companies are involved in the industry and sell vaping products, by no means do they control the market. Instead, a whole industry has grown up outside of their control.

As the industry has grown, however, regulators at both the state and federal level have begun moving into the space. As customers and vapers we need to help develop rational regulations that understand the differences between smoking and vaping, and how vaping can be a way to help smokers quit.

Overseas, particularly in Britain, doctors have promoted vaping as a safer alternative to smoking and a means of helping adult smokers to quit. On this side of the Atlantic, though, the industry has struggled against accusations that flavored vapes will tempt teens to try tobacco.

Restricting the industry could have major consequences for public health. While the number of smokers in the U.S. has plateaued since 2010, the number didn’t begin to decrease until vaping became more popular. Now the industry is trying to build on that momentum, in part by pushing states to treat the industry as something different from traditional smoking. This includes allowing people to use vapes outside of smoking areas. Right now, some states are pushing for laws that would require vape users, including those trying to stop smoking, to stand in the same spaces as smokers.

“You would never take, for example, someone who is a recovering alcoholic, and force them to sit in a bar to drink their water or their coke. You would not tempt them that way, but that is what these policies are doing,” says Tony Abboud, VTA’s Executive Director.

“This [Vaping] has the potential to be the most significant public health benefit that we’ve seen in a generation,” says Abboud.

FDA Youth Prevention Actions

By Cali Steam Blogger
on April 25, 2018
1 comment

California Boardwalk at Sunset for Vaping at Cali Steam

On April 24, 2018 the United States Food and Drug Administration released a public statement outlining its continued priority of regulating tobacco products. The FDA highlighted the following points in their statement:

  • FDA cites 40 retailers for violations related to youth sales of JUUL e-cigarettes
  • Agency announces a new blitz of retail establishments targeting youth sale violations
  • Agency takes new action to examine youth appeal of JUUL
  • Agency takes steps to foreclose online sales of JUUL to minors

The FDA outlined that these would be just the first steps in their new effort aimed at stopping youth from using e-cigarettes. The statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., also mentioned, “protecting our nation’s youth from the dangers of tobacco products is among the most important responsibilities of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – and it’s an obligation I take personally.”

The FDA also released specific facts and figures of recent inspections they have performed of tobacco retailers including 908,280 inspections of retail establishments that sell tobacco products. In those inspections the FDA issued 70,350 warning letters to retailers for violating the law and initiated nearly 17,000 civil money penalty cases. These seems like an extraordinary amount of inspections for the agency to perform.

The commissioner also highlighted JUUL and their products due to the current fad among youth. They have proactively engaged with the company to understand their business model and marketing habits.

The FDA also outlined additional enforcement actions focused on companies that they think are marketing products in ways that are misleading to kids. So we’re sure to hear more regarding these actions in the upcoming weeks.

Although the statement had a lot of negative impacts on the industry there was some glimmer of hope in Gottlieb’s statement, “make no mistake. We see the possibility for ENDS products like e-cigarettes and other novel forms of nicotine-delivery to provide a potentially less harmful alternative for currently addicted individual adult smokers who still want to get access to satisfying levels of nicotine without many of the harmful effects that come with the combustion of tobacco. But we’ve got to step in to protect our kids.”

Latest Updates from the FDA

By Cali Steam Blogger
on March 15, 2018

Latest Updates from the FDA

“Today, we’re taking a pivotal step,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on a conference call with media on March 15, 2018.

The FDA plans to file two more rulemaking notices, one on the impact of flavored tobacco, including menthol, and one on premium cigars. The FDA will also continue to consider other nicotine delivery systems that are potentially less harmful.

Gottlieb further said, "our plan demonstrates a greater awareness that nicotine, while highly addictive, is delivered through products on a continuum of risk...In order to successfully address cigarette addiction, we must make it possible for current adult smokers who still seek nicotine to get it from alternative and less harmful sources.”

Gottlieb fell a bit short of outlining what specific methods or devices the FDA might be looking into that they'd consider are less harmful sources of nicotine. However, this could certainly open the door for additional inclusion of ENDS products and provide a more friendly regulatory environment to continue to bring advancements to market.

“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to greatly accelerate progress in reducing tobacco use,” Gottlieb said in a statement. “Today’s action is a first step, but it will only have an impact if the FDA quickly develops and implements a final regulation.”

Register for our blog to receive additional updates of critical news for the vaping industry.

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