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.

City of Los Angeles Sues Several Local Vape Companies

By Vape Contributor
on November 08, 2018

City of Los Angeles Sues Several Local Vape Companies

The city attorney of Los Angeles in California has filed suit against three vaping retailers, charging that they sell products online without proper age verification. He has also accused them of marketing to underage customers through social media and selling products to minors.

The L.A. city attorney is just the latest ambitious prosecutor to take aim at the vaping industry. Earlier this year, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced an investigation into JUUL Labs, the maker of the most popular vaping device on the U.S. market. Following Healey’s lead, the North Carolina AG has also begun an investigation.

Feuer is seeking injunctions against NEwhere Inc and its subsidiary VapeCo, and also KandyPens Inc. NEwhere operates three websites selling vapor products, according to Feuer: newhere.com, madhatterjuice.com, and vape-co.com. KandyPens also sells from its own website.

Feuer alleges that city employees were able to make online purchases “on multiple occasions” from the companies “while posing as teen customers using fake email accounts and a prepaid gift card.” The legal age for purchasing tobacco products in California is 21.

“Underage vaping is an emerging public health epidemic, and luring kids to use dangerous and addictive vaping products, as we allege here, has got to stop,” said Feuer in a press release. “In fact, kids shouldn’t have access to these products at all. The lawsuits we filed today send a strong message that if you put children at risk for the sake of profit, you’ll face serious consequences.”

The Los Angeles city attorney is just the latest ambitious prosecutor to take aim at the vaping industry. The city attorney is asking the court to grant injunctions prohibiting the companies from selling online without appropriate age verification, selling deemed products with FDA approval, and “targeting youth” in their marketing.

Oregon’s New Packaging Rules Take Effect on September 1, 2018

By Cali Steam Blogger
on September 23, 2018

Oregon’s New Packaging Rules Take Effect on September 1, 2018

Imagine choosing from hundreds of nearly identical bottles, none using images of fruit or candy, or brand distinguishing symbols or characters and fruit?

This is the life of every vaping Oregonian.

New Oregon rules for e-liquid packaging went into effect September 1, and they’re unlike anything anywhere else in the country. The vast majority of commercial e-liquid sold in the U.S. will be illegal to sell in Oregon, unless the labels and packaging are significantly altered.

According to the Oregon Health Authority, “An inhalant delivery system is packaged in a manner that is attractive to minors if because of the packaging’s presentation, shape, graphics, coloring or writing, it is likely to appeal to minors.”

“Inhalant delivery system” means a vaping product that can be used for either e-liquid or a cannabis vaporizer. Similar labeling rules apply to cannabis in all forms, although since edibles like candy and pastries are themselves legal, dispensaries would have little need to put a picture of, say, a cookie on a cookie’s label.

The list of images and words that can’t be used on e-liquid bottles and packaging is extensive. But, according to the state, the list is “non-exclusive," which means that state regulators could add to it without warning.

This is the “non-exclusive list” of label image elements “likely to appeal to minors”: Cartoons, Celebrities, Athletes, Mascots, “Fictitious characters played by people," “Other people likely to appeal to minors," Candy, Desserts, Soda, “Food or beverages with sweet flavors including fruit or alcohol," “The shape of any animal, commercially recognizable toy, sports equipment, or commercially recognizable candy."

The state also prohibits the use of “terms or descriptive words for flavors that are likely to appeal to minors,” including: tart, tangy, sweet, cool, fire, ice, lit, spiked, poppin, juice, candy, desserts, soda, sweet flavors including fruit, and alcohol flavors.

The prohibition on e-liquids “packaged in a manner that is attractive to minors” even applies to e-liquid that doesn’t contain nicotine. The laws will be enforced by state officers by doing random inspections. The fines for non-compliance can be very steep.

  • Minimum of $500 for the second violation within a 24-month period of the first violation
  • Minimum of $800 for the third violation within a 24-month period of the second violation
  • Minimum of $2000 for the fourth violation within a 24-month period of the third violation
  • Minimum of $8000 for the fifth violation within a 36-month period of the fourth violation
  • Minimum of $15,000 for the sixth or subsequent violation within a 48-month period of the fifth violation

Since each bottle that breaks the rules counts separately, the fines could easily put a shop out of business as the maximum total of fines in one inspection is $1.05 million!!! You read that right, over one million dollars in one inspection.

With the vaping panic growing, and the FDA considering restrictions on e-liquid flavors, you can expect to see similar proposals coming from other state legislatures. It's imperative that vapers and vape shop owners get involved in their local governmental associations to help enact change.

The FDA Takes the Lazy Way Out on Vaping

By Vape Contributor
on September 14, 2018

The FDA Takes the Lazy Way Out on Vaping

If you haven't been under a rock the last couple of days and tune into vaping news you've certainly heard the recent comments layout by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding a potential flavor ban.

The FDA has “declared war” on vaping, what National Review’s Kevin Williamson calls “the most popular smoking-cessation tool on the market.” The FDA’s has ordered the largest companies in the vape business (3/4 of them are actually Big Tobacco companies) to submit plans to keep their products out of the hands of minors or be taken off the market.

This sporadic and unexpected call for immediate action is what many are calling the FDA's predictably lazy federal approach to vaping regulations. The organization has further threatened the industry that they have damning evidence to show teen vaping is at "epidemic" levels. Last time we checked we have obese children approaching epidemic levels yet the FDA has done little to nothing to stop that train wreck.

The industry as a whole fully supports fair regulations to a product that is not deemed for underage consumption. However, the alternative approach that would require laborious but straightforward actions to deal with those who sell vaping products to minors, “investigate, arrest, charge, fine, repeat — and, if necessary, jail major offenders” is just too much for the FDA to handle.

So who’s the winner of a broader war on vaping? Well, shares of all the tobacco titans increase over 7% since these announcements. We urge the FDA to reconsider these statements and recognize that actions to prevent the industry from moving forward is just going to drive more people to traditional cigarettes and that is not a viable option.

Field Inspection of 59 “Vape Shops” in the United States

By Vape Contributor
on September 10, 2018

Field Inspection of 59 “Vape Shops” in the United States

In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was given the authority to regulate the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products. Effective August 2016, this authority was extended to all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes. As part of that regulation the FDA was given authority to conduct investigations and inspections of manufacturers to ensure compliance with applicable federal requirements.

In October and November 2016, unannounced inspections were conducted in 59 “vape shops” to learn about business and manufacturing practices, including whether establishments were retailers or manufacturers, and, among manufacturers, how the products sold were manufactured and whether the manufacturers were aware of FDA regulations regarding tobacco products. The report summarized these first 59 inspections, which showed a lack of quality assurance programs, standard operating procedures, and full labeling of ingredients by the inspected manufacturers.

Vape shops engage in activities that include selling electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), ENDS replacement pieces, and ENDS premixed flavored “e-liquids” and mixing or preparing combinations of liquid nicotine, flavors, and other liquids for sale to consumers. Before an inspection was initiated, a notice of inspection was issued to the most senior staff member at the shop, who also received a summary of the findings once the inspection was closed. Sixty establishments in four states were selected; one smoking lounge that did not sell or manufacture products was excluded from subsequent analysis.

The 59 inspected shops included 31 retailers that only sold finished products, 27 that were both manufacturers and retailers, and one manufacturer that did not sell to consumers. Personnel at all shops reported being aware of FDA tobacco product regulation. The remainder of this report focuses on the 28 manufacturers.

Among the 28 manufacturers, 14 were small businesses employing approximately three persons each; the remaining 14 reported having a parent corporation, a subsidiary, or an affiliate company. All 28 manufacturers sold brands of tobacco products made by other manufacturers as well as house brands manufactured on-site in an area away from customers. No assessed manufacturers allowed customers to mix their own products on-site.

Among the 28 manufacturers inspected, 25 identified a nicotine concentration on the label of products offered for sale, which ranged from 0–100 mg/mL. During the manufacturing process, the assessed manufacturers generally reported using recipes to make products and employed automated pipettes, graduated burettes, or disposable syringes to measure the volumes of liquid, including nicotine, flavoring, propylene glycol, and vegetable glycerin specified in the recipe. Only one manufacturer reported testing the finished products to ensure the product contained the concentration of nicotine indicated on the label. Six establishments indicated that they request testing records from the manufacturers of the branded tobacco products they sold. None of the establishments had quality assurance programs or practices, standard operating procedures, or standardized job training for manufacturing house brands of tobacco products. Workers received on-the-job training and used recipes.

This is the first assessment of business and manufacturing practices at vape shops, which have only recently become regulated. Although all vape shops inspected were found to be in compliance with the regulatory requirements of FDA that were in effect at the time of the inspection, the lack of quality assurance programs, standard operating procedures, and full labeling of ingredients by the inspected manufacturers suggests that consumers might not receive complete information regarding product contents or purchase products of consistent quality; these concerns might be addressed by future FDA regulatory activities. FDA continues to conduct inspections, which will provide additional information on industry practices and compliance with FDA’s regulatory requirements and might inform state and local vape shop policies.

Don’t Let Fear Mongering Guide Vaping Debate

By Vape Contributor
on September 04, 2018

California Vibes Drum Set

The number of teens who reported using tobacco products declined from 4.5 million to 3.6 million from 2011 to 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last year, youth use of e-cigarettes fell from its peak in 2015. You might think that health activists and their allies in the press would be celebrating this reality. You would be wrong.

Many activists have chosen to simply ignore the large declines in tobacco and e-cigarette use, pointing instead to the availability of flavored e-cigarette products and the rise of independent competitors to Big Tobacco like Juul. Instead of acknowledging that e-cigarettes are helping millions of Americans transition to products estimated to be at least 95% less harmful than cigarettes, a vocal minority is dead set on spreading misinformation about the dangers of vaping. This is unfortunate and a disservice to a productive dialogue about improving public health.

Since Aug. 8, 2016, it has been against federal law to sell e-cigarettes to minors and to introduce new vaping products without a government premarket review. The Food and Drug Administration began aggressively enforcing the youth sales ban this year against noncompliant retailers, a move supported by vaping advocates. The FDA could easily ramp up that enforcement even more.

The vaping industry has now been regulated by the FDA for more than two years. The vast majority of companies comply with FDA rules. However, without much-needed reforms, upcoming regulatory deadlines could force these overwhelmingly small businesses to close their doors.

This is a debate that should be shaped by real facts and sound science. With use of all tobacco products by teens falling sharply and increasing evidence that e-cigarettes — especially flavored ones — actually help incentivize adult smokers to quit, it is important that we not let fear mongering and misinformation guide the public discourse.

Vaping: Parents, School Districts, and FDA Face E-Cigarette Learning Curve by the Numbers

By Vape Contributor
on August 31, 2018

Vaping: Parents, School Districts, and FDA Face E-Cigarette Learning Curve by the Numbers

In reading the news, one would suspect that every high school student is vaping. However, let's take a look at actual numbers of the data.

2 million: The number of middle school, high school and college teens using the battery-powered devices to heat liquid-based nicotine into an inhalable vapor.

12 percent: The percentage of high school students who reported using an e-cigarette in the past 30 days.

4 times: Young adults who use e-cigarettes are more than four times as likely to begin smoking tobacco cigarettes within 18 months as their peers who do not vape.

$3 billion: The valuation for Juul, one of the leading companies producing vaping products.

10 million: The number of youths being targeted in an FDA vaping prevention campaign being launched in mid-September.

2022: The year vaping products must go through a rigorous FDA approval process to remain on the market. The federal agency last year delayed the deadline.

Although the vaping industry has been featured negatively in the news we still believe here at Cali Steam that vaping is the future. The flavors of eliquid provide a much easier bridge for those to reduce smoking traditional cigarettes.

Weighing the Benefits of Flavored E-liquid

By Vape Contributor
on August 27, 2018

Weighing the Benefits of Flavored E-liquid

The FDA is tasked with balancing the benefit to public health of flavored vape liquid enticing adults to quit smoking against the likelihood that a young person who has never smoked will become hooked.

Many of the more than 500,000 commenters to the FDA about flavored tobacco and e-cigarettes have weighed in on their take. The evidence shows that flavors are important to a large percentage of teen and younger vapers; however, it’s also one of the critical factors articulated by long term smokers for kicking their habits.

This helps to explain why Juul, which has a $3 billion company valuation and sweeping appeal, has become so ingrained in social media and youth culture that "juuling" became a verb. Many people don’t even consider juuling to be vaping since it’s more concentrated, trendy and easier to use.

"It's a very convenient way to get a nicotine high anywhere you are," one juuling customer said.

The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and other groups urged the FDA in a letter Tuesday "to take quick and aggressive action to enforce the law before one or more of these products become the next juul phenomenon among our nation’s youth."

A class-action lawsuit filed at U.S. District Court in San Francisco by Juul users alleged that the vaping giant used a two-pronged approach to target adult smokers and teens

James Xu, owner of Avail, one of the largest vaping companies in the world, started the business when he saw how e-cigarettes helped his wife kick her smoking habit. Xu, who owns other businesses such as home goods retailer Plow and Hearth, said vaping doesn't "speak to me" like his other companies, "but I'm not ready to quit anytime soon because every day, I hear those moving stories touching people’s lives."

He's going to keep up the "fight for flavors" with the Global Vapor Standards Association run out of his Richmond, Virginia, headquarters where he makes about 100 flavors.

"The main reason people are able to switch away from tobacco is because of the flavors offered to them," Xu said. "If nobody uses it, why bother?"

Vape Flavor Survery Results for FDA Rule Making

By Cali Steam Blogger
on August 22, 2018

Vape Flavor Survery Results for FDA Rule Making

American vapers who no longer smoke cigarettes prefer fruit and dessert e-liquids over other choices, according to the findings of a major survey conducted by researchers this spring. The survey assessed the flavor preferences of almost 70,000 vapers.

The results of the flavor survey have been compiled and submitted to the FDA as a comment on the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on vape (and other “tobacco product”) flavors.

Below is a summary table of the respondents flavor preferences.

Flavored Vape Preferences Survey

After eliminating duplicate entries, there were 69,233 responses. Participants came from all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and 72.4% were male. The mean age of the group was 34.6 years old. Almost 95% of the survey participants had at least tried cigarettes in their lives, and 81.6% were established smokers at some time.

A large majority of participants, 81.3%, were former smokers, and 68.2% quit smoking more than 12 months ago. That means that the results show the preferences of experienced vapers, the kind of people who see themselves as vapers, and participate in activities that inform their understanding of vaping.

Among former smokers, 83.2% vape fruit flavors at least some of the time, 72.3% vape dessert sometimes, and 47.7% vape candy. Dual users also preferred those kinds of flavors, as did never-smoking vapers.

The results may reinforce the comments to the FDA from thousands of vapers, many of whom plead with the regulatory agency not to ban the vape flavors they used to steer clear of combustible cigarettes. Unfortunately, only about 23,000 of the comments have been reviewed and published on the Regulations.gov website so far. There are over a half-million comments waiting for review, but many of those are believed to be bot-generated spam, part of a campaign to destroy the credibility of the comment process.