Vaping & Big Tobacco: A Call to Arms

Eye in the Sky

As you all know, the Vapor industry is booming. The amount of growth that this fledgeling industry has shown in the past few years is both impressive and hard to believe. It seems every time you drive down the street, another vape shop has popped up! Not only are new shops opening up, but they are highly specialized vape shops, not hybrid tobacco/cigarette/cigar stores that may carry a few basic e-cigs. Walking into these places is like walking into a vaping wonderland, with marble (faux, i’m sure ;)) counter-tops and furnished wooden cabinets and more vapor supplies than you can imagine, they’re certainly impressive.

However, vapers are not the only ones with their eyes on this growing industry, not in the least. Although increased accessibility is certainly key in the continued success of vaping, it is also attracting the eyes of Big Tobacco (dun dun dun). Growing support for smoking cessation products is a constant concern for cigarette companies, but one with the die hard following and massive draw that vaping has created really scares them. These companies are a lot of things, but they certainly aren’t stupid, and they know how to make a buck. Instead of pumping money into fighting e-cigs, why not invest in them; if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Have you seen new displays popping up in your convenience stores with two piece e-cigs, wrapped in fancy packaging and sold for low prices? Does that pretty marketing seem somewhat familiar, though you cannot quite figure out why? Well, that is Big Tobacco’s first move into the vaping market. Whether it is RJ Reynolds’ Vuse or Lorillard’s blu E-Cigs, these sleek looking, easy to use products are allowing Big Tobacco to test the e-cig market and build their brands. Now, let’s face it, these ‘gas station’ brands are no real threat to the serious vaper or vape store owner, because they are marketed primarily to a different user. However, what happens next could be disastrous for the little industry that could.

“Of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Think of how the vaping industry is currently set-up. There are the aforementioned specialty stores, usually owned and operated by and individual or small group, custom juice makers, hardware producers, and a large host of individuals crafting and creating new modifications, custom designs, and inventive ways to improve the way we vape. Now, that may be a reduction of the intricate vapor world, but to list every nook and cranny would take more time than either of us have! The point is, the vape revolution has been built on the backs of individual vapers and relies on their innovation and creative genius.

Once the FDA rules on the use of vapor based smoking alternatives, Big Tobacco is sure to go full boar into launching its own vaping endeavor. What could this mean? What would happen if a few major companies with unlimited funds, unbelievable marketing abilities, endless R&D budgets, and a knack for selling ANYTHING they want, including cancer causing cigarettes? Ultimate economy of scale. That is exactly what vapers will have to look forward to. It’s easy to envision the collapse of every mom and pop vapor store, the decimation of small producers of high quality e-juices, and the loss of companies making  excellent hardware.

Not only will the little guys crash and burn, but the quality of product will certainly plunge. If any of you have tried the ‘gas station’ brands, you know that they represent the lowest common denominator of vaping, if you can classify them as such. This is most likely because Big Tobacco does not care if you quit smoking cigarettes or if their e-cigs can hold up for more than a week. With the ability to create liquid by the hundreds of thousands of bottles, small producers and the quality and customization they bring will crumble. We would be entering into a dark chapter in vaping history.

Enough with the doom and gloom! What can we do?

Although Big Tobacco will inevitably be knocking on the door, there is still hope! By continuing to buy from your local vape shops, online companies that promote quality and service, and trusted vendors, vapers can ensure the ongoing success of the little industry that could. It’s as easy as knowing who you are buying from! This way, you can ensure quality and rest assured that you are fighting the good fight.

We at VaperCube will be doing the same! By using only trusted vendors and quality ingredients, we ensure that our products are 100% satisfaction guaranteed and help keep the industry just how we all like it: creative, delicious, and unique. Join the Vape Revolution, free yourselves from the grip of Big Tobacco and their army of cigarettes, bask in the rays of uniqueness and excellence!

In the words of William Wallace: “Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedom!”*

*Not exact spelling, hehe.

Sincerely,

VaperCube

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Propylene Glycol…what’s the story?

With the recall on Fireball Whiskey, now is a perfect time to shine a spotlight on Propylene Glycol and get to the bottom of this. What do we know about PG? Is it an ingredient in antifreeze? Yes. Does this mean that when we vape, we are ingesting antifreeze? Absolutely, positively not. There’s metal in bombs, but that does not mean that we should be scared of the material anytime we run into it. PG is used in many foods and in drug administration, such as ice cream and sodas. This article from the WHO provides a brief synopsis of PG and its effects.

“Propylene glycol is relatively safe in normal use, but cases of poisoning associated with its use as a vehicle for drugs or vitamins given intravenously or orally have been described. Plasma concentrations associated with serious toxicity are over 4 g/l, corresponding in adults to the administration of 100-200 ml of intravenous fluids containing 200-300 ml/l propylene glycol over a relatively short time.”

So what does this tell us? Yes, there are certain dangers of administering high doses of PG. So basically, we at VaperCube do not recommend intravenous usage of your E-Liquids! There is also the possibility of having an allergic reaction, but that can happen with any number of products. Always remember, you can order e-juice that is 100% vegetable glycerin if you are allergic to PG.

Let’s be honest, of all the things you can say about Fireball, spreading fear of propylene glycol is probably the least important. If you’re going to be harmed by ingestion of the sugary, boozy drink, it is most likely that it was the alcohol, not the PG.

The Art of Vaping: Identity, Creativity, Community

A lot of folks have been asking me what it is that got me interested in vaping. To tell you the truth, at the beginning of my journey with VaperCube, I hadn’t the slightest idea about vapor, the industry, or what came with it. I liked the idea of marketing a widely unknown, fairly new product, and saw the opportunity in the product due to the increasing social pressure on cigarettes and trending focus on leading healthier lives. Little did I know that smoking cessation was simply the tip of the iceberg; instead, I discovered a massive underground of innovation and community.

iden·ti·ty

noun \ī-ˈden-tə-tē, ə-, –ˈde-nə-\

: who someone is : the name of a person

: the qualities, beliefs, etc., that make a particular person or group different from others

I found it difficult to nail down which of the above definitions I would include here, but decided it would only be fitting to utilize them both. Although no one (probably) has changed their name to vapor, e-cig, or clearomizer, there is an entire mass of people that claim vaping as part of their identity. Many vapor users have found a new way of life and now self-identify as being a “vaper”, a term that reflects both the individual’s participation but also separates them from the rest of the general population, creating a unique subculture with its own interests, beliefs, and standards.

Generally, I have found that people switch to vaping for two major reasons, to quit something or to start something. The first group is the easy one. Generally made up of smokers, these vapers are out to free themselves from the reigns of big tobacco and in doing so, embrace better health and cost savings. The second group, so-called hobbyists, have found an exciting niche to spend their time and energy on and have fueled the industry by creating new, better ways to vape. In both cases, participants have formed a new part of their identity and have joined a growing movement of endless possibilities.

cre·a·tiv·i·ty

noun \ˌkrē-(ˌ)ā-ˈti-və-tē, ˌkrē-ə-\

: the ability to make new things or think of new ideas

With the creation of any subculture comes the necessity for innovation and new ways of thinking. Needless to say, there is no doubting the power of creativity in the world of vaping. Upon doing a little research, I quickly discovered the exciting underground that vapers have created. At first, I had the industry pegged as consisting of simple e-cigs, juices, and batteries. Boy, was I wrong! There is an endless list of vaping options: from disposable e-cigs (think gas station options) to massive mods that I still do not quite understand. There are thousands of YouTube videos showing the intricacies of rebuilds, instructional videos on how to build modifications, and a constant stream of hardware reviews. One can easily get lost in the tangled web of the vape world and go cross-eyed trying to remember what they have read. Luckily there are early adopters that have become experts, often called Vapeologists, that can help lead through the ocean of information that lies ahead of a new vaper.

Nowadays, I find myself throwing around lingo and explaining to others what I spent so many hours trying to understand. What seemed overwhelming at first has become like second nature to me and yet, there is so much more to explore and discover. The exciting thing about all of this is that even if you are just beginning your vapor journey, you have an entire army of folks who are there to guide and inform you, a community, if you will.

com·mu·ni·ty

noun, often attributive \kə-ˈmyü-nə-tē\

: a group of people who have the same interests, religion, race, etc.

You do not have to look far to find the vaping community. It, like the matrix, is everywhere. From your local brick and mortar vapor shop, to the countless blogs, vlogs, tweets, reddits, YouTube reviews/instructional videos, and much, much more. What is more important than all of the content the internet can provide is the actual sense of community amongst vapers. Every subculture has its members, but none that I have seen is as supportive and accepting as the vape community. Simply look at http://www.reddit.com/r/vape for endless threads consisting of amateurs’ questions and expert answers, from how to pick your starter kit to flavor recommendations and beyond.

On a less literal level, the vapor community means something more than the amount of people willing to help fellow members. There is also a sense of togetherness that can be easily detected when around vapers. It’s like knowing a secret or having shared a prolific event without even being introduced to one another. Whether it’s discussing hardware with a stranger or nodding silently while passing on the streets, there is a connection among vapers that includes its own dictionary of lingo, sense of style, and passion for expression and uniqueness.

In summary, I am elated to be a part of this brand new world of identity, creativity, and community and cannot wait to see how it continues to blossom into an even bigger force than it already is. Wherever you are in this journey, for whatever reason you have decided to become a part of this movement, we are glad to have you within the ranks. After all, you put the Vaper into VaperCube.