Are Vape Shops here to stay?

Mist E Haze - an electronic cigarette shop in Cheltenham, GLoucestershire

Mist E Haze – An electronic cigarette shop in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

July 2007 saw the introduction of the smoking ban in public places in the United Kingdom. This ban in pubs, restaurants, bars and other public buildings led to many people turning to electronic cigarettes across the country. From this, vape shops selling electronic cigarettes have popped up all over the United Kingdom and further afield within recent years and continue to do so at a growing rate.

However, the EU has been seeking to ban the sale of all currently available electronic cigarettes. This proposal could see the end for many shops selling such products.

The bid to ban e-cigarettes has angered many suppliers in Britain with the increasing number of smokers making the switch to e-cigarettes as a healthier alternative.

It is currently legal to use electronic cigarettes indoors, however some businesses have banned the use of such devices by personal preference. Some places such as a town in Northern France have imposed an electronic cigarette ban in public buildings. JD Whetherspoon in Britain has also banned the use of electronic cigarettes in their buildings across the UK.

The World Health Organization says there should be a ban on the use of electronic cigarettes indoors and that sales to children should stop. It is illegal to sell nicotine based products to anyone under the age of 18, however the ready availability of these products make them easily accessible to teenagers under 18.

As the electronic cigarette phenomenon is a very new concept, it is currently outside EU law as products do not contain tobacco. This means that the industry is currently marginally unregulated in Britain, Europe and the USA. Officials in Brussels want this to change, proposing for strict regulation and even banning, as they believe the use of electronic cigarettes, “Normalise the action of smoking”. They also believe that electronic cigarettes, “Are a tobacco related product and should be regulated within this directive”, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Picture of a campaign poster

Campaign to save electronic cigarettes C/o ALDE Communication

If successful, the proposal would take effect as of 2017. This would mean that e-liquids containing levels of nicotine above 20mg and any flavoured e-liquids would be banned. E-cigarettes with refillable cartridges above 2ml would also be banned. Suppliers have stated that most e-cigarettes currently available fall foul of this prohibition.

Having said this, MEPs voted in October 2013 not to regulate electronic cigarette products as ‘medical devices’, despite the Tobacco Products Directive suggesting to do so. What happens to the lifespan of UK vape shops remains to be seen. However, the first ever UK e-cigarette summit suggested a bright future, which many vapers are pleased about. This means the ban of electronic cigarettes sales completely is unlikely, however, many electronic cigarette companies are gearing up for industry regulation.

According to industry estimates, if the electronic cigarette phenomenon continues to grow in popularity, by 2017, when the ban is proposed, the number of people using electronic cigarettes could reach a total of 5 million.


Battery Safety – The dangers are very real

Picture of news headlines

Alarming number of reports of fire incidents related to e-cigarettes C/o Jonny Williams

A big question on everyone’s lips is, ‘Are electronic cigarettes safe?’ This refers to both health and safety of the device itself. The safety regarding health has been discussed in my previous blog ‘Electronic Cigarettes- Facts and Figures’. Worries about health implications aside, now lets take time to explore the battery safety of e-cigarettes.

The number of people using electronic vaporisers has increased dramatically within recent years. The estimated number of people using such devices in the UK currently is approximately 2.1 million people. This vast increase in users has had a dramatic impact on reports of freak incidents occurring because of people being wrongly advised or using the device incorrectly.

According to the Telegraph, data from 43 fire services show that since 2012 they have attended 113 calls to fires related to e-cigarettes. Reports have seen fires exploding in houses and even vehicles, causing significant if not entire damage. The majority of these explosions have occurred due to the wrong charging plug being used that is not compatible with the certain device.

Picture of a bedroom

Fire damage to a bedroom C/o Sharyn Morrow

Fire services in the UK are now attending at least one blaze per week involving electronic cigarettes, a Freedom of information request shows.

These findings are a growing concern for both the general public and fire services across the UK. Therefore fire crews have issued several safety warnings about the use of these devices.

The most hard-hitting case was the fatality of David Thompson, a 62-year-old man who was killed when an electronic cigarette on charge exploded and ignited oxygen equipment he was using at that time. This was the first fatality related to e-cigarettes in Britain. Other incidents have caused damage to property and personal injuries.

So, what are the main causes of fire incidents related to electronic cigarettes?

  1. Using the wrong charger – Most of the incidents recorded within the UK were caused whilst e-cigarettes were being charged. Some electronic cigarette resellers such as corner shops and garages across the UK do not provide a charger specifically for that device being sold. Most e-cigarettes are charged via USB which people assume can be plugged into any USB charging point, however THIS IS NOT THE CASE! Using mobile phone chargers, DVD players and computers are NOT suitable for charging the vaporisers.
  2. Cheap or cloned batteries and chargers – People are advised to buy electronic cigarettes from only reputable resellers and retailers. Most stalls and certain online companies sell replicable or cloned models which are not safe to use. These cheap products produced do not pass certain safety regulations within the UK and are a potential fire hazard. People buy cheap or an incompatible chargers for many reasons such as to save money, however is this really worth risking your life for?
  3. Over charging – Only charge the device according to the manual specification. Rechargeable models contain a heating element and a battery consisting of lithium iron. Over charging can cause over heating which may lead to a small explosion.

Fires and explosions can be easily avoided by following these simple steps:

  1. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer – battery capabilities and voltages vary according to device, check you are using a compatible charger before using
  2. Address any warnings supplied in the user manual
  3. Ensure you do not leave e-cigarettes on charge for long periods of time
  4. Never leave e-cigarettes charging over night or unattended
  5. Check out for the CE mark which indicates the device complies with European Safety Standards

This safety information only relates to devices which are charged via USB. Even more attention needs to be taken with mechanical mods when using rebuildable atomisers. Vapers should have a clear understanding of ohms law and the amp rating of the batteries they use before attempting to use one of these devices.

Finally, remember to do thorough research and take this safety information on board before purchase.

Introducing the 50 Watt iStick by Eleaf

picture of a mod

iStick 50w by Eleaf

The latest craze to hit the vaping market is the istick 50 watt box mod for all you pro vapers. This variable voltage/wattage box mod is a very compact and powerful device that comes in various colours: black, silver, red and blue. The mod features a 4400mAh battery, which will give intermediate and pro vapers a fantastic vape time in-between charges. Rated output in wattage for the iStick 50w is between 5 watts and 50 watts and will fire a resistance range of between 0.2 ohms to 5 ohms.

There are many appealing features to this device such as variable voltage and variable wattage settings. It also features an updated 510 connection and a gold plated spring-loaded pin allowing for a wide range of atomizers to be attached without any issues.

On the back of this device you will find the USB charging point which allows you to vape the mod on pass through whilst charging. On the side of the mod you will find the firing button which is perfectly placed for ease of use. The LED screen and power up and power down buttons are sleekly situated on the front. Once activated the LED screen features a battery life indicator, voltage output, ohms reader and wattage setting.

The fire button can be clicked 5 times to power the mod on and 5 clicks to power the mod off. Other options on the menu include lock mode allowing you to lock the wattage setting by pressing both the wattage up and wattage down button at the same time, this can be reversed by repeating this process.

Build quality is exceptional. The iStick 50w has a price point of between £45-£55 depending on the place of purchase, which is exceptionally good value for money. If upgrading from an iStick 20w or iStick 30w, this mod will feel a little heavier in comparison. However, overall this device is light in weight in comparison to its competition.

There are little cons to mention but many pros. Battery life is second to none. Build quality, design and ease of use are all fantastic, making this one of the most desirable electronic cigarette devices on the market at present. Finally, the iStick 50w is in a price bracket which is very affordable.

The ‘One device for everyone’ – The eGo ONE

eGo One

The eGo ONE kit can be summarised as a mechanical mod and tank that takes a 1ohm coil and a 0.5 sub-ohm coil. Primarily the 1ohm coil is designed for a mouth to lung inhale similar to that of a cigarette, whereas the 0.5ohm coil is aimed at people who like a lung hit and want to ‘chase clouds.’ Coils need replacing after approximately 2-4 weeks depending on usage, which are easy to replace and cost as little as £3.

This stealthy little device will deliver flavour and vapour that is usually only achieved from large powerful devices. The device is available in two sizes: the smaller of the two has a 1100mAh battery with a 1.8ml capacity tank and the larger device has a 2200mAh battery with a 2.5ml capacity tank. With a stainless steel construction, this sturdy, durable device is neutral in colour and appealing to many. The eGo ONE also comes with an optional style of glass or stainless steel drip tip.

eGo ONE Compartments

eGo ONE Compartments

The overall diameter of both mod sizes is 19mm making it a convenient pocket size device, ideal for carrying around. This device also has a built in airflow adjuster which allows you to fine tune to your style of vaping. The button that is located on the side of the battery has a five clicks on five clicks off function. It also features a 15 second cut off point as a safety feature. The power button also indicates the remaining battery life by the flashing frequency of an LED. The device is simply charged by a USB cable, which allows you to vape on pass-through whilst charging.

Along with superb build quality and elegant appearance, the eGo ONE by Joyetech really is a superb personal vaporiser or as touted by the manufacturer, ‘The one device for everyone.’ Retail price for the 1100mAh battery is £44.99 and the larger of the two, the 2200mAh battery retails at £49.99. Although this seems an expensive product to buy, after your initial outlay, your only expenditure thereafter will be to replace coils and purchase e-liquid. In comparison to the price of cigarettes, this is a very cost effective method which will save you a considerable amount of money.

The only cons to this device are the windows on the tank are remarkably small, meaning it is quite difficult to see your e-liquid level. As a result, it is therefore hard to know when you need to replenish your tank. Also, the smaller of the two batteries (1100mAh) gives you less vape time in-between charges. However, this will not be a problem with the larger model, as it will give most users a full days usage per charge.

Pros for this device outweigh the cons. It is a compact device that fits snugly into the palm of your hand. Additionally, it is very adaptable, suiting the needs of both beginners and pro vapers. Moreover, it is very simple to maintain and use. Most importantly the eGo ONE only costs what the average smoker would pay for cigarettes in a week, yet this device will last them many years.

Finally, the eGo ONE benefits from a simple assembly. Here is how to put the compartments together:

Vaping symbol

Electronic Cigarettes – Facts and Figures

The term ‘vaping’ is a word which has risen in popularity and culture within the last few years.

But what does this unusual term actually mean?

Firstly, just to clarify ‘vaping’ does not mean smoking, which is a regular misconception connected to the term. The word vaping refers to any smoker who replaces their nicotine intake through the use of normal cigarettes with a small battery powered atomizer which simulates the experience of smoking. The vapor produced from such devices is inhaled and exhaled just like cigarette smoke. The word ‘vape’ in fact was named Oxford Dictionaries ‘Word of the Year’ last year.

Why do people turn to electronic cigarettes?

Adult smokers who wish to give up smoking and reduce their nicotine intake primarily use the use of an electronic cigarette. This is achieved through a nicotine reduction programme.

Nicotine ranked in the top 3 of ‘The Hardest Drugs to Kick’ in a study carried out by The Fix, with the equivalent ranking to that of crack cocaine. Therefore in order to avoid the pain and severity of withdrawal symptoms, most turn to electronic cigarettes in a bid to withdraw from nicotine through a pain free, consistent reduction programme.

There are currently approximately 2.1 million people who vape in the United Kingdom alone.

Are electronic cigarettes safe?

Vaping is not proven 100% safe. A number of researchers have carried out studies on the effects of electronic cigarettes such as Dr Farsalinos. Such studies have proven quite positive, however further research and studies are needed.  Vaporizers utilise a Propylene Glycol or Vegetable Glycerin based liquid which is mixed with nicotine and flavouring. One thing for sure, electronic cigarettes do not contain the 4000 chemicals chemical compounds and toxins contained in regular cigarettes.

Bearing this in mind, electronic cigarettes are a quit smoking aid and should be used solely for this purpose. The rise in use of electronic cigarettes worldwide has also been adopted by many celebrities such as Katy Perry, Lindsay Lohan, Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio and many more. However, this should not be seen as a ‘cool’ hobby to adopt through celebrity influence. Electronic cigarettes should not be used irresponsibly and should NOT BE SOLD TO ANYONE UNDER THE AGE OF 18 in the United Kingdom.

There are many sites available today explaining all aspects of electronic cigarettes, including their usage and safety. Feel free to search away to put your mind at ease and decide whether you feel this is an effective method for you.

So where do you start?

Now you have made the decision to give up smoking, you are on your way to a smoke free lifestyle. My recommendation, backed up by industry preference is to start at the beginning… A starter kit! There are many varieties and brands on the market today. They range in size and style but before deciding there are a number of factors you must consider:

1) A sensible price – Set yourself a budget before being hasty. Starter kits can range from anything from £20 to £50. You need to chose one based on the price you can afford.

Range of different coloured tanks and product skins available

Range of different coloured tanks and product skins available

2) Style and Design – Although it is a quit smoking aid, why not make it look good in the process. There are a variety of colours, shapes and sizes of tanks and batteries on the market. Choose according to personal preference.

3) Willpower to give it a try – By taking the first steps in deciding to buy a starter kit, you have made a decision to reduce your nicotine habit or give up smoking completely. You must be willing to commit to using this product, this really could be the method that works for you!

4) E-Liquid Flavour – Although alien to most who give up smoking and with such a vast variety of flavours on the market, choosing an e-liquid can be a daunting task! Most start with a tobacco flavour and then move onto a more creamy or sweet flavour once they begin to get their taste buds back from not smoking. You must decide on a flavour which best suits your taste buds.

Picture of e-liquid

Vast array of e-liquid flavours available at Mist E Haze

5) E-Liquid Nicotine Level – E-liquid ranges in a variety of different nicotine strengths, ranging from a high 24mg to a low 6mg and eventually 0mg. The recommendation is to start on a higher nicotine level and then begin your nicotine reduction programme as time goes on. A stronger nicotine will create a stronger throat sensation commonly referred to in the vaping world as ‘throat hit.’

Once you have taken these factors into consideration you are ready to go!

Mist E Haze are Gloucestershire’s exclusive resellers of Joyetech products, their starter kits are second to none and come with a customer warranty, not offered by many other companies. In the next blog we will take a look at the eGo One, which is marketed by Joyetech as the one device for everyone, aimed at beginners and pro vapers alike.

In the beginning… My electronic cigarette experience

Broken cigarettes

Time to kick the cigarettes C/o Snailo86

Surprising to many, I myself used to smoke in earlier days. As a smoker the first steps to giving up the highly addictive habit can be very difficult. Having watched my father quit smoking and seeing the struggle he faced with the nicotine withdrawal process, I knew quitting completely without help wasn’t an option for me. After countless consultations from the nurse and trying all the standard quit aid products on the market such as gum, patches, inhalers, sprays etc which failed, I decided to give electronic cigarettes a try. The daunting prospect of losing my nicotine fix was frightening. I decided to take the bull by the horns and went to the chemist and bought my first e-cigarette look-a-like product. I thought it was great! Wow, I thought I had finally purchased something to help me quit.

However, after a few days I realised this really wasn’t working. I started to get the urge again to go into the shop and purchase a box of cigarettes. From this, I realised although this was helping, I needed to get a more powerful, effective device. So I decided to get online and research the market to find out what other products were available.

e-liquid bottle

Caramel Cheesecake flavoured e-liquid C/o Clutch Vapors

I found hundreds of different products and devices out there with very little information on how to use them. The prospect of variable voltage, variable wattage, ohmage, battery safety all seemed alien to me. The appealing prospect was however the delicious e-liquid flavours ranging from drink flavoured e-liquids such as coffee, lemonade or cola to dessert flavours such as caramel cheesecake, anything has got to be better than the taste of tobacco right? I decided to take the plunge and bought one off the internet. The box came with a battery, tank, charger and bottle of e-liquid.. no instructions! Oh dear! I took everything apart and tried to make sense of it. I saw a piece of string which I initially thought wasn’t meant to be there so I pulled that out and filled the tank up but the juice leaked everywhere. I had broken it within 10 minutes!!

Starter Kit

E-Cigarette Starter Kit C/o Joyetech

I wasn’t going to be beaten. I got online and searched YouTube to see if there were any tutorials out there on how these products worked and to my surprise there were many. I found there was a shop in Gloucester which specialised in electronic cigarettes therefore I went out and got myself a new tank. From my visit the retail assistant was very helpful and helped me on my journey to a smoke free life. After several visits, I began to realise the vast array of different products out there ranging in size, shape and design which I will talk about in my following blog posts.