The Vapers Code of Ethics and Vapism

For every 5 posts that I see someone praise vaping, I see a comment or a post about someone complaining that vapers are acting like douchebags. We’re all vapers. But we’re not all the reasons for these complaints. However, in the eyes of someone that has had a bad experience with a vaper, we are all the same. It’s classifications like this that touch on so many different levels. Racism. Sexism. Religion-ism? So is there such thing as Vapism?

I suppose there is to those who have had the bad vaper experience.

A couple friends, myself and my girl went to a local Hooters one time last year. Hooters is vape friendly. They don’t care if you vape, cuz you’re probably buying 400% marked up beer. We, all advanced vaporizer users with rebuildables and higher power devices and mechanicals, were sitting at a table together. Two tables away, there was a group of 5 or 6 guys, one of which was vaping. He had an iTaste VV stick battery and probably an iClear16. He was going out of his way to “blow clouds”, undoubtedly wishing that someone would say “Hey man, that’s cool.” Here we were, 12 feet away and could literally between the 4 of us, cloud out the side of the restaurant but all of us were stealth vaping in a vape friendly environment.

Stealth Vaping? Stealth vaping is taking a smaller drag, lower power, etc and holding it in after a double inhale. The vapor dissipates in your lungs and the exhale, if you did it right looks like nothing at all. Unless you still open your mouth like you’re gonna dragon cloud… then you just look like this…

64ab80d4ec3b38e63f26f996422a9f8d

 

The point is that you don’t have to show off at every point in your day-to-day journey. You can be civil with your vaping. Because you represent all of us. You do something bad and it makes all vapers bad. So, to this point, I’ve developed a bit of a Code of Ethics of Vaping.

1.) Do Not Shun Smokers. For majority of us, we were them at one point. We had that same addiction and if you’ve ever, as a smoker, been addressed by a non-smoker in the “Why don’t you quit that nasty habit” way, you know exactly how it feels. We don’t want to condone smoking, as we’ve risen above it. But we don’t want to condemn them either. Don’t scoff at smokers. Educate them. Don’t look down on them. Help them rise above.

2.) Do Not Vape Where You Wouldn’t Be Able To Smoke. Now, this one will probably catch me some heat, but Walmart, Food City, Red Lobster and other establishments DO NOT WANT YOU TO VAPE THERE. That means you should say “Ok.” and wait until you get outside. Do not challenge them. It’s their house, their rules. Be courteous. If you are going to have an extended stay at some place, and cannot excuse yourself to vape somewhere, simply ask the establishment. If they say no, then don’t. Don’t bitch and complain and boycott and try to start a movement against them. Just wait.

3.) Be Knowledgeable If You Speak. Misinformation campaigns are taking place from the CDC, various Departments of Health, the FDA and ANTz. They don’t need help. Do not back down if someone questions part of vaping you don’t understand, but use that as a springboard to find more information for yourself and your detractors. Spouting off “I heards” is just as bad as what these anti-vaping organizations are doing. If you don’t know, find out. If no one you deal with knows, find someone that does. There are plenty of websites out there that address concerns, link to studies, explain the facts, etc. We live in the Information Age. “I don’t knows” and “I thinks” are things of the past.

4.) Do Not Look Down On Others. This is a golden rule. Do unto others… However, the vape community constantly evolves and some people are able to keep on the cutting edge of the technology. They’ll have a new device every week. A tank that you’ve never seen. A RDA that you’ve only heard about. Their vape gear may cost more than some people’s first cars. But YOU AND THEY ARE EQUALS. Vice-versa. You may have the biggest, baddest, best setup money can buy. That doesn’t mean you can scoff at someone still using a Vivi Nova and a Vision Spinner. Be proud of your setup, but don’t be a douche about it. Remember where we all started.

5.) Support Shops That Support Advocacy. This might be the most important part of this whole thing. The others are irrelevant if vaping is taken away by the government. The TSFA ( http://www.tnsmokefree.org ) have proven that lobbying by a smaller group is possible. Member shops pay a yearly fee that goes to pay for a lobbyist as well as promotional information. No one makes a dime off of the TSFA. The people that run it do it for free, while maintaining their own jobs and lives. They do it because they see the need. They see the results. When a shop refuses to participate in advocacy groups like these, they are saying that they don’t care what the long term is, they’re simply making money while they can. The local shops that do support it, want to be around in 10 years or more. They want to continue to help people kick the habit and switch to a healthier lifestyle. People selling on EBay, people doing group buys, people selling from their houses, all of these people are doing nothing but making as much money as they can before the big foot comes down and stomps out vaping. And, sure, you’ll always be able to find most items in a store online for cheaper. The guy that sells his stuff out of his house is going to beat everyone’s prices, but they are nothing but parasites of our industry. Paying $5 more for an item to a store that supports advocacy helps to ensure that you’ll be able to continue to buy new stuff. Vape store owners are not rolling in money. Trust.

If everyone followed these rules, the industry would be in much better shape. The War On Vaping is at hand. It will not be an easy fight. But everyone that follows these simple steps, aligns themselves as a soldier in the war. We Vape. We Vote. We Buy. We Pay. The government works for us. But if we allow it, they will work against us. In this, we are our own worst enemy.

 

Until next time…

 

The Kids, The Kids, The Kids

As previously discussed, I began to smoke many many years ago when I was still an “impressionable youth”. I say this as sarcastically as possible. Sure, I smoked to seem cooler to the neighbor kids, but I smoked because I wanted to. No one tied me to a chair and force fed me Winstons. My parents never made me “smoke the whole pack”. I hid it from them fairly well, and I’m sure that if I would have been caught, dad would’ve busted my ass and grounded me. I never once thought to myself “I’m sure that inhaling burning paper and plant material into my lungs won’t  have any long term effects.” I knew I was harming my lungs, but the nicotine felt so good and after the flavor shock (disgusting) wore off, I enjoyed smoking.

I wasn’t an adult. I shouldn’t have been able to, but I did. And in all honesty, I can’t blame anyone but myself. But that was 20 years ago. And the world has changed a lot since then.

Yes, the 90’s were a simpler time for sure. God, that statement makes me feel old.

But in the day and age we live now, the blame has shifted from one’s own responsibilities to the mentality that “it takes a village”. It doesn’t. We, the American people (and I’m sure the European and Canadian brethren feel the same way), do not need a body of people to tell us what’s good and bad, right and wrong, safe and dangerous. The human brain is capable of mapping the stars, circumnavigating the globe in a ship (or balloon) and popping every last kernel of popcorn without burning any of it. Science has taught us that the things that were believed in olden days are not true. You can’t ward off the black plague by keeping jars filled with farts in your house (Google it, it really was a public thought). Science has led us to the point in our life where if we don’t understand something, we can study it down to the ATOM. Let that sink in. 200 years ago, we all rode horses and donkeys. Now we can look at shit on a molecular level.

Forgive me, I’m rambling. I am wont to do that.

My point is simply this. We are an evolved enough species that you shouldn’t have to have a warning label on everything. You shouldn’t have to have someone to hold your hand through every action and tell you “This might hurt”. Wake up. Stand up. Own up.

The groups, the media, the antz that fight against vaping are using the “Save the children” format for their hate-mongering. Because let’s face it, no one is going to be able to say “Fuck the children” this is my right, because that would go over like the proverbial turd in a punchbowl. So now, if we fight against the “Save the Children” campaigns, then we’re targeting kids. From their standpoint, it’s genius.

Big Tobacco Checklist

  1. Push out product that is a known killer.
  2. Eliminate the open source market, that has proven to be an effective tobacco harm reducer.
  3. Push for bans that eliminate the use of said product.
  4. Rush to market, or buy out a start-up that will allow you to provide the same product you’re lobbying against, albeit in a much more Big Brother controlled light.
  5. Monopolize the market for the new product so that you have no competition.
  6. Make your offering of the new product a complete shit-waste of time so that people go back to your original product, which is cheaper and easier for you to produce.
  7. Continue to wrack up a death toll that puts all major wars and conflicts to shame.
  8. MAKE THAT MONEY, SON!

The most shocking thing to me, is the people who were so anti big tobacco years ago are now anti-vaping and ultimately standing on the same side as Big Tobacco. How’s that for a conundrum? You are now fighting WITH the same death merchants that you fought against for so long. If past you could see you now, they’d slap the piss outta you. You have become a mockery of your former self and you should be ashamed.

So, what about the kids?

Many “studies” have been released saying that in the last few months that say teen vaping is up to nearly 10%. Some put it over 12% and some even go as high as 15%. All while claiming that in the amount of teen smokers is down (9.2% reported in 2014 that they smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days—a decrease from 15.8% in 2011. – Via The CDC Youth Smoking Fact Sheet found here: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/youth_data/tobacco_use/). And surely that’s too high, right? Teens are obviously getting access to electronic cigarettes and using them.

Here’s my list of problems with this shitty kind of survey/study.

First of all, kids lie. Those numbers aren’t true, I assure you. They’re higher or lower, depending on the category. Kids want to look cool to their peers, so even if they don’t use e-cigs on a regular basis, they may say they do. However, on the flip side, I’m sure there are kids that swear up and down they don’t vape, but actually do.

Secondly, the studies do not make reference to the kind of gear the kids are using. I’m sure, as we all know, there are gas stations that will sell beer and cigarettes to anyone that’s big enough to put money on the counter. I’d be willing to bet that a large majority of these teen users are using the cig-a-likes offered by Blu, NJoy and the likes. There’s a highly unlikely possibility that they’re going into any reputable established vape shop and buying things. They may however, be buying online as there’s no regulation aside from a “Check here if you’re 18” and we know that prevents kids from clicking yes (see first point, i.e. kids LIE).

Lastly, is kids vaping that big of a deal? Sure, I 100% agree that vaping is an adult product to be used by adults. But what’s the alternative? Smoking? So, is it justifiable vilification of vaping if kids don’t smoke and therefore aren’t killing themselves? The true scientific studies done show that vaping is 99% safer than smoking. If 100 kids that would’ve smoked and died from lung or heart disease or cancer, instead use electronic cigarettes and live a happy, healthy life, where’s the justification that vaping is bad for teens? Where’s the proof that these kids wouldn’t have grown up smoking and killing themselves with it? There’s no study to disprove either side, but I’ll stay on the side of science. But this is also a country that has most states with a 21 and up to drink, but you can die for your country in service via the military or police/fire/ems at 18. Smart. Real smart.

But let’s look at another study. To do it, we’ll have to hop in the way-way back machine. Set course for 1998, Mr. Peabody. See, the JAMA Pediatrics division released a study in 2003 about NRT access by adolescents. That would be pre-vaping, people. We’re talking about the good ol’ nicotine gum (available in kid enticing fruit punch, strawberry, mint, etc) and the Patch.

NRT Graph 1

NRT Graph 2

NRT Graph 3

You see those numbers? Teens who smoked on average 1 cigarette a day tried NRT a whopping 16.3%!  3.4% of all teens had tried NRT at least once. And 1% had never smoked. So how can these trends in smoking reduction stand true through abstinence programs when obviously kids have used alternative forms of Nicotine for longer than vaping has been around? Maybe the reduction in kids that smoke is due to the NRT products and electronic cigarettes (can’t be called NRT) on the market. Does this mean that people should sell to kids? No, but maybe it means that kids are smarter than big government gives them credit for and are trying to find a healthier way.

The fact that the war on vaping focuses on the “Save The Children” campaign while ignoring science is infuriating. It’s even more-so when there are countless bottles of liquor flavored from cotton candy, strawberry, chocolate, coconut, raspberry, whipped cream and hundreds more of flavors being sold right now. A substance that, while illegal to children, the NIAAA says is responsible for the following:

 

 

  • Death – 5,000 people under age 21 die each year from alcohol-related car crashes, homicides, suicides, alcohol poisoning, and other injuries such as falls, burns, and drowning.
  • Serious injuries – More than 190,000 people under age 21 visited an emergency room for alcohol-related injuries in 2008 alone.
  • Impaired judgment – Drinking can cause kids to make poor decisions, which can then result in risky behavior like drinking and driving, sexual activity, or violence.
  • Increased risk for physical and sexual assault – Youth who drink are more likely to carry out or be the victim of a physical or sexual assault.
  • Brain development problems – Research shows that brain development continues well into a person’s twenties. Alcohol can affect this development, and contribute to a range of problems.

With a WHOPPING  35.1 percent of 15-year-olds reporting that they have had at least 1 drink in their lives and about 8.7 million people ages 12–20 (22.7 percent of this age group) reported drinking alcohol in the past month (23 percent of males and 22.5 percent of females).

Hell, the percentage of kids that have admitted to BINGE DRINKING aged 12–20 (15.8 percent of males and 12.4 percent of females) is higher than the amount of kids that have admitted to trying a vape.

Who’s the bad guy here? Why is your government trying to take away your rights and spending millions on fear spreading campaigns against vaping when they have done absolutely NOTHING to prevent the deaths related to alcohol? The answer is simple. Money. Big tobacco pays lobbyist to get their way with governments. They pervert the truth to suit their claims. If they can’t reference a study from 5 years ago (a common ploy) they pay grant money to universities to conduct research that the performing institutions do not understand with absolutely no parameters and a definite “lean” on the data.

So, what can you do?

  1. Support shops that support your right to vape.
  2. Get active with your local, state and federal government. VOTE. There are records of who votes and who doesn’t. Empty threats of “I VAPE, I VOTE” when you’ve not stepped foot in a booth since Clinton was in office will do nothing.
  3. Keep up to date with call to actions and monitor vape advocacy groups. CASAA, SFATA, and local groups like the TSFA.
  4. Be ambassadors for the vaping movement. Be respectful. Be kind. Be knowledgeable. Be conscious of your surroundings. Be the best vaper you could ever think of being.

Until next time…

Review: Innokin iSub sub-ohm tank

iSub

 

Innokin steps into the Sub Tank ring later than all the others. Kanger has already had 3 revisions on their Subtank series. Aspire as a V2 of theirs. The Arctic is now available in 5 ml tank capacity. Eleaf came out with the Melo to accompany their 30 and 50 watt iSticks. The Herakles, the Starre and the Maganus all tout giant air flow and high wattage capability. So is Innokin’s offering too little too late? Is their room in the market for yet another sub tank? Innokin is betting yes.

And I agree.

Now let’s preface this with a little backstory. I was super satisfied with the Kanger Protank. It was revolutionary. It vaped good, they figured out a way to put a coil on the bottom and it was cheap. I used one for many months. Until I got into dripping and the world of flavor that it brings. At that point, tanks were dead to me. I tried rebuildable tanks of all shapes and sizes. They just could never compete with the airflow and flavor that a dripper would provide. But dripping is a pain in the ass sometimes. Driving, tight spaces, trying to text, all of these scenarios are not ideal for drippers. Add into that the process of coil building, wicking and re-wicking and carrying at least 1 bottle of juice around and it’s more than a lot of people want to do, but we still want the benefits of lower resistance and higher airflow. Enter the sub tanks. They combine the best of both worlds. The ease of fill-and-go of a tank and the vapor production and flavor of a RDA. The need for drippers to experience the pure flavor has been met by these tanks. There’s only one problem…. They’re expensive.

Metal, pyrex, huge organic cotton stuffed coils and adjustable airflow all add into the cost to produce and therefore the cost to consumers. Then add that you won’t be able to swap juice as easy as burning off an RDA and your desire for more than one sub tank is hard to deny. It’s hard to drop the dime required for a new higher wattage device and a sub tank (or two), plus the juice you’ll go through. Innokin’s iSub solves that problem. A sub ohm tank at half (or more than half) the cost of the competitors opens up many people to having the experience.

The iSub features a polycarbonate tank, replaceable .5 ohm coils, adjustable airflow and a unique coil removal system that doesn’t require you to open the tank, a permanently affixed wide-bore drip tip and comes in 4 colors, pink, blue, black and clear.

First impressions:

I like the color choices. They make perfect sense, as they match the color scheme of Innokin’s flagship device The MVP 3.0. The design isn’t game changing, as it’s a whole new game. No one has done a polycarbonate tank on a sub ohm tank. No one has done colors like this. Sure, you can get tinted glass for the Kanger Subtanks now, but this is real color. And at 4 ml, it’s one of the larger tanks available.

Coil setup is pretty standard fare at this point, but a couple of neat additions . The holes in the coil for wicking are about 2 mm, of which there are 2. The coil is a single coil, horizontal configuration. It’s wicked with Japanese cotton. It is rated for 20 – 35 watts and for me, on the Sigelei 150, it runs best around 28.5 watts. 30+ is too hot and kills the flavor. The air inlet in the bottom features large exposed sides that allow maximum airflow. The coolest part is a mesh screen, much like those found in Aspires, but with larger holes. This is to prevent splash back, and so far, it works well. Even pulling as hard as possible, I’ve found no juice coming through the tip.  Longevity of the coil is still up in the air, as I’ve just been using it for a day. I’ll come back and throw in the length, but I’d be surprised if it lasts as long as the Arctic coil, which averages about 3 weeks on a 50/50 blend cheesecake juice.

Airflow is, for me, best wide open. Though even at a smaller setting, it still produces a good amount of vapor, just delivering it much hotter. The amount of restriction is about the same as an Arctic wide open. Flavor is good, though I question constantly if it’s wicking fast enough. While I haven’t had a dry hit yet (4 tanks in), I am used to the safety net that are the 6 x 2 mm slots in the Arctic and am simply assuming at one point, I’m going to dry hit.

The tank features a coil housing system that is completely different from anything you’ve seen (unless you had an iClear30S. The bottom airflow ring spins off, exposing the lipped coil that is then able to be pulled out and replaced. This is a feature unlike any other sub tank on the market, but it’s really unnecessary. The tank is easy to fill and seals well. No floods or leaks at this point.

My only complaint, if I had to have one, is the tip doesn’t come off. This wouldn’t be an issue if it was delrin insulated, but the metal to metal set-up gets increasingly hotter as the vape pulls go. But it’s by no means a deal breaker.

 

Overall, I give this tank a thumbs up. Sure, the majority of my wattage is remaining untouched with the single coil and I’d much rather have seen a dual coil setup, but for the money, this tank is worth every penny.

 

Available now at The Vape Shop.

 

Until Next Time….

 

Vilification and Self Loathing

Every Saturday in the spring, summer and fall, the parking lot that we share with other businesses houses a car meet. It starts around 10 in the morning. Old classic cars, muscle cars and hot rods all gather around sharing a common love of all things cars. Until the “kids” show up. They’re in lowered trucks, loud exhaust imports, turbos, lights, wheels, flashy things that kids like. The “old timers” move out. They give their spots up until the following Saturday morning, when they’ll once again assemble with their like minded people and start the cycle all over again. The kids stay until the wee hours of the morning and then they too leave. The parking lot never changes. Just the people that inhabit it.

Mind you, I’ve never seen any sort of altercation between the classics and the currents. There’s a sort of mutual respect that they share a common goal of having their dream car, but they just go about it in different ways. The Classics don’t understand why anyone would put thousands of dollars into an economy car to try to make it a high performance. The Currents have respect for the classics, but of course a ’68 Camaro is fast, it’s got a huge motor. They don’t understand why the Classics goal is to have a car that looks like it drove off the assembly line merely a day earlier.

We have this factioning in our industry. There’s the tie-in. There is a line in the sand and there are vocal, loyal, hard working and hard fighting people on both sides.

When I began to vape, nearly 3 years ago, it wasn’t the rage it is now. It wasn’t a common occurrence to see a “vaper in the wild”. But majority of us were new to it. Sure, those around us had gotten the hour long discussion about what we’re doing, but it wasn’t common to see someone walk through a parking lot with a vape in their hand. When you did see those people, it was an instant “bro-ment”.
You had a commonality with a stranger. It wasn’t awkward when someone said “Try this juice!”. It was new, it was fresh. The strange could be a 20 year old guy or girl, a 45 year old mother or father or a 60+ grandmother or grandfather. It didn’t matter race, religion, creed, blood, age or experience. It was awesome just to see someone else that shared the struggle that you had went through or were still going through.

Then business happened. The e-cig industry has blown up over night. In reality, the last 2 years have seen this industry go from an odd look in the smoking area of a job that won’t let you vape inside to designated vaping areas that no one bats an eye at. A change from “I knew someone that tried that” to “I’ve been vaping for X months” or “A friend/family member/coworker was successful with this, I wanna try it.” It’s mainstream. It’s “hip” to a lot of circles. I blame California for a lot of this. Hookah Pens… Oh, how I loathe Hookah Pens. But they found a niche and were all the rage. The problem is that they were selling them to kids due to them having no nicotine. So then kids were at school with disposable Hookah Pens.

More and more companies opened. Juice manufacturers, mod makers, stand makers, t-shirts, sticker producers, hats and shirts. Many people that had been positively affected by e-cigs have attempted to turn it into a business. Many are successful. Some are not. Everyone wants to be a part of something. And when it was young, the e-cig industry welcomed it with open arms. Come one, come all, how can you help us grow? It was glorious.

I remember my first “Vape Meet” when Smoky Mountain Vapers had just relaunched. The camaraderie was palpable, man. I’ve never seen a more eclectic group of people meeting  to just celebrate something they felt so strongly about. It was amazing. People from 18 to 60+. People that knew what they were doing helping those that didn’t. People that didn’t know much trying to learn all they could from the seasoned vapers. Juice being passed around like a collection plate on a busy Sunday. The buzz in the air was intoxicating.

Comparatively, it would be like a Saturday in a parking lot where classic cars and imports mingled together, high-fiving each other, looking at each others cars and just generally enjoying their hobby regardless of the age gap.

Unfortunately, it seems like there are those in the vaping community that are becoming the grumpy old men / women of vaping. They’ve been doing it so long they’ve found their perfect set up. They’re happy with 20 watts and a Kayfun. They’re satisfied with a .8 build on a Reomizer and the same juice they’ve been doing for years. They don’t understand why someone wants to become a “cloud chaser”. They don’t understand why someone wants to vape certain kinds of juice. It befuddles them, because THEY’RE not there, so why should anyone else need to be? They’ve moved from just being happy with their own world to trying to destroy others. Some of the biggest reviewers are guilty of this.

“Another sub-tank. I wish China would move past this fad.”

“This device goes up to 150 watts, so it’s dumb unless you’re a cloud chaser.”

“It doesn’t compare to my Kayfun/Russian/Odysseus/Etc.”

Attacks on juice companies are more and more the norm. We all watched as Suicide Bunny was taken through the ringer for having Diacetyl and Acetyl Propionyl (D.A.P.). Cuttwood suffered through their own mishaps with titanium dioxide used to color their juice pink. Labels featuring cartoon characters are burned at the proverbial stake.

Why?

Well, the detractors would have you believe that it’s all for the greater good. That while there’s no proof that the levels of D.A.P. that have been found in juice can be harmful (no long term studies, though no diagnosis of popcorn lung outside of the known popcorn factory workers when Diacetyl is present in cigarettes at much higher levels than most tested e-juice), they claim that “Juice can be made without it, so why risk it?” Sure, juice can be made without it. But it’s not the same juice. Ask Space Jam. Their Starship 1 was pulled when they couldn’t replicate the flavor without having a D.A.P. flavoring. So, yes, juice can be made without it, but juice can be made without Nicotine as well. So, shouldn’t we all be off nicotine? I mean, it’s a known harmful component of e-liquid. It speeds up the heart and restricts blood vessels. What’s the difference here? Juice can be made without D.A.P., but it can be made without Nicotine too.

Colorful labels, especially those that make reference to a breakfast cereal, a candy, a soda, etc are now the point of contention from detractors. They say that this type of labeling is irresponsible. They say that we’re fighting against the FDA who’s biggest gun is the “Save the kids” mentality, and we’re tying our own noose. And I can see that claim, sort of. If you’ve got Captain Crunch (the character) on your label, it’s illegal. It’s trademark infringement, open and shut. But as we’ve discussed on an earlier entry, what about the Hellboy RDA? That’s a trademarked image and yet no one is calling for the atomizer’s crucifixion. Conspiracy Mods makes a kick ass mod called The Agent. I want one. But it’s a rip off of the Agents from The Matrix. The Cherry Bomber box mod has Jessica Rabbit from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” emblazoned on the front, straddling a bomb. A new series of mods are emblazoned with blaster rifles and lightsabers while their matching attys have Lord Vader’s helmet and the Empire logo. Names that flirt with copy-written material are the norm. A new regulated device called the Tesseract (the same name of the big bad weapon in Thor and The Avengers multi-billion dollar blockbusters) has just came out. But when does it change from “It’s an attempt to rip off the original” to “This sells because of Nostalgia”? There’s probably not many people under the age of 18 that remember “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”. If not for the Hollywood blockbusters of the same name, only us Comic Book Nerds would know the Hellboy logo on sight. Neo has come and gone and you can no long buy Agent Smith toys at Walmart. Star Wars will never die, but that’s okay because we’ve watched since the original 3. We’re not going to get into specifics of juice, because frankly they’re too many. And you can claim that the government are going to come down on this industry because of those logos, but every single hearing that I’ve watched, they talk about ANY flavors that aren’t tobacco. Strawberry Fuzz is one that sticks in my mind that the old crotchety representative kept saying at the last one. I don’t know who makes Strawberry Fuzz, but I want to try it just because this guy has a hard-on about hating it. The point is that it doesn’t matter what they name is. There are people in the regulatory bodies that will not be happy with ANY flavoring. It doesn’t matter how fancy, clean, ikea-like your labels are. If it contains grape, strawberry, peach or chocolate they’re going to say it’s targeting kids. They’re only not going after the hardware, because they’re still sticking to ego batteries. That’s what they think we’re all using. If they had any research about any of the devices above (only a few of the “offenders” out there), they would be vilified too.
When is enough, enough?

Surge, the highly caffeinated soda from the 90’s recently made a comeback. It did so, not because it is an amazing soda that rules all other sodas. It was successful in it’s resurgence (that’s one) because of nostalgia. We (the 30-somethings) remember drinking it in high school. Hell, they had a machine at my high school that was only $0.25 a can. Milk was $0.35… People like being reminded of a simpler time. So when a e-juice manufacturer or a mod maker comes up with a design or a flavor that mimics something from their memory, it’s hard not to pay homage to the original. And yes, it’ll sell well. Surge does. Juicy E-Juice will. The Agent will. They’re all things that are in our memories. There’s a reason that Thundercats, He-Man, Power Rangers, Pokemon, etc have shirts available up to Sco-Sized. We have the ability to purchase things that we think are cool. I have a tattoo on my forearm done by an amazing artist, Jamie Cooley, that is R2-D2. Does that mean that he and I should be vilified for glorifying tattoos? Are we trying to pervert the innocent youths to become inked from head-to-toe? No. He drew it because it’s an awesome part of his memory. Of his existence. I had it permanently placed on my body because it’s a part of mine. The argument that certain things are targeting kids while others have a blind eye turned toward them destroys any detractors credibility, to me. If you’re going to fight one thing, fight them all. If you’re only going to go after certain things while you “leave out” or hell, even sell the others, you’re a hypocrite and your actions are simply inspired by jealousy.

Anything can be perverted to be targeting one group or the other. Where’s the cries that ABC Company is sexist because they don’t include a pink variant? Atomizer X is anti-old people because the holes in the post are so small? These claims are ludicrous. But unless you’re going to apply your “logic” to everything in this industry, your opinion is only that. An opinion.

So when do we decide if this is truly concern from people that fear the gov’t, hateful vilification through jealousy, self loathing because we’re not relevant anymore or simply the Classics leaving the parking lot as the Currents move in? I don’t know. Hopefully people stop infighting and worrying about not being number one and realize that we’re stronger as a unit. We’re stronger when we can stand up and say “I am an adult and I like fuckin Boo Berry Cereal and Gem and The Holograms!”

So cloud chasing isn’t your thing. Cloud comps aren’t your thing. That’s cool. But we hosted one last night and raised nearly $1000 for advocacy and the Tennessee Smoke Free Association. The average age of the people there were probably late 20’s early 30’s.  These are the “currents”. If you disenfranchise them with your attacks, plus inundate them with fear from the gov’t, how many of them with say “Fuck it, I’m just gonna smoke?” These people, they’re the ones funding the fight. Indirectly through consumerism that allows shops to support groups like TSFA or directly through donations.

You don’t have to live for something to believe in it.

However you vape, I’ll fight for you.

Until next time…

The Clone Wars

We survive in an industry that is so quickly evolving that developers that were the talk of the town 6 months before hand are now unheard of. Never have I seen an industry that is so catering to the consumer. And this is a good thing for consumers. It’s sometimes a nightmare for businesses, but those of us that are always on the cusp of the new-new are quick to react.

When I began vaping the highest power device was a Vamo (or one of the many iterations of it) who touted a 15 watt, 6 volt capability. It would only fire a 1.2 or above coil, but that wasn’t a big deal. Subohming (read: any atomizer who’s internal resistance is under 1 ohm) wasn’t heard of. Sure there were those in the Philippines that were ahead of the curve and already rocking Nimbus RDAs and making YouTube videos of insane cloud blowing. But for the most part, everyone was happy with cartomizer tanks and top wick coil tanks.

Mind you, that many people were already building coils. There were plenty of rebuildable tanks and RDAs out there. But most of them were outrageously priced in comparison to a Vivi Nova and it’s hard to drop major coin on something you’re not sure if you can even physically do.

This is where clones got their start. Can’t afford a $80 Nimbus RDA? How about a clone for $20? It’s a 1:1 copy so you experience the same thing that the guy that spent $80 will, but you’ve got enough money left over for a tank of gas and a case of beer. Kayfuns were touted as the future of vaping. And if you had $140 to blow, you could find out. Or buy this clone for less than half that price.

This created a divergent. The fact is that Clones are the reason Vaping has grown so much. It allows the common man to purchase things that otherwise would only be available to those in a higher tax bracket with expendable income. A lot of the times, this leads people to buying authentics of the clones they’ve come to love. Sometimes people are satisfied with buying clones only. This has created a fissure in our industry. Some companies have even went after retailers for selling clones. Specifically these people that were ruled against had claimed the clones were real. That’s a no-no in any industry.

So, let’s look at both sides of the argument.

First, let’s look at authentics. A designer or “modder” comes up with a design and usually contacts someone else to make their product. This is a an arduous and expensive process. Granted, there are those that are able to whip up atomizers or mods in their own personal machine shop with hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment. But most of the work is outsourced. The designers hold an intellectual property. No, we’re not talking about Hammond boxes. Those aren’t original. We’re talking about an actual mod made from solid metal. This is usually mechanical tube mods, cuz no one clones Hammond boxes…. oh wait…. nevermind. The problem with cloning is that majority of it takes place in China. China doesn’t recognize trademarks, so it’s a free-for-all. So a Modder that has poured X amount of time, energy and money into a design and sells it for a profit that allows them to continue with the process and release more mods/attys. I spoke to a Modder once who said “I knew I had made it when Fasttech had a clone of my atty.” That’s a powerful statement, because this guy worked hard to create an atomizer and now it was being produced at a fraction of what he could have them made for and being sold for less than the cost to produce his authentic. But when I asked him how pissed he was, he said “Not pissed. I have still sold out multiple times and have money to develop my next one.” And that, I suppose is the best case scenario. Yes, you’ll come across modders that will be pissed that they were cloned. And yes, they do have a right to be pissed. But at this point, it’s to be expected. We’ll look at how some companies are working around this a little further down.

Clone is not a bad word. I hate that people in this industry have a problem with clones. The sad part is that most of the people that have this ideology are simply pissed that they aren’t elite anymore. When you spent $2000 on a Zero that does 40 watts and now there’s a clone that can be had for around $100 that does 50 watts and the average person wouldn’t be able to tell them apart aside from the higher wattage, it makes people upset. They want to feel special. Limited edition mods and attys are a dime a dozen now. I relate this to comic books. Yeah, I’m a nerd. Shocker, I know.
Comics used to randomly have a variant cover. These were so rare that collectors would snatch them up and covet them like the last piece of pizza at a buffet. But then variants became so cool that everyone wanted them. So the comic companies started producing them. On every issue. SO then Variant covers weren’t that big of a deal, it was just a different wrapper on the same story.
The same seems to be happening with mechanical mods. Everything is an “LE”. Mostly because modders realize that they’re not going to be able to produce 10k of a mod, because the industry doesn’t support it anymore. If you manage to keep your product secret enough that a clone doesn’t immediately follow (or in a couple instances, beat you to market) your release, you’re only going to sell a set number before A.) You’re cloned and/or B.) You’re old news.
Vapers are a fickle bunch. Something that is all the rage this week will be “old” in 2 weeks. And it depends on where you’re located. I recently made a trip to Winston-Salem to Vaperslam and was shocked at how little everyone had in Variable Voltage/Wattage mods but that everyone had their own Hammond box mods. Hammonds are old news here in East TN. When you have one good design that everyone rips off (clones) they’re a dime-a-dozen. The difference there is that while this one design has been cloned by many companies, they’re not a cheaper version. They may be a difference of $20-40, depending on whom you buy it from. That’s not cloning. That’s selling something as the original. That’s fraud.
Clones allow people to try a mod that they have only been able to see on Facebook, on YouTube reviews or on Instagram. It allows the masses to try it out and fall in love with it. I personally had every option available of Nemesis clones. This led me to buying real Nemesis straight from Greece because I was so much in love with their products. At one point I had over $1000 in tube mods (5 of them…) and when I went to regulated, no longer satisfied with a tube mod, I took a straight up ass-beating on what I sold them for. But they were old news. The newer version had came out (oooh powdercoating) and now my mods were worthless. I saw a low number Caravela go for almost $5000 when I first started vaping. It was insane. I couldn’t wrap my head around someone paying that. I’m sure the guy that paid $5k for a stainless steel tube mod is kicking himself now, as Caravelas (like every tube mod) has severely dropped in price. If you came with a Caravela to Mod Trader over $300 now, you’d be mocked off the page. Meanwhile, those that paid $60 for a Caravela clone have moved on to other mods after realizing the switch design sucked. THAT’S what clones do. They allow you to test drive before you buy.

The Solution!
A lot of companies are now competing with clones by offering low priced mods and attys. Wotofo has the Troll and the Freak Show (and mini), Indulgence has the Mutation X (V1-3), Infinite has the CLT (V1-3), Tobeco has the Turbo and the Zorro. All of these attys can be had for less than $40. FOR AUTHENTICS!!! Crazy, right? Well, it’s because someone thought a little deeper about this. Who can manufacture cheap? China. Maybe if I sent them a design they could make my atty. And boom. You have domestic designed, foreign engineered, affordable authentics. SMK Mods Flagship (V1&2), The Infected, The Beard Mod, The Dharma, The Ragnarok and The Colonial can all be had for $130 or less. Some of those for less than you can buy a clone Nemesis for! There’s a way to produce things cheaper. There’s a way to keep cost low and not have to pass on exorbitant pricing to consumers.  It’s a nice change of pace to see some finally embracing that ideology.

Some people won’t agree with me. I understand that. It’s what makes the human existence so fun. You’ll have detractors and you’ll have allies. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. But look at it from this side, you’ve got people who loathe the idea that someone would rip off someone’s intellectual property, but they’ll also buy the new Hellboy atty. It features the name Hellboy in the side. It’s also in the exact same font and style as the Mike Mignola created, Dark Horse Comics produced comic book of the same name. Now, where’s the outcry of “FUCK CLONERS?” Why is it acceptable to take the design that someone else created? I guess turnabout is not fair play when it comes to “modders”.

Let me know your thoughts below.

Until next time.

Welcome. My Story.

I’ve been toying with this idea for a while. I’ve found that sharing a lot of vape specific stuff on my personal Facebook page overwhelms the people in my life that aren’t vapers. But on the flip side, the internet is littered with “reviewers”, “vape stars” and the illusive “vape models”. And I can’t rightly go on a long-winded diatribe on my Facebook as those non-vapers would be like “Um… Ok?”

So, Vape Church was born. First, let’s tackle the name. I am not mocking any religion. Churches, no matter what your beliefs, are universally known as places of peace. Places of comfort. Places that those of the church’s belief system can depend on for truth. That’s what this is. I want everyone to know this is a place of comfort. A place of peace. I want to simply state truths. Especially in these times, there are many negative stories tied to Vaping. The goal of this is to simply provide truth. I’m not here to develop myself into a star. I’m here, as anyone with a blog is, to simply share my thoughts. This is my outlet. And I appreciate you all (hopefully) enjoying it with me.

So, I feel a background on me is important. I live in Knoxville, Tennessee. I was born in Florida but raised here at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains. I began smoking at age 14. It was 100% to be “cool”. I had some older kids as neighbors and we’d trade for, swipe from our parents or cajole a “legal” to buy us cigarettes. We’d then meet after school at this little dead-end road that we nicknamed “The Crossroads”. Yes, it was totally inspired by Bone-Thugs-In-Harmony. ::shudder::  We’d lay out our stash and swap around. It was trading cards for cancer.
“I have 2 Benson and Hedges Lights and a Winston”
“I have a Marlboro Red (A Red) and a Newport”
“I’ll give you both B&H for A Red!”

And so-on and so-on. We’d light up and smoke the nasty things. We never had enough of one kind to become accustomed to the taste. They always tasted bad.

I met my one-day-best-friend around this time. We were acquaintances but shared a mutual friend that forced us to be around each other. My addiction continued into high school. But now, I could find people to actually buy a pack. Granted, those were the most expensive cigarettes I ever bought because favors aren’t cheap. But I continued putting money in Big Tobacco’s (BT) pocket. A tragedy with our shared friend brought myself and Phil together and from that point on, we were Lenny and Carl. I would assume he’d be pissed that I called him Carl, but I doubt he remembers that book. 🙂
On the weekends, we’d cruise Gatlinburg in his mothers van. Yeah ladies, the line forms over there. A gray Nissan Mini Van. And we’d smoke cigars or cigarettes. His mother, a non-smoker, would always find out because she smelled the inside of the car the next day. Phil would always blame me. But his mom never forbade him from hanging out with me.

When I turned 18, the first THREE MONTHS I was never carded for cigarettes. I smoked. I was a “cool kid” but it was even cooler to smoke random shit that no one else did. So I smoked Camel Wide Lights. They were hard as hell to find most of the time. The sweet Turkish blend (yeah… right) was my go-to daily sin. There were times when I didn’t have money to eat for a couple days. But I always had cigarettes. Let that sink in for a bit. To me, smoking was more important than eating. And if you’ve ever seen me, you know I like to eat.

I quit. A bunch. Once when I got really, really sick. Double pneumonia on top of weakened lungs from Asthma. Oh. I left that out, didn’t I? Yeah. The first couple months of my life were fun. My whole childhood was fun. Inhalers, breathing treatments, struggling to breathe at night while my mom held me up and let me sleep. I carried an inhaler with me until I was 30. So BT was getting their money, and so was Big Pharma (BP). The longest I ever quit was 10 months. I came out of the hospital and decided that’s it. They tasted like garbage and they hurt to inhale.

But I wanted one. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I modified my life. I stopped going to bars. I didn’t hang out in places where people smoked. Not because I was snooty about it, but because I knew that ONE evening and I’d slip right back.

I’m not sure what caused my relapse. That’s been many moons ago. But one day, enough was enough and after those first few gross tasting puffs, I was back! Any other attempts to quit were short lived. I tried the gum. It was disgusting and made me nauseous. I tried the patch. I came very close to rolling one up and smoking it. Maybe my skin wasn’t the right fit for the patch. Regardless, my Zippo was always full and my pack was never empty. I didn’t want to quit. I liked the hand-to-mouth. I liked the ritual of it.

Pack, pack, pack, pack.
Cellophane tears off
Flip one for the luck and the second for the… well, never mind that.
The Zippo made that nice “ca-ching” sound when you flipped the top
Spark. Fire. Inhale. Ahhhh.
I knew that it wasn’t good for me. But my argument with everyone who told me to quit was “You could get hit by a bus tomorrow and what would your healthy lungs help you do? Nothing.”
Coincidentally, this argument has now moved to those that tell me I should exercise.

I had no doubts that I was poisoning myself. I had no doubts that I was cutting my life expectancy. I had read the warnings. I had seen the commercials. But I didn’t care. I was addicted.

Fast forward a couple years to 2012. I was working in a call center. My boss, David, came up to me on a Friday and said “I’ve bought an e-cigarette.” Now, I wasn’t dumb to e-cigarettes. I’d seen the Blu kits at the Pilot. I’d seen the advertisements online for the monthly subscription service for the Greensmoke and such. Then David showed me his Ego.

Whoa.

What’s that? How’s it work? Where’d you get it?

He wouldn’t tell me anything. He said that I needed to research it and see what I could come up with on my own and the following Monday, he’d tell me where he got his and we’d compare that to what I had found. He said I had to dig deeper than the Blu and the Greensmoke.

Challenge accepted. I researched all weekend. I found a company online and the price tag of 2 Ego 600s, 2 Ego T Tanks (only seasoned vapers will even know those) a charger and a 10ml bottle of “Desert Ship” (Supposedly a Camel clone) set me back $80 bucks with shipping. We compared Monday what he had and what I’d bought. I eagerly awaited my package.

It arrived on a Friday. I charged it up and Saturday I began to vape. It was August. I watched Football. I vaped. I refilled the tank a couple times that day. The same followed on Sunday. It wasn’t until Sunday night that I realized I hadn’t smoked a single cigarette. I didn’t miss it. I liked the way the Desert Ship tasted (hint, it didn’t taste ANYTHING like Camels. It tasted like tea). I liked the geekiness of the electronic cigarette. I had “smoke”. I had hand-to-mouth. My addiction was being met with a force that stopped it cold.

I got in the car Monday to go to work and as usual, my cigarettes went into the door cup. I said to myself, “I’ll finish this pack and then I’ll just vape.”
I lit one.
It was HORRID.
Oh, this isn’t my love. This isn’t my best friend. I don’t want this.

And I was done.

(Side note: As I’ve been encompassed in this first entry, I’ve already hit 1300 words. I also killed an entire Arctic tank and just got a gnarly 55 watt dry hit.)

About 3 days in, my battery died in the middle of work and I had made the cardinal mistake of not taking my charger with me. I bummed a smoke off a girl at work. It was the worst choice possible. It was a Newport. I could not inhale. It was so bad that I just decided to deal with the nicotine withdrawal and wait until I got home. Those are the only cigarettes I’ve lit since I started vaping and I couldn’t stomach either of them.

The Vape Shop, where I work as the Manager Extraordinaire is in Knoxville. I manage the shop and keep the owner sane (mostly). Some customers have dubbed me the Modchanic since I have a penchant for fixing broken mods. But The Vape Shop has it’s own story and you may or may not know it. But it’ll get an entry soon, as we’re approaching our 2 year anniversary. You can find us at http://www.fb.com/thevapeshoptn

This August will be my 3 year Vape-aversary. And I’ve literally seen it all.  I’ve seen the rise of rebuildables. I’ve seen the gasps of astonishment when a 20 watt device came out. I’ve seen the head shakes when we topped 300 watts. I’ve rebuilt protank coils. I’ve built every style of coil out there. I’ve had egos, mechs, VVs, VWs, Box mods, High wattage devices. RDA, RTA, Genesis tanks, and sub tanks. 14500. 16340. 18350. 18500. 18650. 26650. Two batteries. Three batteries. I am not surprised by anything anymore.

I’ll continue this spot for as long as I have time. I plan on having sections for different levels of vaping. New products. Coil builds. Maybe even a few product reviews.

My name is Mark Scofield. People call me Sco. You should too. I’m a vaper. I’m an ex-smoker. I’m proof that vaping works. Thank you for joining me here. We’ll talk soon.