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…

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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…

 

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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. ┬áIt’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.