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Vaping When Facts Don’t Matter
It has been awhile since we’ve offered up a sizeable opinion on the state of electronic cigarettes and vaping in general. The reason? Because it has been difficult to get a handle on where this is all headed. Which, when you think about it, makes for a pretty good opinion piece on its own.
Why the confusion?
Over the weekend most of the staff flew back to New Hampshire to attend a wedding of one of the original writers for Spinfuel. They flew Southwest Airlines, an airline that doesn’t believe in assigned seating, and depending on which 737 you’re flying in, provide seats that are so narrow even the thinnest among them felt crowded and miserable after a 4+ hour flight. But, in one area Southwest shines. Vaping.
After receiving advice from many of our Facebook readers the “Spinfuel Seven” packed their ecigarettes, eLiquid, and assorted accessories in plastic bags and rested the bags on top of everything else in their carryon bags. Going through the TSA security a total of 4 times in 4 different cities not a single TSA agent hassled a single member of the Spinfuel team about their eCigarettes.
From eGo-style batteries with filled clearomizers, to a couple of variable voltage batteries and tanks, Vivi’s and others, and more than 12 bottles of eLiquid and a few syringes made it through security without issue. One female TSA employee in Manchester NH did show some interest though; she loved the ego-style battery with a 3ml clearomizer and asked which company made it and how she could get one. Other than that? Nadda, not a word.
Vapes on a Plane
On the first leg of the trip everyone was a little nervous about attempting to vape in flight. But, because as a group they wanted to find out just how stringent the airlines were these days, and to gage the attitude of fellow flyers about vaping in general, someone had to come forward and start vaping. That someone turned out to be Dave Foster, the Spinfuel Administrator, the one we turn to when our computer doesn’t work, or the mail server goes down. Here are the words Dave turned in last night before collapsing in bed to get some much-needed rest.
DAVE: The onus to test the airline about their attitude over vaping fell to me and although it was nerve wracking I pulled from my carryon a Vision Spinner and a CE4+ clearomizer filled with a dark eLiquid about 20 minutes into the flight. I clicked the battery to its ‘on’ position; let the seat fall back it’s full 2-inches and began vaping. It was a weirdly strange feeling.
I will admit that people, on every leg of the trip, turned and looked in my/our direction, but the only real response I got was from a young woman who simply smiled. After about 3 minutes or so one of the flight attendants came back to where I was sitting and had a look in her eye that she was about to smack the hammer down on me. When she got within a few feet she noticed it was obviously not a cigarette, she let out a little smile (and a sigh of relief) and turned and walked away. My fellow Spinfuel team members then began vaping as well. During the entire flight we were never hassled, not once, by anyone. The other flights, or legs of the journey, were the same. Freedom to vape reigns supreme on Southwest Airlines. – Dave
At The Wedding
Jon Locke was actually in the wedding party and right before the wedding was about to start everyone in the procession was squirreled away in a back room where they were receiving last minute instructions on what was about to happen.
Jon started vaping while the wedding planner was talking. It took about 5 seconds for her to notice and Jon thought she looked as though she had seen a ghost. She shouted out to Jon that there was no smoking allowed anywhere in or around the building. He sheepishly held up he eCigarette and informed her that he was vaping, not smoking. She came back to see exactly what it was and then, like the others, smiled and sighed and walked back to the front of the wedding party. Jon continued to vape while the final instructions were given.
During the entire reception party all of the Spinfuel Seven, including the bride, her husband, and a few others, were vaping all evening long without anyone saying a word. Well, I mean in the negative sense. Plenty of people approached the seven vapers from Spinfuel and asked about the eCigs, tested them out, and asked some very pertinent questions. A few committed to trying them out as a viable way to quit smoking.
So, after a weekend like this, where complete strangers, the TSA, and the airline company Southwest didn’t mind anyone vaping, and in fact supported it to a certain degree, why does it seem as though we are in the early stages of an all out war to snuff out vaping? Why are there more stories in the newspapers and blogs everyday about taxing eCigarettes, banning eCigarettes, and attacking people that choose to vape, with no apparent end in sight?
Who’s behind all these attacks?
If the general public doesn’t mind, if the TSA doesn’t care that you pack your ecigarettes in your carryon bag, and at least one airline allows it, who are directing the greedy and ignorant politicians in this truly stupid campaign to rid the world of this new technology, or at least tax the hell out of it in order to take away one of the incentives to quit smoking?
Is it an actual ‘organized’ war on vaping, as many have written before (including myself) or is it the acts of individuals in various ‘jobs with authority’, who are either out to make a name for themselves, to stake out a position that will get them noticed, or to feed the government monster with the revenues of this brand new source? Or is it, in the final analysis, a combination of all of them?
I woke up today particularly angry. After being debriefed over the weekend and talking to a couple of my staff last night, all this bullshit we read each day about new taxes here, new bans there, it’s beginning to get to me. Who the hell do these asshats think they are?
(And you want to know why we avoid contact with others in this fight? Who wants to discuss these matters with people that don’t care what they call politicians or people in power? How does insulting them help the cause? Publishing our opinions in Spinfuel means not having to worry about the fallout for others.)
This is a about more than vaping
Despite the entire planet living in a global recession, despite the United States being in a free-fall of debt with a leader who doesn’t think it’s a problem, despite the facts that show electronic cigarettes to be practically harmless and definitely ‘orders of magnitude’ safer than tobacco cigarettes, these mealy-mouth small-minded jackassess are out to snuff out an industry that provides tens of thousands of jobs in the US, tens of thousands in Europe, and probably a couple of million in China. Why?
ECigarettes can improve the health of millions upon millions of human being the world over, and yet tobacco cigarette makers are almost given carte blanche when it comes to getting their products into the hands of people who will surely die an early death because of them. Companies that make eCigarettes, on the other hand, feel the threat of destruction everyday. It doesn’t make sense.
How did the electronic cigarette become the enemy of the state?
Acts of stupidity have always driven me nuts, and this is no different. I want to shake the people that want to harm the industry until they understand the harm THEY are causing, but I know my method is not the best method to use, not yet anyway.
Julia and myself are asked many times to come on ‘this show or that show’ and talk about the FDA, the government, and ecigarettes in general and every time we decline to do so. We decline because we know that what we will say on the shows will do more harm than good, and could very well lead to tarnishing the people that host these shows because their ‘guests’ sound like raving lunatics. And, if we are asked about the organizations out there that supposedly act on our behalf, we don’t want to get into that discussion. (see below)
But boy how I wish more people would get as pissed off as we are.
When will the time come?
Fortunately several attempts to ban ecigarettes have failed, but many have succeeded. Fortunately several attempts to tax ecigarettes at the same outrageous levels that tobacco cigarettes are taxed have failed. But someday they will not fail, and then one by one every state in the union will begin to discover just how ‘profitable’ it will be to tax the industry and they will learn that they can get away it.
Unless someone in government, perhaps someone with a levelheaded attitude that sees ecigarettes for what they really are, steps up and leads the way toward a final declaration on electronic cigarettes all this acrimony will continue.
We need an insider that understands ecigarettes are safe. That ecigarettes are not tobacco products. That ecigarettes are not medical devices. And that ecigarettes are, as a matter of fact, a relatively harmless product that allows people to enjoy the act of inhaling flavored vapor and that it just so happens to look like the act of smoking but in reality is very very different.
Finally, we need someone on the inside who can see that the only regulation that is needed is to assure those that wish to partake in this wonderful and relaxing act called vaping are safe from scumbags that find their way into every successful business. Is there such a person? I sincerely doubt it, but if there is we need to find him or her, and soon.
As far as taxes go, there is no justifiable reason to tax electronic cigarettes as tobacco products and do so is the act of a tyrant hell bent on further raiding of the citizens already heavily taxed paychecks.
I know that most of our readers believe in the various organizations that have sprung up with the alleged goal of protecting electronic cigarettes and to keep them legal, but from where I am sitting all they are doing is reacting to situations after they happen. Instead of waiting for ‘this state or that town’ to attempt to pass a new law to either tax or ban the electronic cigarette perhaps its time to take the fight to airwaves, to force the governments hand to act, one way or another, on the future of the industry. Once we know where the fight will be we can better fight it. Right now all it looks like to me is “whack a mole”.
If these organizations really want to help then it is time to get the federal government to recognize electronic cigarettes as something in a new class of product. They are not tobacco products, they are not medical devices, and they should not be available by prescription nor should they ever be taxed as tobacco. This is what the fight should be about.
These organizations, if, again, they really want to help, should hire the right people that can get them on the air of mainstream and cable television to inform the public on the facts of electronic cigarettes, the difference it is making in the number of people who are switching, the jobs they are creating, and all the rest. Get the non-smoking people behind us, get the people that believe in the basic freedoms that we should all have, get the mass media to see why all this banning and taxing is wrong, and then let’s see what the various governments will do.
It is time for the pro-vaping organizations to go on the offensive.
The citizens of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and other countries are supposedly free people, with certain right guaranteed them in their respective constitutions. It is about time to force these governments to defend their attitude about electronic cigarettes. Without a good defense (and there is none) allow its citizens the right to use electronic cigarettes, unhindered and un-taxed (at tobacco level rates).
Something is very wrong when you can witness a government official vigorously attack electronic cigarettes and then retire out the back door to smoke a tobacco cigarette. Yet….
We launched Spinfuel last year because we recognized the power that electronic cigarettes could have in finally killing off the tobacco cigarette. This fight for the right to vape is larger than profit, larger than taxes. This is about getting off cigarettes, living longer, healthier lives, and spending billions less on medical care.
We, each of us here at Spinfuel, believe the electronic cigarette to be one of the best inventions of the last 100 years. The potential is enormous, if left alone and allowed to evolve and grow to the fullest. We cannot allow ignorance to win this one. We must not be afraid to take this battle to the people and to let them know that another personal freedom is under attack. 42 million Americans need to know there is a better life waiting for them. A life free of toxic smoke, free of $300 a month suicide attempts. It’s up to all of us now.