Shane Brooks’s insight:

We should slap alcohol taxes on root beer and ban it in public, just like traditional beer. Sold in dark glass bottles or bright cans with the word ‘beer’ prominently displayed on the label, it’s clear root beer’s only purpose is to introduce kids to drinking. It’s kept with the other sodas, which makes it seem innocent, but this product could be deadly.


Root beer hasn’t killed anyone directly that we know of, but more study is needed. Some health problems, like diabetes, are exacerbated by the sugar in root beer, costing untold millions of dollars. “Diet” versions are available which contain chemicals to replace sugar, but studies show they wreak havoc on public health as well.

As for public use, people might see that brown bottle or can with ‘beer’ on the label and think it’s OK to drink liquor on the streets or in parks. Is that the message we want to send kids? It violates the social norm of not drinking alcohol in public, because it *looks like* a bottle of traditional beer.

Has anyone run the numbers on how many alcoholics drank root beer as kids before getting hooked on traditional beer or other forms of alcohol in adulthood? It’s a potential gateway, and dangerous. We’ve talked about diabetes. Sugar is an addictive drug. Additionally, other chemical compounds – including the same propylene glycol found in ecigs – are contained in many root beer brands.

The legislature should act to regulate the root beer menace before it ruins lives. We can’t afford to wait. It’s time to stop Big Alcohol from using the lure of root beer to attract new customers. It’s for our health. And the children. Don’t forget the children. Anyone who disagrees doesn’t care about children. Obviously.

Agent BP Washington
Anon Vapes 

Common Anti-eCig Arguments Applied to Root Beer: It's for the Children
Source: Electronic Cigarette News

Early last week, the nation’s new Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, said health officials are “in desperate need of clarity” on electronic cigarettes to help guide policies. The technology should be embraced, he said, if evidence shows e-cigarettes are able to help those who otherwise have trouble quitting smoking. Dr. Murthy […]

New Surgeon General Should Prescribe Scientific Honesty On E-Cigarettes
Source: Electronic Cigarette News

Shane Brooks’s insight:

Much is being made in the industry press these days about “contamination risk” and “clean rooms.” Now, let it be known that clean rooms–rooms specifically designed in order to reduce particulate matter in the air–are not bad things.

Most large, industrial concerns have them as a matter of course in order to keep the mass-production of their products suitably aseptic. For the mom-and-pop concerns, however, they do constitute a very high economic barrier to market entry should they become mandatory via regulation.

The local marketplace of competition against multiple small players with small market shares would be eliminated in favor of a national (or international) marketplace of large players with large market shares, and experience shows that duopolies or triopolies aren’t much better for consumers than monopolies.


Still, cleanliness. Is that too much to ask? It’s clean, and clean is good! More clean is more better!


Depends, actually.


Let’s look at your own kitchen, assuming that you’re one of those people who still cook. You probably keep it clean enough for your own use, but I can bet you dollars to donuts that it doesn’t pass anywhere near muster for ISO clean room certification. It doesn’t have to; if you screw something up, you’ll only make yourself sick and have yourself to blame.

The social risk involved with theoretical you, as a stand in for any workaday slob, making some bad eggs is very low. As such, there’s no call for society, via the state, to regulate how clean you personally keep your kitchen.


Obviously, this level of regulation is insufficient for anyone intending to make things for other people, since if a slob-kitchen becomes a business then all sorts of other people could get hurt should it become an epicenter of some sort of sanitation-based outbreak.

That’s why we have city and county and state health inspectors who drive around to restaurants and inspect their kitchens. Note how restaurants and bakeries, with their wider consumer base and higher risks, are kept to higher standards of cleanliness and the like, but it’s highly unlikely that your local Taco Bob, for all its cleanliness, has an honest-to-god vacuum-isolated clean room. It still doesn’t have to, since the scale of its potential health risk doesn’t justify requiring such expense from operators.


Now let’s look at the local industrial bakery. We’re not talking about people waking up early to put loaves in the oven and bread on the shelves, we’re talking about mass production of plastic-wrapped loaves that go out to grocery stores throughout the state.

Here’s where you’re going to start seeing clean rooms at certain parts of the process (and even then, only parts) because the customer base is running into the hundreds of thousands to millions. Each loaf of bread is a roll of the die, and enough die rolls are being made against slim odds that those odds are no longer negligible.

Since contamination is not truly random but usually a failure in process, if an industrial bakery screws up, they’re going to make loads of people sick unless quick action is taken to contain the bad batch, a la some of the food scares in recent years.


Next step up is the commercial bottling plant. It too will have low-grade clean rooms in the bottling stage for the same reason, but these clean rooms will be ‘better’ and more expensive than those in the bakery because they have a national distribution. Millions to tens of millions use the output of this one plant, so it has to take special care with its cleanliness.


Next are pharmaceutical plants with international reach and that are working with extremely potent ingredients. Not only do they have to be clean in order to keep the occasional germ out of their products, they need to be cleaner still to make sure that they don’t adulterate their products with any other of their products given the potency involved. When you’re handed a one-gram pill of which half a milligram is actually active ingredient, that should be indicative of just how powerful the stuff is.


Now let’s corral this all back to the vaping industry. It’s definitely not pharmaceuticals; if someone mixes in black honey flavor instead of regular honey flavor, no one is going to panic and call the CDC and FDA and FEMA and ask them to institute Contingency DEATH CAMPS.

If someone does panic and ask for Contingency DEATH CAMPS along with a Directive 7-12 on the side, the people in charge of responding to public health risks are just going to roll their eyes and hang up the phone. If they’re particularly nice, they’ll point out the number of the local health inspector and kick it down the line that way, as local concerns should be locally regulated.


This brings us back to the regulation question. Regulation scales, in a reasonable world, to risk. Massive industrial concerns serving millions have to be tightly regulated to ensure that their quality controls, constantly tested in millions of opportunities of failure, work.

Tiny concerns that serve ten at most don’t really require regulation at all since they have fewer opportunities to fail and even one screw-up will shut them down (probably because the screwer-up will have made /themselves/ sick).

Things in the middle have proportional regulations, and if we can expect a restaurant that serves thousands throughout the year to be acceptable without clean rooms, we can expect the same from mom-and-pop vape mixers.

Their certification doesn’t come from ISO but from the county health inspector’s “A” placard in the window, and that’s fine since tighter process controls wouldn’t actually buy anyone any additional safety at such a small scale.


Some concerns may go clean room anyway as a market discriminator, since it’s pretty easy to sell that having 20 parts +/- 0.001 parts lemon extract in a mix is better than 20 parts +/- 0.1 parts (how can you tell how others mix their products and the mix is exactly what they claim?).

That’s fine; it’s a perfectly reasonable up-market option and is pretty standard operating procedure to charge higher prices on people who don’t understand the dance between manufacturing tolerances and acceptable production variability (protip: any tolerance tighter than the acceptable variability is excess time, cost, and effort). It should also be voluntary since it’s an up-market discriminator not actually required to maintain product safety at publicly acceptable levels.


In the end, cleanliness in excess of what’s necessary isn’t in and of itself a bad thing and it would be silly to argue otherwise. However, excessive regulation in cleanliness quickly becomes silly once one thinks in suitable analogs and starts imagining the local Taco Bob patty-flipper working in a hermetically sealed room while wearing a spacesuit.

Excessive regulation that doesn’t actually buy additional safety due to the scope of the operation only serves to increase the costs of entry and operation, which limits market players to larger corporate entities who can not only pay those costs and extract the profits from the market.

For the past thirty-five years we’ve seen that trusting megacorporations is not only an exercise in futility but actually dangerous in terms of macroeconomics and society.


The less forgiving amongst us may consider that to be part of the game plan. If vaping is going to be the next big market, it’s easier to capture it via regulation than by actually outcompeting other products, and it’s easier to capture it via regulation if one’s got money to throw at lobbyists and use the regulations as loss-leaders to force smaller, better players out of the market.

Maybe thirty-five years ago we’d consider that cynical, but we’ve seen that cycle play out enough times over the past quarter century that someone amongst the Powers That Be somewhere is probably playing that angle.


Always demand quality, yes. Always demand safety in terms of acceptable risk, yes. Be careful of how it’s demanded, though, since that old devil the Law of Unintended Consequences has a real knack for giving people literally what they wished for.

Secret Agent: Timperator of Man
Anon Vapes

Should ISO Certified Clean Rooms Be a "Necessary Requirement" for eLiquid Vape Manufacturers? No.
Source: Electronic Cigarette News

Shane Brooks’s insight:

Hey, don’t go shooting the messenger now.  I’m just a guy asking questions here.  With all of the recent anti-science propaganda being regurgitated by an irresponsible media, I thought it was time to ask a few basic questions–maybe provoke a serious in-depth honest discussion or two.

So just how dangerous is vaping on eCigs or Personal Vape Devices anyway?  Perhaps we should be comparing it to the dangers of taking hot showers and yearly bathtub deaths to get an idea.

A study from the University of Colorado raises concerns about pathogens and pulmonary disease from the use of shower heads.  That’s right, shower heads.

“The researchers used high-tech instruments and lab methods to analyze roughly 50 shower heads from nine cities in seven states that included New York City, Chicago and Denver.

They concluded about 30 percent of the devices harbored significant levels of Mycobacterium avium, a pathogen linked to pulmonary disease that most often infects people with compromised immune systems but which can occasionally infect healthy people, said CU-Boulder Distinguished Professor Norman Pace, lead study author.

It’s not surprising to find pathogens in municipal waters, said Pace. But the CU-Boulder researchers found that some M. avium and related pathogens were clumped together in slimy “biofilms” that clung to the inside of showerheads at more than 100 times the “background” levels of municipal water.

“If you are getting a face full of water when you first turn your shower on, that means you are probably getting a particularly high load of Mycobacterium avium, which may not be too healthy,” he said.

The study appeared in the Sept. 14 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Co-authors of the study included CU-Boulder researchers Leah Feazel, Laura Baumgartner, Kristen Peterson and Daniel Frank and University Colorado Denver pediatrics department Associate Professor Kirk Harris.

The study is part of a larger effort by Pace and his colleagues to assess the microbiology of indoor environments and was supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Research at National Jewish Hospital in Denver indicates that increases in pulmonary infections in the United States in recent decades from so-called “non-tuberculosis” mycobacteria species like M. avium may be linked to people taking more showers and fewer baths, said Pace.

Water spurting from shower heads can distribute pathogen-filled droplets that suspend themselves in the air and can easily be inhaled into the deepest parts of the lungs, he said.

Symptoms of pulmonary disease caused by M. avium can include tiredness, a persistent, dry cough, shortness of breath, weakness and “generally feeling bad,” said Pace.

Immune-compromised people like pregnant women, the elderly and those who are fighting off other diseases are more prone to experience such symptoms, said Pace, a professor in the molecular, cellular and developmental biology department.

The CU-Boulder researchers sampled shower heads in homes, apartment buildings and public places in New York, Illinois, Colorado, Tennessee and North Dakota.”

Wow.  What ever will we do about the children?!  

Let’s take a look at some findings concerning possible negative health effects of just taking a hot shower or bath in general.

 “A Professor of Water Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh claims that exposure to vaporized chemicals in the water supplies through showering, bating, and inhalation is 100 times greater than through drinking the water.”

“As chlorine is added to kill pathogenic microorganisms, the highly reactive chlorine combines with fatty acids and carbon fragments to form a variety of toxic compounds, which comprise about 30% of the chlorination by-products.”

“During the mid-1970s, monitoring efforts began to identify widespread toxic contamination of the nation’s drinking water supplies, epidemiological studies began to suggest a link between ingestion of toxic chemicals in the water and elevated cancer mortality risks. Since those studies were completed, a variety of additional studies have strengthened the statistical connection between consumption of toxins in water and elevated cancer risks. Moreover, this basic concern has been heightened by other research discoveries.” — The Nader Report — Troubled Waters On Tap: Center for Study of Responsive Law.

 “The national Academy of Scientists states that people die in the United States each year form cancers caused by ingesting the contaminants in water. The major health threat posed by these pollutants is far more likely to be from their inhalation as air pollutants. The reason that emissions are high is that water droplets dispersed by the shower head have a larger surface-to-volume ratio than water streaming into the bath.” — Science News, Vol, 130: Janet Raloff

“A long, hot shower can be dangerous. The toxic chemicals are inhaled in high concentrations.” — Bottom Line August 87: Dr. Julian Andeiman, Ph.D.

 “Skin adsorption of contaminants has been underestimated and ingestion may not constitiute the sole or even primary route of exposure.” — American Journal of Public Health: Dr. Halina Brown

“Cancer risk among people drinking chlorinated water is 93% higher than among those whose water does not contain chlorine.” — U.S. Council of Environmental Quality

Well, I do say–that’s incredibly alarming.  Media, y u no report?

Just how safe are our nations bathtubs and showers?

A study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission has revealed the following.

“One of the most significant findings in the report is that children under five years old, while comprising only 8.5 percent of the total U.S. population, account for almost 30 percent of the 110,000 annual bathtub and shower-related accidents.

Over 75 percent of all bathtub and shower-related fatalities occur among children under five and 90 percent of the injuries and deaths occur when these young children are not being supervised by a responsible adult.

The study identifies three major hazards associated with bathtubs and showers — slips and falls, burns and drownings — and makes specific recommendations to consumers and manufacturers to meet those hazards.

Slips and falls in bathtubs and showers were found to be the most frequent type of accident. Burns from scalding water were less common, but generally much more serious, resulting in over 70 deaths each year. In addition, over 100 people drown every year in bathtubs.”

So I’ll ask again, is vaping on an eCig or personal vaping device safer than taking a hot shower or bath in America?  If you think this piece is utterly ridiculous, you’re damn right it is.  Don’t even get me started on the poor kitty that’s pictured, I’m so pissed off right now. 

Agent CCP13
Anon Vapes 

Is Vaping on an eCig Safer Than Taking a Shower?
Source: Electronic Cigarette News

Shane Brooks’s insight:

Money’s a crazy thing, and you know what they say about good intentions.

Back in the nineties, for those of you who don’t remember, the anti-smoking crusade was truly hitting its stride. Multiple states sued major tobacco companies, partially to recoup costs to health systems caused by smoking, partially to punish those companies for fraudulently selling products known to be addictive and harmful, and partially to impose the local emergent morality since smoking itself, even if taken up voluntarily, was (and still often is) seen as a personal failing that made one a bad person.

It was unfeasible to go after smokers directly, however, since they were also victims in this situation, so the idea was to get the truly culpable parties to pay out. This is, of course, fair and proper; those companies were indeed fraudulently selling products that they knew were harmful yet lied and said they weren’t, that they knew were addictive but offered no fair assessment of their risks, and their fraud had indeed stressed the American healthcare system and led to at least hundreds of thousands of premature deaths over decades.

As befitted the righteous, they were blessed with victory: the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement of 1998, in which the major tobacco companies would stop fraudulent advertising practices, pay for anti-smoking advocacy groups, and dissolve pro-smoking advocacy groups. All of this was quite fair and has indeed paid off handsomely, and no fault can be found in it.

Those were all sidebars to the Settlement, however. They certainly didn’t get the headlines. The real victory, the real payoff, was quite literal: the major companies had to pay, in perpetuity, the governments of 46 states. While termed a settlement–mostly since it meant the companies were from that point on no longer liable for the harm caused by their products–this payment was, and is, surely equivalent to compensatory and punitive damages to the tune of at least 6 billion.

Let’s put that out there again, since text is a poor medium for sufficient emphasis: two-hundred-six-billion–that is two-hundred-six with nine zeroes–dollars American. That is a lot of money, and at the time (and still now) it was considered a triumph of justice. The bad guys were forced, are forced, to pay the good guys a princely sum. Combined with improved education, smoking as a social ill could be stamped out forever and people could live free and happy without risk (from this particular source).

In and of itself, this was not a bad thing. It would be silly to suggest otherwise. Every district attorney involved probably did have the public’s best interests at heart and was striving to do the right thing. They did, in the end, do the right thing. It wasn’t really their fault that the law of unintended consequences was waiting in the wings for its own opportunity to come into play.

As, of course, it did.

State governments being what they are in our country–slightly corrupt, slightly incompetent collections of populists, blowhards, and snake-charmers willing to offer voters everything for nothing–they took this windfall of a steady paycheck and promptly leveraged it on the market in state bonds. Bonds, for those of you not fully versed in financial markets, are fixed-term loans: I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

This is again pretty normal, and a common way for governments to fund infrastructure projects and the like without increasing taxes, though it does have a bad tendency to just become a debt crisis since bonds issued by one government unwilling to raise taxes to pay for unfunded projects have to be paid off by a later one that is at least equally unwilling to raise taxes to pay for outstanding debts. Anyway, most of these bonds are not particularly specific as to how they will be funded: suffice to say, the government will pay the bondholders back from somewhere.

Not so with the tobacco money. The states figured that, since they had a regular paycheck, they could issue bonds directly tied to the tobacco money. Buy this debt, we’ll build our bridges and pay our teachers and maintain our roads, and we’ll pay you with tobacco settlement money when the bond comes to fruition. It was a cast-iron, absolutely foolproof hustle. A triumph for the free market and our (vaguely) representative form of government.

You also know what they say about what’ll happen if anything comes along that’s foolproof.

Maybe you’ve already spotted the issue, if you’re clever, but like Agatha Christie, I’ve left out a little detail: while there was certainly a minimum-over-a-quarter-century specified, anything beyond that was based on tobacco company revenues. Note that these are the same companies selling products that every right-thinking person wanted effectively banned. The entire purpose of an anti-smoking crusade is to ensure there are no more smokers, and if there are no more smokers, then no one is buying smokes, and companies that make smokes have no revenue, and…

“Well, crap,” went the state governments when tobacco company revenues started going down just like more or less everyone in the universe expected them to and thus the settlement payouts went down in like kind. Only so much cancer could be outsourced to the Third World, and the settlement itself was a watershed moment in the global retreat of the tobacco industry. It was no longer certain that the bonds could be paid off when they matured.

This was bad for the states, obviously: financial default can cripple sovereign nations (just ask any Argentinian) and the last time U.S. states defaulted on their debts was in 1841. The only way they got out was through uncomfortable legislation and, yes, increased taxes. The buyers’ side of things was arguably worse: the people who originally bought the bonds sold them to others for a profit, who did the same, who did the same, and the origami that is modern finance inflated the bonds’ worth. Someone would be left holding the bag, and it wouldn’t just be the states’ problem.

This is about when the Great Recession happened. The bonds hadn’t matured, but with everything else in the financial world going up in a ball of fire and smoke like a luftgas-filled Hindenburg, someone sat down and ran some numbers and figured out just how little the bonds were worth, since their ratings had been artificially inflated. Their value collapsed, which was bad for the people and banks (and the customers of those banks) that held them but good for the states, since they’d been given time to sort things out.

Give you three guesses as to what they didn’t do.

Now three guesses as to what they did.

Yes, there are now more tobacco settlement-backed bonds on the market. Yes, they are again at extreme risk of being overextended, to the point that banks are leaning on ratings agencies to give them artificially high grades

“Get to the point,” I hear you cry.

Here’s the point: the same governments that are responsible for regulating tobacco companies are fiscally dependent on those self-same tobacco companies in order to avoid default. If they’re forced to default on anything, their credit collapses and then they cannot fund anything beyond their artificially low tax rates: if you’re of one political persuasion, that means they cannot fund schools, infrastructure, or healthcare systems; if you’re of another, that means they cannot fund tax rebates and credits for job creators.

For everything else they can find money elsewhere, even if it means borrowing more of it–and, like Greece, that’s pretty much what they do–but tobacco settlement bonds are intrinsically linked to tobacco settlement money and can’t be paid with anything but.

These states need tobacco companies to not only make money, but make more money. Hand-over-fist money. The more money those companies make, the more solvent those bonds become and the less likely a state’s financial doomsday is.

Problem: they can’t reverse the progress of anti-smoking campaigns, nor should they. Smoking was perhaps the public health crisis of the twentieth century, and this is in the same century that polio and measles were still a thing.

Even now the CDC says that one out of five deaths in America are smoking related. Smoking is not only bad, it is wrong, with all the moral valence that carries. The states could just as well start involuntarily inseminating nuns and selling their babies as minced dog food for the sort of wobble-headed swivel-eyed pants-on-head evil that a “Hey, Kids, Smoking Really Is Cool!” campaign would be.

Opportunity: e-cigarettes. A lot of market watchers think that e-cigs are accelerating the decline of the big tobacco companies. If that’s true, then it’s in a debt-ridden state’s interest to try and either ban the new technology or regulate it in such a way that the tobacco companies can move in, making profits (and thus improving the bonds’ outlook) without selling the anathema cigarettes. This puts quite a bit of recent things, from million-dollar test requirements to outright bans, into a different perspective.

Cui bono (“who benefits?” for all you non-Latin types) is not the end-all-and-be-all argument in figuring out motivations and agendas, but it can be informative. With e-cigarettes looking to be the next big anti-scientific health scare regulatory requirements well in excess of probable risk, market closures and captures, and propaganda leading to nonsensical arguments that vaping is a gateway to smoking tobacco and (gasp) marijuana are all going to mix together to make a very interesting “informational” landscape in the near future.

The well-meaning but paranoid health activists will mix freely with the moral crusaders and those whose interests are purely pecuniary. Everyone else will be saying they obviously have your best interests at heart; occasionally, this may even be true. All this means it’s up to you to do research and carefully judge the facts to decide what’s best for you.

To be honest, though, that’s how you should live your entire life in a free country: politically, morally, and ethically thoughtful and self-determinant. This just happens to be another little facet of life where the smoke and mirrors may get particularly dense.  

Secret Agent: Timperator of Man
Clandestine Vapes 

eCigs, The Tobacco Settlement & The Road That's Paved With Good Intentions: Oh My
Source: Electronic Cigarette News

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are advertised as being safer than tobacco cigarettes products as the chemical compounds inhaled from e-cigarettes are believed to be fewer and less toxic than…

Shane Brooks’s insight:

Recent research by scientists associated with the Japanese Ministry of Health–and picked up by the World Health Organization–reports that certain carcinogenic chemicals, such as formaldehyde, are as explained in this misleading article “ten times more concentrated in e-cig vapor than in cigarette smoke“. Horrible, isn’t it? This is the death knell of the vape industry, that puts paid to the lie that vaping is less harmful than smoking–

Now wait a minute. The report never said that vaping is more harmful than smoking. They ran some tests, got some results, and said more research needed to be done due to the interest in vaping. That’s perfectly valid.

But what about that ‘ten times more concentrated’ in the news headlines? It’s dramatic, to be sure, but, like most headlines, it’s not the entire story. What happened was that the scientists took several models of vaporizers widely available on the Japanese market, hooked them up to some apparatus, and measured levels of carbonyl-group chemicals produced by what they considered to be an intense vaping regimen: ten puffs of two-second deep drags, with thirty seconds between puffs. Whether that’s representative or not isn’t really important; in the end they figured that the high temperature of the thermoresistor wire used to vaporize the e-juice caused some localized chemical changes and produced these chemicals.

It gets interesting deeper into the paper, though, particularly around the data table. They tested thirteen brands. Four brands produced no detectable carbonyl compounds. The e-juice appears to have been kept constant throughout (although the authors don’t specify, which suggests a haphazard attention to variable control) and the voltage was incrementally increased until they got results (and they don’t specify the voltages either, which reinforces the aforementioned haphazard attention to variable control). In any case, that four brands were absolutely negative suggests that manufacturing quality and perhaps engineering design are major factors in the production of these carbonyls.

The researchers said that their test methods lead to results falling into two categories, “extremely high” and “extremely low” (again, left undefined). They also defined a “failure rate” ratio based on the idea that extremely high was extremely bad and extremely low was at least passable. The greatest of these ‘failure rates’ was forty percent, meaning that vaporizers passed more often than they didn’t, but more on that later.

Looking at formaldehyde in particular since it’s what’s been hyped, the highest estimated concentration was 34 micrograms per ten puffs with an error band of plus-or-minus 35 micrograms at a single standard deviation. This result is less than useless. First, an error band two standard deviations wide–one above the estimate, the other below–is appropriate for a confidence level of about 68%. What this means is that the researchers are about 68% confident that the true value of their measurements lie somewhere in the range between 69 and -1 nanograms. Note the negative sign; this means that to this same confidence level, they cannot statistically tell the difference between what they measured and zero. Why the researchers used a one-sigma confidence interval rather than the more common two-sigma (95% confidence level) confidence interval is unknown, but it already suggests low-quality data.

Moving along, the second was 22 micrograms plus-or-minus 15.4 micrograms. This is per ten puffs, so that means one puff contained 2.2 nanograms of formaldehyde. They said a puff was 55 milliliters of air. This is 400 micrograms per liter, or .4 parts per million. OSHA has set the

eight-hour-workday limit on formaldehyde exposure to 0.75 parts per million (Part Number 1910.1048(c)(2)).

Since the ideal state of “safe” doesn’t exist, there is only “safe enough.” What is “safe enough” depends entirely on baselines, and reporting on the safety of anything is extremely sensitive to what baseline is used to report it. Everything you will ever do can be made to sound horribly unsafe if compared to plane crashes or asteroid strikes, and the headline here is an egregious example. Cigarettes are bad because they contain formaldehyde, e-cigs generate more formaldehyde than cigarettes, so e-cigs are worse–except that the health risk of cigarettes does not come primarily from formaldehyde. It comes from all the chemicals and particulates generated by combustion. A well-blackened steak probably has more carbon in it than a cigarette, but that doesn’t mean it will harm your health (at least, not in the same way).

Getting back to the “failure rate,” the vaporizer brand that “failed” most often (40%) only produced 17 micrograms of formaldehyde. The one that meaningfully produced the most formaldehyde “failed” 27% of the time. These “failure rates,” again, are based on data distributions, not actually exceeding levels known to be harmful.

Taking the meaningful worst-case numbers from the researchers’ data tables and comparing them with Federal risk guidelines produces the bottom table:

Table 1: Comparisons of Worst-Case Experimental Results and Risk Limits

Carbonyl           Worst-case         Worst-case       Work-Day Limit

                             (μg/10 puffs)       (ppm)                 OSHA (ppm)


Formaldehyde   22                         0.40                      0.75

Acetaldehyde    15                          0.27                      200

Acrolein              20                          0.36                      0.1

Propanal             15                          0.27                      20                                  

Glyoxal                16                          0.29                      0.04

Methylglyoxal    12.1                       0.220                  None Listed

Out of these, acrolein
 and glyoxal are out of range and thus probably hazardous over a long time, keeping in mind that these are absolute worst-case numbers and most readings were actually much lower than these (and well within acceptable limits). These numbers represent the rattiest of ratty e-cigs you can pick up out of a gutter, and they’re being compared to limits that assume that you’re using them non-stop for eight hours a day. Short-term exposure limits are much more generous.

Doing the same with the best possible e-cig numbers from the study, however:

Table 2: Comparisons of Best-Case Experimental Results and Risk Limits

Carbonyl           Worst-case         Worst-case       Work-Day Limit

                             (μg/10 puffs)       (ppm)                 OSHA (ppm)


Formaldehyde   0.0                       0.0                      0.75

Acetaldehyde    0.0                        0.0                     200

Acrolein              0.0                        0.0                      0.1

Propanal             0.0                        0.0                      20                                  

Glyoxal                0.0                        0.0                      0.04

Methylglyoxal    0.0                     0.0                    None Listed


Just for fun, let’s take the worst-case numbers but weight them by their “failure rate” to get an approximately realistic ‘statistical population’ view of the risk.

Table 3: Comparisons of FR-Weighted Worst-Case Experimental Results and Risk Limits

Carbonyl           Worst-case         Worst-case       Work-Day Limit

                             (μg/10 puffs)       (ppm)                 OSHA (ppm)


Formaldehyde   5.9                   0.11                     0.75

Acetaldehyde    6.0                    0.11                    200

Acrolein              4.8                     0.09                    0.1

Propanal             6.0                    0.11                     20                                  

Glyoxal                3.2                     0.06                    0.04

Methylglyoxal   3.27                  0.06                   None Listed

Look at that: mostly safe. Good thing glyoxal isn’t considered a carcinogen (yet).

That’s the problem with numbers. They can be spun, and not necessarily intentionally. People with agendas can, consciously or not, compare numbers in ways that reinforce the narrative they want to tell. For those who see vaping as the next great moral panic and social vice or a public health catastrophe, they have every reason to take the worst-of-worst-case numbers and compare them to other things that make them sound hopelessly bad in order to tell a story: “these things are dangerous.” For people in the business, they have every reason to spin the other way: “these things are safe.”

Meanwhile, we think you’re capable of figuring things out for yourself and so we’ve got no interest in blowing vapor up your ass. “Safe” and “dangerous” are, to be honest, statements of a personal stomach for risk. Risk is calculated using statistics and the data are found using science. Get scientifically literate and look at the research yourself. Ask your science-nerd friends questions about what research papers say. Look for weasel words and special pleading in news reports, and pay careful attention to how scientists qualify their statements. Define safe for yourself, and make your life choices based on that.

Do we think vaping is safe? The honest answer is “it’s safe enough for us.” So far, all research indicates it’s a hell of a lot safer than smoking, even if a few chemicals are in excess of those found in tobacco smoke. Of course, we’ve got a vested interest in the matter,  we don’t want to blow vapor up your ass–so educate yourself and reach your own conclusions.

Secret Agent: Timperator of Man
Clandestine Vapes 

Carbonyl Compounds Generated from Electronic Cigarettes.
Source: Electronic Cigarette News

Shane Brooks’s insight:

“Of course, it makes perfect sense that it’s the Democrat lawmakers, progressive public health groups and left-leaning academics (all of the same people who fought for condom use and safe sex campaigns) who are now opposing e-cigarettes as promising, new, harm reduction products.”
view source here

I have to agree with much of what the author has to say.  Democrats, I are disappoint.  It’s disheartening when the party you came to believe to be interested in facts, science, statistics, economic recovery, and public health–go out of their way to lose a completely winnable issue on something so relevant to everything we all claim to care about.

Money in politics, corporate collusion, corruption, conflicts of interest, public health, and rigging the game in favor of big industry campaign donors such as Big Tobacco and Big Pharma are all  wrapped up neatly within the “eCig” debate–with a big fat bow on top.

Being an entrepreneur in this industry myself, let me be honest and upfront with you about the vape industry–so that you know what we’re dealing with.

You may have noticed dedicated vape shops and/or lounges opening up. They will NOT be selling tobacco in any way shape or form. In most cases, they either make their own in-house blends or carry several different lines from reputable vendors…sometimes they do both.

I can tell you with all honesty, that there are many very good vendors in the US that hold themselves to the highest standard in the quality of their” eJuice” or “eLiquid”. There’s a couple of things at play here such as the often brought up products from China. I’ll go over them each.

Most of the devices come from China and they’re ok and they’re improving in build quality in many cases, but I would be extremely cautious of their eJuice for sure—because that’s what you’re putting into your body and we all know China can have you ingesting some funky stuff.

Most places selling those eJuices (the ones we should be concerned about), would likely be tobacco shops, head shops and gas stations trying to cash in on the industry. Gas stations and big retailers such as WalMart are likely to sell the ones from nJoy, Blu, Mark 10, etc.

Coincidentally, they’re owned by big tobacco companies.  Well not nJoy, they have folks “associated” with Big Tobacco on their boards and likely investors as well.  I’m still skeptical of nJoy for these reasons and refer to them now as Big Vapor.

I mean, sure, they’re advocates of the vape industry and likely have the most funding to help fight the good fight–but I wouldn’t look for them to advocate for real fair free market competition in support of the small businesses you see in your communities today.  

I’d look for them to take the typical corporate  monopoly highway and advocate for affordable enough for them to comply with ridiculously exaggerated and needless regulations, but just out of the reach of your typical small business owners.   I could be wrong. 

Even some of the so-called advocacy groups for the industry, with all of the good that they do, will be supporting needless regulations that will force many businesses to close up shop, if they can’t afford to outsource their product to be produced by a pre-approved third party juice maker in some level 5000 biohazard lab–by “highly trained” eJuice makers in space suits….as well as a sweet fat monthly fee for an industry seal of approval.

Is it intentional?  I don’t know.  Follow the money, observe the politics, learn about the people, and most importantly–listen to what they say and watch what they do.  

Let’s make one thing clear, manufacturing eLiquid isn’t rocket science.  If you can trust your local baker or restaurant to serve you safe food, and your bartender to mix a safe drink, or local craft beer maker to deliver a safe brew–you can probably trust your local vape shop to mix you safe high quality vape eLiquid.  

In any case, support for these small local businesses is essential. Most are Mom & Pop shops, people who’ve had their health and lives changed by a product that they/we all believe in. This is also a rare instance of working class folks creating a true free market that is largely self-regulated, and is capable of competing against big industry and special interests. 

Big tobacco should be heavily taxed and over regulated. They’re the one’s who created harm and knowingly ruined lives as they profited greatly enough to easily afford to stay successful and dominant.

So dominant, that their punishments are  slap on the wrist settlements and fines that they can pay from their petty cash.  Despite how corporate media is spinning it to the public, the industry they seek to punish and destroy is the local competition of Mom & Pop shops offering a safe(r) alternative–not Big Tobacco…it’s a clever ruse.

Legislators have recently proposed craziness like an insane 90+% tax on eCigs and the FDA wants to classify them as tobacco products. If that fails, another attempt will be made to classify the devices as pharmaceutical products.  The last thing they want to see is thousands of small operation competitors becoming the beginning of the end–for life as they knew it in the tobacco and pharma/nicotine related industry.

If they succeed, big tobacco and big pharma will be successful in cornering the markets for themselves and killing off a huge number of small businesses who won’t be able to afford to compete.

Then, all of the devices will be sold at retail giants like WalMart as the number of local vape shops that manufacture their own blends will shrink down to almost nothing. 

If your loved ones are going to vape, do NOT buy eJuice/eLiquid from tobacco shops, head shops, gas stations, or any of the industries products from retail giant job killing corporate welfare queens like WalMart.

That’s just gross anyway.  

Get the good quality stuff from your dedicated local vape shops (sure, you might find a few crappy opportunists from time to time). Join local vape groups on social media and find out where the quality eJuice is and isn’t.  They’re very friendly and active when it comes to finding the good quality products in your area and telling you who to stay away from.  Bad vendors won’t remain in business very long.

Please, have them go to a local vape shop and support the real small business owners who’ve essentially fostered and nurtured this market, and the innovation and quality you already see today.

If you don’t have one in your town, please shop from an online vendor you can trust. A simple google search will take you to well-known and informative forums, or you can join a local or state FB Group—they’re everywhere and they’re good people. They can point you in the right direction of trusted online vendors.  Voting with your money is a very effective thing you can do if you don’t have time to volunteer in some capacity as an activist for your cause.  

This “show” we’re seeing by some in the Senate, is not to go after big bad tobacco or to “protect the children”, it’s to achieve exactly what I just described–and they know exactly what they’re doing.

These politicians are not the do-gooder, science respecting, kid & public health protecting champions they’re trying to portray themselves as.  It’s just another expansion of their middle and lower class harming sin tax and industry settlement collection programs to help fund their pet groups and rewarding each other.

The representation on the right will portray themselves as the “liberty lovers & protectors of freedom”, while creating regulations to support the big industries (Big Tobacco/Big Vapor).

The representation on the left will portray themselves as “champions of health & protector of children”, while creating favorable regulations for big industries (Big Pharma). 

It doesn’t matter who’s right, the end result is the same.  We end up punching ourselves in the face thinking we were fighting each other–and allowing big industry to consume OUR government and use it against us.  Divide and Conquer.

I can’t think of a better example in recent history that can highlight this point as much as this particular industry right now.

It’s exciting because we actually have a small chance of fairness in doing something really good, while kind of screwing the system at the same time. If ever you’re going to take the words “shop local” seriously and support small business–while sticking it to the man…this is it.

Democrats and the left need to snap out of it and get their shit together.  This is a public health issue and an economic issue and so much more.  It’s easily winnable and Progressives/liberals/Democrats/Lefties (so many labels…my goodness) should want to win it.  

Please do not reveal yourselves as the hypocritical, special interest, science denying, small industry destroying corporate douchebags you claim to be against.

If approached in the most ethical and intellectually honest way, it’s a win for public health and small local economies throughout the nation–and a real pain in the ass for the corporate establishment often mistaken as or referred to as “Big Gov”.

Are you interested in learning the real science, with the sources linked for your validation, and the ingredients of what really goes in to manufuacturing of eLiquid?  

Do you want to know if vaping is really safe?

Do you want more in-depth details in how the deeming regulations proposed by the FDA is designed to kill small business, handing it over to big industry?

Do you just want the damn facts with no punches pulled, the good and the bad?  

Do you want to know the best path forward in helping stick it to Big Industry and keeping this a vibrant real job creating free market system?  

Please visit :


Glimpses Through The Mist: Are e-cigarettes the new condom?
Source: Electronic Cigarette News

Last September the CDC noted with alarm that the percentage of teenagers who had tried electronic cigarettes doubled between 2011 and 2012. “Many teens who start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes,” CDC Director Tom Frieden worried. In a Medscape interview a few weeks later, Frieden suggested that […]

Shane Brooks’s insight:

The last article I summarized, I was willing to give the CDC Director Tom Frieden the benefit of the doubt–thinking maybe he was just ignorant. 

As the information in this older article by Jacob Sullum clearly demonstrates, that Dr, Frieden for some reason doesn’t really care about scientific data, protecting children, or anyone else’s health–as his history and current statements would suggest.  One has to wonder why.

"In fact, nine out of 10 high school students who reported vaping in the previous month were already cigarette smokers, suggesting that the increase in e-cigarette consumption might signal successful harm reduction. Last week the CDC reported additional NYTS data that further undermine Frieden’s claim, showing that smoking among teenagers fell as vaping rose.

Between 2011 and 2012, when the share of middle school students who reported using e-cigarette in the previous month rose from 0.6 percent to 1.1 percent, the share reporting past-month consumption of conventional cigarettes fell from 4.3 percent to 3.5 percent.

Among high school students, past-month e-cigarette use rose from 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent, while past-month consumption of tobacco cigarettes fell from 15.8 percent to 14 percent. Although these trends do not necessarily mean e-cigarettes are responsible for the decline in smoking, the numbers hardly seem consistent with the story Frieden is eager to tell:

That the availability of e-cigarettes is leading to more smoking than would otherwise occur.  Since the numbers showing an increase in vaping come from the very same survey as the numbers showing a decrease in smoking, it is puzzling that the CDC decided to highlight the first trend two months before the latter one, especially since the smoking data suggest Frieden’s fear, which was repeated and amplified by various activists and politicians pushing for strict e-cigarette regulation, is misplaced.

But the omission is puzzling only if you assume the CDC is mainly interested in the truth, as opposed to scientific-sounding justifications for an irrational anti-vaping prejudice."

Source: Electronic Cigarette News

Of all the threats to Americans’ health — a list that includes bird flu, measles and West Nile virus — few get Dr. Tom Frieden as riled up as electronic cigarettes.

Shane Brooks’s insight:

Dr. Tom Frieden of the CDC seems like a good guy.  At first glance he doesn’t appear to have any glaring issues of corruption within big industry, and his past resume and work to curb smoking and improve health is impressive and noble.

However, as I dig ever so slightly deeper, I see the that a Senator is calling for an investigation into the CDC practices concerning corruption–tied to who else but big pharma.  Surprise surprise…I’m shocked.

For someone who is so well educated, intelligent, committed to improving public health, and getting folks to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes–he sure is ignorant.  Or is he?

Virtually every single one of his talking points concerning his problem with eCigs, is easily debunked and on it’s face–ridiculous and insulting.

Dr. Frieden claims that eCig manufacturers of the liquid nicotine products don’t want to submit for testing and application for approval with the FDA.  You see, Mom & Pops have created and nourished this market growth in this exciting new industry–not Big Tobacco as they would like us to believe.

They keep showing those inferior first generation beginner devices like Blu and nJoy, which are owned by Big Tobacco.  Conveniently, their devices are sold in gas stations, retail giants like Wal Mart, and tobacco smoke head shops looking to cash in on an industry for a quick buck.

What they conveniently fail to mention, is the thousands of small businesses, local Mom & Pop vapor shops opening in virtually every city across the country.  These shops, for the most part, are very good at self regulation.  If anyone is looking for a quality vape device and nicotine products to use in them, these are the places you go–not to a gas station, WalMart or a head shop…gross.

They do not target or sell to children, nor have any type of tobacco product in their businesses.  If they did or mixed a dangerous or low quality product–you could be guaranteed that the vape community will make it known and have them shut down.

Most of these local shop owners are former smokers who are helping others, despite the corporate propaganda we’re being fed by our very own taxpayer funded agencies–we’re supposed to believe in and trust.

Yes, the little guy has finally hit the jackpot and capitalized on an opportunity first–and that scares the shit out of Big Tobacco, and Big Pharma.  All of this really boils down to these two industries, the agencies we should be relying on to protect us–and how they’re playing this clever game of good cop bad cop.

The reality and the truth is, they want to charge these small businesses an insane amount of money for testing and application submittal to keep selling their products. 

To give you an idea, it will cost hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars, to meet the requirements of only one flavor at one dosage strength of nicotine–a product that cost less than one hundred dollars to produce.

Who can afford that, besides Big Tobacco and Big Pharma?  You, your neighbor, friend, or family member more than likely sure as hell can’t.  So in one swipe, you kill 90% of the industry competition and innovation.  Not to mention the one product and market force that could seriously challenge Big Pharma and Big Tobacco’s dangerous products and market share.

The ingredients are already tested and FDA approved for the most part.  There is no reason to require over-the-top expensive laboratories with all the CDC bells and whistles.  While it takes talent to mix a quality and delicious batch of eLiquid–it’s basically as easy as baking a cake (Just the mixing of a few liquid ingredients in proper ratios, according to recipe).

All that’s really needed is a commercial kitchen with an epoxied floor, stainless steel sinks, stainless steel mixing table, vent hood, refrigeration, storage cabinets, uv sterilizer for your mixing equipment–and proper protocols and procedures for storage and mixing area. 

Just open up the industry to regular local, state and the occasional surprise federal health inspections.  Most Mom & Pops could afford to continue competing with realistic, fair, and reasonable oversight. 

There’s no doubt that this could level the playing field between big and small business, foster creation of real jobs that help bring back local small businesses to downtown areas, improve public health. 

As a bonus, the satisfaction of sticking it to corrupt and complicit government agencies–and their big industry buddies they publically love to hate.  This is the main issue of the FDA’s proposal that we must not lose sight of–and work hard to hammer home.

Or…just sit back and hand it all over to Big Tobacco and Big Pharma, and let them sell their "trustworthy" products to the masses at WalMart and in gas stations.  It’s only recommended if we prefer the status quo of defeating ourselves on our own dime, and enjoy repeatedly kicking ourselves in the ass.  Whichever.

If the director of the CDC or the FDA think I’m scared to submit my product, then offer to pay for it as a one time citizen courtesy and publicly publish the findings.  Put me in my place and silence me. 

Maybe Lorillard will be kind of enough to pay for my product testing.  They could compare the quality and safety of my product, with their product from the sellout company they purchased. 

They’re working in a ridiculously overkill laboratory environment and walking around in spacesuits.  Surely, their product must be safer, cleaner, higher quality–and just plain damn better than mine.

I’ll put my product and a dozen other small business owners products I know of in the industry, against Big Tobacco, Big Pharma or any Big Budgeted companies nicotine product–any damn day of the week. 

What do you say Big Tobacco and Mighty Guardians of Public Health?  Let us compete.  What do you have to lose?

Source: Electronic Cigarette News



In a time where facts have become fiction and fiction has become fact, the last Presidential debate did not disappoint. Governor Romney once again has changed on another position. With dizzying effect, this constant switching of positions, during the debates, shows a total disregard to the recent history of his own statements.


Concerning the auto bailout change of Governor Romney’s statements saying that he would have supported government help to cover the loans to the companies, this appears to be in conflict with what he had been saying, especially in the Governor’s Op-ed in the New York Times called Let Detroit go bankrupt.


One of the most interesting statements is the beginning of the article:


“IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.”


History has shown this was incorrect since the American automotive industry is thriving today. Governor Romney also states in the article:


“But don’t ask Washington to give shareholders and bondholders a free pass — they bet on management and they lost.


The American auto industry is vital to our national interest as an employer and as a hub for manufacturing. A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs. It would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs. The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk.


In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check.”


While it mentions that the government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk, the question remains how the government could have provided guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing if there wasn’t anyone able to loan money to them in the first place. Everyone, in the private sector marketplace, was holding onto their money because of the uncertainty caused by the ‘Great Recession’, and credit was not available, so the only way possible was for the government to provide the loans, to be paid back, to the auto companies.


As Governor Romney stated in the beginning of his article that a bailout should not be given to the American automotive industry, his assertions today that he would have supported giving government loans does not make sense. Would these loans be considered a bailout as well?


Also, permitting the companies to shed excess labor would have lost a large number of jobs, and the shedding of pensions would have hurt millions of workers by taking their retirement funds. All of these were saved by the President’s actions.


In the earlier debates, Governor Romney has been steadily moving to the middle on his positions regarding abortion, contraception, women’s equality, medicare vouchers, Obamacare, along with taxes and the budget.


What do Governor Romney’s supporters think when they hear him state completely different policy positions in the debates to the ones they have been hearing on the campaign trail, and by all the Republicans backing his candidacy?


His supporters have been talking among friends, family and around the water cooler at work about the positions of the Governor and the Republicans, and now, they will have to change to a different position altogether, again.


Do they recognize these changes? These are such conspicuous and blatant changes that many Democrats have been asking how none of his supporters have noticed, or if they are intentionally remaining quiet about them. The changes began with the first debate, and it was considered in the media to be political strategy to shift back to the middle for Governor Romney and his campaign, but this many changes makes it look as a desperate switch to appeal to more voters. It is very easy to question how this move was not politically motivated.


The question remains if the electorate will have a hard time backing a candidate that has switched positions so quickly and right before the election, because their credibility could be questioned for showing a complete lack of integrity by not sticking by their beliefs.


Can it be that this campaign tactic is working and will become the new norm? Can a candidate be trusted if no one is sure of what they believe in the first place? In all future campaigns, each base will have to just ignore everything being said by their candidates, and just vote the party line, because everything being said will not be worth listening to because it is obviously untrue.


It doesn’t have to be this way though. Sometimes, credibility and integrity do matter.

Source: Corporate Corruption News

Clandestine Vapes

1475 S. Grand #102
Pullman, Washington
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& Shin’s Asian Market