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E S TA B L I S H E D 2 0 1 4 M A D E I N M I C H I GA N


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NEWS, BUSINESS & CULTURE VAPE Magazine is the only international vaping industry focused magazine with more than 35,000 readership in the United States, Europe and Asia, where vaping professionals

EDITORIAL Publisher Matt Schramel 800-958-6427 x2 Editor in Chief Corey Noles Managing Editor Chris Mellides Social Media Manager Eric Vonheim Art Director Van Avazando Graphic Designer Anil Verma Director of Photography Ezra Zuniga Webmaster Axel Gillespie Contributors Corey Noles, Susan Oser, Norm Bour, Tony Ottomanelli, Chris Mellides, John Castle, Lavender Lee, Allan Kwasnik

Letter from the Editor


Dear readers,

Chief Executive Officer Matt Schramel

What a wild summer here at VAPE Magazine! We’ve spent the summer on the road traveling from show to show and it’s been an absolute blast. The best part is that shows seem to be making a comeback! We’re seeing companies who had sworn off shows getting back on the circuit and the people are starting to come back out in droves. In this issue you’ll will see our travels chronicled through Midwest Vapor Expo, to Vape Town Convention in Mexico City and then all the way over to VCC Tampa in Florida. Of course, that’s not all we have. We’ve also gone a bit review heavy this month with full breakdowns of the Goon v1.5, the Admiral Mech Mod, the iJoy Penguin and the Q box. If any of these are on your radar, take to to read these reviews by Chris Mellides and John Castle. We also have an in-depth piece on Vapor Beast. One of the industry’s biggest companies who has over the past year transitioned from an uber-reputable distribution company to a publicly traded giant. With much more splattered across the coming pages, I sincerely hope you enjoy reading the issue as much as we enjoyed making it happen.

Co-Owner/Vice President Jon Laverde Executive Assistant Erin Aly ADVERTISING Jon Laverde, 800-958-6427 x4 Jacob Barger, 949-910-2138 China-based advertisers contact Wingle Group Electronics LTD +852 51759256 CONTACT Advertising News New Products

Vape on,


Corey Noles Editor in Chief

VAPE Magazine is wholly owned by Starpixel Marketing LLC 6209 Mid Rivers Mall Dr,Suite 194 Saint Peters, MO 63304 800-958-6427



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Contents columns


42 47

For Vaping and Humanity Crossed Signals: Finding truth in an age of misinformation




32 38 50 96

Purebacco: Good neighbors up north Mentor’s Mantra: Joey Jux And Pixielite of DUVO Vapor Beast: A success story in progress The Molecule Labs Story FreshLeaf CBD Isolate: Building industrial independence with flavor


100 VTC brings the clouds


104 108

to Mexico VCC Tampa takes vaping back to basics Midwest Vapor Expo brings the heat to Central Ohio






88 92

BJ Box Mods: Admiral mechanical tube mod Smok Qbox: When less... is less 528 Custom: Goon V1.5 RDA Joyetech Atopack Penguin: The new benchmark in subcompact vapes


12 21 26 54



60 67 74

Letter from The Editor Scenic Vapers Ask Grimm Green Danny Lolo: Sponsored vaper and trick king Vape Shop Strategies Just in Juices Vape Visionary: Dean The Vaping Biker

THE NEW WORLD OF VAPE. INTERTABAC 2017 22 – 24 SEPTEMBER DORTMUND, GERMANY › Exclusive platform for e-cigarettes and liquids › Trends and current sector developments › Worldwide leading flagship trade fair › Exhibitors include market leaders and global players Benefit from InterTabac 2017!


By Chris Mellides


rom the Cooper’s Rock State Forest of West Virginia all the way to Tebing Keraton in Indonesia, the time is ripe for summer photography. Enjoying the outdoors with a cold beverage is a no brainer when the weather is warm. And to that end, the possibilities of setting up the perfect shot as you enjoy the cool breeze wafting through the tree branches from up high is just part of the overall experience. Being active and feeling in tune with nature seems exemplified when braking to view your surroundings from behind a lens. You steady your hand, focus in on your subject set against a beautiful back drop, punch the shutter and capture the moment you found yourself living in moments before.

PHOTOGRAPHER - Derry Parmanto (@depadong) IN FRAME - Same as above LOCATION - Tebing Keraton, Kota Bandung, Indonesia GEAR: Nikon D60



Have a look at this edition of Scenic Vapers and take in the vibrancy of the photographs we’ve assembled from some of our best contributors. Now, go out there and shoot!


PHOTOGRAPHER - Tyler Price (@dripping_balls)IN FRAME - Logan Wells (@mr_subohm) LOCATION - Cooper’s Rock State Forest, WV



PHOTOGRAPHER - Paul V. (@killronin) IN FRAME - Brian Tran (@_brinh) LOCATION - Philadelphia, PA

PHOTOGRAPHER - Logan Wells (@mr_subohm)

PHOTOGRAPHER - Ricky Covel (@quickyadig)

IN FRAME - Tyler Price (@dripping_balls)

IN FRAME - Cory Guns (@pixielite)

LOCATION - Coopers Rock State Forest, WV

LOCATION - San Antonio, Texas

SHIRT: Nolli Designs (@nollidesigns)




PHOTOGRAPHER - Brett Hill (@organicjunky) IN FRAME - Steven Anthony (@heaven_and_highwater) LOCATION - Cypress Tree Tunnel Inverness, California

PHOTOGRAPHER - Cory Guns (@pixielite) IN FRAME - Joey Jux (@2modgod) LOCATION - Pine Creek, Delaware



PHOTOGRAPHER - Althea Havelin (althea_ph_photo) IN FRAME - Same as Above LOCATION - Costa Mesa, California

To submit your photo to Scenic Vapers for VAPE submission consideration, follow: @VapeMagazine, @ScenicVapers @Dripping_Balls and @Jedi.Visions and #VapeMagazine, #CloudCheck & #ScenicVapers on Instagram. For VAPE pictorial column, photos must be in high resolution, but for the IG page everyone has the chance for a feature.






By Nick Green

Hey Nick, I see you’ve been at a lot of shows lately! From the pictures I’ve seen it looks like they’re making a comeback. What’s your take? - Mike Bollinger, Boulder, CO Hey Mike! They are absolutely making a comeback. One of the big factors for the decline (apart from the FDA regulations) was just an oversaturation of vape shows. When there are 2-3 HUGE vape shows every month, all across the United States, people lose interest pretty fast. In 2015 I did over 18 shows across the US including some in the UK and Ireland as well. Those 18 shows were a small portion of the actual number of shows going on. The less shows there are, the more heavily those shows will be attended, and the more money the organizers and vendors can invest in making the show really stellar. When there are only 16 ComiCon events a year in the US, but 37 vape shows... that alone should tell us how oversaturated it became.


Hey Grimm, I’ve followed you for years, but never written in. Have the pending regulations affected how you do your job? Thanks! - Jose Fernandez, Miami, FL Hey Jose! Huge question here. The regulations have affected almost every aspect of what I do. No free samples means no more giveaways on YouTube or social media. I haven’t released any new juice flavors in over a year now. The FDA has a “gag order” on what I can and can not say publicly about vaping. In short, the regulations (which haven’t even been enforced yet really l) literally changed everything for me. Apart from the aforementioned topics, it has also driven me and many others to really really push advocacy and drive home the point that if we don’t do something soon, we will end up with nothing as a result. I believe in vaping too much, and care about vaping too much to let it fail and die. We’re going to change the world. #VAPEMAGAZINE

Grimm, What is your go to coil setup? - Jeff Wright, Costa Mesa, CA Hey Jeff! Fused claptons all day long. I put them in everything from drippers to tanks and they work amazing. The best part about being a vaper right now is the ability to purchase high quality clapton and alien coils. I have never been able to build an Alien coil, but thankfully people like M.Terk, CoilTurd, Zach Feez and lots more all make and sell high quality “fancy” coils. Now I can install some nice CoilTurd fused claptons and have them last me 2 - 3 months with regular re-wicking and cleaning.


Purebacco Good Neighbors Up North


f you’ve never had the pleasure of working with or speaking to a Purebacco employee, you

should. Their customer service is stellar and they take great pride in their company. A grand work ethic is shown through the dedication of their employees by the way they interact with their customers. Purebacco has a great, small numbered staff housed in


By Lavender Lee Gaylord, Michigan. Chris Weidlich, Customer Care at Purebacco, is taking his idea of Purebacco visiting shops in a different direction than most. Weidlich is the brainchild behind giving shops a personal Purebacco meet and greet. Purebacco is a morally reasonable and responsible manufacturer of smoke free alternative products, with e-liquid clients that have included #VAPEMAGAZINE

Njoy, Namberjuice Originals and FlavorZ, to name just a few. Purebacco began its research on smokeless products in 2002 and by 2013 the company’s labs were accredited and ready to take on new clients. “It all starts by building rapport with customers. I took my previous skills from other retail jobs I’ve had in the past and starting thinking about what we could do

differently,” Weidlich said. “I started engaging the customers to ‘Tell me about your shop’ and gave it the Purebacco personal touch.” Weidlich took his idea to Bryon Ries and Gregory O’Rourke. They are his superiors who helped him verbalize everything that they’d need to get out of the facility, on the road, and out visiting shops. M. Daniel Walsh, CEO/Founder of Purebacco, was impressed with this idea when it came his way.


“A few years ago, Purebacco had a waiting list to become a customer of ours. We did this because we wanted to keep customer sales and service at a controllable level,” Walsh said. “The last thing we want is for our customer base to become larger than we can handle, because then we are not giving our customers what they deserve from Purebacco. We decided to get on the road, start meeting people and find their needs. Even if their needs are not with Purebacco,” #VAPEMAGAZINE VAPEMZ.COM

he added. As previously mentioned, the Vlog man himself, Nick “Grimm” Green, has brands that are manufactured by Purebacco, which also include GrimmKVLT, Grimm Green Signature Line and Epiclouds. Purebacco is the manufacturer of several other brands including: Akston Hughes and FlavorZ Ultra. “I trust Daniel’s judgment on a handshake,” says Green, referring to


when the idea from Weidlich came his way. The Purebacco meet and greets on the road aren’t sales calls. The employees want to shake hands and meet people at the shops. The employees of Purebacco are learning a lot about daily life at a shop by witnessing firsthand the heavy call volumes shops get from credit card processors, other juice vendors and customers.

They’ve even turned a few shops onto the Resistbot, a mobile platform that allows for the identification of state and local lawmakers and a means to communicate with them directly about hot button issues. “Advocacy is critical for our industry to survive,” Weidlich said. Social responsibility is important to Weidlich. “Just because you’re in a magazine or known in your area, doesn’t mean your brand is known everywhere and known to everyone.” Purebacco is environmentally friendly, too. Their e-juices do not come in boxes. They strive to be a good neighbor by being responsible. “We are really dedicated to making a better product. It’s not just about taste, but quality. We take it to the molecular engineering level,” Walsh said. “Corporate culture is taken very


Photography by Al Witt, Cristina Macaya, Jon Mold, M. Daniel Walsh

It helps them to see the vast differences in each shop, too. Some are loungy and some have walls of product to choose from. They want to discuss the shops’ world and see if there is anything Purebacco can do to help them.

seriously at Purebacco. From inception, we set out to incorporate life improving products,” Walsh said. “We started in 2002 with putting life enhancing culture in every aspect to create positions that people want. We pride ourselves on craftsmanship and own it.” “Daniel is invested in people and how he does business. He’s always focused on people. We are all people, so let’s be chill about it,” Green said. “Many companies are all tied up in spreadsheets, suits and numbers.” “That isn’t the culture at Purebacco. Daniel goes with his gut feeling from the vibe he gets from people,” he added. #VAPEMAGAZINE

Purebacco is dedicated to helping people since before vaping was fashionable. When you call or message them, they’re going to do everything they can do to help accommodate you and make you a satisfied customer, because that’s how they want to be treated as well. They’re a small, dedicated and family-oriented company that has business relationships with other small businesses across the country. Some of these relationships have existed for years! Purebacco has gotten to know customers on a personal level, too. “We hear about their kids growing up and things that matter. We love our customers. It’s a very rewarding thing,” Weidlich says.





Joey Jux And Pixielite Of

DUVO By Lavender Lee

oey Jux, co-owner of Duvo (Dripped Up Vaped Out) started endorsing mod manufacturer Continuous Current, as he was very passionate about the brand. Continuous Current owner, Kyle Krueger, saw this passion in Jux and sold his mod business to Joey Jux and Pixielite. Krueger wanted to see Continuous Current continue, and knew Jux was the man to take it to the next level. 32





Pixielite and Joey Jux are a couple that don’t simply vape together. Their romance, friendship, hobbies and business mindsets are described as “Two Movements That Became a Force.”

Jux was out of an institution and buried into hip-hop music. He met Pixielite at a music event, where she was managing a different hip hop artist at the time. When Pixielite met Jux, they instantly had a connection. “We instantly clicked from day one and we continue to support each other,” Jux said. This power couple complement each other very well. When Joey asks Pixielite’s opinion about something, she’s honest and gives him her feedback. Pixielite knows that it’s important to stay connected to positive people around you. These people are the ones who love you, who always have your back and are your tribe. “You can never go wrong in life, love or running a company, if you continue to surround yourself with those that love you,” Pixielite said. Jux believes the secret to the couple’s success is in living life for yourself and those that you love. Be willing to take risks in business and stay up to date on new trends. Kyle Krueger, Bad Modderfogger, Chris Finch and Gene Crane are the couple’s mentors. These





guys have pointed Jux and Pixielite in the right direction and put us in touch with the right people. They’ve helped the duo of Duvo take the brand to the next level. “I have to give these guys a huge shout out and a thank you.” Jux says. Jux and Pixielite both came from a place where they had nothing. They are all about helping people achieve their dreams, like others have helped guide them. Having mentors and being a mentor is so important in this industry and in life. They’ve taken people on their first flights and to their first cross-state travel trips with Duvo. They are all for helping people believe in themselves and bringing them up in life, the way that a true mentor should. In the vaping community, Duvo is a known name. It is a subculture lifestyle brand that was established in 2015.

“When I first met Joey and Pixielite, I was instantly greeted with hugs and warm words. Since then it’s been nothing [but] lots of laughs, love and compassion. They’re both very smart and business oriented people,” says Domino, a member of Duvo. “While Joey might be the face, Pixielite is the behind-thescenes mastermind.” “If you go to a shop, cloud chase, or vape in general, you are part of Duvo. Duvo is a family and we take that very seriously. We didn’t start with a flagship product. The lifestyle came first, and then the mods.” Jux said. Photography by Ricky Covel and Vappix

Duvo has collaborations with Synthetic Clouds and Nolli Designs. They are currently designing new products, but will keep that classic look and feel that makes them Duvo.


Duvo is open to working with other companies. Their team is part of other teams. They will collaborate with any company who wants to collaborate with them. #VAPEMAGAZINE




A Success Story


he dream of many entrepreneurs is to start a company, grow it to a certain size, then sell it off and maybe retire. That pattern has been repeated for decades in various industries, but has been elusive in the vape space. However, Tim Campbell, the founder and Chief Beast of,


By Norm Bour likely the largest vaping products distributor in the world, has reached that lofty plateau. Revenue numbers for most competitors are not available, but there are few companies that generate in excess of $50 million annually. “I’m not retired,” he chuckled, “but instead I am very much involved with the leadership of the company, though we are now owned by a much larger entity.” #VAPEMAGAZINE

That entity is Turning Point Brands, a publicly traded NYSE company. TPB is well-known in the OTP category and owns and markets multiple brands including BeechNut Chewing Tobacco, Stokers, and probably their most iconic product, Zig-Zag rolling papers. In the vape space, along with the newly acquired VaporBeast, Turning Point Brands also recently entered into a strategic co-operation

In Progress... agreement with Vapor Shark, another leading and respected brand.

An Unexpected Beginning

Campbell has been an entrepreneur his entire life. He’s developed several products with varying degrees of success over the years. While in his twenties he invented a prototype of a gumball machine with a spiral railing attached. The fun factor was


enhanced by watching it roll down the shoot. We’ve all seen these in arcades, pizza parlors, and other public entertainment areas, but Campbell was among the first to come up with the idea. The challenge of entrepreneurism and business is that sometimes we learn by our own mistakes or lack of experience. That is what happened with Campbell’s gumball machine idea. He took it to a company with the intention of partnering or licensing #VAPEMAGAZINE VAPEMZ.COM

and instead his product was taken and copied. The net result? Campbell got nothing. “I had no patent, no Intellectual Property protection,” Campbell admits, “and that was a hard lesson to learn so early.” After that he focused on a successful career in publishing. For the next 25 years, he climbed the corporate ladder with two publishing, advertising, and multimedia companies, but his desire to “do his own thing” never went away. The recession of 2008 was harsh on


many sectors, including publishing. Campbell was forced to make some tough decisions. His company’s market focus at that time was building and architecture, which were hit hard after the crash.

His vision of creating an ecommerce company was aggressive. It gave him an early lead and he’s never looked back. With great exposure from advertising in VAPE Magazine and interaction with the E-Cigarette Forum community, his company grew and hit a six-figure revenue in the first year.

“We had a beautiful home in a great area, but when my income dropped and then I lost my job, we decided to downsize into something more affordable.” Campbell said. Fortunately, the sale of the larger home also freed him to do something he had on hold for many decades. The desire to start his own business. In 2010, he received a gift from his brother, an e-cigar. He became intrigued with the growing e-cig and vaping market and invented an innovative vaping device, called the Switchback. The Switchback was ahead of its time and was the first product that allowed the user to vape two different flavors in one device. He saw potential in the vaping industry and started selling the Switchback along with other products. VaporBeast was born in Campbell’s suburban Chicago home in 2012. “I was blessed with the encouragement of my wife, Sue, son, Ryan and daughter, Caitlyn who fully supported my vision as we worked together to start VaporBeast. For the first two years we collectively put in 12 plus hour days, seven days a week. It was hard work, but it was the most fun I’d ever had because I loved what we were doing.”


As the company continued to grow, Tim realized he needed capital along with professional expertise to fully scale the company. He partnered with his childhood best friend Mark Howard and Tim Cady who owned several successful medical


supply businesses. In turn, they offered longtime and valued employees, Tom Metzler and Sheilla Andrin an ownership stake in the company as well. “ The result produced a worldclass leadership team and rounded out our expertise in the areas of strategy, finance and operations.” A move to San Diego county from Chicago was the next step. With experienced management, innovative pricing, plus a commitment to education and service, the company grew almost 900 percent in 2013. “At that time, many shops were buying from China, and that model didn’t work for retail shops,” Campbell confided, “We knew we could offer competitive pricing and get inventory to shops in just a few days.” In 2014, Campbell’s brother, Tod, joined the company and headed up sales along with Teddy Bess, who focused on training and support. Their commitment to a consultative sales approach, service, and education proved to be a differentiator and remains a priority. For example, today the company offers web-training for their vape shop customers every other month through VapeMentors.

From Here to Eternity

Today, VaporBeast employs more than 50 people and offers more than 4,000 product SKUs. In 2015, sales exceeded $37 million, and over $53 million in 2016. The VB team is more focused than ever and working diligently to continue its past success in 2017. “You cannot succeed alone,” said Campbell, and he lives by that premise. “I’ve learned that you must have a great team. Don’t hire clones of yourself, but instead collaborate with professionals that have skills and passion in areas where you are lacking,” Campbell said.


Campbell concluded by saying, “I believe VaporBeast is the first company committed to open systems to be acquired by a Wall Street company. This is a great sign for the industry. It gives VaporBeast and the industry at large tremendous hope for the future.”

“ Turning Point Brands has shown its commitment to the vapor industry and its’ consumers through its acquisition of VaporBeast as well as its involvement in expanding the business and helping us to better serve our customers. With Turning Point, we feel that we have a great future in this space.” For anyone who has been in the vape industry for more than two years, we have seen many changes. Prior to 2016, there were no federal guidelines and just a few states causing issues. Fewer businesses doing more business is a sign of the future, but the industry is not going away. Count on it! Norm Bour is the founder of VapeMentors and creator of the VAPE U online programs. They offer services & resources for anyone in the vape space, including vape shops, online stores and e-liquid brands. He’s also the host of Vape Radio, the largest vaping radio show in the world with more than 1.3 M downloads. As a founding partner in the Vape Industry Business Exchange (VIBE), Norm is committed to supporting the vape space into this Brave New World. Contact him at




g n i p Va and y t i n a m u H 42



By Susan E. Oser n VapeTV Live where I host on Friday nights, two of the topics we are urged to refrain from talking about is religion and politics (unless there is a vaping connection). It seems that these two topics produce knee-jerk reactions, divisions, and cluster of chat insanity.

Those of us who have hosted online for the longest time know this feeling well. Looking on Facebook, this is the case, and it’s sad that we are divided with emotions on these issues instead of taking a deep breath, going out to a coffeeshop, or into an online call and having a chat about it. I’d like to present an idea that I know will be a bit controversial, but will make its point all in the same vein. I want to preface this with the fact that what I’m going to talk about is not whether people’s beliefs are right or wrong--that’s not really the intent of this piece. The intent is to show how we can sometimes let our beliefs get in the way of how we are so linked together by two things: vaping and humanity. This article begins when one day while checking my Facebook page I happen to see a post by vaper Steve Miller. I had chatted with him before about one of his products and wrote an article about it. What he said in his post caught my eye. He was basically talking about how, as a vaper, that he’s a person of faith who can sometimes feel a bit misunderstood by his own fellow church members. Essentially, some of them don’t really understand why he’s so into vaping.

Some of them, like the greater community have been led to believe that vaping is evil, bad, a sin, unclean, and could be a gateway to cigarettes. In fact, the majority (depending on the sect of Christianity you believe in) believe in “clean living” and vaping isn’t exactly “clean living” to them. Thus, the issue and labelling within a society that does not understand. VAPEMZ.COM


When it comes to social, cultural, political or other issues, there are those people who just feel like it’s their business to tell you whether your vaping is wrong. Some might feel you are trying to use vaping as an excuse or scapegoat to get them into something else or something they disagree with when on the contrary, that is totally unfounded and not true. Sometimes just a mere exposure of seeing a vape or someone vaping can inspire curiosity and conversation. For me, I respect other people’s viewpoints and beliefs and I listen to what they say. It’s good to hear other viewpoints and be open to what they know because then maybe you can learn something from them.

On the side, there are Steven’s atheist vaping friends who have issues with his vaping on a totally different level (kind of). There are some non-believers/ non-religious people out there that would think that based on what they experienced being a part of a religion and how some products that we know of have taken on a Christian twist. So, imagine Christian-theme e-juices if you will. That will more than likely not happen, but some people are kind of afraid of that. They would also see a good, devoted Christian like Steven using vaping as an excuse to convert them and preach. I know, and even Steven posted himself that he’s not that kind of person. However, there are a few out there that probably would do such a thing. After reading a very well-written post and his plea for getting together and understanding each other by using vaping as a bridge, I looked at the comment responses. For the most part, they were very positive. I even posted as well, and then decided to call Steven to ask him if I could quote him on his post and find out exactly what inspired him to post something like he did in the first place. Basically, Steven told me that he wanted to post something publicly on Facebook because of those misunderstandings mentioned above. He didn’t want anything misconstrued when I wrote this piece. At the same time, he appreciated the fact that I wanted to write something with this angle, because let’s face it, as a community we need to really be honest about this. However, the issue that Steven faces also happens in other communities who know about vaping either from a news standpoint or the environmental-putting-bad-chemicals-inyour-body-standpoint.


On the other hand, try not to get too preachy and label a vaper as a bad person just because they are making a personal choice in their life that has nothing to do with you or how you feel. At the crux of the issue and that Facebook post, that is really the point of it all. If you disagree with someone or are uncomfortable with what they do, say so. You need to backup your claims as to why something or someone is disagreeable with you without emotional reflexes and emotional responses. Sure, it’s easier said than done. However, if you want to learn or understand why someone vapes, just simply ask them about it. Don’t accuse them of converting when you don’t know why they started vaping and you’re judging them based on what you heard on a news report. That’s just ignorance plain and simple. It’s up to us to stand up to the ignorance and promote the fact that we have at least one thing in common: We’re human beings that breathe. Personally, I just think it’s sad that we should let such superficial labels divide us as a society and a community. If we can’t get along with people who are different from us (no matter the label or community we belong to), then we already failed in our fight…including vaping. What are you experiences with divisions in the vaping community? What have others in the vaping judged you on and how did you answer them (if you did)? Hit me up with an email at I’d love to hear from you. If you want to keep up with me, follow me on Twitter: http:// and if you can, come visit my show on VapeTVLive on Friday nights at 10pm EST at http://www.






Crossed Signals

finding truth In An Age Of Misinformation By Susan E. Oser VAPEMZ.COM



he average non-vaper knows about vaping only through their friends and family or the news. If it is from their friends it is usually positive and via a personal experience or if they are invited to visit the local vape shop or trade show.

Sure, a vaper’s news only channel would be nice, but how far does that really go? Would that kind of channel be advertised aggressively out into the public like a negative news story, or would we be talking to ourselves again? I’d guess the latter of the two.

Usually information about vaping is negative in the news from a local news channel with an agenda, a new study, or something on the Internet that was found and blown out of proportion for ratings. It is propaganda-like, even with the best of intentions, it is also meant to save one from vaping because of the “gateway effects.”

I’m not sure you would have done the same as I have, but never once after making my expressed comments known have I ever seen a follow-up report that has interviewed a shop owner or basically said, “Whoops, our bad. We didn’t consider the details close enough, but after more research we realized our mistake.” While we have written our editorial letters to the editors, directors, and producers, and given interviews, deaf ears have seemed to be involved. We need to be a bit more adamant than we are currently in making sure that proper information can get out there to the public.


Have you made sure our voice is heard correctly and hold those sources of interviews accountable? I have a feeling that initial communication has taken off like fire, but the follow-through has literally fallen. It’s about as bad as trying to get someone to make a website. While initial contact succeeds, the follow-up and wait becomes excruciatingly painful. Sometimes a bit too long, and in this society of wanting things now, I think we should all be better with our follow-throughs on things. But sadly, we’re not. And with our community given the labels it has been, vaping can’t afford to slack off on the follow-ups anymore.

There are also those stories of cancer scares, device explosions, and teen or kids stories that work well for click baiters. Mostly these stories blame the company or lack of information related to the product. You hardly ever hear about user error, or a follow-up from a vaper of that news story trying to combat the misinformation presented about what the real story is the best that they can. I’ve personally tweeted, e-mailed, and commented on some of the negative stories that are out there in the public. Some of these stories have shown up in surprising and unexpected places (i.e. The Young Turks video from Ring of Fire talking about and sharing a bad vaping story a few months ago).

Have you done it in a strong and logical way?

If you think about it, every social movement that is strong in their cause, aggressively seeks to educate the public about their issues. Study and look at how they get the information out there. If there is misinformation out there about their community, they are the first ones to get out there. I’ve seen a lot of e-mails on this demanding the people write to their local stations demanding proper reporting, someone getting fired for a dumb comment, etc. In some of the strongest of social movements, they can go on talk shows and give their up-front commentary. They’re one of the first groups to be there to state their case and speak in support or condone the actions of those that claim to represent them or how the news represents them. So, if they can do it, why can’t we? In fact, how many of you vapers out there have demanded that “mainstream media” listens to you? #VAPEMAGAZINE

If you think about what fake news means (thanks to President Trump), and what it does, the formula is quite simple. It is meant to stir emotions, deflect from the real issue, and give the public knee-jerk reactions. Look at Facebook and Twitter for example on various political issues as of late. Need I say more? What we deal with in vaping is just a small reflection on the greater part of humanity and the world. We have emotional knee-jerk reactions for a while without researching the facts. We tend to believe certain trusted opinions because we honestly cannot trust our own opinions. Everyone is misinformed and there is miscommunicating all over. So, my question to you is this: How should we as the vaping community combat fake or misinformed vape news? Can it happen? Have we just gotten too busy/ lazy in our own lives to care? Hit me up with an email at I’d love to hear from you. If you want to keep up with me, follow me on Twitter: angelwriter78 and if you can, come visit my show on VapeTVLive on Friday nights at 10pm EST at http://www.



7 9 8 0.

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By Norm Bour

f you have been in the vape space for a while, you know the name Molecule Labs. Based in Benicia, California, outside San Francisco, Molecule Labs has become the main player in the manufacturing of e-liquid after just four years. Founder and President Michael Guasch made his mark by developing specialty chemicals for the construction industry as well as products for natural stone kitchen tops. He sold his company in 2006 and took some time off to follow his second passion: automobile racing.


Guasch’s love for racing goes back to his twenties, and he and his team have raced since 2010, and have taken victories at iconic tracks like Sebring, Daytona and others. His race car was one of the first to sport a vape-related sponsor when Cuttwood E-liquid’s logo appeared in 2015.

FROM TEFLON TO VAPING JUICE His start in vaping came innocently enough


in 2013 when a friend asked him to invest in the booming vaping industry. He investigated and had little interest in owning a shop, but lots of interest in the manufacturing end. He still had a 40,000-sq. ft. facility that was under used, so after hiring a flavorist and building clean rooms, it was off to the races! Since the sale of his prior company to DuPont Chemical in 2006, Guasch kept his eyes out for new challenges. His sale to a publicly held company taught him a lot and he saw the potential to dominate a new and growing industry. His first account, a local San Francisco Bay Area vape shop, started strong and generated sales of 20,000 bottles per month. Just a few years later he manufactures for Velvet Cloud, Frisco Vapor, Smith & Baxter, “B” by Phil Busardo, and is the secret sauce behind 1/3 of the top flavors in the country, including market leader, Cuttwood. He is also the developer of a new type of e-liquid container, a 30ml tube which may be the future of the plastic vs. glass discussion.


Molecule also shares in the international market with an estimated 40 percent of their volume overseas, including bulk sales to Chinese liquid companies.

REGULATIONS AND THE FUTURE Guasch and I have spoken many times about regulations and the future. We have shared a stage at several events and tried to predict the future. When asked “Where will the market be five years from now?” he responded.

“It“s all about what the FDA will or will not do next. We hope they back off and adjust since they may realize that their rules #VAPEMAGAZINE

make no sense. We hope they stay stringent, yet reasonable.“ He’s not as worried as most since he’s fought these regulatory battles before, since his chemical production pitted him against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), also known for heavy handed tactics. “I looked forward to regulation, since self-regulations were not good enough,” he stated. “And we surpassed any standards already in place.” “Will the liquid market have to adhere to full pharmacology grade laboratories,” I asked and his reply was: “Yes, I believe so, which is fine since we just spent $2 million on a new lab and moved into a 70,000-sq. ft. facility.” We may also have an unlikely ally in the fight against unrealistic regulation, Guasch announced: individual states. “Right now, states are collecting tax dollars so they may have incentive to keep the vaping industry alive and

profitable. They may actually be on our side!” Molecule and Guasch do not sit still and as a seasoned entrepreneur he knows that you must look at what is coming next. And around the corner is the larger and more lucrative business of cannabis and Cannabidiol, CBD, the new kid on the block that has many excited.

“It“s ironic, but nicotine is viewed as the devil to the public and consumers and is vilified. We“re based in Northern California, the epicenter of the cannabis movement,“ Guasch

said. “Marijuana is medicinally legal here and in 2018 will be legal recreationally.

still be around.

The cannabis market is projected to be 10 times that of vapor product market.

As a founding partner in the Vape Industry Business Exchange (VIBE), Norm is committed to supporting the vape space into this Brave New World.

“We’re working on THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive constituent of cannabis/ CBD combinations for a host of different reasons,” Guasch said. “The right ratio allows it to be sold in 50 states. We’re working on a full spectrum hemp-based product and with a fulltime pharmacology chemist on staff we’re trying lots of new things.”

Norm Bour is the founder of VapeMentors and creator of the VAPE U online programs. They offer services & resources for anyone in the vape space, including vape shops, online stores and e-liquid brands. He’s also the host of Vape Radio, the largest vaping radio show in the world with more than 1.3 M downloads.

Contact him at

“We will be moving into that market as the time is right.” he added. Industry experts predict we may see the demise of 80 to 90 percent of the vape businesses in the next few years, including retail shops, liquid brands and manufacturers. If I was a betting man I’d lay odds that Molecule Labs will #VAPEMAGAZINE VAPEMZ.COM



S p o n s o r e d Va p e r A n d T r i c k K i n g By Chris Mellides


anny Lolo is a 21-yearold vape sensation living in Los Angeles, California by way of Miami, Florida.

Lolo competes and judges vape trick events at the various vape conventionshe travels to and has racked up over 86,000 followers on his personal Instagram,where he regularly posts himself blowing O’s and showing off various other vape techniques including bends, and the jellyfish.


“My strongest social media platform is Instagram, it is one of the best platforms that is very reliable and updating so much to keep it that way,” Lolo said. He also says that while he has never smoked cigarettes he would often pass the time smoking hookah instead. When he first discovered the potential of the now defunct video sharing social media platform Vine, he decided to record himself doing smoke rings and other tricks using his hookah. That all changed with the surge of popularity in Instagram following the app’s newly added video recording feature and his newfound discovery of vaping. “I began vaping in April 2014,” Lolo said. “I love the lifestyle of being able to travel and promote companies for a talent that I have been practicing. In my opinion, I believe vaping is a clear alternative to a better lifestyle.” Lolo remembers beginning to build a presence on Instagram back when he had purchased the newly released white iPhone 4S. “I then created my Instagram page, and began my journey,” Lolo said. “I believe I owe this success to my






parents and family that push me every day and want to see me reach my highest potential.” The 21-year-old says that the main reason he started practicing smoke rings and wanted to pursue more in the vaping industry was because there came a moment where he stood at a crossroad and needed to make an important decision.

“I had to choose what I wanted to do in life that involves my interest,” Lolo said. And that path was vaping, but more specifically, engaging with the community by demonstrating his ability as a trick vaper.




He added, “I loved the way smoke looked when people did tricks, it was like an illusion or some kind of magic. I didn’t know what to call it, but I fell in love with it.”

Despite his ability to entice and entertain people with his vape tricks, Lolo admits that he was hard pressed to find a trick competition in his area, and that the comps he has since participated in are not as many as you’d assume for someone with as much presence and reach as he has on or off social media. “I have competed in probably three to five comps, that’s it,” Lolo said, “I’m mostly one of the judges at events, because I love watching this culture grow from what it was four years ago in 2013.” Lolo is sponsored by VGOD, The Drip Company, Five Star Juice, and Cosmic Fog and is very thankful to them all for helping him ascend in today’s growing vaping community. In addition to those sponsors, Lolo was recently named captain of VAPE Magazine’s new trick comp team, and that has Lolo excited for the future. “I feel very honored that I am going to be holding such a valuable title,” Lolo said. “I respect everything that VAPE Magazine has done in this industry as huge pioneers.” “It is a pleasure doing something I love with the OG’s of the game and am lucky to call them good friends. I’m very excited to see what we have in store!”




Vape Shop Strategies

TODAY By Norm Bour

We’ve offered direction and advice for vape shops in this column since 2013 and until a year ago it was business as usual. That’s not the case anymore. Nothing is “usual” about the vape space today and times have never been more challenging. We hear about vape shops closing and have seen a few. However, I must wonder if exaggeration is at play.


he truth is, it is a risk to open a shop. We all know this. Some people are still doing it despite all that can happen to them if they don’t follow the rules.

So, “How do I stay in business?” The answer is simple: “service and social media.”

Your competition is feeling the same pressure as you. They are struggling and have discovered that there are many ways to do business poorly, but just a few ways to do it right. In some areas competition has dropped by half.

The World in 2017 You still have many brand options to carry. Since the deeming regulation and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) are simply words right now, and not in practice, there is still no assurance of the quality of your juice.


We’ve gotten over the “no sampling” issue and have developed alternatives, whether you charge a token amount or provide a credit against purchasing.

Yet, Customer service has always been key, and it is no different today. The benchmark is high compared to years ago when you could be dismissive or indifferent of your clientele. Every customer has a Lifetime Value and can be the bread and butter of your shop.





At the same time, social media is still the best game in town, and the best bang for your buck. Instagram rules, Facebook lags and everything else is a distant third.

Just opened!

Closed for business…

“It’s about 100 times harder to open a vape shop here than I anticipated,” Ganoe said. “We have no Home Depot or large suppliers and labor is a premium. It’s hard to buy small quantities from the mainland and instead have to buy pallets!” He estimated that it costs about twice as much to open his shop here than on the mainland.

Are shops closing in massive numbers or is that hearsay and rumor?

We obtained a list of closed shops throughout the country and it was not as large as you would expect. We called many, but got a limited response. They either melted into the sidewalk or have decided to remain discreet. Two shops in my area, Newport Beach, CA., recently closed, but for reasons unrelated to regulations. Their landlords decided not to renew their leases. This is surprisingly common since landlords are jittery about committing to a long-term lease in an industry that is so controversial.


Justin Ganoe just opened Inno-Vapor on Catalina Island, which is 26 miles off the California coast, west of Long Beach.

And yet they did it in less than 30 days, since his shop is only 350 square feet. This is not his first rodeo and is shop number ten since opening his first Inno-Vape in Lakewood, Colorado in 2013. He was a smoker, but not a seasoned entrepreneur, and believes that retail shop domination is a good long-term play.

“Many were going into liquids, probably because they saw the big bucks. A significant retail presence may open us up to many collaborations down the line,”





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he said, “and that is what we are looking for.” All his other shops are in Colorado so I asked the obvious question.

“Why Catalina Island?” “There’s a demand here and no one’s done it yet,” was his reply. “There are about 4,000 year long residents, and many smoke, plus the vapers here have to visit the mainland to buy products directly. We also get about one million tourists every year.” The shop has an ideal location just two blocks from the main beach frontage road, and a few doors down from the new Catalina Island Museum, which is a major draw. He saw this shop as a challenge and wanted to extend his brand outside Colorado. He has been visiting Catalina for years, got married there, and recently bought a home. Needless to say, he’s committed to his tiny shop! Ganoe offers a house brand juice, but sticks with mostly name-brand products. I asked him if he’s concerned about shops closing


and he said, “Most of those were opened by kids and do not indicate the overall marketplace. If you have a good location, provide extraordinary service, remain consistent, and carry the right products, you can succeed.” He said that he tries to make his shops nicer than his customer’s houses! This year will be critical and the shakeout is already happening, albeit slowly. There are just a few liquid brands that have closed down and the retail landscape still remains, though mostly less profitable than in years passed. Do you know of any shops or brands that closed? Please contact the writer with information and we’ll share that in future updates. Norm Bour is the founder of VapeMentors and creator of the VAPE U online programs. They offer services & resources for anyone in the vape space, including vape shops, online stores and e-liquid brands. He’s also the host of Vape Radio, the largest vaping radio show in the world with more than 1.3 M downloads. As a founding partner in the Vape Industry Business Exchange (VIBE), Norm is committed to supporting the vape space into this Brave New World. Contact him at


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Dean the Vaping

biker YouTuber, Proud Vaper and Motorcycle Enthusiast


By Chris Mellides

ean the Vaping Biker is a YouTube personality who focuses on informing and educating viewers who might not have otherwise heard of vaping or are interested in learning more about the various vape devices that Dean regularly reviews on his channel. The 43-year-old UK resident began vaping roughly seven years ago, and before successfully making the switch he was a pack-a-day cigarette smoker, a nasty habit that began in his mid-teens.





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Dean says that when he started vaping the only devices readily available were eGo style batteries, with cone atomizers and refillable tips. They simply did not scratch his itch and he began smoking once more. It wasn’t until the technology in vaping evolved and a growing community surfaced that Dean was able to find devices that worked for him. This renewed interest led him to create his own YouTube channel, which was a platform he began using to share his thoughts on the vapor products he was interested in.

“I originally began my vaping channel as a way to get used to camera work before going into a YouTube channel based purely on custom motorbikes, cruisers, and all the accessories that go with that lifestyle,” Dean said. He added, “However, with a deterioration in health and my love of vaping, I found that the more I reviewed vaping gear, the more awesome I thought it was, I was hooked!” Dean says that he has struggled with the effects of Fibromyalgia and Ankylosing Spondylitis since 2001, and while it has always been controlled with heavy medication, it has impacted his life, both as a person and as a YouTube personality. “There are certain challenges, Dean says. “If I can’t walk very well, I use a funky scooter to get around events, but day-to-day stuff like recording has to be done on ‘good days’, and when the bad days hit, you have to listen to your body.” “Aside from the constant pain aspect in most of my body, fatigue and a ‘brain-fog’ can be most challenging

when trying to be on your game and record useful info,” he continued. “The days my videos have jump cuts in them the most are the days where things are pretty tough.” Dean’s bike channel never came to fruition, which is largely due to bouts with his health, but his vaping channel remains and has since grown as he continues to widen his subscriber base. “Vaping got me away from cigarettes, VAPEMZ.COM

and that’s the single most beneficial thing I could have done to slow my illness, but more importantly, reviews give a focus, a goal, an achievement, and so [they] keep my head right most of the time when it would be very easy to just stay in bed and be miserable,” Dean said. Adding, “You can’t let something like illness take you out of the game, it’s just harder to score a goal.”


better since he’s quit smoking, is still not quite where it should be. “My wife however is great with that kind of thing, and so we decided it would be fun for her to contribute with some written juice reviews, although clearly highly subjective some people do like to read an opinion on flavors.” He added, “Unfortunately she’s been incredibly busy with her work that she’s not been able to do as much as she’d have liked for the website, but we’re hoping to change that soon.” One of the things Dean loves most about the vaping community are the events he gets to attend. He says that he tries to attend every vape event held in the UK though he’s never attended one abroad. “It’s great meeting up with companies that I deal with via email the majority of the time, but more importantly, I love to meet people that watch the channel,” Dean said. “I adore being able to hang out with friends I’ve made in vaping that I normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to grab a beer with.”

While on-camera Dean always seems very comfortable and cheery, though he admits that there is a lot of work that goes on behind-the-scenes and even more work when editing his vlogs and reviews after shooting ends. Dean tests his products beforehand while taking notes that are relevant to the product being reviewed. And while he claims that he finds the review process to be “pretty easy” it is however very “time consuming.” “I aim to have a pretty fluid end product with as few jump cuts as possible, and this to me enhances the conversational feel,” Dean said. “I want to talk about the product with the viewer, and not be a commercial. I generally film the up-close portion first, and then the intro and final thoughts at the same time.” The YouTuber says a video could take him three hours to complete from start-to-finish, or as long as 10 or more hours to complete. “Editing is where it can get a little time consuming.” In addition to his YouTube channel, Dean also has a website (, which he admits to being underused, though improvements to it will be made once


he’s able to dedicate more time to seeing the updates through. “The website has been massively underused, I wanted something that would support the YouTube channel and offer some different content now and then,” Dean said. “And so as another challenge, I learned how to build a website in the early hours of the morning and have pretty much what we have now.”

As for the future of the vaping industry, whether in the UK, US or anywhere else in the world, Dean remains hopeful and believes that we as vapers are at a point of change and that we will survive as an industry despite the political pressure.

The Vaping Biker website is a place where you can read various articles that Dean has written about the things he’s created, projects he’s worked on, advocacy issues and other news items.

“This isn’t the death of something that stops us dying, it’s a time for us to push harder with educating everyone from family members, to interested strangers, to your government officials, Dean said.

Dean also set aside some room on his site for his wife to write about and rank the various e-liquids that she’s tried admitting that his sense of taste, while

“We have to approach the government in the correct and proper way. The ‘f**k them’ attitude will only make it harder for us in the long run.”





BJ Box Mods

Admiral Mechanical Tube Mod By Chris Mellides


ather than resting on their laurels after releasing the very well-received Broadside mechanical tube mod, BJ Box Mods took a stab at another mech mod that they call the Admiral. The Admiral is a sturdy and seriously beefy tube mod that boasts a 25mm outer diameter, with a nicely polished finish that looks real sharp. A tasteful nautical graphic dons the top of the mod’s 510 connector and the word “Admiral” is etched into the curved switch assembly on one side with a unique serial number etched on the other.




The Broadside twin cannon logo appears on the black Delrin button in white, which comes stock. The button can be swapped out for a colored resin version that’s sold separately direct from the manufacturer, and I do think that that’s a nice touch.

The 20700 battery is a high drain cell that’s taller and wider than a standard 18650. What’s great about the extra size is that users can enjoy a higher amp limit, which adds to safety, and a longer lasting battery at that. The iJoy 20700 battery that ships with each Admiral has a 3000mAh rating and a 30-amp limit. Not bad at all.

What sets the Admiral apart from the original Broadside mod is that the Admiral is designed to accept a 20700 battery. This tube is the first to make use of this battery type to my knowledge. 82

If you’d rather not utilize the 20700 battery option, BJ Box Mods includes a Delrin 18650 battery adaptor. This is a nice touch, and because your battery is enclosed in the adaptor you get an extra sense of safety knowing that if your battery wraps are torn the adaptor will guard against shorts. I would be remiss if I didn’t say that you should always check your battery wraps when dealing with mechanical tube mods. If it’s torn, chuck it, or rewrap it. That said, you’ve got a mech mod #VAPEMAGAZINE

Photos By Allan Kwasnik

here that can accept two different battery types, and that’s pretty cool. Every atomizer I’ve used with the Admiral sits firm and flush at the 510 connector. This is not a hybrid mod, so there is a free floating 510 pin that can be adjusted in or out to take up for battery rattle. The pin also appears to be silver plated for maximum conductivity. In the rare event of battery failure and the subsequent venting that will likely follow, the Admiral is designed to vent at the bottom of the tube and away from your face, which together with the free floating 510 pin makes for a very safe brand of tube mod overall. The firing system in the switch is also interesting. Some of you may recall first seeing it in the Subzero mech mod from Sub Ohm Innovations, which uses a similar contact in the switch.

This is an efficient design and eliminates the need for magnets or springs to provide resistance with every push. The mechanism also works flawlessly. I’ve never had a misfire and my coils will work their magic no matter where I push the button. VAPEMZ.COM

Essentially, what we’re looking at is a circular plate broken into thirds and held together with a chunky red O-ring. Each time you press the switch to fire the mod, the three portions that make up the plate shift outward and create one or more points of contact, which completes the circuit and fires your Admiral. Additionally, this mod runs cool. I’ve never gotten a hot button, arcing issues, or a hot tube. Things can warm up with low ohm builds, but never to the point where any fear will creep into your mind. The Admiral is available in copper, brass and white brass finishes. And at $169.95 across the board, it’s hard to turn this mod away. The Admiral comes highly recommended. The mod can be found at many authorized distributors, but I purchased mine from




When Less… Is Less




By John Castle

t seems that everyone is getting into the subcompact vaping market. For some brands, like Vape Forward, it’s because of a rededication to their original core focus of turning smokers into vapers. For others, like Kangertech, it’s a dedication to bringing their technical expertise to the table and creating an outstanding product in a previously unreached corner of the marketplace.

The QBOX by SMOK is certainly novel. It may also be one of the smallest devices I’ve seen yet with a full display and advanced features such as adjustable wattage and temperature control. In fact, the QBOX is even smaller than the AL85– much smaller. However, it’s marred by what are, in my opinion, some very odd choices that I can only assume stem from a lack of clear focus when it comes to just who this device is meant to appeal to.

Specs & Features The QBOX packs an integrated 1600mAh battery into a rectangular zinc-alloy body measuring 2-3/16” x 1-5/16” x 1”. Its right flank (with adjustment and firing buttons facing away from the user) sports a 0.96” OLED display identical in size and readout to that found on the AL85.

Found on the leading edge are up/ down adjustment buttons in the form of a vertically oriented rocker 2


switch. Under them is a pinhole behind which resides a reset switch. Up near the top is a round firing button. A standard micro-USB charging port resides on the bottom of the device, as does cutouts for battery venting. This marks the first instance where I began to see issues with this device, and I’ll touch on it again later. Power output on the QBOX ranges from 6-50 watts, a temperature control that runs from 200600 degrees Fahrenheit, and is compatible with Ni200, Titanium, and 316 Stainless Steel wires. The QBOX kit also includes a TFV8 Baby Beast tank, and leads to one of my first issues with this device. The Baby Beast adds roughly 2 inches in


height to this device when one factors in the drip tip. This prevents the device from being as compact as it could be.

Furthermore, the inclusion of advanced features such as power and temperature management, along with a sub-ohm tank more suited to larger mods (even compact ones like the AL85) all seem to dilute 86

the QBOX’s core design goal of competing in the subcompact and/or new vaper mod space.

Performance & RealWorld Experience I must say that for vapers with larger hands, this device may not be comfortable to hold and use. At any rate, it’s uncomfortably small for me. I’ve found that as a piece of hardware decreases in size, hard angles


become much more problematic in the hand. A box with sharp edges is uncomfortable to hold at any size, but even a box with rounded edges is increasingly so, the smaller it is.

Ergonomics aside, I was prepared for big box performance from the QBOX. Nevertheless, the new M2 atomizer heads for the included Baby Beast still managed to surprise me. At power outputs of between

40 and 50 watts, the M2s outperform the Q2s installed in the Baby Beast on my AL85 at the same wattages. Flavors are stronger and more vivid, throat hit punches harder, and vapor production is just ridiculous. The tradeoff comes in battery life. Three to three and a half hours of moderate-heavy use is about the best you can expect from the QBOX before it’s time to recharge it. And now we come to that charging port being on the bottom of the device. While I understand that engineering an advanced mod this small is going to require some design compromises, placing the charging port in an inconvenient location like the bottom side of the device was a misstep. This only reinforces my dilemma when it comes to explaining just who this device is intended for.

While other manufacturers are creating entirely new designs focused on meeting this core goal of producing subcompact devices, it really feels like SMOK didn’t fully commit to this core goal with their QBOX release. Frankly, it feels to me very much as if they wanted to cram an AL85 mod into the smallest housing possible and, having done absolutely nothing more than trade an 18650 battery compartment for an integrated battery and called the job done.

Price & Availability The SMOK QBOX is available in silver, black, gold, purple, and rainbow finishes from MyVaporStore. For an asking price of $36.95 plus shipping, you receive one QBOX, one TFV8 Baby Beast, two V8-M2 atomizer heads in 0.25-ohm resistance (one pre-installed), a manual, a charging cable, and miscellaneous tank accessories.


Pros & Cons Pros: l Stunning performance for such a tiny device

Cons: l Performance takes a serious toll on battery life l Shape and size combination may prove uncomfortable during extended vaping for some users l Expensive compared to competitors in this size class l Unnecessarily complex compared to competitors in this size class It’s this reviewer’s opinion that the QBOX is a device suffering from an identity crisis. It is too complex and expensive to be attractive to new vapers, yet lacks the battery life to make it a solid choice for an experienced vaper who can put its extensive feature set and big mod performance profile to good use.




528 Custom

By Chris Mellides




Photos By Allan Kwasnik | Coils Created By Allan Kwasnik and Nick Callister

ast year, a 528 Custom and Blue Eyed Goon collaboration brought us the Goon V1. The build deck design and innovative “bridge clamp” system for trapping wire was the first of its kind, and pre-orders were quickly selling out on one of the more anticipated drippers of 2016. Just one year later, 528 Custom has delivered a successor to their beloved rebuildable with the Goon V1.5.

There are some stark similarities between both versions, for instance they are both 24mm in diameter, but if I could make one sweeping generalization, it would be this: The Goon V1.5 is just better. Gone is the gold-plated deck and gold-plated clamps of the version one. The new Goon RDA sports a stainless steel deck, a stainless steel bridge post


and chunkier stainless steel clamps creating better durability. Using this stronger metal allows for a deck that’s sturdier and can aptly withstand the wear and tear that comes with repeated use.

The elongated screws that fasten the clamps on the newer design outdo the original Goon screws in that they provide additional distance between both stainless steel clamps. The greater travel between these plates allows for the #VAPEMAGAZINE VAPEMZ.COM

use of thicker wire with the space necessary to insert just about any monster build you can think of with room to spare. The device’s creators designed the Goon V1.5 with a more generous protruding 510 connection, which makes it safe for use with hybrid mods. Peek insulators cool things down and help to displace heat between atomizer and mod, which is excellent. Additionally, I have found that the domed interior of the RDA’s top cap provides better flavor when compared to the original, but this reduced interior space can make the device


prone to heating quicker than before, particularly with hotter builds. One of the more obvious features that’s new is the introduction of a Cyclops airflow style. The previous iteration uses three generous airflow holes that allow for a precise way of dialing in your draw.

The Goon V1.5 is set up for single and dual airflow configurations and has a comparably smooth draw. However, closing off the airflow in a dual coil setup past the halfway point for a tighter draw, will reveal the single coil option and this creates an uneven airflow. This is likely to upset some users. 90

The bag of extras you’ll receive with the purchase of a Goon V1.5 is hefty. The package will include one set of allen key screws—which are great for trapping your coils and screwing the clamps down tight. Also, you’ll get an allen key tool, one set of hybrid Phillips/ flathead screws, extra O-rings, and a stainless steel squonk pin. #VAPEMAGAZINE

Overall, I don’t think that 528 Custom is reinventing the wheel with their latest offering, but it appears everything has been upgraded to a higher quality. There’s better functionality out of this RDA and it’s wrapped up nicely in a sleek design with an eye-catching logo engraving to boot. The airflow configuration can be wonky, but odds are you’ll want more airflow if you’re fooling with the type of coils that this RDA is begging to be paired with. So, for a lot of us, this is a non-issue, but worth the mention nonetheless. I do love the look and feel of this thing, and the performance I get from it rivals just about any breakout atomizers of recent history. I’m a fan. The Goon V1.5 is available in stainless steel, gold, rose gold, and black and can be purchased at authorized retailers and at




Joyetech ATOPACK Penguin

The New Benchmark In Subcompact Vapes By John Castle The ultraportable mod market seems to expand further and further by the day. Along the way, for perhaps the last six months, we’ve seen competitors continue to push the envelope as well as try new directions in design and usage scenarios with both benchmarks and missteps made along the way. In this review, I’m going to examine what I believe to be another pinnacle effort in this form factor. The sites on which I’ve seen this device describe it as an “all-in-one”, but I don’t believe that description is accurate. The Penguin by Joyetech is in fact a pod-based system like the Cync, the Juul, or the Bo One. However, where the Penguin radically differs from those systems is that its pods are purposebuilt to be replaceable and to incorporate replaceable atomizer heads.



Specs & Features User-facing functions on the Joye Penguin are in keeping with those of most pod-based devices: minimal. The Penguin only has a firing button. Considering its extremely generous specifications, a manual firing button was, in my opinion, exactly the right call for this device, as opposed to a pressure sensor firing system.

The Joyetech Penguin is built around an integrated 2000mAh battery capable of power output of up to 50 watts for a device of its size. It is both at the highest battery capacity and the highest power output I’ve seen to date.

Not only does the Penguin combine industry-leading battery capacity and performance in its size class (4” x 1-11/16” x 15/16”) its replaceable pods boast a previously unheard of 8.8ml e-liquid capacity (2ml in the TPDrestricted European version.) Joyetech christened the atomizer coils used with the Penguin as JVIC, short for “Juice Vertical Injection Coil.” Available in either 0.6-ohm resistance for mouth-to-lung vaping or 0.25ohm resistance for direct lung hits, the cotton wick JVIC coil is horizontally mounted in a ceramic tray that slots into the bottom of the replaceable pod. Airflow passes into an open port at the front of the pod, through the coil, and up through the integrated mouthpiece. One more word about the pods — because they are made to be replaced over time, Joyetech has added a thoughtful and convenient blank label to the flank of each pod. This allows the user to label pods with the brand, flavor, nicotine strength and PG/VG ratio of the liquid inside, enabling the user to comfortably swap pods depending on which flavor he or she would like to vape as mood or flavor cravings change. Considering the 8.8ml capacity of the pods, I found this to be quite an ingenious touch on Joyetech’s part. Charging of the integrated battery




is achieved through a standard micro-USB port situated on the front face of the device, while venting appears at the bottom. Remaining battery charge is indicated by an array of five white LEDs, which is extremely like (perhaps even identical to) the charge indicator array last seen on the Kangertech Togo Mini 2.0.

Performance & Real-World Experience On receiving the Penguin, the first thing I did after charging the battery was to set up the first pod. This was intuitive for me, but for an associate watching me do it, less so; therefore, the process bears laying out. The first step is to use a fingernail or a pocket knife to gently and carefully remove the seal from the bottom of the pod. Next, fill the pod via the center hole which becomes visible after removal of the seal. Watch the window on the side of the pod to see when you’ve reached the maximum fill capacity. Finally, insert the JVIC coil head into the pod’s opening with the coil itself facing the interior of the pod. Give the coil about five minutes or longer to become saturated with liquid, and you’re ready to go. Finally, we reach the part of this review that I’ve been dying to get to since the first word: Performance. Here again, the Joyetech Penguin blew me away. Flavor strength and fidelity, along with throat hit and nicotine satisfaction were easily as good as those produced by my favorite tank, and vapor production surpassed it. When it comes to battery life combined with liquid capacity, the Penguin is easily capable of sustaining a casual vaper like myself for a full seven-to-eight hours on a single charge, and the 8.8ml tank holds enough liquid for two full battery charges before I found myself refilling it. Its performance characteristics in combination with its “disappears-in-my-palm” size make the Penguin best-in-class in my opinion.

Price & Availability As if there wasn’t already an army of reasons for me to love this device, now we come to the asking price: $23.95 from MyVaporStore gets you one battery in white, silver, red, blue, or black; one ATOPACK pod, one 0.25 ohm JVIC coil, one 0.6ohm coil, a charging cable, and manual.


Pros & Cons Pros: l l l l l l

The device’s curved body is extremely comfortable in anyone’s hand Firing button provides excellent tactile response Battery life is extremely impressive for this size of device E-liquid capacity is incredibly generous Labeled pods are extremely convenient for flavor swapping Performance easily rivals bigger, more expensive hardware

Cons: l

Initial setup may be unintuitive and/or physically difficult with bare hands for some users

With this combination of compact size, extreme performance, e-liquid capacity, and low asking price, the Joyetech ATOPACK Penguin stands a very strong chance of being not just a JUUL killer, but an everything-else killer for the casual vaper.



Building Industrial Independence With Flavor



By Tony Ottomanelli II

or this article to possibly have any lasting effect on the reader’s perspective, it is necessary to shed light on some of the most up-to-date reliable information being communicated through the Cannabidiol (CBD) community. It also will be helpful to briefly illustrate the facts about the cannabis industry as well as the differences between cannabis and hemp plants, since nearly all CBD is derived from hemp NOT cannabis. There are hundreds of cannabinoids that have been found to exist in cannabis as well as in hemp plants, but the percentages of each cannabinoid are vastly different when properly analyzing both plants. Cannabis typically has no more than 30% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in it with very low percentages of CBD. In hemp, CBD has a much higher concentration percentage, sometimes as high as a 40 percent. However, hemp contains a much lower percentage of THC, drastically low. Why is this important? Well, because THC is the only psychoactive cannabinoid as opposed to


We are not doctors, this is not medicine, and the FDA does not approve this message. It is 100% a wellness tool. I’d suggest using testimonials to prove this fact. I can’t tell you how many e-mails I receive in regards to people who have exhausted all possibilities for their ailments and found that my product helps the best. Jeff Donahue, President of Freshleaf CBD #VAPEMAGAZINE

In hemp, CBD has a much higher concentration percentage, sometimes as high as a 40 percent. However, hemp contains a much lower percentage of THC, drastically low.




CBD which is non-psychoactive. What does that mean? It means simply that CBD should not be affecting you in any way that may allow your consciousness to feel intoxicating effects.

for industrial hemp and the wellness industry - as there are over hundred other cannabinoids, which have not yet been so extensively researched as much as THC and CBD has.

Depending on how some information is provided, you could be noticing that many organizations, businesses, brands, consumers and any other sort of information provider throughout the industry may not always mention, whether purposely or on accident, the other form of CBD that is also available on the market - this is known as CBD isolate. This is when the cannabinoid CBD is extracted typically from industrial-grade hemp and not combined with any other sort of cannabinoid, but instead isolated and thus a pure CBD-based product is manufactured.

Over the past couple years and the past 12 months specifically, the increasingly popular CBD Industry continues to gain more independence within the marketplace, often grouped into and referred to as belonging to the wellness industry. The wellness industry has been reported to be three times the size of Big Pharma

Since everyone’s body responds differently to the potentially lasting advantageous health effects CBD offers, most of the professionals I’ve spoken with in the CBD Industry tend to feel the full spectrum form of CBD could be more beneficial for those seeking a wellness alternative therapy. From an opportunity to speak with Jeff Donahue, President of Freshleaf CBD, it was actually a refreshing interpretation to hear that full spectrum is by no means the better option of the two, it’s just that someone else may find that their genotype is more compatible with a particular isolated strain. That is what is so fascinating about the cannabis Industry, specific strains have been known to be compatible to a person’s specific endocannabinoid system inside them. In simpler terms, one person’s genetic makeup may be more likely to undergo a much different experience than another who may not receive much benefit at all from using a specific strain of hemp. Or if it is a full spectrum type of CBD-based product or in pure CBD isolate form. Imagine what the other developments that may possibly exist


Freshleaf: Pioneering this CBD Industry Freshleaf has been one of the first quality brands to implement a product development approach that allows CBD-infused oils to basically resemble the same type of recipe that many 0mg e-liquids might consist of, which ultimately can emulate that smooth, flavorful taste many premium e-liquids tend to have. For instance, a vast number of the CBD business landscape is focusing on full spectrum CBD, combining the CBD compound with a handful of other cannabinoids as well as terpenes. Terpenes are what provides the actual aromas offered by each individual strain that are natural in scent. This has become increasingly popular throughout the cannabis industry, as it has been said to be a largely successful method to retain the original flavor and for increasing the “entourage effect”, a synergistic reaction of all the different properties from each cannabinoid. Since Freshleaf offers isolate CBD #VAPEMAGAZINE

products, there would be no reason to include terpenes since that would be a method involved with the production of a full spectrum type CBD. With just a pure CBD solution, flavors can be applied efficiently with these vapecapable oils. Whether or not you think CBD is a fascinating extension to the vaping culture, one thing is for certain, CBD is building its industrial independence. In regard to the vape industry, too often, I still hear so many friends and loved ones say things they heard on the local or national news, which we all know rarely, if ever, has anything positive to say about the harm reduction method so many have grown so fond of. Any type of recognition would surely be the appropriate attitude and behavior that most people throughout society should primarily be subscribed to. Instead we often get dirty looks as if we’re such a horrible inconvenience on their lives. If anything, history has shown just how much greed and jealousy are unfortunately, natural human traits. If you tend to be talented or highly efficient, some may express admiration, while others will express resentment towards you. This goes together with consumer products as well. Some may claim CBD is merely a trend, well, that is not quite accurate, this is no Atkins Diet, this is quite frankly historical breakthroughs in modern human perception. To clear up much of the confusion about CBD, it is necessary to continue self-educating and seeking out the truth for yourself. There are many highly reputable information providers. Whether they are an organization that has been in operation for years or maybe one of the many start-up businesses becoming established enterprises, simply for communicating reliable facts, proof and reputable evidence on CBD. Not to mention several sites that will sample, rate and review any type of CBD product (i.e.


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By Corey Noles




t wasn’t the largest show, but it may have been the wildest.

As plans were coming together for Vape Town Mexico City, Mexico’s first all-out vapor expo, the organizers had a specific plan in mind. They wanted the size to be moderate and for it to encompass all of the things consumers love to see at American shows. And they delivered. The show, which was slow for the first couple of hours due to logistical issues, exploded when the consumers arrived. The aisles were packed and the line outside stretched halfway around the building -- reminiscent of old school American shows. The show took place June 10-11 at World Trade Center Mexico City, a massive facility that houses everything from car shows to concerts. It was


literally among the nicest venues I’ve visited. Mean John Green emceed the event and handled the cloud comp that was sponsored by the World Series of Cloud Chasing. The event, while packed full of American vendors, also housed many Mexican e-liquid brands, such as El Vapeador, Fantasi and Corona Brothers. The juice was surprisingly good as well, featuring flavors that are less popular in the US such as guava and lychee. Tobaccos are also still a big thing in Mexico, with nearly every line sporting a tobacco flavor and multiple menthols. VTC is already in the planning phase for its next show, but no information was available as of press time. Corey Noles is Editor in Chief of VAPE Magazine and owner of Busted Knuckle Vapor Fluids and Inked Up E-Liquid Co. LLC.










CC Tampa is a different kind of show. It’s also a breath of fresh air in an industry where conventions more closely resemble a rave than a trade show. Kevin Skipper, the organizer, has strict rules at his shows. You will see no products that can be construed as marketing to children. You can talk over the music. And there is always a focus on converting smokers.


By Corey Noles Skipper said toward the end of the weekend that at last tally, 14 smokers had been given starter kits to put them on the road to freedom from cigarettes, courtesy of Consumers for Advocacy. One of the more intriguing aspects of the VCC shows is that you see a different crop of vendors from what you might see at other shows. Being a smaller show, it gives the smaller companies a better chance to stand out and get some recognition that might not find that recognition at ECC or Vape Showcase. #VAPEMAGAZINE

But it wasn’t all about the smaller companies. Vapor Beast / Vapor Shark was on as the main sponsor for the show, unveiling its joint venture for the first time since parent company Turning Points Media brought the two together in a strategic partnership earlier this year. The event took place at the Florida State Fairgrounds on the weekend of June 24-25.








By Corey Noles


idwest Vapor Expo solidified its role as one of the premier mid-sized shows in early June when it hosted its second event in Columbus, Ohio.

The show took place in at the Ohio State Fairgrounds and saw more than 5,000 through the turnstiles. Despite being a mid-sized show, organizer Dustin Griffith managed to bring in a solid line of vendors including Local Vape, 3D Vapor, Independent Vapor Company, Modern Distribution and close to 100 others. Pablo and The Rodman from Cyclops Unchained emceed the event which included advocacy discussions, a trick competition and even an impromptu beatbox competition. Former Winston Man David Goerlitz and Nick “Grimm” Green also made appearances at the show. Goerlitz gave a no-holds-barred speech on the importance of advocacy and what it’s going to take to save the industry from its battle against overregulation and misinformed public opinion. Midwest Vapor Expo’s last show took place in September 2016 at Owensboro, KY.








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VAPE Magazine August 2017

VAPE Magazine August 2017