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letter from the editor Something special has happened to me as an editor with every magazine I’ve worked for, something I like to call “the engagement shift.” I’ve been privileged to be a part of several start-up ventures in the publishing world, and while creating something from nothing is a challenging endeavor, it’s times like these that proves that risk definitely equals the reward.

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 find the latest news, products and trends. EDITORIAL Editor in Chief Alyssa Stahr content@vapemz.com 800-958-6427 x2 Executive Editor Laura Batty Art Director Van Avanzado

In the beginning, editors claw and scrape for content. Where is the news and items that everyone is talking about? Who are the movers and shakers in the industry? Where can I go to find investigative pieces—for lack of a better word—the scoop? Then, as it has with VAPE in the past several weeks, the engagement shift happens. News starts to filter to me and engagement takes on a life of its own, both on social media and in my inbox. Readers become a part of the editorial, rather than passive perusers. While I still research our industry on a daily basis and try to find the most intriguing stories that I think will pique my readers’ interests, it’s amazing how many “pitches” I now get on a daily basis. Having the “problem” of filtering through what will make the magazine and what won’t is a wonderful, welcome aspect of being an editor.

Graphic Designers Joe Buehner, Laura Camp, Matt Ritzenthaler Contributors Steffanie Atkins, Mark Benson, Norm Bour, Cynthia Cabrera, CJ Caswell, Dave Cross, Nick Green, Erin Hedrick, Leigh Oates, Susan Oser, Eli Ruben, Arvid Sollom, Maria Verven, Katie Welch ADMINISTRATIVE Chief Executive Officer Matt Schramel Chief Operating Officer Alyssa Stahr Vice President Jon Laverde National Event Coordinator Norm Bour

For example, we have some exciting, engaging stories in April’s issue that came from all of you. I had the pleasure of visiting USA Liquid Nicotine in Albany, Ga. after an email was sent to me, inviting me to tour the facility. We featured a video game that is premiering the first-ever vape shop in its background elements, something I would’ve never known without that initial email. I also had the pleasure of visiting a local vape shop in my own backyard here in Chicago, which ended up being a lengthy chat during a snowstorm about the industry and Midwest vapers vs. the rest of the United States. That awesome and informative night at VAPE312 never would have happened without the pitch I received from their marketing manager.

Mike Schramel, mike@vapemz.com 800-958-6427 x1

It’s such a benefit when our readers engage. It means people are reading, they’re talking, they’re pitching, they’re involved. After all, it’s your industry and we’re your magazine. It’s the best “problem” an editor can ask for.

China-based advertisers contact Wingle Group Electronics LTD +852 51759256 dev@winglegroup.com

Administrative Assistant Erin Hedrick ADVERTISING

Jon Laverde, jon@vapemz.com 800-958-6427 x4 Jacob Barger, jacob@vapemz.com Tim Artz, tim@vapemz.com

CONTACT

Happy reading.

News news@vapemz.com New Products newproducts@vapemz.com

@ vapenewsmagazine 12

/ VapeMZ

Employment jobs@vapemz.com VAPE Magazine is wholly owned by Starpixel Marketing LLC 2230 Highland Hill Dr., St. Peters, MO 63376 info@vapemz.com 800-958-6427


Vaping From the Outside

The She-Vaper

Columns

table of contents Features 16 Why So Many Vapor Haters? 18 Sub-Ohm Tanks and the End of

Non-Hobbyist Building

24 The Vape Space Gets Creative

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with Racing

28 Proponents, Opponents Battle HB 26

at Maryland Hearing

Vaping From the Outside

30 On the Road Again: A Vapor

22 26 Let’s Ask GrimmGreen 38 Crowd Chasers 40 Interview From the Inside:

Mastering the Vape Space

Association Tour Update

Luciano Manente

70 Lifting the Fog 90 Eurozoned

Departments 44 VAPE Vixen 46 Juice Judge

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Battlefield Hardline Features First Video Game Vape Shop

42 American E-Liquid Manufacturing

Standards Association Elects

New President

66 76 The War on Regulations: Where Does

the FDA Stand?

78 VAPE312 Puts the 411 in the

Chicago Vaping Scene

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Kind Organics Premiers E-Gel Line,

Looks Toward Future Sustainable Efforts

84 Made in the U.S.A.: USA Liquid Nicotine

Takes Tobacco From Farm to Vape

88

Totally Wicked Carves Virtuous

Vaping Niche

94 Vape with Effect: A Review of Elixir

Vape’s Epothecary Line

96

The Not-So-Great Vape Escape”

Sociologically Reflecting on the

Anti-Vaping Movement

100 Smokin’ Vapor Franchise Hops Into

the Driver’s Seat

104 Vape Shop of the Month

Seeking Nominations

Events

48 Logic Releases First-Ever Rechargeable

Closed-System Vaporizer

60 Take Me to Vape Church 62 The XPRO by Smoktech: A Review 72 European Tobacco Products Directive VAPE Photo Spread

66 Scenic Vapers #CloudCheck

Makes Waves Across the Pond

74 Cyber Fraud: The Imminent Threat to

Vaping’s E-Commerce Business

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Tobacco Plus Convenience Expo Provides Mixed Bag of Retailers

86 VCC Tampa Raises Almost $30,000

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for Tobacco Harm Reduction


Why So Many Vapor Haters?

By Cynthia Cabrera

This industry is fascinating and exciting. It’s also extremely frustrating and confusing, but that’s not surprising because like every other industry, the vapor industry is really people. The folks who had an idea and ran with it and the ones who created businesses that now employ thousands and the ancillary businesses that support the sale distribution and marketing of vapor products. This amazing industry is under an attack the likes of which no one was remotely prepared for. There are challenges from legislators and regulators and public health officials and city council members … and these are the well-meaning people. The media constantly is having its way with all things vapor—from fear mongering on TV to articles with inaccurate and misleading information. Let’s not even get started on the public health or science communities. In short, this industry has no shortage of threats it has to deal with on a daily basis. Normally, this plethora of threats would drive an industry to work together, knowing that the minor differences they have will be eclipsed by the danger of not standing united. There would be no question that safety lies in numbers and going it alone is not an option. Encouraging consensus and building alliances would be on the to-do list every day. Not in the vapor world. The willingness and speed with which “vapor drama” can take priority over the far more important issues of advocacy and protection of the category is mind-boggling. So many people pay lip service to the idea of advocacy and unity but show their real character by focusing on issues that provide no value. Individuals with no business credentials or advocacy background create disharmony by causing drama and those who pay attention take their focus off of the important issues at hand. Smart individuals are sometimes drawn into an attempt to “educate” these folks but the reality is that if no one is listening, no amount of noise from troublemakers will be heard.

I believe we have been so successful is that we attempt to avoid the vapor drama and work on what’s really important to businesses and consumers—continued access to and innovation of vapor products. Once the rules are set and the legislation unlikely to be changed, I often wonder if any of the people giving fuel to the vapor fire will regret that they didn’t spend more time on the real issues. We have a very limited window, but we have it so let’s make the most of it: Support every positive effort you can, at the federal, state and local levels. Join as many groups as you can. Ask for a recap of the work they have done. Make sure the cost to join is justified by that work. Don’t give the troublemakers an audience and watch them go away. Determine where you want your business to be in the next three to five years and align yourself only with the people and groups that support your goals. Educate yourself by doing your own research. Do not trust that everything you hear is true. Learn the issues. It’s not just a taxation, Pharma or Big Tobacco issue. Keep your eye on the prize. We don’t have long before it can be taken away.

As kids we are told to remain silent if we don’t have something positive to say about others. In the vapor industry, those who don’t have anything positive to say about themselves try to get attention by bad-mouthing others. It has to stop. In the two years since I began as executive director of SFATA, our membership has grown substantially, currently at nearly 400 members from the six we had when I started. We have rolled out very successful chapters; have raised money for advocacy work and other expenses; and are making great strides helping the industry claiming its rightful place in the market. One of the great things about watching an organization grow is that it matures because the members mature in the business dealings, standards, ethics and behavior. One reason

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Cynthia Cabrera is executive director of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association. Visit www.sfata.org or email info@sfata.org with questions.


Sub Tanks and the End of Non-Hobbyist Building Words and photos by Arvid Sollom I remember the first time I saw the Kanger Protank coil in person. I immediately yanked the top off to peer at the insides of this “spaceship” feat of tiny engineering. Mind you, the evolution from 510 through CE1-3 (ceramic cup top coils) and the birth of the Vision clearomizer and Vivi Nova and everything in between never gave me the revelatory feeling that seeing that first tiny replaceable coil gave me. I pondered on the thing all night until I envisioned how, as with everything in vaping, bigger air, better coils and more juice meant that these little replaceable coils were going to eliminate any need to build. They had the technology; they just needed the time. The wait has been fun, but the end result has been long in coming. I quickly left the world of prebuilts once the early rebuildable tanks were reasonably priced. The AGA Tiamat and the Phoenix v2 solidly won me over, and I never looked back. Building was fun, easy and cheap if you didn’t buy everything under the sun, and made for so much better of a vape! I had found a hobby that let me enjoy the pleasures of my efforts all day long, and yet, when I saw that Protank coil head, I felt the first nail hammered into the coffin. It feels like decades worth of time has passed since that day in vape time, and finally the second nail has been driven in. I find myself without a rebuildable in my hand. That’s happened before, but it was for moments at a time. This time I realized it’s been three days since this latest vape setup hit my hand, and I’ve picked up a rebuildable less than half a dozen times. That hasn’t happened in years at this point. As modest as things started with 1.5 Ohm “low Ohm” coils on a Genesis

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atomizer, I was always one to pursue how far things could go, all the while devouring volumes of info on how things work and how safety applies. My daily satisfying vape rested soundly at the edge of “safe.” I ran with a .12 Ohm “compressed quadcoil” 24-gauge Kanthal on a 1/8-inch inner diameter. Since the hottest Sony VTC4 falls past 3.7 volts by the time you hit .2 Ohms, math and Ohm’s Law tells us we are under the 30 amp continuous rating of the battery. If those last couple sentences didn’t make sense, don’t worry; you’ll understand if you keep reading. The “sub-Ohm tank” flood has arrived! It’s here and it’s here to stay. It will crush building as a need and


until I got to use it on its native battery. Wow! For a little package, it’s very solid on the sub-Ohm clouds. Nothing that could suit me all day long, but it’s the sleekest, most impressive, tiny clouder available. Finally I got my hands on the Delta II! I used it on a mechanical setup and right from the start I knew something wonderful was going on. I realized quickly that I was replacing the battery on my mod with the D2 more often than my standard setup and started to worry it was a power hog. It dawned on me that I was, for the first time in years, heartily preferring vapor from a prebuilt, store-bought coil! Then the final step happened. Finally, I picked up a 70 watt regulated device, threw the D2 on top and three days later realized I had stopped vaping my super sub-Ohm cloud blowing setup. When I want a hard, hot, fast hit, I pump it up to the 60 watt preset and blow out some seriously respectable clouds, then drop the wattage back into the mid 30s and sit back to enjoy the warm, richly flavored, solid clouds with relaxed hits the rest of the time. The key to the Delta II at high wattage is providing enough vacuum pressure to keep it saturated. When hit hard, this thing can blow! While the Delta II proves to me that the death bell has started to toll for the casual building class of vaper, it stands at the foot of a mountain of progress that will occur in the next few months. I have a list over a dozen long of the new tanks already out or on the verge of release. I am sure there are more in the works, as it seems like an unending stream of cloud-chucking, premade tanks are here to stay, and building will be relegated to the few stubborn or quirky hard-core builders who love the hobby itself more than just the vape. leave it to the fringes of us freaks who just love to tinker. It’s official: You can now buy a tank online or in your local brick-and-mortar store that will beat out at least 80 percent of current builds. The Atlantis was a great solid first tank in the market. Fruits are bright and strong, but deeper notes of savory desserts and tobaccos are still a bit weak. It wicks well and produces a respectable cloud. I kept it around to use while driving or when keeping occupied. This is already more more cloud than any other tank user has seen, especially for a good portion of builders who are just looking for a good vape and aren’t out cloud chasing. Enter the Kanger Subtank, too large except on something like the Panzer Mod, and not quite enough air (Mini worked on both), but better flavor on the savory end. Real cotton and a normal horizontal coil were in the odd square head and it performed better cloud wise, at lower voltages, than the Atlantis. The Joyetech Ego One atomizer didn’t impress me

Arvid Sollom is the selfproclaimed “vape guru” at Old Pueblo Vapor, helping to solve customer mechanical issues or safety questions.

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Vaping From the Outside

The She-Vaper

By Susan Oser April is a special month for women, especially April 14, 2015. This is Equal Pay Day, when women celebrate the fact that, for at least one day, their pay is the same as their male counterparts. Now, this might not mean much to you, but if you think about such a male-dominated industry as vaping and e-cigarettes, it can and should mean a lot. I’ve been involved with several professional women’s groups for some time. Being involved in these groups has helped me not only learn about activism, but to support those women who have taken the plunge and stuck their necks out into a world or a career that is dominated by men. Because of that, I’d like to honor those women in the community and say to you, “You go girl!” While sex does sell, it is nice to see a few women in the industry who are not just those flashy models with a mod in their hands in sexy poses. I’m talking about those women who are the owners of their own juice line, accessories line, show hosts and more. Women such as Rhonda Sellers of Angel’s Heavenly Designs, Jeannie K of the Jeannie K Show, Tinker Evol of Evol Pixie Premium E-Liquid and Jenee Fowler (to name a few) are taking the idea of women in vaping to a whole different level. They don’t let the idea of just being a woman stop them. In fact, they are doing what they’re doing because they have a passion for the industry and want to help the community live a better lifestyle. This can even be seen with online broadcasters (such as myself) who have changed the face of what the female vaper is all about. We are NOT just a pretty face. Just to clarify, I’m not just talking about those women who are partnering up and working with their husbands or boyfriends to make a living. I’m talking about those women who are going out there and striking out on their own, walking to the beat of their own drummer, and in some respects changing or creating their own rules for success. These are the women who have earned respect and support within and outside of the vaping community. As for myself, I have to admit that I’m still kind of new at this. So far, I have my own show (as well as cohost a show with bikergranny who is a great artist and vaping activist), am trying to get a knitted accessory line (and kind of struggling with it) and writing about vaping. With my learning experiences as well as this industry being a new creative outlet for me, I know that I’ve been crossing my own boundaries in my own way, and I’m pretty damn proud of that.

I don’t worry about the fact that I’m female. If there are men who don’t like what I do, I’m fine with that. What I’d like to see and do within my own vaping life is to network and get to know those powerful female figures in vaping who are currently kicking ass. I think that as the women of vaping come together and show that we can work as a team or create some organizational support for ourselves, it will teach the rest of the industry that while there may be catty drama, and we may have some political, religious and philosophical differences, at the end of the day, we all have that one thing in common: vaping and our rights as vapers. Women who come into the industry might inspire not just women who vape, but all women, to take the plunge and start a business. If you are a woman and are looking to get into this industry, what are you waiting for? This is an industry with a lot of potential. If you are remotely interested in networking and forming some connections at local vape meets, women’s organizations and national vape conventions, research online for resources and try to connect with the women who were mentioned in this article as well as myself. We’d love to get to know you and help you out in any way. Someone on a vape show once said, “We need more women in vaping. Where are they?” My response to that is simple: There are women in vaping. Some of them are well known and some of them not so well-known. You just need to open your eyes. In fact, talk to a few people and you just might find them. If you do, make sure you support them NOT just because they are female, but because they support the same industry and movement that you do (as a vaper). Susan E. Oser aka Angelwriterspeaks is a host on Monday nights on Vapenet (http:// http://vapenet.com/); (https:// www.facebook.com/CreativeAngelwriter). For her day job she is an online tutor and part-time freelance writer. She is a passionate activist for vaping rights. Find her at http://angelwritercreations.weebly.com/ http://twitter.com/angelwriter78 and https://www.facebook.com/Angelwriterspeaks?ref=hl. You can also buy her knitted accessories (esp for you the vapor) at https://www.facebook.com/knitzyknitz. Contact her at angelwritercreations@gmail.com.

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Mastering the Vape Space

Dirty Little Vape Shop Secrets By Norm Bour Some Vape Shops Won’t Survive. Here’s Why. Batman fans may recall the moment in “Batman Begins” when Bruce Wayne’s father teaches him about failure. “Why do we fall?” he asks Bruce. “So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” A lifelong entrepreneur, I now coach and mentor vape space entrepreneurs. One of my mantras is “Fail early and fail often,” since our failures help us grow. Across the country, there are several thousand vape shops participating in this $3.5 billion industry. Some are doing extremely well, many are getting along OK and some, unfortunately, are failing. Most failures are caused by a common human weakness, whether it’s lack of follow through, lack of planning or lack of funding. N.H. Vape Shop: Lack of Follow Through Last fall, VapeMentors offered a free review, diagnosis and weekly consulting worth around $1,000 to one vape space business. Regardless of where they were at in their stage of development—just getting started or if they had been open for business for a while— we knew we could offer valuable insights gleaned from working with many other vape shop owners. Our winning pro bono client was a vape shop owner in Hooksett, N.H. who had opened his doors two months ago. He told us that in his second week in business, another vape shop opened up less than two miles away. He wanted to know how to set his shop apart from his competitor. We were excited and ready to help him develop his competitive positioning and further develop a unique brand and create an in-shop experience that would set him apart from his competitor—for free. But, he never returned our calls or the forms we sent to further assess his situation. What happened? Presumably this business owner is too busy working in his business rather than on his business. He will likely face the same challenges and will continue to run on the same treadmill until he’s ready to work smarter and not harder. Costa Mesa Vape Shop: Lack of Planning Costa Mesa, Calif. is one of the densest areas in the country for vape shops. In the summer of 2013, a young man opened a 3,000 square foot store with high hopes of

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creating a vapor lounge and a huge magnet store, one of the biggest shops around and a great place to “hang.” However, when he tried to get his permit from the city, he was shut down by city council members who didn’t like the word “lounge” associated with vape shops. If he had planned better, he would have received his permits before signing the lease on a behemoth space. Over half of his retail space sat unused for a year and a half. Fortunately, there’s a silver lining to this story. He ended up forming a partnership with Vapor Solutions, which repurposed the space into a combined coffee shop/ vape shop. Store number four in the Vapor Solutions’ growing chain, they’ve been hugely successful with their unique combined coffee/vape shop concept. The irony is that while it still looks like a vapor lounge, the city approved it because it’s designated as primarily a coffee shop that sells vape products. Despite the lack of planning at the outset, this lucky owner was ultimately able to realize his vision: a comfortable lounge environment that’s a great place to hang out and try different vapor products and e-liquids. Lack of Funding Of course, lack of funding is what stops a lot of budding vapreneurs from ultimately achieving their goal of opening a vape shop. That’s a topic for a whole other article. But, it’s important to note that lack of funding 1) can be overcome and 2) is not always the reason why people fail in the vape space. Staying focused on your goal, working smarter, not harder, and planning out your business strategy are just as important as securing the funding for your business. John Dumas, host of “Entrepreneur on Fire,” friend and fellow podcaster, developed an acronym for the word FOCUS: “Follow one course until success.” It works. In business, it’s easy to be reactive, rather than proactive. But that’s a sure-fire recipe for failure, especially if things aren’t cranking along smoothly. You have to step back, focus on what’s important and proactively make changes. If you want to create a vape space business, you need an even higher degree of focus since there are so many things to do. Your passion for vaping will only carry you so far. You must focus on developing a business plan or at least a business model for your budding business and then put the systems in place to implement your plan. Eliminate any excuses and give yourself permission to fall, pick yourself up and try again. Take heed. Take chances. Embrace opportunity. You only fail if you quit.

Norm Bour is the founder of VapeMentors, the first and largest business consultancy focused on the vape space, now running VAPE U: Six Pillars to Vape Space Success. Norm also hosts Vape Radio and authored “Vapreneur: Your Guide to Mastering the Vape Space.” Contact him at norm@VapeMentors.com.


The Vape Space Gets

Creative With Racing

VAPE BUSINESSES ARE USING UNCONVENTIONAL CHANNELS TO MARKET THEIR PRODUCTS fringe habits or even vices by mainstream America. Initially embraced by high society, smoking filtered down to the lower classes and offered a “hip” image as it became associated with tough guys and vampy broads. You could be cool and still stay within the law by smoking. While generally regarded as better and safer than smoking, vaping still has image issues thanks to negative media reports, public bans and an overall lack of understanding. The vast majority of vapers are former smokers, and while the demographics are shifting to include more Baby Boomers, it only makes sense that what worked for tobacco advertising could work for vape space businesses as well. Words and photos by Norm Bour You want to market your vape business on Facebook, but they say no. Google won’t take you either. Why can’t we advertise? You can thank the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) of 1998, which set severe restrictions on the sale, marketing and advertising of cigarettes. You may never have heard of it, but 17 years later, that agreement shuts you out of marketing channels available to almost every other type of business. Auto Racing Skirts Advertising Restrictions When TV advertising was first forbidden in 1971, tobacco companies were flush with cash and still wanted to promote their products. So, they got creative and started looking for new opportunities—and landed on auto racing. “Sponsorship has always been part of the racing world,” said Jeff Burk of Racing Net Source, publisher of five magazines about racing. “After they were banned from advertising on TV, alcohol and cigarette companies started sponsoring auto racing. R.J. Reynolds took it to the next level in the early 1970s by sponsoring NASCAR’s top series, which was renamed the ‘Winston Cup.’” Burk said race car sponsorships were a smart move, because auto racing fans are much more likely to be smokers or drinkers. They were clearly targeting the right audience. What Worked for Big Tobacco Could Work in the Vape Space While the vaping industry is trying to differentiate and distinguish itself from traditional tobacco, there are some undeniable links. Smoking and vaping may be considered

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And that leads us right back to the race track. Vaping Goes NASCAR MadVapes, an e-cigarette and e-liquid manufacturer in Huntersville, N.C., was the first to consider and ultimately sponsor NASCAR races. They agreed to try this unique channel to gain access to a huge new audience. “We knew legally we had the right to sponsor since we’re not a tobacco product, barring any final decisions by the FDA,” Mike Schriefer, MadVapes’ chief marketing officer, said. Schriefer spent years marketing Indy car sponsorships to Big Tobacco and thought it would offer a unique marketing opportunity for MadVapes. MadVapes sponsored a Chevy Silverado truck that has now raced in Daytona Beach, Watkins Glen and a host of major


venues as part of the NASCAR Truck Series.

A professional race car driver, Guasch has raced in more than 100 races, including at Daytona and Sebring, placing more than one-third of the time.

“The excitement level of our customers was the most significant benefit of sponsorship, along with the increase in social media activity,” Schriefer said. “Fans of MadVapes took pictures

with the truck and showed us off to their friends. That is hard to duplicate.”

“It’s great having Cuttwood on the car; they’re an incredible group of people

who produce an outstanding product,” Guasch said. “I’m excited to help Cuttwood increase their customer base through the unique marketing channels professional motorsports provides. It’s a clear winwin in my view.”

Other vape-related companies have followed this path including Mount Baker Vapor, Mistic Electronic Cigarettes and even the mega giant, blu eCigs.

Cuttwood Enters Daytona Early this year, Cuttwood, one of the leading U.S. e-liquid brands, was the primary sponsor of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports in Daytona Beach, Fla. “Passionate fans, exotic cars and close competition—Daytona was the perfect venue for us to introduce Cuttwood eliquids to thousands of new fans,” Austin Hopper, Cuttwood president, said. Michael Guasch, CEO and founder of Molecule Labs, one of the largest contract manufacturers of e-liquids in the country and the maker of Cuttwood, drove the Cuttwood car, winning in their division.

So the big question is: Will race car sponsorship help spur additional sales of vaping products? It’s too early to tell, but the exposure through PR and social media will certainly go a long way. Will more e-cigarette and vaping companies get into auto racing sponsorship? Both Jeff Burk and Mike Schriefer don’t anticipate many other vaping companies getting involved because of the costs involved, which can be $50,000 or more. Most vape shops and e-liquid brands don’t have that kind of budget. But they still need to think about how they can promote their brand to their target audience. What’s unique about your brand? Who are your key potential customers? What are the best means to reach them and share the amazing benefits to vaping over cigarettes? And what creative and innovative ways can you use to work around this industry’s advertising limitations? Those are the questions any vape shop, e-liquid brand or online store has to answer if they’re to be successful.

Norm Bour is the founder of VapeMentors, the first and largest business consultancy focused exclusively on the vape space and the sponsor of VAPE U: Six Pillars to Vape Space Success. He’s also the host of Vape Radio, a podcast series that interviews the masters of vape and the thought leaders in the vape space. Contact him at norm@VapeMentors.com.

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By Nick Green

Photo by Metal Jeff

Fairly new to this but loving every minute. Wanting an awesome mod for heavy thick clouds but flavor is really important .... any thoughts? Also my cash funds are limited. -Shawn Hey Shawn. For this were going to have to use something I call my “vape budget hands.” Everything in the vape world costs money. It’s up to you to decide where you want to invest that money. Between mods, atomizers and batteries, it’s easy to quickly get into the hundreds and hundreds of dollars. I would suggest getting on Google and looking for the SelectVape eBay store. They specialize in “mod kits” for around $50 to $60. You can purchase a kit that will have a mech mod, an atomizer and even a good Sony or MXJO battery included. This is a great way to really get started with almost everything you need to start blowing clouds. The performance of the gear you buy depends heavily on how you build your atomizer and what kind of battery you have inside your device. It is possible to get VERY big clouds that also have a very nice flavor. Practice practice practice. It pays off in delicious vapor every time. -Grimm

What’s the best setting for a eLeaf iStick 20w with a Nautilus mini tank? -Chris

Hey Chris. The easiest thing to do when trying to figure out what wattage to vape at is to adjust to taste. I do this all the time. I’ll start my wattage very low and work my way up to where if feels right. You can always back it down again if it starts getting burnt tasting. This method will give you a good starting point. So, next time when you plug on a new coil head you can remember “My last coil head was 1.5 Ohms and I was at 15 w. So, this time I’ll start at 15 w and see how that tastes.” I end up adjusting my wattage both up and down occasionally during the day. There is no one perfect setting for everyone’s tastes. Some people like a shorter hotter vape, some people like a longer cooler vape. Just adjust and see where you like it. Thanks! -Grimm

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Proponents, Opponents Battle HB 26 at Maryland Hearing By Leigh Oates In February 2015, CASAA issued a Call to Action for vapers in Maryland. HB 26, a bill that would threaten vapers and business owners throughout the state, had come up for hearing in the capital. I was fortunate enough to be able to make the trip to our state capital for the hearing of HB 26. HB 26 was introduced by Delegate A. Miller in November 2014. HB 26 amends the Clean Indoor Act of 2007 to include vaping in the definition of smoking. The Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in indoor areas open to the public, indoor places of employment and certain indoor private areas. HB 26 also would prohibit “nicotine smoke” in public spaces. The language of the bill shows a basic misunderstanding of the difference between smoking and vaping. The bill also is unfair to vapers and vape shops. The bill does not provide exemptions for vaping within a vape shop or any other approved locations. HB 26 jeopardizes the vaping industry in Maryland. So, how exactly should one prepare for speaking to lawmakers? A January 2015 blog post by Kyle Chapman of Mt. Baker Vapor gives great tips. The article, called “Tips for Contacting Legislators—Political Etiquette,”can be found here: http://goo.gl/dCSnDm. Chapman gives sound advice to political advocates in several points. He encourages speakers to stay on point. Understand the message you want to convey and be brief. Stay clear in your communications. If you couldn’t explain your message to a fifth grader, then you aren’t being clear enough. If you are going to quote scientific studies or bills, make sure you know the material. Be knowledgeable! Remain respectful, even if you disagree or become angry. Always appeal to reason. A logical argument will stand. Remember to connect with a lawmaker on what he finds important—votes and money. Tell lawmakers how the law will drive away revenue, and that if he doesn’t protect your interests, he will lose your vote. I prepared for speaking to my lawmakers by a careful reading of the bill. I also read CASAA’s recommended study, by Igor Burstyn of Drexel University. Evidence based information is vital for the education of the public and the legislature. People who don’t vape may not know about the actual science behind e-cigarettes. Inflammatory, clickbait news articles may be the only source of information for most citizens. The Clean Indoor Air Act of 2007 was designed to protect the public. Preliminary studies show that the negative effects of vaping are minimal, but the science is new. Scientific results fall on either side of the argument. Yes, lawmakers must do their best to protect the public. Protecting the interests of the public also includes recognizing vaping’s potential to help smokers. Promoting economic growth and development is vital to the general welfare as well.

The hearing brought out a few passionate speakers. One unusual proponent of vaping was Philip Briggs from WFRB radio station. He said that vaping brings a whole new ad category and that it is the single largest growing category at the radio station. Briggs supports vaping as a means for the economic growth of the state. Gregory Conley’s outspoken, informed presence closed out the meeting. Conley represents the American Vaping Association, and he reports that he spent three years as an unpaid consumer advocate. He stands against redefining smoking and smoking products. Conley quoted the number of smokers in Maryland at 750,000, and he said that despite concerns about e-cigarettes, “youth smoking has declined from 2013 to 2014.” Conley also shared that the Minnesota state government reports that e-cigs are the product most used by smokers to quit smoking. Conley’s booming voice and engaging presentation enlivened the room after a long afternoon of discussion. It wasn’t all glowing support of vaper’s interests in Annapolis. Delegate Benjamin Kramer supports the bill. He asked the speakers whether we should trust Big Tobacco with our health and safety now that they are invested in the vaping industry. Kramer mentioned a study from the Journal of Nicotine and Tobacco Research. That study, called “Electronic Cigarettes are a Source of Thirdhand Nicotine,” introduced the concept of nicotine residue being left behind on surfaces. The best outcome for HB 26 and similar bills would be to protect the public and support vaping. We do not want e-cigs to harm anyone. If the bill should pass, allowances for vape shops must be included so these businesses will remain functional for vapers. Without the ability to test flavors and troubleshoot equipment, vape shops would struggle. Citizens who socialize in a vape shop and expose themselves to ecig vapor make a conscious choice. If Maryland lawmakers feel that the Clean Indoor Air Act must include e-cigs, then they should take note of the Baltimore vaping model. The city of Baltimore supports the MD Clean Air Act, but adds exemptions for vape shops and lounges, certain bars and restaurants, and certain video lottery facilities. The lucrative and health saving benefits of vaping must thrive in the state of Maryland and elsewhere. Bills are popping up in every state to limit, tax, or ban vaping. Vapers must inform themselves and represent at the polls and with their elected officials. With proper knowledge and strategy, vaping can exist for the best interests of all. If enacted, HB 26 would take effect Oct. 1.

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On the Road Again: A Vapor Association Tour Update

Centennial Vapor in Denver, Colorado Jim Root with Mark Branson

By Alyssa Stahr Photos courtesy of Jim Root The Vapor Association is a California-based retailers organization and is a resource for vape shop owners and managers. A goal of the Association is to help find the products and services retailers need to keep pace with this constantly changing industry. Jim Root took his research on the open road in Houston on Nov. 9, taking a look at the brick and mortar industry across the United States, with the aim of identifying regional trends and determining the most pressing needs for retailers across the country. As of press time, Root has made his way through the Midwest and has criss-crossed the eastern half of the United States. We caught up with Root in Denver, Colorado to check in on leg three of the tour. VAPE: Where in the world are you now? Root: We are meeting with shops in Denver now and we have plans to work our way back to the western half of the U.S. over the next couple months. This stop in Denver is very exciting—I am intrigued to see how recreational use of marijuana in Colorado has impacted vape retailers. Is it helping the retail environment or hurting it? We will see ...

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VAPE: What are the trends in various sections that you’ve visited in this leg of the tour? Root: It is a little early to draw any conclusions about trends. We are trying to identify and track several things in the retail space—density of shops, types of customers and how long retail shops have been open—among other things. Once we have completed the tour, we hope trends will emerge that can help us continue working with retailers to build a robust and stable vapor retail space. VAPE: Any standout shops that you care to discuss? Root: Absolutely! I have personally visited HUNDREDS of vapor retailers and every shop is unique; each one brings passion and drive to the industry; but there are a few retailers that stand out in my memory for different reasons. The Art of Vapor - Charlotte, North Carolina This shop was larger than most of the shops we visited, but the most interesting thing is its choice to service the HIGH END clientele. By offering all authentic mods and only top-of-the-line e-liquid, they are trying to raise the sophistication level of vapers in the area. Cigawatt - Kansas City, Missouri This is another shop that was on the larger side; I liked


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Perfect Alternatives in Aurora, Colorado Jim Root with JR Robinson

Root: I have met a few shops that are struggling and also spoken with a number of retailers that told me stories about shops that have closed; it seems like the main fault in failed shops is their lack of industry knowledge and their ability to give good service to customers. Since our industry is still young, I think it is a good sign that some business owners are finding that they are out of their depth. As our industry begins to mature, there will be a need for better business practices and knowledge. VAPE: When are you planning on ending this epic tour? Root: The tour is not over yet—we are scheduled to complete our tour in May 2015, then we will take some time to compile all the information we have collected. It is our hope to create an industry report to help give retailers some ideas from other regions they might want to implement in their own stores.

the layout and use of space in this shop. The owners have created a retail space that is comfortable for vapers but also includes other events at their store. They were planning a small business showcase with local home based businesses when I visited the shop. Drive Thru Vapors - Dallas, Texas This was one of the truly unique concepts I had seen. The interior is a full service vape shop that is open 24 hours and also offers a drive up window to service customers. VAPE: What are some surprises that have came about since we last spoke? Root: The biggest surprises have been the innovations, service to customers and offerings above and beyond equipment and e-liquid. Some vape shops are raising the bar and creating an experience that can be an example for retailers across the country. One of our goals is to identify some of these things that EVERY shop can implement in their locations.

VAPE: You had several goals in place for this tour. Do you feel that you are meeting the goals that you set? Root: Of course. The Vapor Association is collecting data to give retailers an unbiased look at the industry and provide them with the resources they need to find their own version of success. Once the tour is over, we will continue to gather data and try to identify solutions to the unique challenges facing retailers. We hope to give EVERY retailer the knowledge and support they need to make good business decisions. We also have some exciting NEW goals and ideas for the future that have come out of our research. Nothing I am prepared to share at this time—but as things progress, I will keep you informed. What I can tell you—the vapor retail environment is going to explode in the near future: more shops, more consumers and better information. The Vapor Association is committed to be right in the middle of it all, helping to guide retailers through this growth phase.

VAPE: What are some challenges that you are seeing shops facing and how are they overcoming them? Root: The biggest challenge I have seen across all the areas we visit is a need for educating consumers and the general public. It is surprising how much ignorance exists surrounding our industry, not only with legislators and health officials, but the general public has very little information about what vaping is and what it is NOT. This lack of awareness means retailers must spend a great deal of time teaching potential customers and also fighting ignorance. VAPE: Are any shops just absolutely failing? If so, what are their faults?

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Sky Liquid Vapor in Denver, Colorado Jim Root with Cody Judkinf


wholesale inquiries 858.333.1249 www.calivapeco.com


Features First

Video Game Vape Shop By Alyssa Stahr Photos courtesy of Electronic Arts Batman vs. Bane, Spider-Man vs. the Green Goblin, cops and robbers—the battle of good vs. evil has raged on during the test of time, and no genre puts you in the middle of the action more than video games. Electronic Arts/Visceral Games is one of the leading video game developers in the industry. Having developed the bestselling video game franchise Dead Space, as well as helming the highly anticipated first person shooter game, Battlefield Hardline, Steve Papoutsis loves adding real-life elements to his art. Vice president and general manager at Visceral Games and executive producer of Battlefield Hardline, Papoutsis is a hardcore vaping enthusiast who owns a variety of high-end tube and regulated box mods. His colleagues are making the switch to vaping as well, and the love has spread so much in the office that the team has added a vape store within the level background environment of Battlefield Hardline. Battlefield, which as of press time was due to launch mid-March, is a game set against the backdrop of the war on crime and the battle between cops and criminals. A controversial topic in our times with the recent events in Ferguson, Mo., and New York, Papoutsis takes note of the responsibility a video game can hold. He aims to make his games something fun rather than detrimental. Steve Papoutsis

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“When we set out to build the game three years ago, those unfortunate events did not occur. Our primary goal was to create a game to tie into the great action movies and the cool TV shows that people were enjoying, whether they were crime dramas… the fantasy of cops and criminals,” Papoutsis said.

The idea of the big bank heist, arresting people, iconic images and the theme of cops and criminals were Papoutsis’ main focus and something that his team tried to develop. However, when the events of the past year occurred, the Battlefield team sat down and took time to not glamorize negative components of the game. “When you click to our single player campaign, we employ a number of non-lethal aspects: taking out a badge, handcuffing, a taser, a stun gun. We’re not only providing you a lethal means,” he said. “Actually once you steer toward non-lethal means, you add more experience and get more gun camouflages. We try to steer you to play more non-lethal.” Of course players love to shoot, but Papoutsis said that the team really tried to incentivize playing Battlefield Hardline with a more detective approach. Some of this favorite features of the game are using the stun gun, which provides a stealthy, non-lethal means in single player mode. “In multi-player I have a lot of fun in hot wire game mode. It’s the fastest game ever; the speed really comes through in hot wire. Criminals are trying to take over these cars, and the longer you take over the cars, the better the game goes. And, of course we also have the ability to play different songs on the radio and bumping paint during car chases,” he said.


Inspiration for not only Battlefield Hardline but other video games under the creative Visceral team comes from film, TV, comics and books. Papoutsis named shows like Justified, The Wire, The Dark Knight Returns and of course Die Hard as favorites. “We took a lot of inspiration in those things; we partnered with one of the writers of Justified for the character development. It was really cool to have her help us develop our characters and stories,” Papoutsis said. The vape shop within the level background environment resulted in the vaping environment around the office and the inside jokes that various people on the team liked.

I’m a huge fan of MCR by Liam—makes great stuff and he makes great mechanical mods.” Papoutsis said that he thinks the main thing is the idea of understanding that people want to take time out to smoke, and he said that there’s an alternative that’s not as bad for you. “Most smokers know that it’s not good for them, and it’s not great for people around them. So, when they (his co-workers) asked questions and saw me quit, it gives people the confidence they can do it too,” he said. “I know that I enjoy it a lot, and I think being that people who work on games are into technology and creativity that vaping is a good merger of the two.” Papoutsis thinks that more and more people will stray away from tradition smoking and move into vaping, especially appealing to people who enjoy technology. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you see someone vaping in a game in the future instead of smoking.” For more information, visit http://www.battlefield.com/ hardline. To talk gaming and vaping with Steve Papoutsis, follow him on Twitter @leveluptime.

“A lot of people through the course of this game wound up getting off cigarettes and vaping. We thought it would be a fun little thing, and some of the artists made that. Hopefully some people will see that and get a kick out of it,” he said. With the overlap of vapers and gamers, Papoutsis wanted to show others in the vaping community and readers of VAPE a different perspective of the hobby/lifestyle in the video game industry. A former smoker of 25 years, Papoutsis started vaping at the beginning of last year. In a short time it’s turned into a passion. “I’m pretty excited about it. I smoked almost a pack a day, and I tried quitting using some of the other methods. Nicotine gum kinda worked, but I fell back into smoking. I missed the experience of taking a moment of maybe going outside and unplugging for those few moments,” he said. Being in a creative business, Papoutsis thought smoking was a bit of a stimulation for creative thinking, and he missed it. What’s cool about vaping is that he could still have those moments without creating a hazard for other people and making his clothes stink. Over time, Papoutsis started to love building his own coils. “There’s a gear aspect; it’s kind of a hobby. I’m really happy with something I just got—a device made by Serenity. There are a variety of different atomizers on that. If I’m going to be out and about I grab my Caravela,” he said. “I love Cabana Hammock, Liquid Arcade sherbet flavor, Jimmy the Juice Man.


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Crowd Chasers: How to

in the Vape Space

Customers:

The Holy Grail of Any Vape Space Business Words and Photo by Maria Verven One in every five vape shops is destined to fail. I can’t go into all the reasons why some vape shops go out of business while others are positively crushing it. But if there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that customers are the holy grail of any vape space business. No customers, no revenue. In my last column, you read that customer service also is a potential deal breaker. If a vape shop fails to serve someone because the store’s employees are too busy or ineffective, that customer likely will never come back. Fail to serve just one customer every day the shop is open, and that vape shop is leaving $300,000 annually in lost revenue on the table. “Build it and they will come” is another trap both online and brick and mortar stores fall into. You simply can’t expect to open a shop and expect customers to magically show up at your door. Traditional Advertising: A Thing of the Past? One of the key obstacles vape shops face is the fact they can’t use pay-per-click advertising to promote their business. Google and Facebook lump e-cigarettes and vaping products with traditional tobacco products and ban all advertising. While advertising on local radio, TV and print may be an option, business owners such as Bud Hochberg, owner of Liquid Vapor Outlets in Georgia and upstate N.Y. and a long-time retail business owner, recommend against wasting your money on traditional ads. “I used to open a business and just pounded away on newspaper, radio and TV advertising,” Hochberg said. “When I opened a vape shop, my old ways kicked in and I tried them all, just to prove myself wrong. I was hoping that life hadn’t changed that much.” Hochberg said they ran ads in the largest newspapers in upstate New York and Georgia, the local entertainment magazine and on the radio during prime drive time. Thousands of dollars in media buys—and none of them drove any significant traffic. So, they decided to try using social media to promote store openings. Lo and behold, a huge crowd show up the hour they opened their doors after announcing the store opening on Facebook. Hochberg said they now get a store up and running very successfully just using social media and word of mouth. Social Media: A Boon for the Vape Business Social media is not only a lot cheaper than traditional advertising, it’s more powerful because it enables you to pinpoint customers based on age, interests and predilection. Raymond Yang of R2 Media Hub and a VAPE U instructor, said social media can make an exponential impact on any vape space business. R2 Media Hub develops social media strategy and posts updates on VapeMentors’ classes and resources as well as for many e-liquid brands and vape shops.

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Yang recommends building a social media strategy around the following four core principles: 1. Use Branding Consistently. Develop your brand’s name, logo and graphic design/color palette. Use the same name, profile picture and branding for all your social media accounts. 2. Must-Have Accounts. Instagram and Facebook are the musthave accounts in the vape space. Twitter is optional, but claim your brand name to make sure no one else takes it. Use your business e-mail when registering all of your social media accounts. 3. Images are Important! You must have good images of your products and store. The investment in good images is well worth it, because this is what consumers see and remember. 4. Social Media is a Commitment. Once you start posting, you can’t go on hiatus. You must constantly update all your social media accounts. Host Special Events for a Special Boost Special events are another terrific way to drive customers and sales to your vape shop where they can experience and interact with your brand and products. If you’re holding a new store opening, we recommend a “soft launch.” Open your shop at least a week in advance of the public store opening to work out any kinks. Then hold your store opening —some shops will host a party with live music, food and drinks. Use social media and word of mouth to drive a wave of new customers to your shop, along with special events. Here are some ideas: Bring a Friend - Offer discount coupons to customers who bring a friend. BOGO - Offer a buy one-get one deal on some e-liquids. Robert Voll, Lunch Break Vape - Target working people Vaping Industries and offer specials from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. New Product Specials - Discuss/describe the new vape ware you got in your store and offer special deals. Ladies Night Out - Offer special deals and training for women. Wild & Wacky Wednesdays - Determine your lowest sales/traffic day such as Wednesday and offer special deals to spur business. Freebie Fridays - Give a small bottle of e-liquid away to the first 50 people who come to your store. Selfie Saturdays - Take $3 off any bottle of e-liquid to anyone who takes and posts a selfie from your store to Facebook or Instagram. Late Night Vape - Choose one night a week to stay open late and offer special deals. You could even have live music and offer food and beverages. Mother’s Day/Father’s Day Specials - Offer specials for moms on Mother’s Day and dads on Father’s Day. Give special deals for anyone who posts photos. Buddy Up with Retailers - Seek relationships with other business owners who offer complementary products and services such as liquor stores, health/fitness clubs, convenience stores, etc. Whatever kind of special event you hold, make sure you capture your visitors’ names and emails so you can turn them into loyal customers. The original Vaping VampTM, Maria Verven is partner and chief marketing mentor of VapeMentors.com.


Call Now For Wholesale Information 858.333.1249 |

WWW.CALIVAPECO.COM


By Susan Oser

: I actually met him through Twitter and we hit Luciano manente is the owner and operator of VapeTV. manente it off right away. I asked him to be a host and at first he com, a website that was designed for the vaping community to interact with each other through shows, message boards and more. For the past few years VapeTVLive was the only channel that was active on the site. Recently, a few other online vape channels have joined the website. (At the time of this interview, Vapenet was the first one to do so.) Thus, the website and Manente’s dream for a thriving community has come to fruition and will continue to do so. Judging from my conversation with him, Manente is truly in it for the right reasons and gives back to the community any way he can.

was not crazy about it. However, now he’s a great host and manages the hosts and schedules for VapeTVLive as well as being an online administrator for the site.

susan : What are your main rules for VapeTV hosts? : First, you have the obvious ones like no hate, manente politics and religion. We want our hosts to feel open and

focus on what brings the vaping community together. However, if something does happen, we let them know about the TOS. If it gets too bad, BSP or I will remedy the situation.

susan : How did VapeTV get started? susan : If someone were interested in hosting a vape show, what is your advice? : When I started vaping in January of 2010, I manente came around many like-minded people that were mostly : They should really do a few simple things: manente in forums. However, I saw this need and started out with speak well, get your point across, keep the room attena website called VapeLair. However, I noticed that people wanted more than just forums or a place to hangout. I understood that vapers wanted to interact. We tried to do live shows but kept putting them on hold due to tech restraints. There were also a lot of pre-recorded shows back then as well.

tive and don’t just answer people in a chatroom, repeat the question when others first come into the room. In addition, make sure to get in touch with the people that run the networks. They will be happy to talk to you and give you the information you need.

biggest news about VapeTV is having Vapenet susan : The susan : What was VapeTV like when you first started? because it’s the first vaping channel to be on the website : It was really difficult at first. I had a background besides VapeTVLive. How did this come about? manente in video game, website and music production, so I under: It really was inspired from a Vapenet host who manente stand about marketing. However, at the same time, I wantwent by Nurse Cin (Cindy Taylor, who passed away last ed to try to get people into vaping.

susan : How do you choose the hosts who are on your network? : We either go to them or they come to us. Usumanente ally, for VapeTVLive, BSP (BlacksmithPro) will vet the hosts. In addition, there is also a three show probation period.

susan : Speaking of BSP, how did you meet him? 40 1

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year). She was a chatter on VapeTVLive, but she was a host on Vapenet as most of her closest friends were there. She always wanted the two networks to get together and interact with each other. As far as the actual move for Vapenet, I was speaking with DJ JRock (of Peace Love and Vape). During our discussion he mentioned how things were going south at the third party service Vapenet was using at the time. That’s


when I explained to him about all the features that VapeTV had to offer, like a better quality stream and the first vaping network to be platform agnostic, meaning you can watch our streams on any current Android or IOS device. At first JRock was unsure about the move, but then after discussing it further, he decided to approach PuterGeek (whom I’ve known for a long time). After talking to PuterGeek and the rest of the hosts, Vapenet decided to give this a shot, and the rest is history. I was able to give the channel instant access and show that VapeTV not only has superior broadcast capabilities but also has more features under one roof than any other vaping website to date. In addition, the network could still keep its own identity.

their hands out or are getting bullied too much into doing things. I see people selling substandard, watered down stuff and get into the business not knowing what they’re doing or doing the research for it, especially to set up the business.

susan : What do you see for the future of vaping? : Personally, I see a lot of struggles, especially manente with regulations. The community is sleeping on those regu-

lations and if they aren’t standing up and doing the right thing, they are just going to walk away. I don’t think these people realize how it’s such a big battle and that once the FDA makes its ruling things could already change drastically. I also see e-liquid becoming cleaner and better, mods that

be smarter with enthusiasts still wanting their toys and susan : How will the addition of Vapenet change the online will of course new characters that come out of the woodwork. vaping community or online vape broadcasting in general? : It will help set the precedent of inspiring other susan : What do you see as the future of Vape TV? manente vaping channels to join us (which at the time of this writis to get everyone together in one manente : My visionplace ing The Quest Vaping Network had just joined). Once the as a vaping community. I’ve incommunity knows more about what VapeTV as a website can offer, everything from news, blogs and videos to a standard forum. They will see that the bigger brands like Facebook and Twitter are not the only game in town for vapers and the forums, while very informative, are so impersonal.

vited networks to come and join Vape TV when we first redesigned the site, but no one took us up on the offer (until recently with Vapenet). I wanted to make sure we had the capabilities for the community to access the site and streams on their mobile devices and be the first vaping website to do so. We work hard and spend the lion’s share of revenue to keep improving the site. I want people to understand that while VapeTV has so much to offer, it will always be a work in progress and will always be updated and improved as any website should. Thank you and vape wisely.

: Now for some “general” quessusan tions. First, how do you feel about the online vaping community?

: As the community grows, manente it’s going to be hard to keep it from sep-

arating into cliques or other factions. In reality, this community needs to come together and support the cause, donate a few dollars, attend meetings, do your part to help the activism, etc.

susan :

How should someone become more active in the online vaping community?

: I believe it’s a very personmanente al thing.They need to discover what

Luciano and his fiancé, Violet

their skill sets are and then apply them to the vaping community. In addition, learn and research before you try and profit on it; knowledge is king.

susan : manente : I feel like there are a lot of people who have

What has been your biggest disappointment with vaping or the vaping community in general?

If you would like to become a part of this growing website, log on to http:// www.vapetv.com. Create an account, visit a few shows, meet some new friends, and learn about vaping. You can also check out several vape channels including VapeTVLive, Vapenet and Quest.

Susan E. Oser aka Angelwriterspeaks is a host on Monday nights on Vapenet http://Vapenet.com/Vapenet or https://www.facebook.com/CreativeAngelwriter and a VAPE contributor. For her day job she is an online tutor. She is a passionate activist for vaping as well as equal rights. Find her at http://twitter.com/angelwriter78 and https://www.facebook.com/Angelwriterspeaks?ref=hl Contact her at angelwritercreations@gmail.com

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By Alyssa Stahr

American E-Liquid Manufacturing Standards Association Elects New President

President of the American E-Liquid Manufacturing Standards Association since its inception, Lou Ritter retired from his post at the end of 2014 to focus on other industry-related pursuits. The AEMSA board elected Jeff Hammel as its new president, who assumed the role on Jan. 1. Hammel has an MBA from Indiana University and his CPA in the state of Ohio. Hammel has worked for 20 years in the healthcare industry, and he serves as the chief financial officer with a biotechnology company. Hammel previously spent a year on the AEMSA board as treasurer, and his wife, Schell, owns and operates eight locations of the Vapor Bar. Hammel recently spoke with VAPE about his new role with AEMSA.

VAPE: Can you tell us when you knew Lou was retiring as president, and how you taking on the role happened?

H

ammel: Lou made the entire membership of AEMSA aware of his desire to retire from the presidency of AEMSA in November of 2014. Lou had dedicated his life to AEMSA and the vaping industry over the past few years, and his other pursuits had been left unattended. In addition, Lou had taken on the president’s role for the E-Research Foundation, the non-profit organization Lou worked to found to create a mechanism for the electronic cigarette industry to be able to collectively fund ongoing medical/scientific research. Lou simply wanted to be able to spread his time more evenly over his pursuits, while remaining involved with AEMSA. I had served as treasurer for AEMSA during 2014 and had not intended to seek the position of president. Once Lou announced his intentions, I felt that I could be an effective leader for the organization and was subsequently nominated for the position. AEMSA holds board elections every year. The elections were held in December 2014. Each AEMSA member has one vote. Lou is very supportive and active and has been instrumental in maintaining continuity.

VAPE: Tell us about serving on the board last year. How

did your first involvement with the board happen and unfold into being treasurer?

Hammel:

My wife had tried to stop smoking many times in many ways. She was introduced to refillable electronic cigarettes and, with the right battery and liquid selection, she put down her cigarettes one day and has never smoked one again. Those who know her understand that she is a passionate person and became very passionate about the industry. She introduced family and friends, and they were successful in switching to electronic cigarettes. After a ton of research, she opened a brick and mortar business in 2011 and has been increasingly involved in all facets of the industry since that time. In late 2013, she heard that AEMSA would be holding annual board elections

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and the treasurer position would be open. With my financial background, she asked if I would consider it. Because of the huge positive change that electronic cigarettes had brought to her life and that of our family, I was more than happy to be a part of it. I was elected and took the role in January 2014. The entire board of AEMSA welcomed me openly and helped me become a fully functional cog in the AEMSA wheel.

VAPE: What were some of your goals as treasurer, and were they met?

Hammel: As treasurer, my goal was to become a fully

participative member of the AEMSA Board. The functional components of the treasurer position involved typical financial activities that were a key part of my professional background and I worked to add enhanced processes and controls to what AEMSA had already developed.

VAPE: Now that you’re president, what are some hotbed

issues that you want to address while you’re in office, and how do you plan on tackling those issues?

Hammel:

The AEMSA board and members are a top notch group of people and business leaders in the industry who share a common vision to provide the highest quality products to a rapidly growing number of consumers. It is important to the members to use the highest quality materials to produce liquids in a manufacturing environment that is safe and controlled. It is important to me for consumers to understand that not all e-liquids are created equally. We all should know the key questions to ask about e-liquids so that we can feel that we know what we are using.


AEMSA certification provides assurance that this is the case. I believe that AEMSA can help in this consumer education. In addition, I feel that AEMSA can also help to continue to bring information to regulators at the FDA and other regulatory agencies. There is much contradictory information circulating about the electronic cigarette industry. Science is evolving and we will continue to support that evolution. I am fully convinced that electronic cigarettes are a highly effective harm reduction alternative to cigarette smoking, and AEMSA members can help in bringing the necessary information to regulators to support that. We also remain a strong supporter of the independent scientific work performed by Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos and other influential medical and scientific leaders. The common theme here is education. We want to help educate manufacturer members to continue to meet and maintain their high standards, to help educate consumers about the quality that they should expect in their e-liquid and to help bring more information to regulators.

VAPE: How does your background in healthcare and

pharmaceuticals uniquely qualify you for heading an organization such as AEMSA, especially when it comes to vaping and e-liquids?

Hammel:

Over the past 20 years, I have worked in the pharmaceutical, medical device and biotech industries. Each of these industries are regulated by the FDA and other regulatory bodies around the globe. The regulations differ across various product categories, but the common thread is quality control. Companies that manufacture products for human consumption should have standards to ensure that the product uses quality inputs and controlled processes to ensure that the consumer can feel protected from unnecessary risks. AEMSA has introduced effective and practical standards to the industry that should put any customer at ease when purchasing a product produced by an AEMSA member. I understand the importance of manufacturing standards to all that use the products and that is true for any industry making products for human consumption.

VAPE: How do you and your wife work together when it

comes to impending regulations? What advice (if any) do you give her and other brick and mortar owners?

Hammel: I don’t necessarily feel like it is my place to provide

advice to the businesses in the electronic cigarette industry. I will say that we should assess ourselves as an industry and understand that we can help to shape our own destiny. With so many businesses and consumers being involved in this industry, I would encourage people to get involved in whatever way is comfortable for them. There are many good industry organizations. We should be good stewards of this industry and ask all involved to live up to high standards that provide only quality products to consumers. My belief is that the benefits that electronic cigarettes can bring to people are revolutionary and we should be sure to create products that foster these benefits.

VAPE: Do you have any personal goals that you’d like to achieve as president?

Hammel:

I have taken on this role for the sole reason that I believe in the products and the industry and have the

passion to help it stay on the right course. I seek nothing personally, but rather seek only to help continue to make available to millions of people a high quality, highly effective harm reduction alternative.

VAPE: Where do you predict the future of vaping is headed, say in the next 3-5 years?

Hammel:

I wish that I could predict the future. I understand that the growth of this industry has implications that create polarity in viewpoints that could shape perceptions and rule making. We have an increasing volume of scientific data to support these products as a significant harm reduction alternative. The potential beneficial impact on the wellness and healthcare of millions of people that could be realized with the evolution of electronic cigarettes is profound. I have seen enough scientific information and anecdotal evidence to suggest that this will be the case if all constituents, including regulators, address the industry in a logical and reasonable manner. I have confidence that the FDA and other regulatory bodies at various levels of government are gathering an enormous volume of data and will differentiate between that which is driven by the interest of consumers and that which may be driven by the divergent interests of others. Electronic cigarettes will continue to evolve and improve. The current deeming regulations refer to the Tobacco Control Act of 2009 and the 2007 date for grandfathered tobacco products. This particular component of the deeming regulations would stifle product development and improvement, reduce product effectiveness and make it difficult for any conscientious small market business to survive. I would also comment briefly on flavors. We often read in the popular media that flavors are used to target young people. In my experience, this could not be farther from reality. Cigarette smoking dulls the taste buds. A person new to electronic cigarettes is typically most successful in starting with a tobacco flavor that mimics the current cigarette that they have smoked. Over time, the taste buds begin to change and the flavors provide a transitional tool to continue successfully with electronic cigarettes and get the full harm reduction benefits. It is also important to note that there are a variety of electronic cigarette products and each holds an important place in the industry. The disposable units often purchased in convenience stores offer convenience. The specialized electronic cigarette businesses offer a variety of options that provide a more individualized solution that often provides a path to success that other alternatives may not address. So, no matter our station in life, whether we are a regulator or an e-liquid manufacturer, whether we are a current or former smoker, whether we are Democrat or Republican or neither, it is nearly inevitable that we know someone that could benefit from having electronic cigarettes as a highly effective harm reduction alternative to smoking. Electronic cigarettes provide that alternative and they will have a significant positive impact on the life of someone who is important to you—whether that is today, a month from now or a year from now.

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VAPE Vixen:

Drendalyn Ortiz

Photos by Misti Hildebrand Hensley

Hi, my name is Drendalyn, and I own Simplicity Salon in Plymouth, Ind. I smoked cigarettes on and off for nearly 20 years, only quitting when I conceived my two children. It was much easier to quit due to the morning sickness, but now my kids are 13 and 9 years old. I enjoy my free weekends going out with my friends and having a couple of drinks. One of the hardest obstacles with smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and coffee, or after I ate food, was that it seemed to go hand-in-hand. Even if I had quit smoking I found myself bumming off of friends, and then the buying packs and addiction came back. Also, the only breaks I got at work were to go outside for five minutes to smoke.

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I tried nicotine patches cold turkey, which made everyone miserable, and the e-cigs like disposables and Blu; they sometimes worked for the initial couple months, but then I had to give up alcohol and coffee. So, one day I walked into a smoke shop to buy a pack of cigarettes and I was so disappointed in myself that I got angry that something was controlling my mind other than myself. My first setup with a vaporizer was a Puff starter kit with the Puff brand juice. I’m not downgrading the brand name, but I discovered a new age revolutionary wave of the future in vaporizers. I learned the different nicotine levels and how VG and PG levels affect your throat. Lowering my nicotine level gradually was much easier than wearing painful patches or quitting cold turkey. Now that I discovered this world of vaping I feel healthier and smell a lot better. I can laugh at those people freezing outside in a smoky circle to keep warm. I have encouraged most of my friends to vape; no need to badger them—they see the freedom I have now that my chain is broken from cigarettes. Do your research on which mod is best for your needs and which e-juice is best. It will save your life. “Vape or die” Credits: Model: Drendalyn Ortiz HMUA: Simplicity by Drendalyn Photographer: Misti Hildebrand Hensley, Misti Marie Photography, www.facebook.com/MmHPhotographyDesign

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Titanium Vapor Cinnamon Churro 0 mg TASTE - 4 VAPE - 4 THROAT HIT - 3

This flavor, Cinnamon Churro, is a pretty great flavor. I’m a huge sweets fanatic (and maybe it doesn’t help that I’m on a summertime prep diet and needed sweets!) but this tastes just like a cinnamon roll. It was a good smooth cinnamon flavor, not spicy or harsh like a lot of cinnamon flavors tend to be. It wasn’t overpowering; it was pretty dang good. It’s got a sweet bakery finish and is an excellent dessert vape. The throat hit was solid, but the vapor production was above average producing some nice thick clouds with minimal work. I was super impressed with this flavor!

Virgin Vapor Organic Green Goblin 0 mg TASTE - 2 VAPE - 3 THROAT HIT - 1

The Juice Judge Judges are picked from respected members of the vaping community to give unbiased reviews of e-juice. The VAPE Verdict is reached by an initial blind taste test, and the review is written afterward. Want to have your juice judged? Email jj@vapemz.com. Reviews do not reflect the overall opinion of VAPE Magazine Steffanie Atkins is the self-proclaimed most pickiest vaper she knows. She has to be head over heels in love with a juice before she vapes it regularly. A baker and a foodie, Atkins is particular when it comes to taste and flavor. She loves long walks on the beach, candlelit dinners, tattoos, art and rocking her face off at concerts. She is forever on the search for the perfect Oreo flavor.

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MAGAZINE

Maybe it’s because I’m from the south, but I never really enjoy anything organic. I like things that are super bad for me. (Probably why I began with analogs in the first place.) So, the thought of organic juices make me pause. While I appreciate the thought of all-natural ingredients, sometimes I’ve noticed that causes less flavor, especially when it comes to e-liquids. I love honeydew flavors, and this has a hint of honeydew with cucumber on the back end. I don’t know about you, but those are two flavors that I wouldn’t normally mesh together. The honeydew wasn’t super powerful and the cucumber was bitter. The vape production was about average, and there was no throat hit, none. Could it be because it was a 0 mg juice, possibly, but it left much to be desired. On another note, this juice claims to be 100 percent VG. In research that I’ve done (and I don’t mean to get too technical) all flavor concentrates come in either a PG or alcohol base. I did a little digging into Virgin Vapors, and their juice has an alcohol base. I’m not particularly fond of that, and there is something about being organic, but inhaling a juice with an alcohol base that contradicts itself. However, their website says you can get it without the alcohol, and I for one would go that route even if there is PG. I know some folks have allergies to PG, so the alcohol base is better for them, but for my personal taste and preference, I’d rather inhale PG than an alcohol-based flavor.

Want2Vape Alcazar 0 mg TASTE - 1 VAPE - 3 THROAT HIT - 1

I like to try and say something good about each flavor that I test. Even if it’s not my particular favorite, someone out there probably really enjoys it. With that being said, Alcazar tastes like stale tobacco and I don’t really have anything decent to say about it. So remember when you first started vaping and kept that last cigarette in a pack in the glove box “just in case” you ever needed it, and that one time that you tried that cigarette just to see what it tasted like, and it was the nastiest thing you’ve smoked ever in your life, yup this flavor is that taste. It’s just stale tobacco and it doesn’t even try and have some kind of hookah blend or anything tasty about it at all. There was no throat hit, maybe because it was a 0 nic level, but I didn’t continue tasting it to see if eventually I’d get something. It was just not good. The vapor production was average. Maybe that’s a good thing I can say about it.

Maniac Vapor Hot Cinnamon 12 mg TASTE - 4 VAPE - 1 THROAT HIT - 1

If you’re looking for a cinnamon, big red gum flavor, this is definitely the juice for you. The flavor is excellent in that it is exactly what I expected it to be. It’s a perfect blend between the spiciness and the cinnamon and is great. While not my personal favorite, I know there are a lot of people who enjoy this type of flavor. The downside is that there is absolutely no throat hit and no vapor production. The throat hit may not be a huge issue as I imagine if there was a very hard throat hit with the flavor and the hotness it may be irritating to the throat, but there is none. Not even a little, kind of like breathing air. And there is no vapor. None. Another strange thing considering this is a 50/50 blend and those typically produce more than average vapor.


Logic Releases First-Ever Rechargeable Closed-System Vaporizer

By Erin Hedrick

In this growing industry it seems that everyone’s out to stake a new claim in the name of vaping. With all the new mods, atomizers and tanks that keep coming out, it’s easy to forget about the less flashy devices, such as cigalikes and vape pens. Realizing this, LOGIC Technology developed a new product to take the convenience market by storm. “We do think that LOGIC has a role with all vapers, and we ask them to give it a try because it is different and offers a different type of experience,” Miguel Martin, LOGIC’s president, said. “We look forward to being part of the entire community.” LOGIC is the third largest cigalike company in the United States, and they are the largest independent company. They operate primarily in the United States (although they do offer international distribution) east of the Mississippi. They do very little business online, wanting to make items that are attractive to both buyers and retailers. They offer both nicotine and zero nicotine products. In March LOGIC released the LOGIC Pro, the first-ever rechargeable closed-system vaporizer. It is a simple-to-use three-part system consisting of the battery, the mouthpiece and a pre-filled, vacuum-sealed e-liquid capsule that screws directly into the battery, thus preventing accidental spilling and exposure. Change the capsule to change the flavor—it’s that simple! Unlike other devices, the heating element of the LOGIC Pro sits at the base of the e-liquid capsule, making it very direct and uninhibited. LOGIC took care to significantly upgrade the materials in this device, such as the metals and methods in regards to how it was made, ensuring a quality product for all adults of age. The LOGIC Pro also promises more usage from each capsule—25 percent more than a typical 10 ml bottle, to be exact—thanks to a larger battery and more advanced heating element.

the silicone stoppers first) and ready to go straight out of the package. While I’m not a fan of tobacco (I vape for fun and flavor, not to kick the habit), I have to say that there is something very enjoyable about Black Tobacco flavor, which is what LOGIC was kind enough to send along with my unit. There’s something very earthy and robust to it, which is very pleasant to the palette. While dripping and filling a tank are appealing and entertaining, I have to admit that the notion of not worrying about e-liquid getting everywhere is incredibly appealing. It would be nice to not have to worry about something coming loose and dumping my vape of the day. I also wouldn’t have to stash bottles and bulky mods (don’t get me wrong— I love my Jellyfish). I think the LOGIC’s new LOGIC Pro is a hot upand-coming item that offers vapers of every state something simple and handy. I love the idea of something I can take with me while I’m out and about—a perfect vape on the go device—and I definitely see this in the LOGIC Pro. Maybe someday LOGIC will offer a wider variety of flavors so that I can fully get on board with them. Until then I live with three smokers; maybe I can use the LOGIC Pro to convince them to embrace their inner vaper. For more information, visit http://store.logicecig.com/.

What sparked the idea for this new vaporizer? The simple answer is strong consumer interest. “Women, in particular, take issue with the loose liquid and potential child exposure,” Martin said, “The LOGIC Pro is much cleaner and easier to handle.” LOGIC reported an astounding number of pre-orders. They don’t advertise a wide range of flavors (in fact they only have two—Black/Premium Tobacco and Black/Premium Menthol) and said they do not plan on adding any to their repertoire in the near future, so what makes the LOGIC Pro a better choice than a more traditional vaporizer? Martin said, “It’s a cleaner and easier experience ... you don’t have the refilling and degradation of things like wicks.” LOGIC also boasts that it’s “almost completely unlike anything else on the market,” so for someone who’s looking for an evolution from the current vaporizers, this is an interesting purchase. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of these bad boys (thanks to LOGIC), and I have to say that I’m pretty impressed. The design is very sleek and modern. It comes with a short-cord charger and a lanyard to match, which is nice for people on the go or, if you’re like me, people who don’t want to go digging around in their purses for hours. It’s easy to assemble (as long as you do like I didn’t and remove

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MAGAZINE

• One pack of five capsules provides 25 percent more puffs than a traditional 10 ml bottle. • Pre-filled, vaccuum sealed, e-liquid capsules add a new level of safety, consistancy, and value to consumers. • The intelligent lock system stops accidental activation. • Change the capsule to change the flavor. Simple. • The notion of not worrying about e-liquid getting everywhere is incredibly appealing.


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fashion pictorial

V eronicaLaV ery

Veronica LaVery was born in the Czech Republic to a Slovakian mother and a Polish/Irish father. She grew up in Vrchlabi and attended an art and dance school. She took acting classes and was trained to play musical instruments, sing, act and dance. Artistic ways of expressing herself at a young age paired with a love for adventure prompted her to move to Sacramento, Calif. at the age of 17. While adjusting to a new lifestyle, culture and language, LaVery graduated from high school and enrolled in college. During this time she got an opportunity to model, and she moved to Southern California in 2011 to pursue a modeling career. Now that she is the cover model for VAPE, she knows that there is evidence that states that vaping is really a healthier alternative for those who enjoy smoking. “It is better for your heart; it contains less chemicals and with all those aromatic flavors on the market, I have to admit that it is even quite cool having a vaper around you rather than a regular smoker.” LaVery was introduced to vaping while on location at VAPE’s photo shoot, and she was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to vape. She used to have an Egyptian hookah at home and has some previous experience with smoking when she was younger, but she hasn’t smoked for years. She was worried that after the photo shoot she might get a headache or lose her voice, but she felt great. “My lungs had fun, and I’m happy I got to try it on my own and with so many variety of products and flavors.” LaVery is excited to put vaping technology in her grandma’s hands.

Bodysuit: Maya Hansen Skirt: Datari Austin Necklace: Le Maison De Fashion Shoes: Steve Madden MOD: Prax1s by Praxis Vapors ATOMIZER: Derringer by Praxis Vapors

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“She’s always been a heavy smoker, and this stylish design that is so easy to use would most likely have her quit just for the look of it. I’m definitely buying her one next time I get to visit her back in Europe.”


Jacket: Chinyere Skirt: Le Maison De Fashion Shoes: Steve Madden MOD: Gravity by Surric Vapes

Top: Chinyere Bottom: Emily Dacarrett Hat & Necklace: Le Maison De Fashion Shoes: Steve Madden MOD: rDNA40 by Vapor Shark


Dress: Maggie Barry Jacket: Lucky Brand Cuff: Le Maison De Fashion MOD: rDNA40 by Vapor Shark

Dress: Tafreshi Couture Cuff: Le Maison De Fashion Boots: Christian Louboutin MOD: Skeleton Key by Marquis Atomizer: Derringer by Praxis Vapors Top: Chinyere Bottom: Emily Dacarrett Hat & Necklace: Le Maison De Fashion Shoes: Steve Madden MOD: rDNA40 by Vapor Shark

Dress: Emily Dacarrett MOD: SolaraDNA30 by Beyond Vape


C reative D irector

J on L averde

@Jon_Laverde Model

V eronica L a V ery

@veronicalavery www.VivaLaVery.com Photography

Ez ra Zuniga & J en Zuniga

@135fotografiks www.135fotografiks.com Sty list

Alan Montes

@Amontes4659 www.amontes4659.wix/alanmontes MakeUp Artist

D iego Q uintero

@JDQugo Hair Sty list

C arina T afulu

using Enzo Milano Styling Irons @HairbyCarina www.hairbycarina.net V ideographer

Br y an G ateb

@bgateb www.bgateb.com Mods provided by

C alivapers

@calivapers www.calivapers.com Top: Datari Austin Skirt: Le Maison De Fashion Necklace: Le Maison De Fashion Shoes: Vintage MOD: Skeleton Key by Marquis Atomizer: Derringer by Praxis Vapors

Locations provided by

D avid Emerson

www.davidemersonrealtor.com F rancisco & Zosima G ateb


Take Me to Vape Church By Alyssa Stahr Photos courtesy of Aaron Eyler

time of doughnuts and coffee. Everyone chips in, hangs out, asks questions and shows off new builds.

One person truly can make a difference. Once a heavy smoker, Aaron Eyler turned to vaping in August after prompts from his dad, a current vaper. Starting out with an eGo that “just wasn’t cutting it, Eyler bought a mod, vaped custard flavored e-liquid, and started asking questions. Eyler’s fiancee works on Sundays, so he decided to head into Brick House Vapors in Vancouver, Wash. about two to three months after starting to vape. “I had a bunch of questions, and I started going in and hanging out. It’s a really small shop, and I started hanging out there and talking to the owners and getting information from them. After a couple of weeks I started talking to the customers too. I said ‘Hi’ to every person who came in,” he said. Shortly after his Sunday morning ritual began and he bought his first mod, Eyler started a Facebook group called Vapor Addiction. In the beginning he had about 20 people in the closed group forum, and now that number has shot to well over 1,200.

Now Eyler sometimes works behind the counter of the shop, helping people build coils and pick out e-liquids. He enjoys helping out new people and continuously learning about the industry. “Just over the past six months, within the vapor group everybody knows each other now; it’s a family relationship. But, newcomers come in and I encourage everyone to post pictures, videos and questions,” Eyler said. “If someone posts an eGo pen, no one is making fun of them.” Other aspects of Vape Church Vancouver are the $2 buy-in raffle, where half goes to the winner and half goes to the shop. The group also does a $2 cloud competition with the same split.

“People ask me questions … ‘Can you help me with this; Can you show me this?’ If they weren’t local I’d try to help them. But, if they were local I said, ‘Meet me,’ and after a few weeks of that they would go up there (to Brick House Vapors) every sunday. My good buddy Tim (Mayes) called it Vape Church because we have it every Sunday,” Eyler said.

“It helps out the shop since they allow us all to sit in there and are nice enough to have us in there every Sunday,” he said.

In fact, Vape Church has spread to other local areas, and a friend in Hillsboro, Ore. is Eyler n starting a new chapter. o r Aa

“I don’t want people to think that people with mods are jerks. A lot of people who first start are intimidated by people who are using drippers. I think we’ve broken the ice for a lot of people to ask silly questions; we don’t think it’s dumb,” he said. “We encourage vaping for everybody. My goal is to keep spreading, and for people who don’t know about vaping to keep them off of cigs. Now that we’re putting information out to the local community they can make that choice and they can say, ‘I think this is going to work.’ The next thing you know they’re not smoking anymore.”

“He wants to spread the word. Theirs is actually on every other Saturday, but I’ve been trying to get it to spread,” Eyler said.

z Brian Motta

Armed with friends spreading the word to their local shops, Eyler thinks it’s cool to help build a local community. The original Vape Church chapter sees about 10 to 15 people a week, with a mimicked fellowship/support group

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“It’s nice to have the online help, but when it’s local, some questions are easier answered if you can see everything in person,” he said. “We are just really friendly with everybody who comes in the doors and say, ‘Hey, grab a doughnut.’ Although last week my buddy brought a bunch of tacos.”

In addition to making the local vaping community stronger, Eyler hopes that the newcomers don’t feel so embarrassed to ask questions in Vape Church.

To join Vapor Addiction, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/vaporaddiction/.

We are just really friendly

with everybody who comes in the doors and say, ‘Hey, grab a doughnut.’ Although last week my buddy brought a bunch of tacos.


The XPRO by Smoktech: A Review By Leigh Oates Photo by James Sweitzer Smoktech recently introduced the XPRO, a full line of box mod batteries. I base this review on my usage of the SMOK XPRO M36 (45W upgrade). Having used this battery for a few weeks, my impression is favorable. I prefer the XPRO for its compact size, power capacity and versatility. The XPRO series includes the M22, M36, M50 and now the powerful M80. I am using the SMOK XPRO M36 with the 45W mod upgrade. The logo on the body of the upgraded version shows M36. A sticker on the back of the box indicates the 45W upgrade. There is a lot to like about this series of batteries; SMOK has been proactive on updating the product. The M36 has a 45W upgrade; the M50 has a 65W upgrade. Smoktech introduced the M80 with a big 80W of power, to keep up with the super power box trend. The M80 Plus is currently on pre-order. More powerful box mods exist, but the M80 stands out from its competitors because of its elegant design. I love the look and feel of these batteries! Smooth, and yet textured where it counts, the batteries give tactile pleasure. The SMOK XPRO 80W is larger than the M36 and M50 batteries, while the size of the M80 is more like a full deck of cards. The XPRO M36 fits in your hand like a large lighter. I am drawn to the dense, compact feel of the smaller box mods. The popularity of the box mods is easy to understand. They don’t roll away; they stand upright. The larger size allows for more power and also space for displays. My XPRO has a range from 6W to 45W that allows me to sub-Ohm vape. Adjust the wattage, and I am ready to use higher resistance atomizers and tanks. I love that feature! Long press the up and down buttons for fast setting. You can adjust wattage by .1 increments from 6W to 45W. For me, that versatility is the major selling point of the battery. The XPRO M36 has a 2200 mAh power with an internal battery. The M50 accepts one IMR 18650 battery. With the M50 it is possible to change out the battery for a fresh one. I referred to Health Cabin’s website and found their article titled “How to Use SMOK Xpro M50 Box Mod?” Despite characteristic awkward translation, the article provides a helpful explanation with pictures. The Health Cabin

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article tells about the low voltage feature of the M50. When the voltage is lower than 3.4V, the mod displays a low voltage warning. The M50 also has a short circuit and a low resistance protection feature. The mod cuts off in cases of short circuit or low resistance. Another unique feature of the XPRO is the mech mode. You can toggle between the VV and Mech Modes by using the menu. While the mod is on, press the power button three times in two seconds, and the menu screen will display. Toggle back and forth using the power button. Smoktech also is a great source for XPRO info. The M50 product page features a video on Smoktech’s website. The M50 is “fairly light” at 115 grams. The M36 has the same body style, and the same weight. An aluminum zinc alloy comprises the “elegant” body. The M50 has a spring loaded pin for firm connection with the atomizer. Five holes in the bottom plate act as a cooling function to dissipate any heat. According to Smoktech, its patented mech mode gives a “whole wattage output from the battery.” If you want to explore a mech mode with your box, then currently the XPRO is your only option. The body of the XPRO feels durable yet smooth. The textured sides allow for an easier grip and recessed buttons. Of course, recessed buttons make it more difficult to accidentally press them, and that’s a good thing! The battery has a locking feature to make it safe to carry in a purse or pocket. A kit included eGo/510 adapter gives even more versatility. The XPRO has a lightning fast charging time with a USB port. Plug the battery in and watch the percentages go up. Replace the battery in your M50 by unscrewing the bottom plate. Other batteries in the line are self-contained battery units. In his video “Smok Xpro M50 Review from Eciggity— VapingwithTwisted420,” YouTube reviewer VapingwithTwisted420 said that changing the battery in the M50 can be tedious. He said that the battery has a tight fit and that the removable plate is hard to get back on. Even Smoktech themselves recommends not to dismantle the screws frequently. This is not an option I was able to explore with the M36. The SMOK XPRO is a great little box mod. It is comparable to the iStick50 and the Sigelei vr250 in operation, size and power capacity, but has a few unique functions such as mech mode. I love the pass-through function as well. Pure convenience! Its range is 3.7 to 4.2 V and is capable of firing .2 to 4 Ohm atomizers. At a price point somewhere around $64.99, the XPRO is a great investment for a small, stealthy mod with enough power for everyday convenience and sub-Ohm vaping.


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Tobacco Plus Convenience Expo Provides Mixed Bag of Retailers Words and photos by Norm Bour It was the clashing of cultures. It was the battle of old technology and business versus the new ways. It was the Tobacco Plus Convenience Expo held in Las Vegas, N.V. from Jan. 28-29, and it was a mixture of many different business models that may indicate the future direction with greater clarity. TPC is the current name, but it has had several names and owners over its 10-year plus history. Starting out as a forum for convenience stores (the “C” in the name), it was a marketplace for the 7-Elevens and Circle Ks and gas stations to learn about what to offer their customers. As they say on their web site it brings in “buyers representing retail stores, smoke shops, vapor stores, wholesalers, distributors, import/export, tobacconists, legal analysts, consultants and others in industry related markets.” A true cross section of many related industries. The aromas in the spacious Las Vegas Convention Center ranged from various flavors of e-liquids to hookahs and cigarettes to cigars of every imaginable sort. Fortunately all factions played well together even though vapors have little respect for tobacco sellers of any kind and tobacco sellers are not quite sure what to think about the “new kids in town.” Along with combustible and smokable products, other items were on display including various energy drinks and pills and potions that you see splayed out at your convenience store of choice. Hookahs of gigantic proportion were everywhere and the crowd was festive and came from all parts of the world. TPC is an interesting mixture and very unique. In the world of “events” it stands apart from typical vape fests and is more varied than the National Association of Tobacco Outlets Show (NATO), which also is held in Las Vegas in April. It brings in buyers and sellers from everywhere and every level of company from Big Tobacco to the small vendors looking for product placement in the “C” stores. Is TPC worth your time to attend? If you want to network with a large, sophisticated audience with lots of history and great connections, then the answer is “yes.” If you go to events to play and listen to loud music, attend cloud blowing contests and get free T-shirts then probably not.

Questions? Norm@Vapementors.com.

Were you there and have comments? Let me know.

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Scenic Vapers #CloudCheck Promotes Vaping in Nature

Scenic Vapers’ Tyler Price in High Water Muddy Creek Falls in Swallow Falls State Park, Maryland Photo by Rachel Ellyson

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Baughman Rock Overlook at Ohio Pyle State Park, Pennsylvania Photo by Rachel Ellyson

Social media sometimes brings people together in ways that we least expect. Friends, followers and likes originate from all over the world, and many people become acquaintances and even close friends without meeting face-to-face. In July 2014, Ian Silver (@Yogi_Wan_Kenobi_Sov) and Tyler Price (@Drippin_Balls) first met on Instagram when running into each others’ similar photography styles and love for nature. These passions are what led them to create Scenic Vapers, and almost a year later, the pair’s original goals are staying true to form. From the beginning the main goal was to inspire other to get outside and enjoy the beauty that this world has to offer and the exercise that comes with it. They knew that they loved what they were doing and there had to be others out there who shared the same loves.

Ian Silver, or Yogi, lives in Sedona, Arizona. A self-proclaimed nerd and Star Wars junkie, he also is an avid hiker, yoga practitioner and healthy lifestyle promoter. He started his journey in the vape game about a year and a half ago when he and his girlfriend Aimee (@natty_vapes) wanted to find a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes. They went to a local shop and picked up the Smok Magneto and IGO-W. Since then, it’s been a whole new world. He started building immediately and fell in love with all aspects of vaping, including the community. He found himself promoting online and doing reviews for companies, and he now works at a local shop called Magic Mist as a sales rep and promoter for Fogg Society (@FoggSociety) and is captain of Team Royal Wires Arizona (@teamroyalwires_az). He and @natty_vapes have a juice line called Chakra Joose (@chakra_joose) and he is proud to be a part of the

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Ian Silver at Cathedral Rock Vortex, Sedona, Arizona Photo by Brett Hill

Society of Vape competition team (@TeamSOV). Tyler Price has been cigarette free for almost two years. He started off with a Volcano e-cig and a cartomizer, and from there with the help of forums and friends and a lot of curiosity and practice he gradually made it into mechanical mods and atomizers. This whole journey has been more than he could have ever hoped for, and he feels blessed to have gotten to meet and get to know so many members of the vaping community. Both Silver and Price have consciously chosen a healthier lifestyle, and they feel that Scenic Vapers gives people the motivation to want to get out and explore all of the beautiful places around them while being active and enjoying life.

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They aim to promote a healthier lifestyle and living life to the fullest. What they really enjoy the most is being able to get a glimpse at what others from so many different parts of the world get to see on a daily basis. While they feel they are on the right track due to community response so far, neither will quit setting goals for the Scenic Vapers movement. The biggest unexpected challenge, after all, is the wind. To submit your photo to Scenic Vapers #CloudCheck for VAPE submission consideration, follow @VapeMagazine @ScenicVapers @Drippin_Balls and @Yogi_Wan_Kenobi_ Sov 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.


Ian Silver at Thunder Mountain, Sedona, Arizona Photo by Aimee Poppert

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Innovation Prayer By CJ Caswell Can we take a moment to reflect on just how badass this industry is? We have gone from zero to lightspeed in fewer than five years. Five years ago, the Puresmoker Prodigy was nice tech. The idea of an iStick 50w would have been laughable. The major stages all have happened in fast forward: from the first tepid steps into mechs driven by CR123 camera batteries, to the standardization of the 510 connector, then on to the domestication of the tank system into user-friendly systems like the eGo. Recently, we enjoyed our own version of the horsepower wars. A few e-liquid makers are starting to become household names nationwide: I’ve had people visiting my town in Kansas ask me if I carry their favorite brand of premium juice, and I’ve been able to say yes. We’ve got devices of every size and shape, rapidly increasing in quality and technological integration. We have flavors that can rival Coke in likability and fine liquors in complexity. I had to say all that because it is completely inexcusable to be ungrateful. I really like my industry. That being said, there still are some things we could use in this market that haven’t been developed, and I’m going to throw three of them out there. You’re reading a vape shop owner’s prayer. These things need to be made before I find some spare time and have them made myself. And while the poverty wage wizards in China obviously hold the key to making any of them affordable, anyone can play with the ideas and could probably find a way to commission one done right. 1. The Tester Tank Has no one else noticed that there is no clearo or tank on the market that makes the “perfect” taste tester? The requirements are simple: • It must be cheap, because people break things and most shops have scores of flavor options. • It must be bottom coil, because top coil wicks dry out and you don’t want a customer starting off their experience in your shop with a dry hit. • The coil must be removable, because things get gross after a while.

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• They must be top-fill with a bottom that can’t be unscrewed, because if it isn’t, every customer who removes the tester from the battery is going to hold it by the tank portion, unscrew it from the coil base, and spill the liquid everywhere, and no amount of warnings or signage can change that. • And finally, it must be extremely unlikely to leak. It could be single or dual coil, and while pyrex would be nice, plastic has advantages so long as the liquid doesn’t sit in there long enough to absorb any chemicals. Less capacity is actually better than more, as testers that don’t get filled as often tend to start tasting bad. The testers at my shop needed very good flavor since we sell high-end juice, so after starting with weak CE4 clearos, we switched to dual coil tanks with bottoms that screw off. New customers help that juice escape too often. We need a miracle, and I doubt we’re the only shop with that issue. Unfortunately, our savior does not yet exist. The RBC, the T2 and T3, the iClear 16, the Vision Nano, the Aspire BDC, all fail to make the cut in some way. You see the problem: a removable bottom coil needs to have a coil base that can be unscrewed to access it. I bet anyone could solve this issue with 30 seconds of thought, because all you need to do is make it impossible to unscrew it without actually meaning to unscrew it. 2. More 26650 Regulated Mods The way I read it, development of the 26650 battery got screwed over here, because the 18650 is the battery that Tesla automobiles uses in their electric cars. Every major battery maker pushed their R&D money into that platform, trying to grab the contract (it eventually went to Panasonic), and abandoned 26650 batteries in the process. In an alternate universe, the 26650 could be a better battery. But even in this sad continuum, the platform still has advantages, especially now that so many people have moved to regulated mods. The big cell can handle marginally higher loads and, most importantly, has a much longer lifespan, with 4000 mAh being standard. The prom queen 18650 still struggles to hold 2500 mAh in high-amp form, which means users of the iPV2X or XPro constantly ask me if they can either buy magnets for the compartment door or just leave it off, so often do they change their batteries. An 18650 mod will never last as long as a 26650 mod. You could make a fantastic regulated mod in the 50-80 watt range that could fire down to a .2 Ohm load safely, ready to pair with the new Arctic tank or even a few drippers. And it would last all day. Even if it didn’t, unlike the iStick 50, you could swap the battery. It would not be small, but of the popular models out right now, only the iStick is really pocket size. Really,


a good 26650 just needs to be small enough to fit in the hand comfortably, which is why I loathe the tendency for designers to look at that big battery and put it in a huge mod, like the Babel or the EHPro Mars. When I used the Mars, I loved the battery life, but that thing was a pain to run around with. Besides, something about those giant phallic bastards just screams “compensating.” So what are the choices right now for reasonably-sized 26650 regulated mods in the 50-80 watt range? The only one I’ve seen is the Itsuwa Chain Reaction, which only fires down to a .5 Ohm load. The pickings are quite slim. 3. A New Spinner When I say “Spinner,” I’m including similar devices like the Smok Winder and the Aspire CF VV, but you know which was first. The Spinner battery is a classic device for beginners or people stepping up from an eGo starter kit battery, and I mean no disrespect. I like selling it in starter kits as a first rig, since people seem to stay satisfied with it longer than they do a fixed-voltage battery. But it has its downsides. The most obvious is the shape. Do you have any idea how many customers put their Spinner in their back pocket and happily stop thinking about it, only to sit down and hear a nice loud CRUNCH! informing them that they just crushed their equipment and are sitting in their own juices? The long, thin stick shape was inspired by cigarettes and needs to go. We certainly don’t need all that length: anything longer than a 900 mAh eGo is foolish and a pain to carry in a front pocket. You can’t stand it on its butt end, as it’s too easy to topple, and yet most good clearos and tanks are bottom fed and should be oriented this way to stay soaked. We can do better than this, can’t we? Aside from the tobacco companies, the industry seemed to just forget about the beginner’s market following the release of the Atlantis, but it’s still very much there. If you want to keep stealing all this lovely market share from analogs, then more design variety in the entry-level eGo-style realm would be a great idea. Those are my seemingly useful ideas at the moment. If you want to use one, just go ahead. All I need is a hefty kickback, a Lexus, my face on the dime (to hell with Roosevelt), and your sister’s phone number, and there will be no legal ramifications out of me.

Army combat vets can be dangerous, and things only get worse when they hold degrees in history and economics, like CJ Caswell. On top of that, Caz owns Manhattan Vapors in Manhattan, Kansas. He insists that this happens because his life is epic, a product of natural born awesomeness.


By Katie Welch Would you let anyone take your e-cig away from you? No, I didn’t think so. But in Europe, the European Union might.

6. Only high purity ingredients that do not pose a risk to human health may be used in e-liquid.

As readers of VAPE Magazine, you will be well versed in the politics of e-cigarettes and may well know about the European Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) and what this will mean for the European e-cigarette community.

7. Consistent nicotine doses must be delivered in consistent operating conditions.

However, what many people fail to realize is that the implementation of the TPD is currently underway, it is happening now. Talks and discussions are taking place regarding the finer details of Article 20 that relate specifically to electronic cigarettes, and in Denmark, the TPD is becoming a reality with a newly published 141 page document detailing how the Danish government will implement. Many vendors there are expecting to go out of business.

9. Information leaflets must be included with all e-cigarette and e-liquid products. 10. Ingredients should be listed in descending order of weight, with a notification of nicotine delivery per dose. 11. Promotion and advertising of e-cigarettes by print, radio, televisual or public event media is prohibited.

But this is where the Totally Wicked legal challenge steps in, that, if successful, could halt Article 20 of the TPD in its tracks.

Submission of comprehensive sales and marketing data also is required.

Last year, Totally Wicked launched its legal challenge against the Tobacco Products Directive, and during the latter half of the year they were awarded the right, by the U.K. courts to challenge Article 20 of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), and challenge it in the European Courts of Justice.

This list has been taken from this website: http://article20legalchallenge.com. The article20legalchallenge website has been set up by TW to inform everybody about the challenge and to encourage people to sign up and support them.

Fraser Cropper, CEO of TW wrote in a recent post, “The TPD, in its attempt to regulate these products (e-cigs) under the auspice of existing Tobacco Products regulations, is one of the most ill judged, morally questionable and divisive pieces of legislation that the EU has the arrogance to commit to law.” And here is a reminder of why he feels so strongly. The TPD that is due to come into force in May 2016 (and as I have already stated the implementation is already under way)—will mean the following changes to European vaping. 1. E-cigarettes may be sold as licensed medical products, in which case they are not subject to the limitations imposed by the TPD. 2. E-cigarettes and e-liquid not sold as medical products are considered to be tobacco products, and may be sold subject to TPD regulation. 3. All products must be notified to the competent authority six months prior to being placed on the market. Products already on the market on May 20, 2016 must be notified within six months of that date. The notification procedure is complex and requires substantial testing and technical work for every product. 4. E-liquid may only be sold in pre-filled cartridges containing 2 ml or fewer or dedicated refill containers containing 10 ml or fewer. 5. E-liquid may not exceed nicotine content of 20 mg/ml.

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8. E-cigarettes and refill containers must be child and tamper proof, protected against breakage and leakage and when refillable, there must be a mechanism that ensures leak free refilling.

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We all know that the above list will essentially drive the e-cigarette industry into the hands of the tobacco companies—(I know the irony won’t escape you) and render pretty much all e-cigarettes bar basic starter kits and ciggie-likes irrelevant. What are European vapers doing alongside the Totally Wicked Challenge? I’m afraid for Europe it’s a case of déjà vu from 2012/13 when the TPD was winding its way through the European Parliament. European vapers are being encouraged to sign up and support the legal challenge here: http://article20legalchallenge. com as each and every signature shows the European Members of Parliament and legislature the depth and strength of vapers feelings against this disproportionate regulation. European vapers also are being strongly urged to write to their Member of Parliament and member of the European Parliament to let them know why Article 20 of the TPD is terrible legislation. If you are a European citizen living in the States, please sign; please do your bit. Please also share this article and the legal challenge website with all of your EU friends and family. Every single signature will count, and it will make a difference. Katie Welch, a U.K. native, has been working in the e-cigarette industry since 2008 and follows closely the politics and regulatory goings on both in Europe and the United States.


The Imminent Threat to Vaping’s E-Commerce Business By Eli Rubin Cyber fraud always has been a threat to e-commerce business; however, with the booming increase of Internet-based business, so has been the increase of Internet crime. There are different types of cyber fraud: identity theft, system hacking to gain access to valuable information and penetration into credit card processing software, which would allow an intruder to perform credits to prepaid credit or debit cards. Today we will discuss fraudulent credit card transactions. The vape industry has introduced an amazing opportunity for the single individual to the largest of corporations to partake in what I refer to as “the 21st century gold rush.” Business owners and folks that have been struggling to earn income in order to cover their daily living expenses now are able to afford to purchase real estate, create retirement plans and expand business opportunities in one of the fastest growing, unregulated industries ever. This means an opportunity has been created for all sorts of folks to jump on board and make great income very fast; however, it also creates an opportunity for fraudsters to purchase loads of merchandise from unsuspecting “newcomers” to the world of e-commerce sales. Fraudsters are specifically targeting the vape industry! Due to the immense amount of new and unsuspecting business owners who are unknowingly leaving their businesses vulnerable, online vape industry merchants are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars of inventory on a daily basis. Fraudsters are using stolen credit card information to perform online purchases from e-commerce vape stores. Businesses are shipping out thousands in products only to find out, at a later date, the transaction is reversed; the money is gone—and so is the merchandise! For the most part, the stem of the problem simply seems to be that business owners have a lack of knowledge of the imminent dangers that exist. A quick education could ultimately make the difference of the success of a business—or the unfortunate downfall. There are some simple implementations that can save an ecommerce business from a fraudulent visitor walking away with hundreds, or even thousands, in valuable inventory from a single purchase. Although the fraudsters are keen, and even clever, to working around basic fraud controls, they always target the weakest, most vulnerable, first. The simplest implementation is AVS (address verification system); this will verify the address of the card holder against the information that has been entered upon request, declining any incorrect attempt. Although AVS is very effective, it only will block out

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the amateur to intermediate fraudster; there are far more advanced fraud reduction features and practices that can be implemented. A significant percentage of fraud attacks come from outside the United States; however, a U.S.-issued card may be used to “throw off” any warning flags of a fraudulent transaction. On the other hand; a U.S.-based attacker may use an international stolen credit card number. Tools, settings and practices should be implemented so that the business owner can easily detect, address and eliminate these potential threats. In fact, there are systems that actually will notify a designated email address of any attempts deemed to be a threat. Beyond the software systems and settings, a business owner quickly can be educated on how to do a daily scan of transactions, visibly looking for any trends that would raise a potential “risk threat” flag. Where does this education come from? That is the question! The answer is: from the merchant service provider. The merchant service provider earns income from the credit card processing; therefore, one would think it would be in the best interest of the merchant service provider to educate and assist the business owner with “best practices” for protecting his or her business from fraudulent card transactions. Unfortunately, business owners have been dealing with the harsh reality of severe losses that could have been avoided if only someone took a few moments of time with the merchant. Best Rate Merchant Service has been providing credit card processing services to the vape industry since 2008. The threats that we see today are much more advanced and prevalent than ever; the vape industry is being targeted due to the rush of newcomer business owners selling e-cigs and e-liquid online. We are speaking about vape merchants that tell us horror stories of losing thousands of dollars online. The sad part is that these loses could have most likely been avoided if the merchant was assisted with some quick but invaluable information and fraud tool settings. Best Rate believes in working with every merchant to assess the level of knowledge and protection that a merchant currently posses, while suggesting and implementing tools and best practice information that will ultimately provide safety and success to these business owners in the ever growing vape industry. Eli Rubin is director of strategic relations for Best Rate Merchant Service. For more information, email contact@brmerchantservice.com or visit www.BestRateMerchantService.com.


The War on Regulations Where Does the FDA Stand? By Mark Benson, Guest Columnist Is the FDA balanced in its approach to the vaping industry? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently is in year four of a “two-year� review of the vaping industry. This is a review that has been hampered by legal issues, slow movement and even today, four years after the review was launched, there still is no definitive timescale for new regulations. This has caused many in the vaping community to question whether the FDA is balanced in its approach to the industry and whether the ongoing review is fair. The FDA has history with the vaping community. Many people may not be aware that the FDA only a few years ago attempted to effectively ban electronic cigarettes outright. This move had been rubberstamped by the administration only for a High Court challenge to rule against the ban forcing the FDA into an embarrassing U-turn. Against this background it is not difficult to see why many people believe the FDA is unbalanced in its approach to the sector with a potential bias against the industry. That said, the role of the FDA is to effectively protect U.S. consumers and ensure that all products and services are safe. This slow approach to vaping regulations is in the eyes of some of the overcautious, while others believe passionately this is an issue that needs to be addressed correctly. If it was not for the number of false dawns, when the FDA has apparently suggested regulations were around the corner, many people would agree with the latter comment. But it is the confusion, misinformation and news vacuum that appears to be playing into the hands of the critics.

This has allowed critical politicians and local authorities to jump on the bandwagon to restrict electronic cigarettes with many attempting to treat them in a similar fashion to their tobacco counterparts. The fact that these types of products are different in so many ways does not appear to have been appreciated by critical politicians with many seemingly more interested in replacing falling tobacco tax income. It is ironic that we could see the release of data on 100 long-term medical trials into the use of electronic cigarettes and 99 would be very positive with perhaps one asking uncomfortable questions. We can only guess why politicians seem keen to focus on the negative research as opposed to those which seem to support the industry. There are those who will suggest this is paranoia at the highest level from vaping supporters, but just this week (as of press time) we saw a U.K. professor confirming it was more difficult to interest the wider press in positive vaping research, with a greater appetite for sensationalism/controversial headlines. Is the FDA stalling? There is a growing belief that the FDA has let down the vaping community due to the fact it has taken so long to arrive at the situation today with no regulations in place. Even if the FDA had come out and suggested strict regulations of the industry, with data to back the move, then at least we would be moving forward and any confusion would be removed. There is a growing suspicion that the FDA is stalling on the introduction of federal electronic cigarette regulations creating the information vacuum referred to earlier that has allowed local states to take the lead. At this moment in time, could you realistically defend the position and the actions of the FDA?

Local authorities are introducing vaping regulations. There is no doubt that the ongoing FDA investigation/review of the industry has caused a significant information vacuum.

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Mark Benson is the SEO and social media marketing manager for OK Premium Quality Electronic Cigarettes. For more information, visit http://www.okcigs.co.uk/.


service,” Wong said. “We want to really focus on women who vape. Women feel really uncomfortable when they walk in and see a whole group of guys. They want to taste juice too, and we make it a point to make them feel welcome.” One of the big things that Vape312 does is drop everything for every customer who comes through the door to say hello. Micor compared it to the customer service level of that when he goes shopping for clothes. When he gets that special hello, he feels welcome. The shop also holds daily happy hours from 4-7 p.m., has periodic live music and is bringing back BYOB Ladies’ Nights, where the entire tasting bar is reserved just for women.

By Alyssa Stahr Photos courtesy of Vape312 “It’s easy to open a vape shop. The hard part is sustaining it.” — Christian Micor Christian Micor and Tang Wong have had a lot in common over the years. They have been friends from high school. They both quit smoking more than 20 years ago. They both gained weight after smoking. They both have a sales background. They both tend toward the superstitious side. And, they both saw the value of opening a vape shop in a bustling Chicago neighborhood after becoming vapers.

Opening the shop and internal decor both harken back to the superstition aspect of the duo. In the dead of winter, the pair were staking out places for the new shop’s home. A ladybug hopped in the van, and Christian knew that was his good luck sign. Wong’s lucky number is 8, so a virtual ladybug mixed in with the number 8 now serves as VAPE312’s logo draped throughout the store. “We wanted something really classic, and we also want a logo that could turn us into something like the Apple design and take its own shape,” Wong said. Micor added: “A logo that can bring us to the next level.”

Wong’s dad passed away from lung cancer seven years ago, and his wife had a tough time quitting smoking. However, with an eGo pen, she quit smoking instantly. As soon as Tang Chicago Reader’s “Best Antismoke Shop” celebrated saw her literal overnight success, he realized the potential its one-year anniversary Feb. 21, and the pair of the vape. He didn’t know much about the e-cigarette realizes that their goals are being met because partly industry, and he thought that they were just little devices that because of their complementary relationship. people bought at the gas station. Then he was introduced to a personal vaporizer and he tried it with 6 mg. It hit like “We had a vision to make this happen. At the same time a cigarette; he didn’t gain weight; he was able to breathe, I’ve always been in business. I’m a dreamer; I sort of have smell and taste; he got his oral fixation; and he got his nicotine fix without the tar. Photo By Alyssa Stahr “It was a win-win situation,” he said. The pair traveled to a vape shop in Skokie, Ill., and while it was a cool shop, they agree that it was too niche and not catering to all clientele. “We had so much experience, and we looked at each other and said ‘There’s a much better way to do this,’” Micor said. After looking at companies on the West Coast and how they provided customer service, particularly VapeRev, they wanted to do things differently. This includes catering to all customers, even in a male-dominated industry. “They have a signup sheet that’s assigned to a sales person. They cater to you; it’s all customer

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Left to right: Alan Alegre, director of operations; Tang Wong, co-founder; Christian Micor, co-founder; Rebecca Doshier, juiceologist; Jorian Micor, director of marketing


to do it; I can’t procrastinate,” Wong said. “Christian is more analytical.” Micor added: “I think that’s something that Tang and I do well. We analyze it and most of the time we get past it.” While they had a goal to get to where they are now, they didn’t realize how fast it would happen, especially the impact they’ve had on the Chicago vaping community. While they sought out locations in the suburbs and the city, they knew their flagship store needs to be in the city. (The first location is housed on Sheffield in the heart of Lakeview, with two to three more franchises in the works.) “I’m a firm believer of reach for the sky and you’ll get to the ceiling. We’ve definitely gotten to the ceiling. It’s everything we’ve dreamed it could be and more. We’re constantly innovating and challenging ourselves,” Micor said. Being innovative and creating hype as far as juice selection and carrying items that no one else has is something VAPE312 is known for. Alan Alegre, director of operations and store manager, ultimately decides what to carry. However, if a juice in particular passes through all nine employees with flying colors, he will carry it. VAPE312 currently has 13 in-house lines and distributes nine lines to other shops. “We first hit up all the big names, then I start looking at what’s popular and what comes up in California,” Alegre said. “When we started we were behind at least a year or two. We brought in our friends and family members in the beginning and had them taste. Five out of six flavors do well, for instance, we will carry it.” In the short time VAPE312 has been in business, Chicago has caught up to the West Coast by leaps and bounds. The company went from starter kits to mechanicals, to drip atomizers, to box mods. “That’s huge. You can actually vape at a higher Ohm and you don’t have to sub-Ohm. You can go to a .7 at a lower heart

Photo By Alyssa Stahr


The future of vaping and regulations in Chicago are much like the rest of the country: unpredictable and unknown. However, VAPE312 started when nobody in the area knew what vaping was. The company received a general retail license, and then last spring Mayor Rahm Emanuel prohibited vaping in public. Then in July, vape shops had to have tobacco licenses. “Chicago already has regulations in place. I’d rather have that than start a business with no regulations. If you go into a town and open a shop and they have no regulations, you’re screwed,” Micor said. and get the same amount of vape and that’s huge,” Wong said. “It’s gone back to more flavor and taste. KangerTech mini subtanks and the Atlantis this year … those are the biggest game changers, biggest impact. It’s almost the same amount of vape production that you get in a drop atomizer in a tank.” Micor continued: “In our eyes the eGo starter kits are going away. The customer base has kind of stepped up and become more educated. They are evolving as vapers.” Alegre tries to keep an open mind throughout the process, strategically bringing merchandise in to keep with the times. In addition, local juice companies such as Transistor, come to VAPE312 for carrying purposes because of the tight community bonds and the way they do business.

Chicago vaping business owners have tended to stick together, and on the shop’s one-year anniversary, 30 vape shop owners showed up to the party to support VAPE312. That’s another thing that differentiates the Midwest from the West Coast. “Society in general, how we’re different in Chicago—that’s huge. When they come from Cali and the East Coast they say that what’s cool is that all the vape shops get along and really support each other. If we don’t have something we refer (a customer) to another shop and vice versa,” Wong said. Micor added: “Yes, we are competing for sales and business, but we’re all out for the same goal. We’re playing nice in the same box, and we’re hoping to keep that.” For more information, visit http://www.vape312.com/.

“We like to push local,” Micor said. Tang added, “Transistor is probably the hottest juice in Chicago. And JMK Tips. We were his first shop, and now he’s worldwide. That’s one of the biggest things that’s happened out of Chicago. We’re lucky enough to help launch that.”

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Photo By Alyssa Stahr


l o o k s t o wa r d f u t u r e s u s ta i n a b l e e f f o rt s By Alyssa Stahr Photos courtesy of Imani Athena Pioneering, sustainability, harmony. Holistic creativity is the driving force behind Kind Organics, and while several product lines serve as the brainchild of this company that prides itself on using only plantbased eliquid ingredients, a new EGel Drip Collection has broken through boundaries. Imani Athena, owner of Kind Organics, originally contacted V APEto talk about a new product that was designed exclusively for the dripping community. By the time the interview was scheduled, in true vaping fashion, [sub] ELEMENT’s purpose had morphed slightly. The new product category is focused on the hobbyist, the coil builder and the cloud chaser. Made with certified organic ingredients, [sub] ELEMENT is PG and alcoholfree. The “new revolution” with the gel line happened after additional in­ house tests took place. “The egel line was for people who were into subOhming and building coils, and that has changed,” Athena said. “A couple of weeks ago we were running tests on the Kanger Nano Tank and the Aspire Atlantis Tank, and the gel’s performance was incredible. We were like, ‘Wow, that changes everything.’ These tanks can handle the egel exceptionally well. Say you’re not into building coils. Maybe you love the collection but you aren’t a dripper. This opens the doors to the entire vaping community—if people can get their hands on one of those sub ohm tanks.” Athena calls the [sub] ELEMENT line amazing, and it came about because of customers at trade shows who sought out something that they could drip. Kind went into its Nectar line and changed the formula, so vapers could enjoy the sensa­ tion of the luminous cloud production. Kind then took the op­

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portunity to develop an entire new line that could appeal to consumers more on the hobbyist end, aficionados of vaping, who are looking for both taste and a luminous cloud. Since she doesn’t like the messiness and delicate nature of building new coils, Athena is thrilled with the [sub] ELEMENT line’s new revelation in her Atlantis Tank. “We wouldn’t have even had this conversation two weeks ago. It’s just wonderful, It’s a very pure collection; it’s a European­ style flavor collection. The viscosity is very thick and there is no sugar tine alcohol or ethyl alcohol in this line,” she said. Current favorites in theSpinfuel.comTaste award winning [sub] ELEMENT line include Harmony, which is a slightly sweet botanical assortment. Floral but not “perfumy,” Harmo­ ny reminds Athena of decorative flowers on a wedding cake. “It’s a sweet floral bouquet. There’s not one specific flower in it where you can say, ‘This is it,’” she said. Lucidity, the coconut creme mojito flavor, is another flavor derived from a drink that Athena makes for her family. She buys fresh coconut and turns it into a cream. The Key West native then adds rum and Key Lime, which became the inspi­ ration for Lucidity eliquid. “For us it’s definitely art imitates life. We’re inspired by na­ ture, experiences and our own personal likes and dislikes,” Athena said. “It’s not necessarily based off of what customers want because we get so many requests, it’s like where do you go? As an artist, no matter what medium of art you have to say, ‘OK, I’m going to give you my art from my vision.’ Once the artist starts o create from requests of other people, it doesn’t always yield the best results.”


Athena, who created Kind with her husband to help family members overcome the challenge of smoking, lives an organic, healthy lifestyle. Her mother had a slight addiction to cigarettes, and upon the first glance at an ecig, never thought she could quit. “She was doing everything right, and that was the beginning of the journey to find out what was in the electronic ciga­ rette. That was a long journey, and here we are,” she said. “We come from families that appreciate an organic lifestyle ... being mindful of your own temple and body and cleansing your mind as well.” Creating a harmonic coherence within you own body and hav­ ing that affect the space around you was a key component to creating Kind. It was a very easy decision to go about creat­ ing eliquid in an artisanal way, however the challenge was finding the resources that could be used in vaper. “There are very specific reasons to go organic in vapor. Of course the problems that synthetic chemicals pose in our society today is a major concern. We have been since the early ‘90s been subjected to genetically modified organisms,” Athena said. “There’s no regulations whatsoever on these ex­ perimental genres that are being pumped into all aspects into ingredients in our bodies—not just food but cosmetics, etc. It’s presenting a new set of challenges.” Kind does not include ingredients that include synthetic forms or artificial flavoring in its product lines, including dyes or food colorings. Even the VG is plant based. Athena said that PG is starting to “rear its head” in terms of side effects. “When I go to trade shows I meet people who share their experiences with me, and it’s very bizarre and interesting.

Everyone has a new set of symptoms—some that I haven’t heard of before—and I’m continuously learning,” she said. Customers come to Kind mainly because they are looking for help, something unique that the company can offer them. Athena compares it to an island. The customer is floating at sea in a nicotine tobacco addiction, but they are concerned too because they don’t want to jump into another thing that hasn’t been researched properly. “They come to us as a temporary island where we can offer them a safe place where they can transition. We’re not look­ ing for longterm customers. We want them to work their way down all the way to 0 (nic) and graduate and move on with their life. We’re here to give you a helping hand,” Athena said. It’s all about being a conscious vaper, Athena, who uses all recyclable materials in Kind’s packaging, said. Sustainability starts with oneself, by being wise, reading ingredient labels and calling up companies to ask questions, not just with vap­ ing but with all products you use in your life. “Become aware of what’s being put in your products. Once you do that you can start to sustain yourself by maintaining a certain set of guidelines: Here is what I want to avoid and what I want to include. Then you can sustain outwardly,” she said. “You can possibly support local farmers, support small local businesses rather than going the corporate route. If you use disposables, switch and get a unit, which is better. The ingredients that we source usually come from small farms that believe in maintaining the farming practices without tak­ ing advantage of rare resources. There are flavors that we would love to create but sometimes you have to respect the scarcity of things and it might not be in the best interest to source that just to create a flavor.” For more information, visit www.KindJuice.com.

an u lt r a c o n scious e - gel designed f o r d y n a m i c s u b - o h m va p i n g p e r f o r m a n c e

A walk through a botanical labyrinth filled with the delicate aroma of springtime.

Roasted espresso beans covered in dark chocolate and sprinkled with crystal­ ized orange peel.

Lime, mint and coconut cream keep your senses aware, and remind you to ask, “Am I Dreaming?”

An attractively bright ge­ lato beaming with essence of honey dew and Cren­ shaw melons topped with a cucumber syrup. Tucked away in a French Chateau, a Grand Cru vine­ yard reveals a pink moscato champagne rich in fig, white chocolate, and red grapes.

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Made in the

U.S.A.

USA Liquid Nicotine Takes Tobacco From Farm to Vape By Alyssa Stahr Photos courtesy of USA Liquid Nicotine Ray Charles, chef Paula Deen, country singer Luke Bryan—a surprising number of American household names have come out of the quaint town of Albany, Ga., about an two and a half hours south of Atlanta. USA Liquid Nicotine is a fledgling company that prides itself on being 100 percent American sourced. Self-made entrepreneur Mark Grimaldi moved to Albany with pharmaceutical company Merck in 2000, and the native Pennsylvanian decided that he wanted to branch out on his own. His love for the quail hunting capital of the world and its people grew, and he started a chemical company in his new home, bringing many of his fellow Merck coworkers with him. Over time in the chemical industry, Grimaldi’s company expanded and took on contract research projects in the tobacco industry. Then in early 2013, the opportunity struck to begin work on USA Liquid Nicotine. “We spent about a year before we formed USA Liquid Nicotine, doing a lot of process research, product development and scale up work, making sure it was a viable business model and that we could be competitive with a quality product on a global scale,” Grimaldi said. “We were into production and built up some inventory before the company went public. We wanted to be ahead of the game.” The five-building plant, which spans over 38 acres, runs 24/7 and features a variety of equipment including storage tanks; a 20,000 sq. ft. warehouse for raw material storage; a state-of-the-art testing lab; specified vessels for safety purposes; an upgraded facility for blending and packaging specific for nicotine; in-house

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mechanics fabricators and more. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that once the 300 lb. boxes of tobacco arrive on campus, the process starts outdoors in boilers and chillers. Nicotine extraction is a process that takes plenty of aforethought. In fact, USA Liquid Nicotine has to contract a year’s supply in advance of the millions of pounds of tobacco it receives. The process yields myriad varieties of tobacco, however the company sticks with one variation to stay consistent in the market. Two people must sign off on everything that leaves the testing lab on a packaging batch sheet, which also acts as a chain of custody. The lab tests various items such as incoming raw materials, PG/VG levels and other company’s tobacco products they might send for testing help. The entire nicotine process is under nitrogen from beginning to end, and nicotine is refrigerated up to the point where it reaches the customer as to extend shelf life. In addition to current equipment, the company spent an additional $250,000 on testing equipment alone last year. William Jackson II, business unit manager and chemist, has been with USA Liquid Nicotine since August 2012. He said that safety and developing the freshest product possible are two of his main goals.

Jonathon Dyson, chemical/quality control analyst


“I pretty much see everything from every step; I push the product from coming out of the still all the way out of the door,” he said. “We also have a safety manual that everybody reads through and signs, and we look out for one another. I’m pretty hard on everybody. We pretty much carry it on (safety) everywhere across the board for all strengths of nicotine.” While the jury is still out on whether e-liquids are tried and true tobacco products, there is no doubt that nicotine in its purest form is dangerous if handled improperly. Internally, USA Liquid Nicotine employs operators who are highly skilled and used to handling products that have certain hazards. The company employs a full-time compliance officer and a safety manager who put together a training program for every operator and chemist. Onsite engineers provide closed loop systems for higher concentrations of nicotine to minimize exposure. Externally, the company spends a lot of time talking to customers and making sure they have similar processes and programs in place. “We sell pure nicotine on a very limited basis, and we spend a lot of time building that relationship. We will go on a site visit and verify that they have a lot of processes in places. Most of the time it’s pretty obvious that they are doing the right things,” Grimaldi said. “It’s a big liability for us, and we don’t want to put people in harm’s way. We’re focusing on a lot of the customers that we think will be around for a long time. We build relationships with our customers and how they position themselves in the market and what their strategy is.” Grimaldi said that he doesn’t want his company to simply be a supplier. He wants to add value through education, product support and connecting various people throughout the industry. In the future, he thinks that customers will want a higher concentration level of product and there will be fewer “back room blendings.” A big proponent of self-regulation, Grimaldi said that the company currently sells customized products depending on the customer. Typical orders come in at 100 mg in a mixed ratio of PG/VG. “Compliant people predict the future,” he said. “There are thousands of regulations. We probably get inspected by somebody at least once a month.” While competing in a global marketplace, the SBA Exporter of the Year for the state of Georgia gets its tobacco from the farms in the state of Kentucky. The company prides itself on being able to source its tobacco back to the fields of America.

“I know there’s a lot of companies that say they’re doing it, but it’s a blend. Nobody has really offered up documentation to support that. As far as we know, we’re the only U.S.-based company,” Grimaldi said. “When we got into this it was really important for us to look into the marketplace. Every trade show said, ‘Made in the USA.’ It seemed like such an important piece of the puzzle for everybody. It was something the industry needed.” After further research, Grimaldi saw the variability in the products, especially from those coming from China. Product quality suffered, so he saw an opportunity to provide a consistent product that could be traced all the way back to the stateside farm. He was pleasantly surprised and excited about how excited and passionate the farmers were about a partnership. “There just isn’t anyone else that can give you that amount of traceability,” he said. “We saw an opportunity to work with the farmers directly; as their crops for tobacco declined year after year we gave them an option to stop that decline and go back in another direction. Our quality starts at the farm. They take so much pride and ownership in that piece of it. We’ve asked for them to grow in very specific ways; asking them to do things differently. It’s really been a great experience.” Looking to the future, USA Liquid Nicotine is putting the finishing touches on a new clean room, researching long-term effects of storage research and predicting pending FDA regulations. While Grimaldi thinks that the burden will fall back on the manufacturer and the nicotine suppliers, he also thinks that’s where it should fall. “You really have to start there. We operate under the assumption on that’s where it’s going,” he said. “I want to be a good corporate neighbor. I want to hopefully leave this company to my kids, and I want to set it up so there’s no skeletons in the closet, no issues. We’re in this for the long haul.” For more information, visit usaliquidnicotine.com.


VCC Tampa Raises Almost $30,000 for Tobacco Harm Reduction By Alyssa Stahr Photos courtesy of Kevin Skipper Over the course of two days in sunny South Florida, more than 7,000 people walked through the doors of the Tampa Convention Center. Owner and founder of the Vaping Convention Circuit, Kevin Skipper, said that he expected attendance to double from last year’s Tampa stop, and the show didn’t disappoint. The Tampa Convention Center comes in at 25,000 sq. ft., and booths sold out in two months, before 2015’s calendar even turned. Approximately 100 vendors and advocacy groups attended, and about $30,000 was raised for tobacco harm reduction advocacy. “Getting smokers and tobacco users in the door and exposing them to vaping, that’s always my goal. And I definitely think we accomplished that,” Skipper said. A highlight of the VCC events is the Advocacy Summit, and this time around Friday evening’s industry-directed panel was better than ever. “It was absolutely incredible; it was a two-and-a-half hour session, and probably the best comprehensive panel of THR advocacy experts in the country. Just listening to the back and forth between the organizations was great,” Skipper said. While the Innokin- and Halo-sponsored summit was geared toward business owners, Skipper hopes that consumers are becoming more educated and learning how to advocate for their cause in the right way. VCC has numerous ways for consumers to get involved in

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advocacy efforts, including the “advocacy passport,” where attendees visit an advocacy booth, chat, collect stickers and possibly win prizes when their books are filled. Raffles for Tampa’s event included Moon Mountain and Diamond Vapors’ ticket raffles added to the prize pool. Ticket sales for Diamond Vapor amounted to $2,200, and Moon Mountain added $300 to that amount, giving $2,500 to advocacy causes. The Florida SmokeFree Association launched at the Tampa show, and it was able to raise $17,000 for advocacy through new member sign-ups and consumer contribution. “It’s just great, and I hope it gets better at every TCC event. I can’t think of one thing that could’ve gone better than it did, other than the size of the hall, which (in Pennsylvania) is going to be three times the size. It’s going to be the same format, but larger,” Skipper said. Skipper started from the beginning with one thing in mind when forming VCC, and that is tobacco harm reduction advocacy and exposing current tobacco users to vaping. “It’s my mission statement. Hopefully they continue to come and we can do this in different cities across the country.” For the video of the VCCT15 Industry/Advocacy Summit sponsored by Innokin and Halo, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFcdFFe_Nto. For sponsorship and vendor registration for June’s VCCPA15 in Pittsburgh, Penn., visit register.vapingcc.com.

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TW has come a long way since 2008, when Stacey Cropper’s brother was a heavy smoker. In late 2007, smoking was banned in public places in the U.K., and Cropper saw a gap in the market. He went to old trading sites and asked if anyone had any quit smoking aids, and he found the electronic cigarette. He was then introduced to e-liquids, thinking, “Who in the world is going to buy this.” But, they did.

By Alyssa Stahr Photos courtesy of Totally Wicked Even though they hail from across the pond, Totally Wicked has made a huge impact stateside. The electronic cigarette manufacturing business opened its first vapers’ lounge in May 2010 in Mainland, USA, which is arguably the first brick and mortar to stand in the United States. Electronic cigarettes were a fledgling industry back then, and due to high demand of online sales, Totally Wicked began trading out of its Florida headquarters, shipping vaping supplies across the country. After outgrowing its first premises, and in mid-2009 the company moved to new premises. Customers grew impatient, knocking on the warehouse’s door instead of waiting for their vape mail. By early 2010 TW, which now employs more than 100 people, outgrew the second premises and began looking for location No. 3. The perfect location on US14 was found, offering TW an excellent base to expand both the online business and the opening of the inaugural vaping lounge. Now with five brick and mortar retail stores, TW focuses on exemplary customer service and the regulation of the vaping sector. Recently TW has received planning consent to build a new fluid production and technical facility, giving it the capacity to produce more than 10 million bottles of high-quality U.K.-sourced e-liquid annually. TW believes in working constructively with policy makers and regulators, with a wish to see the sector “robustly but proportionately regulated.” Where the company believes legislation to be disproportionate or damaging to customers’ interests, however, it will engage with the political process and where necessary change it. (See an editorial explaining how Totally Wicked is fighting in the U.K. on page 72.) Much like the United States, the U.K. has not officially banned the sale of vaping products to minors, however TW has been self-regulating in this regard for more than six years.

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“It was a bit lucky. He didn’t have a lot of money; it is an absolutely amazing success story,” his sister and Totally Wicked Operating Partner Stacey said. “I’m really proud of him. He’s just a regular guy with a regular job.” Cropper was buying and selling homeopathic aids, and quitting smoking tied in with that. Once he established a business in the U.K. he started receiving a huge customer base from the United States. Shipping to the U.S. from the U.K. is a long, expensive process, so Cropper went to a vaping forum and posted about starting a company in the United States. He simply asked if anyone would work with him. Patti Centari, a woman based out of Florida, answered the call. Cropper liked her immediately and shipped her some products. “We’ve gone from her living room to three warehouses. He could’ve picked anyone else and he picked her,” Stacey said. “We had a small warehouse that we called the pink building, which is what Patsy moved to in 2009, and people were knocking on the door. That was never our intent, but they wanted the immediacy: the touch, the taste, the feel.” Since there was no other brick and mortar store in Mainland USA at the time, there was no benchmark to follow. The self-taught team set kits up for customers and let them try everything.


“I really like Absinthe. It’s blueberry/ blackberry in the Patriot range. In Red Label retro range, I like the candy flavors—like ‘70s British candy flavors— sherbet, lemon, licorice,” Stacey said. “There’s the old dichotomy of appealing to kids, but they are flavors from the ‘70s and not necessarily ones that the U.S. can’t relate to. Americans will compare to what they had.” Coming up in the near future, a new range called Odyssey will be hitting the site, which contains a higher VG base. Cropper also expects the Patriot range to shift to a higher VG. However, a big concern of Cropper’s is the ongoing battle with regulatory matters.

“We made sure when they left they understood their expectations. It was all educating the customers and customer feedback as well,” Stacey said. “As the industry grew we’ve developed it.” The professional approach at Totally Wicked extends to wearing staff shirts and ties. Cropper’s vision was not just to have customers, but clients. “A customer does a transaction and leaves. A client builds a relationship and tells their friends,” Stacey said. All five brick and mortar TW locations are fairly similar, with red and black serving as the corporate colors. The initial lounge has morphed into more of a store, but the option to sit and chat is still there. Tampa, Sarasota, Bradenton and St. Pete beach served as the first four locations, which gives TW a presence for tourists. “Our stores were busy right from the beginning because we had outstanding customers from the beginning,” Stacey said. The fifth store, which just opened in Largo is on US19, another main road in Florida. The color scheme with this store is more white with hints of red and black to make it brighter. Even though all five stores are a hit, TW still has a strong web presence. The company tries to carry a full range of flavors, but have tried to limit the product. The company’s Red Label e-liquid, which is manufactured in the U.K., is a 50/50 PG/ VG blend consisting of milder flavors. U.S. Patriot is a bolder flavor with a 70/30 PG/VG mix.

“We actually had an ongoing relationship with the FDA back in 2010. They impounded one of our shipments. We challenged them and got our shipments released, and we’ve had no problems since then,” Stacey said. “We’ve agreed to never make health claims or smoking cessation claims. As a company we will not allow any of our resellers to say they are healthful or a smoking cessation product. As a company we categorically won’t say it because they aren’t FDA approved and we want to do it right.” TW always have had childproof lids on its bottles, and they company tries to think ahead of the game and by self-regulating. Cropper said that she thinks morally it’s the right thing to do. “I think it’ll be very difficult for the mom and pops who are mixing that don’t have the financial wherewithal to do the testing to survive. People are saying they are FDA approved, but no liquid is FDA approved; I think they are misleading the public. It may be an FDA approved laboratory, but it’s how people say things,” Stacey said. While she isn’t against regulation, Cropper said that she is against kneejerk reaction regulations. She thinks in the future advertising will be regulated, along with anything that could appeal to a child. “We are the only e-cig company to fight the TPD. We’re doing that because we believe it’s a kneejerk reaction by people who don’t understand the industry. If you knew my brother he would spend every penny he had to protect what he thought was right. We’re generally doing what we feel is right for the industry.” For more information, visit http://totallywicked-eliquid.com/.

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characters like Rip van Twisted pepper our

the springy wire and the coils required

consciousness with words like “whoooeee” and

to reach a frighteningly low 0.15Ω. Once

insist we believe that “she’s a real performer!”

finished he shuffled off to the store.

as they sell the notion of a cloudier future. The merchant pointed out the process to

By Dave Cross The message displayed on mods across the

change temperature but the emissary was

Once upon a time there was a king so

globe “New coil up, same coil down” carries

too busy trying to convince the box that he

exceedingly fond of new vape gear that

such Animal Farm redolence that it strikes me

didn’t want “voltage.” He bit his lip when

he spent all his money on acquiring mods,

we ought to be circumspect. Again, breathe

the resistance reading began bouncing up

atomizers and all manner of wicking materials.

easy, I’m not arguing that we are at the behest and down. He kept his own council when the

He cared nothing about appraising his

of a committee of pigs but that message is

soldiers; he preferred to sit in front of Ye Olde

tinged with tones akin to “all vapers are equal,

YouTube reviewers seeing today’s greatest

but some vapers are more equal than others.”

Eventually, having unscrewed and reattached the freshly primed RTA, he drank deep in heavy

thing … and it was always better than the other thing he purchased the preceding day.

display suddenly began showing gibberish.

Orwell’s Benjamin the donkey knows, like

VG vapors. “Heaven help me,” he thought as

Eeyore before him, how it is: “Life will go on as his eyes flew wide open, “I can’t notice any His magisterial desk was replete with mods

it has always gone on—that is, badly.” He is, of real difference at all.” But he dare not say.

of every hue and, instead of saying, as

course, not applying himself to global politics,

one might, about any other ruler, “The

as literary experts would have you believe,

The vendor invited the wizened ambassador

king’s in council,” here they always said.

but simply to vape life. Benjamin knew that

to inspect the wick after the custard was

“The liege’s busy recoiling an atomizer

the quality of my vaping experience coming

finished. “Look at the luster,” they implored

with Ni200 wire and some Muji cotton.”

from a mech mod and a Kanthal coil is nigh

him. “Have you ever witnessed such a regal

on indistinguishable from the one I’m now

display after a full tank?” The poor old minister

But heed this, there is no Hans Christian

obtaining courtesy of chip-inspired supervision. stared as hard as he dared. He couldn’t see anything, because there was nothing to see.

Andersen tale residing in these words. If anything it lends itself more to Albert Camus:

Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos is not captive in

“A man defines himself by his make-believe as

a tall tower, his flaxen locks cascading out

“Heaven have mercy,” he thought. “Can it

well as by his sincere impulses.” No swindlers

the window in the hope that Professor Glantz

be that I’m a fool? I’d have never guessed

will come to call on our enthroned regent.

will climb up to join him and share his view.

it, and not a soul must know. Am I unfit

And yet all of us, including our fictitious

There is nothing made up regarding his initial

to be his Majesty’s vaper? It would never

highness, encounter weavers coming to call.

findings linking coil temperature to toxin

do to let on that I couldn’t see passed the

manufacture, which has driven his desire

blackness.” So the old envoy enthused:

to pursue further crowd-funded research.

“What a wonder, what a delight, I shall

The weavers do not come bearing magnificent

inform his kingness by nightfall!”

invisible clothing; ours take to language and video to create scenes of vaping equipment

Reviewers lauded news of the technological

that consistently break new boundaries. Like a

leap that encompassed a facility to banish dry

“What’s this?” thought the king, as he vaped

razor bearing additional blades, the equipment

hits, dirty wicks and counter toxin production.

his new mod. “I can’t tell the difference. Am

we are being sold for our tomorrows is clearly

Rip van Twisted, when he descends from

I a fool? Am I unfit to be the king?” It simply

an improvement on the things we used last

supping moonshine in the mountains, will

wouldn’t do to announce a taste of burnt

month—it has to be otherwise they’d not have

be “sick as bits” to discover how the

cotton to the court. “Oh! It’s incredible,”

invented it?

regulated market has moved on.

he said. “It has my highest approval.”

“That would be just the temperature-

Back to our king.

“But it’s just a box like all the others,” a little child said. “Only much more complicated.”

controlled mod for me,” thought the king. “If I used it I would be able to discover

The monarch dispatched his most trusted

which mods in my kingdom are unfit for

old minister to the vape shop to inspect and

*Similarities to persons living

their atomizers. And I could tell the wise

collect his new addition.

or dead are purely coincidental,

men from the fools. Yes, I certainly must

“He’ll be the best one to tell me how it

apologies to Hans Christian

get one right away.” And the king paid a

looks and performs, for he’s a sensible

Andersen and fantasists everywhere.

vendor a large sum of money to order an

man and no one does his duty better.”

improved vaping experience without delay. The minister knew he was being charged We exist within a vaping fairy tale—Snow White to return with a tale of excellence and set

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and the seven drippers, the Sleeping Beauty

about forming the perfect coil. Never was

of the regulated display. Entirely made-up

a happy ending harder to achieve due to

MAGAZINE

Dave Cross is a writer, biker, vaper, ever-more rotund punk and perpetual disappointment to his parents. According to his wife he is frequently wrong about most things. Follow Dave Cross on Twitter @MawsleyX.


A Review of Elixir Vape’s Epothecary Line Vape with Effect: By Erin Hedrick Photos by Eric Llanes Modern medicine, in the grand scheme of the world, is infantile. Prior to its discovery and mass production, alchemists, shamans and the like were whom people turned to when an ailment needed curing. Back then penicillin and aspirin didn’t exist; there were remedies that alleviated almost every illness and issue, and these ingredients still are known to have benefits. When it first came into the spotlight, vaping was praised as a healthy alternative to smoking. Vaporizers are able to deliver nicotine in a much safer way, as we all know, so why not take it a step further and utilize the technology to deliver healthier substances, such as vitamins and herbal remedies? This is the exact question William Vernetti and Brendan Kavanagh, lifelong friends, had on Christmas of 2013. Wanting to highlight remedies reminiscent of pre-pharma times, they began experimenting with herbal extracts and flavoring; and so was the birth of the Elixir Vape Co. “When we succeeded with our early versions of Awake we knew we were on to something,” Vernetti said. “We took the prototypes to some well-respected vape folks in our local community. They were very supportive and encouraged us to keep going. We assembled an amazing team and went for it.” So then what, exactly, is Epothecary? It is a natural and organic “elixir” e-liquid line consisting of four titles (Awake, Breathe, Calm and Enhance). The four formulas are a blend of herbs and flavors that use known compounds that have been used by herbal and holistic medical practitioners for centuries. Vernetti said, “We combined several herbs and vitamins to provide a three dimensional experience. Instead of merely treating say, insomnia with valerian, we added St. John’s Wort to add a pleasant sense of well-being to go along with deep rest that valerian is known to provide.” Vaping these e-liquids, and receiving the herbs and vitamins, gives vapers a benefit unique to each “potion.” These elixirs promote energy, clarity of mind, deep, wholesome breathing, a calm, peaceful state of mind, and improved libido while still providing an amazing vaping experience that’s full of rich, decadent flavors. Let’s break it down a bit more. What does it mean to “vape with effect?” As previously mentioned, the intention behind this new line is to recreate the benefits of herbal remedies and reintroduce the practices to modern day vapers. The idea behind Elixir Vape is that vapers inhale the vitamins and minerals used in the Epothecary e-liquid line and receive a desired outcome dependent on which e-liquid he or she is using. Vaping already has been noted in the health world as a godsend to

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smokers, so why not push that envelope? So how did Elixir’s Epothecary line measure up? Truly a better time to take these e-liquids for a test drive could not have existed. I had just returned from a conference in Las Vegas, and was battling one heck of a sinus infection. My internal clock was askew, and I felt awful, so I decided to bust out the elixirs. Being an old school, herbalist type myself, I was very excited to try this line out. I loved the idea behind it, but to be completely honest I was a little unsure of how well it would really go. How could vaping make me feel better? I have never been happier to be so wrong, and I cannot emphasize enough how perfect these elixirs have been for me and the impact they have had on my life. As I said, I was exhausted, due in equal parts to jet lag and feeling under the weather. I chose Awake as my introduction to the world of elixirs and apothecaries. This e-liquid boasts a natural energy boost and mental clarity, and it definitely lives up to its name. I was up until nearly 5 a.m. the night I tried it out, and needless to say I got a lot of work done that night. Awake contains Vitamin B12, which, as well as many other benefits, is a natural energy booster and helps to keep the mind sharp. It also contains green tea extract, which provides a nice, subtle caffeine lift. Awake also includes yerba mate, which contains xanthines: a perfect blend of caffeine, theobromine and theophylline. You get the effect of caffeine but without the jerky liftoff and harsh crash. Awake also has a wonderfully blended flavor of lemon, tea, berry and spice. If you like tea you will absolutely love this e-liquid. The next day, still miserable due to my inability to properly use my nose, I loaded Breathe into my Doge and went at it. In my opinion, in order to get the most out of this particular e-liquid, it needs to be dripped. I used an eGo, a Magneto and a Jellyfish on all four juices to see how the best results were achieved, and I had a much more noticeable reaction to Breathe when it was dripped. It added a nice warmth that reacted wonderfully with the subtle lemon flavoring, and created a very soothing sensation. I sent my stuffy nose packing with a few hits and a French inhale. I had immediate results—I could breathe! My nose felt clear, and my tension headache lessened dramatically. Breathe contains peppermint and eucalyptus, both of which have properties that are known to act as natural cough suppressants and help clear the sinuses. It also contains mullein, thyme and licorice extract, which are known anti-bacterials and anti-virals (bet you didn’t know candy could double as medicine, did you?). Breathe also has a natural menthol taste, which not only helps battle colds; it’s also an ancient remedy for migraines, as are peppermint and eucalyptus. So really, this e-liquid is a 2-in-1 weapon. Fighting an ongoing battle with mild insomnia, I was very eager to try Calm, which aims to promote relaxation, peace of mind and a restful sleep. It also advertises a rich, dark chocolatey taste laden with earthy tones. Of the four e-liquids, Calm is my favorite for taste.


I dripped this (which is, in itself, a calming habitual motion), relaxed in bed with Netflix, and was able to skip off to Dreamland within a half hour (I guarantee it would have been sooner had I not been so involved in Friends). Calm contains valerian root extract, which helps with sleep disorders, particularly insomnia, St. John’s Wort, which is believed to help relieve anxiety, and ginseng, which helps promote proper blood circulation. Combined with the mild chocolate flavoring, which is a wonderful addition to these natural, earthen flavors, Calm creates an incredible, near-immediate effect. “As a side note,” Vernetti said, “we believe the anti-anxiety effects of Calm can actually aid with the withdrawals from cigarettes. Valerian is often used in alcohol and drug detox facilities.” And finally we have Enhance. I can’t, shouldn’t and won’t get into my personal experience with this e-liquid, but I do want to make this note: despite including maca, which is used to treat erectile dysfunction, Vernetti said that Enhance has been reported to have a deeper effect on females. Maca also stimulates libido activity and vitality. Enhance also contains yohimbe extract, which is known to increase blood flow and nerve impulses. In addition, Enhance has ginseng, which, as stated before, is known to improve blood flow. This elixir tastes like a blend of caramel, cinnamon and spice, and, like the rest of the line, is blended to perfection. At $25.99 per 30 mL bottle, it’s well worth the cost if you have a birthday or anniversary coming up. Elixir Vape’s line also contains 0 mg nicotine, and they do not intend to include it in their formula. “Vaping is so much more than dispensing nicotine,” Vernetti said. They maintain that the variety of ingredients they use are well known in terms of their combined and individual effects, dosage and interactions with one another, and that there is a better way to give vapers positive reactions without the use of nicotine. Nicotine also does not fit into their personal philosophy of providing natural, healthy effects, as nicotine is a toxin. Elixir Vape has carved themselves a nice little niche within the vaping world. This e-liquid line can appeal to the casual vaper as well as the experienced smoker who’s looking to quit, as well as anyone else who seeks the effects their line provides. They combine artisanal flavors with herbs and vitamins to give vapers a pleasant, instantaneous effect. The goal of this e-liquid company is to help heal and rejuvenate. In fact, Vernetti recently revealed to me that his team was contacted by a naturopath practitioner (one who employs a wide array of alternative, natural treatments, including homeopathy, herbalism, and acupuncture, who wishes to implement the Epothecary line in their patient treatments. Vaping has the opportunity to truly have an effect on the world, and Elixir Vape soon may be fulfilling their motto in the most serious, awesome way. For more information, visit http://www.elixir-vape.com/.

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The Not-So-Great Vape Escape: Sociologically Reflecting on the Anti-Vaping Movement Words and photos by Anthony J. Ottomanelli II For the year 2014, Oxford Dictionary named its Word of the Year “vape” due to its ever-increasing popularity. Coincidentally, 2014 is the same year in which I was able to quit smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes, with professional assistance all due in part to Oxford’s Word of the Year. Proud to say, I’m now at a level of full-time vaping and have not had an actual tobacco cigarette in one whole year. In fact, after smoking a traditional cigarette a few weeks after turning solely to vaping, I became ill and nauseated. Therefore, I’ll never go back. vaping is here to stay in my life. However, is it here to stay in my town state or even my country? Once more, the “United” States is steadily and surely becoming divided on yet another topic that has been spun into a developing unnecessary social issue lingering over the edge of becoming a much bigger societal problem. Basically, vaping has entered the territory of being identified as a potential threat to health and humanity. Sadly, the continuous surge of vaping propaganda, whether in support of or against it, is now a potential fortune to be had on both sides of the coin, naturally another American Masterpiece. As a sociologist I am inclined to relentlessly question such behaviors, values and overall methods. It is therefore my sociological duty to pursue any type of resolution that only can be fueled by ideals of rationality and logic. The primary reason why there has been so much skepticism about vaping is simply because it appears to resemble the action of smoking traditional cigarettes. If the public is told that vaping is just as bad as or worse than smoking cigarettes, then they’ll regrettably believe in these counterfeit claims. Even though vaping is a long way away from sharing any similarities of smoking tobacco-based cigarettes, besides the obvious appearance of how it is administered, the general public will remain as the most gullible. We tend to believe the first thing we hear about something unfamiliar or even more popular nowadays; we usually also believe whatever is reported to us by the mainstream. Over the past 10 years or so, we’ve heard nothing nearly as negative about vaping as we have been hearing very recently. If you have yet to hear anything so robustly negative about vaping, then you’ll certainly be seeing it very soon, coming to a theater near you. Vape bans are rapidly spreading all over the county—whether big city-living or small-town slumming—these bans are everywhere.

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During the summer days of 2014, in the tourist-attracting, scenic town of Golden, Colo., there were restaurant patrons seated on outdoor patios who supposedly became exceedingly irritated with all the people smoking or vaping outside or simply passing by on the sidewalks. From this, there were apparently numerous complaints of ruined appetites and spoiled meals directly linked to the impossible concept of second-hand vapor. The 2015 vaping/smoking ban in downtown Golden was based on these unexplainable disturbances in which only City Council was able to vote on this subject matter. A writer for the Denver Post, Josie Klemaier, wrote the Golden City Council concluded that local businesses would suffer the cost of decreased business opportunities from losing customers (http://www.denverpost.com/golden/ci_26432351/golden-passes-outdoorsmoking-vaping-ban). Keep in mind, this vaping/smoking ban is not merely for indoor public locations, this ban inexplicably forbids the use of vaping devices and traditional cigarettes anywhere outdoors. We can’t embrace the art of vaping inside somewhere, nor can we partake in it outside This anti-vaping movement merely is based on the notion that if these deliciously-scented, quick-to-disappear vapor clouds were to come into contact with any potential customers for all the small-businesses downtown, then the consequence would be an economic backlash of unpredictable measures. Since my family owns a restaurant in downtown Golden, I can speak on behalf of a few local business owners and assure any skeptics that the ideas of lost business or a tarnished customer base will not be an inescapable effect from the mere sight or smell of vapor’s presence. In hindsight, realistically, the vaping/smoking ban may very well create exactly what it claims to be attempting the prevention of. Although no action has yet to be taken by any Golden locals or outsiders, there still are many individuals to discuss this controversial topic with. From my steady inquisition of questioning nearby residents, mainly those who live downtown, where the ban is forced upon the public to obey it thus becomes clear that many want to do something, even if that something is to speak out on the issue. One resident living right in the middle of this mountain town’s downtown, Daniel Chafetz, said, “To impede on an individual’s right to vape or smoke in the open air is downright offensive to the very concept of American rights, which is supposed to be outlined in our nation’s Constitution as having the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Just imagine how our Founding Fathers would have reacted. If the Golden City Council members were properly educated,


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they would be much more concerned about polluted air than the occasional smoker/vaper on the street.” (http:// www.denverpost.com/golden/ci_27566792/golden-citymanager-mike-bestor-announces-retirement) Keep in mind, this Golden resident who made these comments is a non-smoker and non-vaper, yet Chafetz still maintains the Golden ban is pure hypocrisy, shameful and unconstitutional. Considering this, many Golden residents who I was able to speak with concerning the smoking/vaping ban that went into effect Jan. 1 all seemed to have identical words to express. I had brief interactions with local residents and out-of-towners in downtown Golden. Many of the locals whom I had brief interactions with would simply reply “It’s so stupid. It makes no sense!” As if that vocal result was not entertaining enough, the responses I received from tourists or non-residents seemed to also reply with the same blanket-statement each and every time, also very amusing, they would typically state, “I had no idea that was even a legitimate thing here.” The next best thing was the other most-popular reply I heard was along the lines of simply stating, “I didn’t even know we couldn’t smoke. You aren’t allowed to vape either? Why?” All of these recorded statements surely were all characterized by an obvious state of pure bewilderment. After my social-interaction methodologies were embraced by many of the Golden street wanderers, I decided to try and acquire information by collecting any rational explanation from those who had the power to strip away such freedoms to begin with. With limited resources and ticking time, I tried to contact a few key members of Golden’s City Council, especially focusing on the city manager, Mike Bestor. Bestor never answered any of my requests for a comment. Then I read the local newspaper, The Golden Transcript. The Transcript featured a story involving Bestor announcing his retirement, just barely after one month had passed by since the ban went into effect. According to the Transcript article, the retiring city manager is stepping down to pursue other adventures. What could possibly be more adventurous? Overall, the public is just too afraid to educate themselves on the factual information about vaping and perhaps explain to their children what vaping is and why people choose to partake in it. It’s almost far too obvious; the shortsighted anti-vaping affiliates are fearful. Fearful that there is something new out there they should learn more about; fearful of their own confusion; fearful because they honestly have no clue what vaping literally consists of. But the antidote to their fears is already here, vaping is that antidote because vaping has unquestionably changed lives and will continue to change lives, allowing former smokers to drastically alter their lifestyles for the better. However, people tend to fear what they don’t understand. Yet, we must understand this: our fears are our own and can never be overcome unless we unlock closemindedness and walk into the direction of those fears.

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Nevertheless, no one in particular is saying that vaping is a health craze; we’re just expressing how much we believe it to be much healthier than smoking tobacco cigarettes. Regardless, perhaps the scientific research published by prestigious medical journals and other publications are being “spun” by the mainstream media, interpreting scientific findings incorrectly? Or, is our country’s populace simply fearful of what they don’t know the slightest thing about? Is it the fact that there are not yet any long-term studies able to be conducted on the health risks of vaping? Are all of these vape bans happening in cities and universities across the country merely just a pawn in a much bigger chess game of financial gain from other opportunities consisting of unrelated profitable business ventures? Are small town governments receiving payoffs from private enterprises? The possibilities are endless, yet not nearly as everlasting as the vast amount of vaping propaganda that has swiftly saturated the market as well as stamping a permanent stain in the social fabric of America’s uncertain perspective about vaping, our vision of tomorrow and foresight for the future. Then again, the very act of vaping itself is our future, so I guess everyone better learn how to share because the time is now, the end is not here and the future we must share is much closer than it is near.


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mokin’ Vapor Franchise Hops Into the Driver’s Seat

By Alyssa Stahr Photos courtesy of Smokin’ Vapor Beach life in sunny Florida is meant to be easy. Lori Switala, a smoker, never dreamed her life would change so swiftly in the summer of 2009. Cigarettes more than doubled in costs mostly due to higher taxation, and Switala was angry. She was given an e-cigarette by a friend and took it to the airport before a flight. No one cared. “I was able to use it on the plane at that time even. This was way better than trying to find a smoking room,” she said. After returning the device to its original owner, Switala began to research. She bought one for herself and realized how much cheaper it was. She had the addition part covered: the handling, the nicotine, the exhale. What could be better? Fate had given her a second chance, when the unthinkable happened. Switala’s husband was the passenger in a car driven by his boss when another driver ran a red light. His head hit the passenger window, causing a concussion. He thankfully walked away from the accident, however the head bump activated the part of the brain that controls Parkinson’s. After going on disability, Switala, who was a former stay-at-home mom with no college degree, realized her husband was going to lose his health insurance. “One night I was vaping and saw an ad on TV about e-cigs, and I looked up at my husband and down at my e-cig and I said, ‘No one here sells these things,’” she said. “I picked a company with two different models, and I started selling them out of the backseat of my car.”

Then one day fate shifted Switala’s life once again. She went to the mall, vaping away, when a security guard stopped her and told her she couldn’t vape. “I had a discussion with her and said there aren’t any signs that say there’s no water vapor here. She had two other security guards escort me out,” Switala said. The next day with a determined gleam in her eye, Switala returned to the mall office and asked to rent a kiosk. “I don’t think I was serious at the time, but I wanted to prove a point. I had my box and my starter kit, and I picked up my box and said, ‘I want to sell that,’” she said. “She (a mall official) thought I was nuts. I vaped my e-cig in her office and I explained it all. She was so excited about it and called everyone else in to the office. She said, ‘Of course you can have a kiosk.’” Switala explained to the official that she would have to puff in the mall to show her customers, and the official had no problem with it. Upon exciting the office feeling validated, the same security guard who kicked her out the day before was standing outside with her jaw dropped. Switala smiled. Then the smile turned to panic. “I said, ‘What did I just do? I have to open a kiosk now!,” she said. “All the farther I thought down the road is that I’ll sell until after Christmas, I will have health insurance for the rest of the year and I’m done.”

Matt Hadder sets up website order shipping at the Panama City store.

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The year turned into more and more people asking her to sell e-cigarettes, including the three local military bases.


The company grew to be “too much,” and the first Smokin’ Vapor opened in Panama City Beach. “The FDA got involved and we couldn’t put them on the bases anymore. I found out there was only one other store in all of Florida, so we were the second shop,” she said. “The FDA lost, and once they lost the appeal in 2010… we still do not have the regulations that we’ve been asking for. Instead of waiting, I started a franchise.” Once she found the formula for franchise success, which included helping a newly-divorced, out-of-work homeless woman open a Smokin’ Vapor in Michigan, Switala decided to open an e-liquid lab. She also worked on setting up the decor and what she was going to carry in her shop.

Lab in Miramar Beach

“I was really naive at first. I wanted to carry every American model there was. Unfortunately, they were all made in China. There were no mods. I said, ‘OK, if we can’t do that with the equipment, we can make what they are breathing in the lab,’” she said. Testing at Smokin’ Vapor includes studying customers’ coughs when they enter the store. “We’ve heard every type of cough there is. We can tell by the sound of it if it’s emphysema, bronchitis. We developed four different liquids at our lab. If they are really serious, and want to get started and have at least an alternative to save their life, they must stay on one of our liquids for at least a month,” Switala said. “What they are using is different from everybody else.” In addition, Smokin’ Vapes is setting up a clean room in preparation of deeming regulations, along with starting a loyalty program.

“If you drop your device in the ocean, anytime over the next year we will give 33 percent off a new one. Everything (within the loyalty program) has point numbers assigned to them, and they get applied to a liquid. We try to give everybody more than they expect to get,” she said. Ever the optimist, Switala even has put her husband to work as an informal drop tester. “It’s been 13 years (since the accident) and he drops everything on the concrete floor of his shop. We know that if he drops them multiple times and they still work, they are great,” she said. As a way of giving back to the community, Smokin’ Vapor has started a non-profit called His Gift To Us. Working with local doctors in the area, if the doctor and patient signs off on a tobacco-related illness, the patient can come into the shop and get a starter kit and first month of liquid for free. Last year Smokin’ Vapor gave away $9,000 in free kits at wholesale price. Switala also put a 401K program in place for her employees during her third year in business, and now they have a choice of the program or coveted health insurance. “It gets tight at times with all those little shops popping up around us, but it is the right thing to do when you have the best crew. I don’t want to lose any of them. I thank God for it every night, and I never take it for granted,” she said. “I still stand back, and I think I am in complete amazement at what has happened in such a short amount of time. Our car is wrapped, and people will honk while driving by. To see that most people in Panama City beach have e-cigs now, and I never even had a plan.” For more information, visit http://smokinvapor.com/.

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Vape Shop of the Month Seeking Nominations

By Norm Bour and Maria Verven

What does it take for a brick and mortar vape shop to positively crush it? Some vape shops are making more than $3,000 a day!

seen many shops close and re-open with a new energy and focus. And shops that are just getting started can also get off on the right foot—but they have to be willing to listen and learn.

How do they do it? What are the keys to their success? In this new column, we’ll celebrate vape shops that are following best practices, or what we call the “Six Pillars of Vape Space Success.”

In next month’s column, we’ll introduce our first Vape Shop of the Month, Speakeasy Vaporium in Fernandina Beach, Fla. Owner Jason Hambrecht has been working with VapeMentors for almost a year and has successfully cornered the vape business in his area. He’s now getting ready to open his second shop.

Read below to find out how to nominate your vape shop for this incredible honor that will help bring droves of customers to your door!

We interviewed him on Vape Radio in March. Speaking to this worldwide audience, Hambrecht advises:

Success Doesn’t Happen By Accident Over the last couple of years, we’ve noted the patterns that are working for successful vape shops—the best practices that are the wkely increase as competition heats up and the market becomes saturated. With an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 shops in the United States, the “build it and they will come” approach no longer works.

“If it wasn’t for VapeMentors, I would have opened an average vape shop. They helped me cultivate a unique vision that I wouldn’t have come up with on my own.”

Other countries also are experiencing market saturation. Just a few years ago, there were more than 3,000 vape shops in Spain. There now are only about 300. How Do You Become the Vape Shop of the Month? Vape shops that want to be considered must participate in the Vape Shop Review, based on these six pillars. This objective, unbiased year-long process is designed to help identify and fix those weak areas that could be costing you customers and precious revenue. It’s never too late to refresh or refocus your direction. We’ve

“Money is always tight when you’re opening a new business, and the thought of paying for a consultant scares most people. Don’t be one of those people. I sincerely believe that their services have already paid for themselves five times over. Do yourself a favor and get VapeMentors on your team from the very beginning.” Every vape shop that participates in the Vape Shop Review will be nominated for the Vape Shop of the Month, which will enjoy a profile here in this column as well as on Vape Radio, which gets 50,000 listeners a month. We’ll also send a news release to your local radio, TV and print media! For more information, visit www.vapementors.com/vapeshop-of-the-month.

Vape Shops Will Be Ranked Against the Six Pillars of Vape Space Success To be eligible for the Vape Shop of the Month, vape shops must participate in VapeMentors’ Vape Shop Review, a comprehensive process that examines the shop against the Six Pillars of Vape Space Success:

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Successful Business Strategies & Models Do you have a written business plan/model? Are you getting the business coaching you need? Does revenue exceed expenses? Is revenue increasing every month?

Branding & Competitive Positioning Did you identify your competitors? Do you have a unique selling proposition (USP)? Does your brand reflect your USP? Product Selection Do you offer a wide variety of hardware and e-liquids for newbies and hobbyists? Are your prices competitive? Is your shop user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing? Does the ambiance match the brand?

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Customer Acquisition, Retention, and Service Do employees have retail experience? Are they trained? Do you hold promotional events? Do you have a customer retention and loyalty programs?

Dealing with the Law Do you check IDs? Do you have age verification/ affirmation on your website? Are you in compliance with local regulations? Are you selling DIY e-liquids or anything that could be subject to FDA scrutiny? Social Media & PR Is your website optimized for search? Are you listed in key directories? Do you have a social media presence? Do you have positive customer reviews?


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