Photo Courtesy of Scenic Vapers
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NEWS, BUSINESS & CULTURE VAPE Magazine is the only international vaping industry focused magazine with more than 35,000 readership in the United States, Europe and Asia, where vaping professionals find the latest news, products and trends. EDITORIAL Publisher Matt Schramel email@example.com 800-958-6427 x2 Editor in Chief Corey Noles Managing Editor Chris Mellides Social Media Manager Eric Vonheim Art Director Van Avanzado
Photo Courtesy of Scenic
Front Cover Photo Courtesy of Scenic Vapers Photographer: Tyler Price (@Dripping_Balls) In Frame: Chris Starcher (@DripMedia) Location: Coopers Rock State Park - Morgantown, West Virginia
Graphic Designers Joe Buehner, Laura Camp, Lauren Ellsworth, Matt Ritzenthaler, Anil Verma Director of Photography Ezra Zuniga Webmaster Axel Gillespie
Contributors Norm Bour, John Castle, Nick Green, Allan Kwasnik, Sam McClelland, Chris Mellides, Corey Noles, Susan Oser, Tony Ottomanelli, Sarah Willis
letter from the editor: Dear readers,
It’s been a busy couple of months here at VAPE Magazine! We traveled to ECC in California (Awesome show and experience), then hammered out our bonus e-liquid guide. Then it was off to Las Vegas for TPE! In this month’s issue, you’ll see a comprehensive wrap up from ECC — it hits on the struggles and the successes, all compiled with a small mountain of photographs.
Chief Executive Officer Matt Schramel Co-Owner/Vice President Jon Laverde Executive Assistant Erin Aly ADVERTISING
In another piece, senior reporter Norm Bour tackles the issue of synthetic nicotine and trying to determine whether it will be regulated by the FDA. Reporter John Castle dives into the world of high-end mod flipping and speaks with several modders on the subject. Their responses may surprise you a bit. All of the usuals are here as well — Scenic Vapers, Ask Grimm Green and Just in Juices. If you see us out on the circuit this year, stop by our booth and say hi! We all love meeting our readers! Thanks for reading,
Jon Laverde, firstname.lastname@example.org 800-958-6427 x4 Jacob Barger, email@example.com 949-910-2138 China-based advertisers contact Wingle Group Electronics LTD +852 51759256 firstname.lastname@example.org CONTACT Advertising email@example.com News firstname.lastname@example.org New Products email@example.com
Corey Noles Editor in Chief
Employment firstname.lastname@example.org VAPE Magazine is wholly owned by Starpixel Marketing LLC 6209 Mid Rivers Mall Dr, Suite 194 Saint Peters, MO 63304 email@example.com 800-958-6427
table of contents COLUMNS 30 Vaping the Friendly Skies? What you need to know
41 The Collision of Worlds 58 A Guide to Partnerships 70 Flipping: The double-edged sword that Built (and plagues)
Mods & Tech 54 Leaning Tree Mods 76 Cosmonaut RDA
the high-end mod market
88 Rabbit’s Foot — Is the Asian media distorting the truth about vaping?
30 47 Vaping from the Outside 50 Builder’s Corner
80 Rig Mod V3 and Terk RDA 85 MCM Mods
25 Will the FDA Regulate Tobacco Free Nicotine?
37 What to look for when
92 Vape Shop Events 96 ECC
bringing new e-liquids into your store
12 Letter from the Editor 19 Scenic Vapers 33 Ask Grimm Green 65 Just in Juices
Scenic Vapers Contributor Corner: Chris Starcher @dripmedia
By Chris Mellides
Photographer: Steven Bustrin (@handshakesnhugz) In Frame: Clay Thomas (@claythomasgifford) Location: Portland, Oregon
Life’s journey is rife with new beginnings, and none are quite as significant as becoming a parent. When he discovered that he would be welcoming his daughter into the world, 30-year-old Chris Starcher decided to purchase his first camera for the sole purpose of taking photos of his newborn and helping to document her life. “I messed around with it a ton and by the time she was born I had already bought a full studio lighting setup and a bunch of other equipment I thought I knew how to use at the time.” The West Virginia resident carried on with his photography and began noticing improvements in his work as he began mastering his equipment. He would often shoot photographs of local bands and would be paid small fees for his work. During this time his photography was “still just a hobby” according to Starcher. It wasn’t until a few years later that he was approached by his friend Sean who asked him if Starcher could shoot his wedding. At this point the budding photographer found his niche and claimed that that was the point when his career really took off. “I fell in love with shooting weddings and booked more and more every summer,” Starcher said. He’s even a returning recipient of the “Best Of Weddings” award offered by The Knot, a leading wedding media and services company. Starcher has won the award for three years in a row and was recently told that he was selected to accept the award for 2017. His wedding work has been published in West Virginia Weddings Magazine, and he was a featured photographer on Basic Invite, an invitation/ greeting card company based in Utah. Starcher says that he didn’t shoot anything that was vape-related until about two-and-a-half years ago when he first began shooting product shots in exchange for free e-liquid. As the demand for his work grew, Starcher’s efforts “quickly snowballed” into his own brand dubbed Drip Media, which acts as a vehicle for him to lend his services to the vape industry. While he admits that he was never an “extremely heavy smoker” vaping was the only thing that allowed him to quit his cigarette habit. He started vaping about five years ago when his mother purchased him a cigalike starter kit from a mall kiosk in Pittsburgh. Starcher says that his use of cigarettes had died down, but that he continued smoking until he celebrated his birthday one year and was determined to give up the smokes for good after purchasing himself a Volcano brand e-cigarette. “It’s been about four years since then and I haven’t went back,” he said. Starcher has known Scenic Vapers’ co-founder Tyler Price for a few years and first stumbled across his Instagram page when he began shooting for the vape industry.
“I realized that [Price] lived very close to me, so eventually we started shooting together,” Starcher said. “He’s great to work with, very laid back, but also very precise in his content creation.” He became involved with Scenic Vapers a few months ago when he began regularly submitting content, but had been familiar with the project for quite some time having discussed it at length with Price during their many shoots together. Starcher appreciates the active lifestyle and positive health message that Scenic Vapers promotes and also appreciates the exposure that the project grants photographers whose work might otherwise be overlooked. “I think it’s the fact that [Scenic Vapers] gives photographers in the industry a platform to display their work to people that might not have otherwise seen or heard of them,” Starcher said. He continued, “I feel that the photographers in this industry are taken for granted a little bit sometimes. Most of them are producing amazing shots, but don’t receive the praise and gratitude they deserve. I’d like to see more projects like Scenic Vapers in the future.” When charting his evolution as a photographer, Starcher says that the most noticeable change he’s witnessed since his early work is the way he is now able to use light to his advantage. “I had a lot of trouble in the beginning trying get my shots to look the way I wanted and just couldn’t figure out what it was,” Starcher said. “I just couldn’t see light the way other photographers I got my inspiration from could and it drove me nuts.” Adding, “It took time, but it’s like second nature to me now.” Those that are looking to express themselves through photography should be reminded that “knowledge is power,” according to Starcher. “Ask questions and learn everything you can from any photographer you can get to teach you,” Starcher said. “Even if the style isn’t your thing you will still end up learning something that will help you evolve your work.” He added, “The biggest thing is just to get out and shoot!” To submit your photo to Scenic Vapers #CloudCheck for VAPE submission consideration, follow @VapeMagazine @ScenicVapers @Dripping_Balls and @Jedi.Visions and #VapeMagazine #CloudCheck & #ScenicVapers on Instagram. For VAPE pictorial column, photos must be in high resolution, but for the IG page everyone has the chance for a feature.
Photographer: Chris Starcher (@DripMedia) In Frame: Tyler Price (@Dripping_Balls) Location: Coopers Rock State Park - Morgantown, West Virginia VAPEMZ.COM
Photographer: Althea Salamin (@althea_ph_photo) In Frame: Same as photographer Location: Costa Mesa, California
Photographer: Mike Dains (@mikeweld) In Frame: Ashley Ah Chan (@boomxkanani) Location: Deception Pass - Oak Harbor, Washington VAPEMZ.COM
Photographer: Jayson Magbanua (@mrpinoykid) In Frame: Jamie Ortiz-Luis (@forrealjamie) Location: Hurricane Ridge Olympic Park, Washington
Photographer: (ig.vape) In Frame: Brett Hill (@brettfhill) Location: Saguaro Lake, Arizona
Photographer: Tyra P. (@tyrafromsaigon) In Frame: Priscilla J. “The Mafia Princess” (@Priscilla__j) Location: Boonville, California
Photographer: Jayson Magbanua (@mrpinoykid) In Frame: (@p.96.c) Location: Snoqualmie Falls, Washington To submit your photo to Scenic Vapers #ScenicVapers for VAPE submission consideration, follow @VapeMagazine, @ScenicVapers, @Dripping_Balls and @Jedi.Visions and #VapeMagazine & #ScenicVapers on Instagram. For the VAPE pictorial column, photos must be in high resolution, but for the IG page everyone has the chance for a feature. VAPEMZ.COM
Regulate It? By Norm Bour
Many believe that the FDA overstepped their bounds by concluding that vaping products are “tobacco products.” Most vaping liquids have no tobacco at all and many contain no nicotine.
The question was raised: “Can the FDA regulate zero nicotine juice?” They say “yes.” [KT1] But in between you have a gray area, a morass of uncertainty, when it comes to artificial nicotine, ie, one created not from tobacco, but at a molecular level, piece by piece. Recent opinions state that Tobacco Free Nicotine, known by the acronym, TFN, may be exempt from FDA oversight, which is a significant change of direction. [KT1]FDA has indicated that it can regulate certain non nicotine and non tobacco derived vape products, but only under certain circumstances - and that is when it becomes part of a tobacco product or is used with a tobacco product.
The TFN Story Tobacco Free Nicotine is the brainchild of three people - Dr. Michael Arnold, a brilliant organic chemist, Vincent Schuman, a commercial business development expert, and Ron Tully, a tobacco and vape industry regulatory expert. A former VP with National Tobacco Company, Tully was responsible for “Strategic public policy on tobacco related issues, including taxation, product marketing and promotion, FDA regulation, state tobacco policy and WHO policy on tobacco,” according to his bio. [KT2]
[KT2]Next Generation Labs is the brainchild of three people - Dr. Michael Arnold, a brilliant organic chemist, Vincent Schuman, a commercial business development expert, and Ron Tully, a tobacco and vape industry regulatory expert. [KT3]Calumet and NGL are unrelated entities - there was no combining of these companies. They remain separate today from each other.
In 2015 he helped found Calumet Advisors and a separate company, Next Gen labs, the manufacturer of TFN. [KT3] The man-made product is odorless and tasteless and according to most, is ideal to mix with flavors since it is pure with no aftertaste. Currently about 35-40 brands in the US use TFN, including NKTR and eGeneration, two well known names. Next Gen exports internationally and have about 20 brands in Korea, as well as other countries, primarily UK and Malaysia. The biggest sticking point to TFN is the cost of production. Compared to nicotine that usually comes from India or China, TFN is about ten times more expensive. In small quantities, it can cost $5,000 per liter, with the cost dropping to $3500 for negotiated discount levels. [KT4] Considering most brands and manufacturers use a 10% blend of nicotine to filler at a much lower cost, TFN looks more reasonable, but is still quite pricey. “We have bought and tested some and found that they were made and derived from tobacco!,” Tully exclaimed. When asked how you handle that, Tully wasn’t sure. Do you call them out? Blow the whistle? To who? He believes there needs to be independent lab determination and certification to validate purity for this synthetic nicotine model to grow. He finished with “We need competition in this market, but it must be fair and honest.” They have a patent pending and are awaiting final patent which will help protect their intellectual property. [KT5]
Can the FDA regulate this product? That question has been asked many times of Tully and others. Logic would say that a product with zero nicotine and zero tobacco should not fall under the Tobacco Control Act. Plus, this is not a grown product. As the deeming regs were finalized in August, 2016, many experts said that even though it wasn’t logical, they believed that the FDA would have jurisdiction. But that decision may be wrong. There are several lawsuits in court right now and one, Nicopure vs. FDA, brought up the tobacco free question. The FDA was asked: “What do you do when a tobacco product contains no tobacco and no nicotine?” Their response: “We will not exercise regulatory authority over those products.” That comment is beyond significant since it may foreshadow a new direction of the FDA recognizing where they can intercede and where they cannot. The full quote and opinion can be found here: http://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2016/12/15/898116/0/en/Statements-FromFDA-in-NICOPURE-vs-FDA-Lawsuit-Confirm-NextGeneration-Labs-TFN-NICOTINE-Is-Not-A-TobaccoProduct.html There were two determining factors per the court. One of the questions was, “Is this a part or component of a tobacco product,” and the other was “Is this product made or derived from tobacco?” Those two qualifiers were not met, but so far, the court has not made a final ruling specifically about TFN being exempt. The first response from the judge may be coming in March, 2017
What now? I asked Tully, “Will Next Gen and TFN proceed with expectation of NO interference and assume that their product is legal? Or will they proceed with a good certainty that they are in the clear?” Ron wants to affirm: “based on the totality of the information that FDA has provided in the Deeming Regs, its written guidance to industry, its Q &A responses, its webinars and its statements in Court, Next Gen takes the view that its synthetic nicotine product is not a tobacco product and as such sits outside of the tobacco rules set by FDA.”
Final thoughts The FDA battle is far from over. Critical dates for submission of labels and ingredients have been pushed back due to the FDA being overwhelmed with submissions. They may be delayed again. While this is good for those that were pressured, it also means that some companies that have no intention of submitting anything or going through the onerous and expensive PMTA process have that much more time to dilute the market with their products. This is a battle that will rage and the only survivors will be those that adapt to the new landscape of business. Norm Bour is the founder of VapeMentors and creator of the VAPE U online programs. They offer services & resources for anyone in the vape space, including vape shops, online stores and e-liquid brands. Heâ€™s also the host of Vape Radio, the largest vaping radio show in the world with more than 1.3 M downloads. As a founding partner in the Vape Industry Business Exchange (VIBE), Norm is committed to supporting the vape space into this Brave New World. Contact him at norm@VapeMentors.com.
Vaping the friendly skies is not always a simple task. There always seems to be questions on what is/is not allowed, as far as vaping is concerned, for flying.
tronic nicotine delivery systems. These devices are allowed via carry on only and are prohibited in checked baggage. These devices can only be carried in the aircraft cabin (in carry-on baggage or on your person).
When packing vape gear, be sure to â€œknow before you goâ€?, to help minimize confusion, delays and frustration.
When a carry-on bag is checked at the gate or plane-side, all electronic cigarette and vaping devices, along with any spare lithium batteries, must be removed from the bag and should be taken with you in the aircraft cabin.
The TSA defines vape gear as: Battery-powered includes e-cigarettes, vaporizers, vape pens, atomizers, and elec-
E-Liquid is also subject to, and falls under, the Liquids Rule. 3.4 oz. (100 milliliters) or less and must fit into 1
ly Skie By Lav ender
quart sized bag. If it is more than 3.4 oz., the e-juice belongs in checked baggage. But also be sure to check the individual airlineâ€™s policy as additional restrictions may be placed on these devices. While vaping on airplanes is mostly prohibited by the individual air carrier, some are more relaxed. It seems that the air carriers and airports based outside of the United States have a more welcoming approach to vaping. There are a handful of exceptions where vaping is illegal such as Argentina, Brazil, Hong Kong, the UAE, and Singapore.
It is best to contact the airline to obtain their vaping policy. Fines can be issued from $2,000-25,000 for non-compliance of vaping inflight. Most airlines will permit vaping inside of the designated smoking areas, if the airport has one. It is best to check with each airport and inquire about their specific policy.
Ask By Nick Green Photo by Metal Jeff Hey Nick! I keep seeing all of these new tanks coming out with 8, 12 even 24 coils. It’s getting crazy! How can we read through the BS to figure out what is really worth the money? Alan Schumacher Green Bay, WI
Hey Alan! Don’t let anyone but yourself convince you of what you need. Twelve coils isn’t any better, or worse, than 3 coils or 2 coils. It’s just a different vape experience. Don’t buy into the hype and think that you need octuple coil heads in order to have a good vape. All you gain with more coils is more heat and more clouds bro. In my experience, more coil heads require a lot more airflow and a lot bigger of an overall chamber, which can really cut down on the flavor. So if flavor is important to you, maybe stay away from the 24coil tanks. Hope that helps out! -Grimm Nick, Do you think all of the personnel changes in Washington, D.C. will help the vapor industry? Susan Alvin Pittsburgh, PA Hey Susan! It’s a little too early to tell at this point. I think the regime change is certainly going to shake things up. Politics aside, Trump is very anti-regulation and the person he wants to appoint to the head of the FDA is also a pretty hard line libertarian anti-regulation guy, as well. No matter what happens, we need to continue our fight. I don’t trust a politician as far as I can throw them, so empty promises of repealing the FDA deeming regulations won’t go too far with me. What needs to happen is a completely new framework of reasonable regulations for vapor products as a unique product — outside of pharmaceuticals and outside of tobacco. That’s just my two cents.
Grimm, What do you think is the best RTA on the market right now? Gerry Hill Scottsdale, AZ Hey Gerry! I’m a huge fan of the original Mage RTA from CoilArt. They did that one right. It’s easy to build and easy to wick, plus the flavor is off the charts. It really depends on what you want to accomplish. The new Troll RTA from Wotofo is stellar for flavor, and the new REUX from Wismec / Jaybo has an included RTA deck that is truly designed for cloud chasing. Hope that helps out. Happy vaping! -Grimm
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Lanier advises that shop owners should select e juice manufacturers that are in the business for the long haul, not just a quick dollar before the FDA starts cracking down on juice makers.
August 8th and the FDA have brought a huge amount of stress and an onslaught of questions from small business owners in the vape industry as to what the future may hold. With all the concern and uncertainty, someone bringing to the table experience with the FDA regulations and a background in sales/marketing could find himself ahead of the game before the first pitch. Timothy Lanier, national sales director of Torden, is that person. He came to the vaping industry with extensive experience and is sharing some of those tips with shop owners. Lanier grew up in Kinston, NC, and comes from a long line of tobacco farmers and preachers. After four years of college, a degree in health science, and thousands of dollars in student loans, Lanier chose to leave his medical future behind when he took an internship in orthopedics and found his morals differed too greatly from the corporate side of the medical industry. Lanier responded to a friendâ€™s Facebook post searching for people with biology degrees and made the move to begin a new chapter in his life with RWM Technologies. Following four years of traveling and working closely with small businesses, Lanierâ€™s boss, suggested the company start producing e-liquid and giving Lanier the task of finding customers. After a few startups and a loss of interest from his boss, Lanier made contact with his current company, Torden E-Liquids, and became the regional sales manager of Tennessee, working
his way up to the National Sales Director where he now works out of Phoenix Arizona at Tordenâ€™s main facilities. During his first few months with Torden, Lanier developed many personal relationships with shop owners across Tennessee. As many in the industry know, these relationships can run deep, and we all yearn to find a way to help each other through the rigorous process the FDA requires of us. While traveling through Tennessee, he found many common questions throughout the retail locations he worked with. How do small business owners, that used to mainly make their own eliquids, go through the process of selecting quality e-liquid from reputable manufacturers? How do these business owners know if the manufacturers are following proper procedure? What should they look for in their products from a marketing standpoint? All of these questions left Lanier with the feeling that he needed to not only set an example, but lead the way for these small business with a few guidelines to follow when searching for e-liquids while the vape industry transitions through the FDA regulation process. He realizes that for the vape industry to obtain long term sustainability, everyone
needs to come together as a united group of individuals who are educated about the standards of quality that need to be set for all levels involved. Lanier wanted to offer these small businesses a set of standards that he and Torden have developed as well as a few pointers for shop owners who may have no idea where to start when they sit down to choose e-liquids to offer to consumers. First Lanier would like to give some simple pointers to weed out a few of the products on the market. To show good standards of practice when selecting products, Lanier says to start by looking at the product packaging first. If the product looks like something you could buy in the grocery store, such as candy, desserts, or some sort of a toy, Lanier says to steer clear. These products all can seem to be marketed towards children, think about the image you will represent in your stores. Next, shop owners should be ready with questions for e juice manufacturers. Ask things like where the company hopes to go in the future, if they plan to stick out the process and comply with the FDA regulations, and how they feel about the FDA regulations. Lanier says that if you canâ€™t get clear,
educated answers that coincide with your own moral values, that the product may not be right for your business. Lanier advises that shop owners should select e juice manufacturers that are in the business for the long haul, not just a quick dollar before the FDA starts cracking down on juice makers. Ask these manufacturers what their long term goals are to have an idea of how dedicated they are to the vaping industry. Lanier finally advises that business owners ask manufacturers for their TP1# (which will be required as of July 1). These numbers are registered with the FDA to keep track of compliant e-juice manufacturers and will soon required by the FDA. Also, ask the manufacturer if you can schedule a tour of their facility. Any other answer than a yes, should be a clear sign that the company may not have the best products available that will stand through the pressures of the upcoming struggles with the FDA. Torden Eliquid plans on moving forward with all of the FDA requirements and has no plans of stopping production in the future. Both Torden and Lanier hope that by providing these few guidelines that small business owners are able to move forward more confidently into the unknown we all face in the industry.
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Smoke Shops, Vape Shops And
The Future By Norm Bour
t’s arguable that most vapers dislike smoke shops and want nothing to do with them. These businesses represent the tobacco industry, which philosophically and morally is diametrically opposite from the vape industry we love so much. Smoke shops also remind vapers of the old addiction they were fortunate enough to kick by transitioning from analog cigarettes to vapor products. Thanks to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) classification of vapor products as tobacco, we are now kindred spirits. The enemy we used to hate we may be forced to love, or at least to coexist with. It’s like being put into a room with an ex-spouse and having a mediation to come to terms. The Smoke Shop History Smoke shops have a long history. The tobacco industry goes back even further. Tobacco was a mainstay of Native
American tradition, and by the time the Europeans landed on American shores, tobacco was a well-known staple and relished pastime. Alternatively, Spaniards spread tobacco throughout Europe after bringing back raw leaves and seeds from the South American continent that they conquered. Cultivation of tobacco in the
United States accelerated during the 17th century and many famous Americans became wealthy from their tobacco leaf plantations. Even then tobacco was a huge profit center for our government, as early records show that up to 30 percent of our gross annual revenue originated from the
taxation of tobacco. The early part of the 20th century launched the cigarette industry and tobacco shops were represented by the iconic cigar store indian, which became their symbol worldwide. Tobacco stores radically changed in the 1960s as some of them transitioned into smoke shops or head shops after they added cannabis products and related paraphernalia to the store inventory. Over the last 50 years, the lines between tobacco shops and head shops blurred as they all tried to capitalize on a changing market. Vape Shops Emerge By comparison, vape shops are the new kids on the block. In less than 10 years they have grown from a handful, to an estimated 7,000 to 9,000 shops nation-wide. In 2013, their numbers exploded and today there are few parts of the United States without a vape shop. The lines get blurry when we include convenience stores and other retailers that sell vapor products, so we’ll set them aside.
We will also ignore big box stores that sell primarily closed-system vapor products, an industry dominated by just a few big players. Vape shops are usually one-trick ponies and rarely differ from each other, which is part of the problem. In the eyes of the public, vape and smoke shop retailers look the same and cannot be distinguished from another. Some smoke or head shops have added vapor products, usually liquids with some hardware, but rarely does the door swing in the other direction. Why This Matters With the Aug. 8 release of the FDA deeming regulations, there is no distinction between tobacco and vaping devices. In the eyes of the federal government, all vape-related businesses—no matter how tenuous or seemingly unrelated—are all covered by the Tobacco Control Act of 2009, which gives the FDA the power to regulate tobacco. The actions of individual states make the problem even worse, with excise taxation and additional restrictions put into play. Vape Shops Events is a quarterly
business-to-business (B2B) vape conference that is often compared to a speed dating session for the industry. The show brings together 27 sellers and 20 buyers, and puts them together behind closed doors
for 20 minutes at a time. The bell sounds and they move on to the next room. Mike Sessoms and his partner Russell Taras started their company over 10 years ago, but the idea of speed networking has been in practice since the late 90s. “We have used this model for the promotional products industry and the pet shop industry and later added smoke shops, which we’ve been doing for a few years. The Smoke Shop Events model has
grown so we now have 45 sellers and 28 buyers along with a waiting list of attendees,” Sessoms said. I have attended the last several Vape Shop Events and find them fascinating. Business gets done since relationships are developed and strengthened with attendees sharing meals together and staying within the same hotel. The last Vape Event in July was a sad one since it came just weeks before the Aug. 8 deeming regulations went into effect. There was a notable doom and gloom attitude that was held by the attendees, but since then most have moved beyond the cloud of worry and on to business as usual. What The Future May Hold In Sept. I attended the most recent Smoke Shop Event in Park City, Utah. It was an eye-opening experience as I got a very quick introduction to the smoke shop industry and a possible peek into its future. Networking with almost 80 vendors in the smoke shop business (though some vape people were
there) was a step into another world. Pipes, bongs, rolling papers and other miscellaneous items are sold in most of these shops. Smoke shops can be amazingly profitable, and the biggest moneymaker is glassware. We in the vape industry may not be paying attention to the more mainstream cannabis world, but the smoke shops are way ahead of the curve, and they are profiting from their efforts. I spoke with Tori Roberts with Tobacco Connection and Big Smoke, which sells both tobacco and vapor products. They also sell beer, lotto tickets, miscellaneous potpourri and each shop has a humidor. With 51 stores in Idaho and Washington state, they are one of the largest outlets for both tobacco and vapor products in the country. “A department store for your
favorite vices,” is how Roberts described the chain. “We started with tobacco and beer about 18 years ago, and later added head shop type products,” Roberts said. “But we have a real problem with vape shops—they hate us!” He added, “They sell just hardware and liquids and they bitch when things slow down. They look at us and trash us because we diversified into other areas. We usually undersell them because we can and not to hurt them intentionally.” Roberts’ opinion is that his shops put more active smokers in front of vapor products than all the other shops combined. Since his stores do not carry high-end vape hardware, they’re actually a “feeder for those high-end vape shops,” according to Roberts. With superior buying power and
variety, this smoke shop/ vape shop hybrid will be the model of the future. Count on it. Add to it the growing cannabis industry, fast-forward five years, and we may have a drug store type shop that is highly regulated and caters to every legal vice or habit you wish to partake in. Norm Bour is the founder of VapeMentors and creator of the VAPE U online programs. They offer services and resources for anyone in the vape space, including vape shops, online stores and e-liquid brands. He’s also the host of Vape Radio, the largest vaping radio show in the world with more than 1.3 M downloads. Norm interviews the masters of vape and thought leaders in the vape space. Contact him at norm@VapeMentors.com.
or the last few months, I’ve had a bit of a writer’s block when it has come to writing about vaping and the industry. I’m not quite sure why this has been, but I think I have a theory. First of all, when August 8, 2016 came and went, it almost felt as if it was the end of the world. Some businesses, especially well-known ones had to close because they could not make their deadlines. Then it seemed as if we all fell into this bit of stagnation for the last half of the year. It was boring. It felt as if there was nothing to talk about anymore. The next big deal for vapers has been the deadline of Dec. 31, 2016. By this time, many smaller independent and online businesses had closed their doors. Once again, for most people the market is limited. Again, it led to a sense of depression and disappointment. With additional regulations and calls to action that have been handed down by the time this is published. While this whole limbo/stagnation period has been going on, there is also something that has lurked and something that I’ve seen time and time again in the online community. DRAMA! There are at least 1 or 2 channels which shall not be named that became infamous for this and some great hosts had to leave due to harassment or the pure stupidity of the situation. Once again, it’s one of the reasons why we can’t work together despite all the differences we have. If people would take the time to actually have a conversation and talk things out, we might not be in this predicament. I get it! Limbo sucks. It’s the virtual unknown, or question mark. We don’t know with any certainty what is going to happen. We don’t even know if our voting choices will actually be fruitful. Hell, we’re not sure if our voices are being heard anymore at all. Believe me, my friends, our voice is being heard loud and clear. However, let me propose to you that perhaps we need to go back, reorganize, get some fresh voices on the forefront, and at least reshape the argument. In other words, while we are waiting, let’s get down to work as a community and rally the troops. It’s time we have a game plan in place. If we already have one, let’s revise and see where we’ve failed. The point is, and if there is anything we need to learn by the Great Election of 2016, it is that stagnation and limbo are an opportunity to plan and get interest from the outside world about vaping and it’s value to society. Hell, this is a perfect time for all movements to come together and get their ducks in a row while they are waiting to strike. It might also be time to read The Art of War by Sun Tzu.
What limbo periods are not a time for is infighting, drama, and destroying the community from within, only to further the goals of many on the outside. It’s not a time to criticize and bully those who do not understand vaping, to push them into understanding it or to bully them because of their beliefs. This is a time for the education of the Vaper: plain and simple.
So, how do you deal with limbo and stagnation? Have you hit the proverbial vaping block like I have in my own way? Contact me at email@example.com. I’d like to hear what you have to say. Also, log on to my Facebook, Twitter and personal website http://www.angelwritercreations.com. If you like this rant and want to hear more, I currently host on VapeTVLive on Thursday nights at 11pm – midnight EST.
If this negativity and drama still keeps up, then expect to see us fail. We’re destroying ourselves right now. We just can’t afford that.
Staples, Framed Staples, Staple Staggered Fused Claptons and talking to the man
By SAM McCLELLAND
Recently, we have covered Fused Claptons and their variations. Continuing the lineage itâ€™s time to talk staples and junk. The Staple coil and its variations are the essential coil types. If you really want to get the best flavor from your juice, then Framed Staples are the way to go. I had the opportunity to sit down with the DOODE recently and ask his thoughts on these coil types as well as some of the origin and what got/kept him vaping and experimenting with coil variations and innovations. 50
Photo by Squidoode
VM: The Doode! Let’s get right to it… So, did you come from smoking cigarettes? Was it tough for you to stick with it at first? SD: Yeah, I smoked for just about 10 years. I tried to quit a few times and picked up vaping after, but this was about 5-6 years ago when the technology really wasn’t that great. It was more of a pain in the ass than just smoking, so it was tough to make the transition. It was about a year and a half later I just didn’t want to smoke anymore and knew I’d had some prior success with vaping. So, one day I woke up and had enough — I threw the pack of smokes I had in the trash. I went to the vape shop that day and dropped some cash on a nice setup for the time and was determined to quit smoking.
VM: That’s awesome! Glad you were able to stick with it, man. What got you building your own coils at that point? SD: Well, it just so happened that shortly after picking vaping back up it was beginning to get cold here in Ohio and there really wasn’t shit to do outside, so after someone had made mention of dripping I thought I’d give it try. After visiting YouTube where there really wasn’t much in the form of tutorial type building uploads, I was able to grasp the basic idea of working with mechanical setups. After going back to that same vape shop and picking up some more stuff, I went home and just kinda dove in. I was messing with builds until I felt comfortable with what I was doing. I really just wasn’t satisfied with vaping until I got on the level of building my own coils and understanding what I was working with.
VM: So, the terms Staple or Framed Staple where do they get their origin? SD: The concept of the staple really began with conversations back and forth between TwistedMesses and I. At the time we were both seeking a square looking wire. TwistedMesses had some ideas, but they were still getting the kinks worked out. I had used ribbon wire before, but not as the core source for the coil. After a few conversations, I just kind of knew that if I could stack the ribbon and get it to wrap, that it would be that square wire we were after. But the term “staple” comes from multiple success attempts at making that type of wire and when I was happy with it is when I started to photograph it and post it to my Instagram. While taking the photographs, it was kind of just sitting there on a flat surface and when I took that macro shot, and went back to review it, it looked to me like a row of staples that you would put in a stapler.
VM: ….. and the Framed Staple? SD: When I came up with the Staple concept I was
Photo by Vappix
just really into it at the time and so, I started to go through different variations trying to stick to that same concept and ideas. When coming up with the Framed Staple, I was looking for a bit more warmth without being substantially lower in resistance. I can honestly say I don’t know where I got the idea to put round wire outside the ribbon wire, and what I was thinking at the time was trying to merge the Fused Clapton with the Staple. I knew with a parallel build when you add those parallel wire it adds that warmth to the build. I think that’s what ultimately led me to the framed.
VM: Was it a one and done type of deal, or was it something you had to work toward achieving? SD: Well, the first wire I tried ended up in the trash, but I revisited it some time later and went with a 16 ply .8 but that went a little wonky as I was wrapping it (as many of you well know that have wrapped a staple lol), so I pulled it back and put it back on the drill and twisted it up. I ended up with a single coil that was a really great vape, but I knew there was room to improve. So, I started really messing with the amount of ribbon used as far as 8 ply or 10 ply etc.
VM: The term Staggerton or Staple Staggered Fused Clapton where do those terms get their origin, in your opinion? SD: How that all kind of transpired… after the staple and the framed staple then I moved onto the Staggered Fused Clapton. The idea was getting passed around between a couple of builders, but at the time it was just a really, really basic, um, very flawed process and it lacked a lot of sophistication or understanding of what was the potential accomplishment. I took the idea of a couple other individuals and that’s when I kind of ironed out the idea of the Staggered Fused Clapton.
VM: To touch on the challenging aspect of the staple variations… pulling off Claptons or fused Claptons early on as a builder became a simple feat but stacking ribbon (even getting ribbon at that time was a challenge) and completing 2 staple or framed staple coils was a night with cause for celebration. SD: Oh, f&$k yeah, dude because at that time everyone was still building free hand with the drill. See, these creations… well, some of these newer builders were coming in who comment on Instagram or make comments without knowing where these builds stem from and also comment without the understanding of how much time, energy, and creativity went into the innovation. Where this seems to be the most plentiful is YouTube. And it’s clear that these people that make these comments don’t understand how impressive it was to pull something off like that without the use of swivels or a tutorial video to guide them. I’m not just speaking about my ideas. Like the Alien coil “everyone” knows the concept to stem from @blueeyedgoon83, but it was @dave_ the_builder who discovered the 3 to 1 ratio. This, in my opinion, ultimately sparked the mass appeal and popularity with the Alien coil. That was the point that people figured out to use 36 gauge as their Alien wrap. Up to that point all the Alien that were being built were either bullshit stove tops or just builds that didn’t perform really well, or what I would consider a high performance build. What I hoped for some of these people who make these comments was to come to understand that these concepts and innovations don’t just come from thin air but from having fun with likeminded people and using creativity with a hobby to improve their experience with that hobby. I really am glad to see the growth of building. I hope to see it continue to grow, because it really is something that can be a positive in someone’s life and has a potential to bring people together with something positive.
Ultimately, the Staple Staggered Fused Clapton came about after I saw this guy who used to build, his Instagram name was something like megajewel. He posted a picture of a really gnarly, and by gnarly I mean not clean and not a good photo of a piece of wire where he stuck a piece of ribbon wire in between a staggered fused Clapton and I was like this is a brilliant idea, but laying the wire flat mutes the flavor rather enhances it. So, after seeing that, I took the concepts from the Staggered Fused Clapton and the Staple/Framed Staple ultimately coming out with my Staple Staggered Fused Clapton.
Moving forward, DOODE had many more interesting things to say, but we only have so many pages. In all seriousness, I hope you enjoy the short excerpt from my conversation with Squidoode and a special thank you to him for taking the time out to chat. Sam McClelland @builds_and_junk @build_mode_hunk
Leaning Tree Wood Mods Leaning Tree Wood Mods, has been a labor of love for two brothers. Susan Oser
Based in Central Texas, Scott and David Rosignol are retired soldiers of the US Army. Scott most recently retired after 20+ years of service, and David after having spent 11 years working in Bomb Disposal. David, a woodworker, started Leaning Tree Woodworking Studio which was the predecessor of Leaning Tree Wood Mods. Both Scott and his brother have been vaping since 2008, which in vaping terms, makes them veterans in this community as well. Scott first be-
came interested in vaping from the discovery of a Blu cigalike. His interest continued to grow after talking with friends about dripping and watching Big Lou East Coast on YouTube. The brothers even got their mother, a 50-year smoker, involved with vaping and she’s taken to it over the last few months. What makes Leaning Tree Wood Mods special isn’t so much the unique Mods, which are made of stabilized wood, but the vets behind the company. While David was
“Smoking breaks were turning into vaping breaks,” not available for an interview, Scott chimed in about his service in the Army and his 4 deployment to Iraq. While he was serving his country and stationed at various locales, Scott shared his love and discovery of vaping. “Smoking breaks were turning into vaping breaks,” he said. The higher-ups who advocated for smoking cessation were a bit reluctant to support vaping. However, once they began to see the benefits to the soldier’s health, their support grew. In fact, they are now pushing even more for some kind of smoking cessation. That’s why if you see a vape shop next to a military base, it’s a double bonus, because they can fully support each other. Scott was able to recommend two shops that are close to military bases: Nova Vapors in Kentucky and AAA Straight Vape near Food Hood, Texas. In fact, these shops have been supportive of Leaning Tree Wood Mods as well. So, why create wood-working mods when the marketplace is already saturated with custom-made devices? Availability and affordability. High-end mods are not only scarce, but can be expensive and hard to come by. With the threat of industry regulation, their goal “to put mods
The designs on each MOD are meant to create a sense of peace and tranquility, unlike some that feature gothic or trendy designs and are purely aesthetic. in the hands of vape enthusiasts that break the mold,” resounds louder now more than ever. The designs on each MOD are meant to create a sense of peace and tranquility, unlike some that feature gothic or trendy designs and are purely aesthetic. As far as advocacy is concerned, the duo support CASAA, which is advertised on their website, along with a call to action. “If you’re not advocating, why are you
in the industry, community or the business?” he said. “There shouldn’t be any excuses for not speaking out, educating, writing letters, and such.” Scott said that he wants to see sensible regulation on vaping products coming in from China that he feels are hurting the vaping industry the most. Scott feels many industry have just made excuses to throw in the towel. The DNA 75 model was released on August 1, 2016. Scott’s favorite vape re#VAPEMAGAZINE
viewer, Big Lou East Coast will be reviewing this newly-released mod as well. So keep an eye out for it on YouTube. If you are interested in supporting this veteran venture, you can check them out online at http://www.leaningtreewoodmods.com/, or browse its Instagram and Facebook pages. https://www.instagram.com/leaningtreewoodmods/, https://www.facebook. com/Leaningtreewoodmods/
Love comes in all shapes and
Use code: Love2017 and save 20% off at checkout offer expires 03/01/17.
o t e d i u AG s p i h s r Partne By Norm Bour
“You can fail by yourself, but you cannot succeed alone.” I have said that expression many times over the years and that conclusion was based on being a solopreneur for decades and finding that my success was limited. Collaboration and teamwork is a major issue in business and finding the “right partner” can be difficult. A business partner should be someone with a similar mindset who is aligned with you on the direction and focus of the business. They should not be “like you” in the sense that two ‘Type A’ hard chargers can butt heads and two slackers might never get things done. A partner should complement you and fill in the parts that you lack. The question is: “Do you even need a partner?” And what happens if you choose wrong? A new client shared that his partnership was comprised of three people. Larry was the “lead person”, then came his girlfriend, and finally, his best friend for 50 years. When I inquired about how they came to this arrangement, Larry candidly said, “I reached out to all my friends and everyone I knew, trying to find a partner in this venture.” I
cautioned him that there are two people that you want to avoid in business partnerships: friends and relatives.
Do You Need A Partner?
Good friends or blood relations do not guarantee a successful business. Likewise, lending money to friends or family is always a risk and should be done at “arm’s length.” That means in writing, and with a definite pay back term and possibly interest. It should be clear from the start that this is a business transaction and should not interfere with personal relations.
Even so, we all know people that have been burned by arrangements like this, or may have been the guilty party. Many businesses can be ran solo until they reach a certain complexity or yield a certain revenue. In today’s world, many things can be outsourced, and sometimes you don’t need an official partner. Websites, accounting, legal help, SEO or SEM, and similar skills can be bought on demand, which may negate the need for a partner.
The word “team” is tossed around like a Godlike mantra. “There is no ‘I’ in Team,” goes the saying. That is fine, but what makes a good team?
The following guidelines might help: Find people that have the skillsets you need and offer guidance, but limit restrictions. An employee that does not feel appreciated and is not able to exercise a certain amount of autonomy will underperform most of the time.
Even with that scenario, it’s good to have a confidante and someone you can plan with. “Two heads are better than one” is a very true statement and a former business partner, and my mentor, always said, “Some business owners are emotionally attached to their own bad ideas.”
Your team, i.e., your employees, are not necessarily your friends. There is a fine line between
I have been guilty of that several times and sometimes we need a candid friend or trusted associate to tell us that our ideas suck.
being friendly and being friends. A social relationship and friendly environment is the best-case scenario, but sometimes getting too chummy leads to lack of respect on both sides.
The Next Best Thing To A Good Partner:
A Good Team
Hire on personality and attitude. These cannot be taught; skills can. Most of our personality is hardwired before we enter grade school. Our sense of responsibility, courtesy and work ethics come from our parents and those around us. Skills come through learning. In a work environment, be on the lookout for people with great attitudes, personalities and a dedication to excellence. They can be your foundation for growth.
Your team, i.e., your employees, are not necessarily your friends. There is a fine line between being friendly and being friends. 60
How Do You Know If A Partnership Is Good or Bad? Over the decades, I have had several partners. One of the first I thought was a genius and brilliant marketer. It turned out he was a sociopath who sucked me into his world and cost me a lot of money. The good news is that he was brilliant and I learned a lot, so I considered it the cost of my education.
I had a radio talk show for six years with my partner, Mike. Even though we were both Gemini birth signs, we were very different. He is one of the smartest tax and accounting people I had ever met and had a brilliant strategic mind. On the radio, he was the guy in the three-piece suit who was straight and
uptight, and I was the humorous sidekick in a Hawaiian shirt. That actually became our brand! My personality and writing drove the show, and Mike offered solid business directions where I was weak. That relationship would have continued if it were not for the Great Recession of 2008, which was not so great. During the next few years, I was a minor partner in a strategic marketing company and fortunate to have two great partners, including the man I considered my mentor. I learned a lot from them and contributed my skillsets for several years. Our timing, post-Recession, was not good and though we had brilliance, sometimes success is elusive. My last partner in my current company, VapeMentors, turned out to be the worst. What started as a personal relationship turned into a business partnership, but went very, very badly. Blackmail, lost business, and lawsuits were the result and it was a painful lesson I learned, even after decades in business.
d n A n o i t a r e p Coo Collaboration you have any stories to share, whether they be about good or bad partnerships, please let us A partnership can have several know! meanings. It can be an unofficial one, it can mean stock or equity ownership, or it can mean revenue sharing. We will share more on these concepts in the future and if In this challenged vape environment, we need strong cooperation. That certainly means within your own company, so be mindful of the environment you create internally.
Norm Bour is the founder of VapeMentors and creator of the VAPE U online programs. They offer services & resources for anyone in the vape space, including vape shops, online stores and e-liquid brands. Heâ€™s also the host of Vape Radio, the largest vaping radio show in the world with more than 1.3 M downloads.
As a founding partner in the Vape Industry Business Exchange (VIBE), Norm is committed to supporting the vape space into this Brave New World.
Contact him at norm@VapeMentors.com.
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S T R E S S E D
Compiled by Chris Mellides
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Flipping The Double-Edged Sword that created (and Plagues) the High-End Market By JOHN CASTLE
DEPARTMENTS Features Social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Reddit provide an excellent tool for connecting with the broader vaping community with a level of convenience that’s hard to beat. At home or on the go, hundreds or even thousands of new peers are just a Facebook group or Reddit thread away. But there’s a deeper layer to the online vaping community, one that has for the most part existed in secret. In fact, quite literally so, in the form of groups with privacy levels set to ‘Secret’ or in some cases merely ‘Closed.’ These are ‘flipping’ groups, where the bulk of activity revolves around the resale of limited-run high-end mods. “Flipping” as discussed here is distinct from vapers selling used devices; this article aims to discuss the purchase of high-end mods exclusively for the purpose of reselling them for steep profits and the effect this has on both the creators and consumers involved. Perspectives from modders, just like from consumers, vary from one to the next. Some see it as a crisis, while others consider it the reason for the existence and desirability of high-end mods. Preston Kight of Vapor Flask said he doesn’t personally have a problem with it. “Is it wrong? Personally, I don’t think so,” Kight said. “People dislike it because it makes it more expensive to get what you desire, but if it wasn’t expensive and able to sell for so much, would you want it as badly?” Kight suggested that products that can’t be flipped, typically don’t survive in the market beyond one or two production runs. “All in all flipping is a vital part of the high-end scene,” he said. “Without flipping, the high-end aspect of this industry would be a lot less appealing for a lot of people.”
Photos Courtesy of Erik Colvin
DEPARTMENTS Erik Colvin, founder of the Phantom’s Revenge, a California company that produces high-end vape ware had a different take, particularly when it comes to groups dedicated to flipping. “My main problem with groups, is in the name itself, group mentality bullshit,” he said. “I now have tons of friends who vape, and several belong to these groups where the top dogs and admins get their pick of the litter, and if you’re lucky, you can grab a scrap.” He told the story of a close friend who waited two years for a shot at a specific mod. When his time finally came, the only mod he could get was one he didn’t really want and in a color he didn’t even like. “It was explained to him “Them’s the breaks! Take it or wait another two years, son!,” Colvin said, adding that he sees the market slowly changing and beginning to fade. “Therein lies the problem to me, ‘I want to get a ZeroS mod.’ Well, you can’t. I mean really all this is past tense, I don’t think the ‘high end’ market is what it was and I don’t think these private groups are what they were,” Colvin continued. “In my most egotistical moments I like to pretend I had something to do with it, when really it was most likely thousands of like-minded vapers realizing that the admins and top dogs of these groups will only work for their own benefit,” he added. Scott Carson, aka Scottua of STC Designs, sees both the pros and the cons in the way the high-end market functions. “Once (one of my) product(s) makes its way into the public’s hands, one of a couple things can happen,” he said. “They either like it and sing its praises to the wide world via various social media outlets, or they don’t and the product begins showing up for sale on the secondary market.” “If enough people like it and it’s being sought after hard enough, those that don’t like it see this and try to recoup their spending and make money in top,” Carson said. “This I have ZERO issue with. It’s now their item to do with what they want. They tried it, and didn’t think it was for them.” He sees actual flipping as an entirely different animal. On second product runs, a mod has often already built a reputation. Flippers will buy multiple mods, often through different names. They buy them at the price a modder asks and then try to sell them at a much higher market value price. “They’ve, in a sense, taken that unit from someone that genuinely wanted one to use,” Carson said. “Now that person is left with a few options. Be extorted by the flipper, wait for another run, or hope they can run across an ethical person that may not enjoy it as much as they thought they would.”
Photo Courtesy of Erik Colvin VAPEMZ.COM VAPEMZ.COM
DEPARTMENTS That same level of distaste had led to several modders getting out of the game over the years. When their products are being used to exploit money from others within the community, it’s hard to blame them. “As a manufacturer I’m not supposed to care,” he said. “I’ve determined my costs, applied my profit margin, and received what I feel like I need to justify the work involved in the production.” He added, “As a person, I hate it for those that may not have been successful in purchasing one upon release.” The problem with flipping, it seems, can be distilled into a single and simple sentence: It hurts those who actually want these devices for personal use rather than simply for profit. But the solution, as Colvin suggested, may be equally simple: The phenomenon could be largely phasing itself out. And as a wise man once said: The best thing to do with a self-correcting problem is stay out of its way and let it solve itself.
Photos Courtesy of Allan Kwasnik
District F5VE and Mystery Mod Co.
By Chris Mellides
Photos by Allan Kwasnik
In an effort to avoid what could easily be written off as a gush fest, I’ll just come out and say that the Cosmonaut RDA is my favorite RDA of 2016. What makes this atomizer so great? As it turns out, a whole lot. First of all, this thing looks the part. Available in matte black and a clean stainless steel finish, both versions are emblazoned with a deep and detailed engraving of a skull-faced spacetraveler wearing a helmet with a rocketship blasting off in the distance. I positively love this aesthetic. It looks friggin’ mean. The Cosmonaut is a 24mm postless atomizer with 4mm lead inserts, which give bigger builds ample room for installation, and both the deck and the hybrid-friendly 510 pin are 24K gold plated for maximum conductivity. While you could probably get away with using round wire builds in this deck, this particular beast is designed to handle your claptons, fused claptons, aliens or whatever else you can dream up.
Installation is a snap. Cut your coil leads to length, insert each end into the positive and negative blocks where your lead inserts are located, tighten the side mounted flat head screws to capture your wire, pulse your coils, thread your wick, and you’re done. Simple.
The juice well is very shallow, but don’t let that deceive you. The airflow slots are placed high on the barrel and allow for the space below them to act as an “extended juice well” when everything is assembled leaving tons of room for wicking material.
The barrel is held onto the deck with a single fat o-ring that does the job brilliantly. It has a secure fit to it, and I have never had juice leak from the seam where the deck and barrel meet.
You can close off the airflow, but I tend to keep the slots opened wide for a perfect draw with just the right amount of airflow restriction for a very dense, warm and satisfyingly smooth vape.
Everything is machined very well with no nicks, burrs, or scratches to speak of. The outer barrel and deck are clean as hell–we’re talking excellent craftsmanship here.
While dual coil builds work a treat, there is an option for single coil airflow adjustment, so no user is left out in the cold.
There is a small gap that runs along the diameter of the top cap, which is designed to displace heat, and it most certainly works. The Cosmonaut can get hot if you don’t let up on the vaping, but topside, everything is kept cool. This RDA has a short profile, and the reduced height combined with the unique deck translates to some of the best flavor I’ve ever gotten from an RDA.
A black delrin drip tip is included, but there are some really cool ultem drip tips sold by District F5VE that look great. If that’s not your bag, you’ll be delighted to know that all of the wide bore drip tips designed to fit the Goon RDA, are compatible and look positively stunning. This is a huge selling point for me, and takes drip tip customization to new heights. So, if you’re someone who loves accenting your gear, you’re covered. Overall, I’d have to say that this District F5VE/ Mystery Mod Co. collaboration was a huge success. The two companies didn’t so much hit the target with the Cosmonaut, as they completely eviscerated it.
The matte black model sells for $70 and the stainless steel variation will run you $65. Both come with the aforementioned delrin drip tip and a bag of spare parts. The Cosmonaut is available direct from the manufacturer at: www. districtf5ve.com. Dude, it really is that good. If you’re on the fence, just buy one already.
Vaping American Made Products
By Chris Mellides
MOD TECH A successor to the popular Rig Mod V2, which had all of the hard-hitting power of its Rig V1 predecessor in a more compact size, comes the latest iteration in the Vaping American Made Products (VAMP) lineup, the Rig V3. The Rig V3 mechanical mod comes in brass, copper and aluminum and at a much cheaper price point when compared to previous models. The version being reviewed is the aluminum model with what appears to be a black cerakote finish. Straight away it must be stated that this mod is incredibly light in weight, which makes a great deal of sense when considering that it is fashioned entirely out of high grade aluminum. But when you consider previous company products heralded for their ruggedness and heft, the Rig in aluminum feels like the odd man out. With that said, its performance is excellent. The threads are smooth, and every atomizer I’ve attached screws in firm and sits flush. Proper maintenance is necessary to ensure that the threads stay buttery smooth, otherwise they could get a bit rough.
The machining on this mod is top notch, with a nice engraving of the company’s trademark oil rig graphic on one side of the device, and a “Made In USA” and unique serial engraving on the other. There are some users that have complained about the finish being prone to scratches and scuffs, but that hasn’t been the case during my continued use of the mod. However, I will say that there were two small blemishes I noticed the minute I took the mod out of its packaging, which was a bit of a letdown. This system was a staple in mech mods of yesteryear and seems like a step backward for VAMP, but as you might expect, the system works and it does make for a safer device overall.
The Rig V3’s 510 connection fits all 25mm atomizers, and every atomizer I’ve paired with it measuring 25mm and below look great, but the atty that looks best is the Vapeamp Terk RDA—a joint collaboration between VAMP and famed coil builder M. Terk.
The Rig V3 features an automotive grade 4 lb. spring, which gives users a perfect level of resistance and makes for a not-too-stiff yet firm and satisfying throw, with nary a misfire to speak of.
The Vapemap Terk RDA is a 24mm two-post piece of hardware that’s hybrid-ready and makes use of a clamp system, not unlike the Goon RDA, but much more refined.
The mod also features an anti-rotational button, which ensures that your switch assembly stays in place and that nothing comes undone during repeated use.
Two chunky stainless steel panels sit atop two sturdy block posts that meet when two Philips head screws are fastened down, pinning the leads of your coils and securing the wire.
The airflow is slotted and cannot be adjusted. I don’t have exact measurements on it, but it would appear that the height of the slots is about 3 mm and the length of those slots is, well, long. Combined with the wide bore mouthpiece, and you’ve got an atomizer that is very airy indeed. This will be fine for people that run hotter builds, are looking for bigger clouds or both. Those that are looking for more saturated flavor and a restricted draw might want to look elsewhere. While the Rig V3 and Vapeamp Terk atty complement each other nicely and look great when paired together, they offer far more potential for significantly better performance separately and paired with different hardware than they do together. Photos by Allan Kwa snik
The juice well is adequately deep, and because of the atty’s large size, there’s plenty of room for cotton in front of each post. The spacious design also means that there’s ample room for larger builds as well. The issue I have with this point is that the Vapeamp Terk was designed to be used with the Rig V3, a mechanical mod that when fired takes a good deal of time to heat up the big builds that the RDA is begging to have installed. I’ve found that round wire builds work best with this RDA. There’s virtually zero ramp up time, which is more than I can say for a pair of fused claptons, where the ramp up time is much longer by comparison. It’s a shame, really. Regardless of the build, installation of your coils is a snap and far easier to build on than traditional three-post attys or even some others that make use of clamp systems. While the Vapeamp Terk is available in brushed nickel, I’ve been handling the aluminum version with a black finish. From the outside, the M. Terk logo is prominently displayed on one side, with VAMP’s liberty bell logo featured on the other. The last two things I’ll touch on are the atomizer’s proprietary drip tip, which is made from delrin, and the device’s airflow design.
Overall, the Rig V3 and Vapeamp Terk RDA are constructed very well, and the performance I get when the two are paired together is decent, but leaves more to be desired.
The drip tip, or what can more adequately be described as a mouthpiece, is short and stubby. Since it sits closer to your coils, you’re sure to get a more flavorful vape, but the tip can get hot with repeated use, and spit back issues can sometimes present themselves.
If you’re wary about purchasing an aluminum mod, and could do without an airy atomizer, then I think the answer is clear when considering whether you should purchase this mod/ atty combo.
As previously mentioned, the tip is proprietary. So, of course that means that you cannot use any of your own 510 drip tips. Fatter wide bore press fitted drip tips are also non-compatible.
For everyone else, the Rig V3 mechanical mod and Vapeamp Terk rebuildable dripping atomizer are available at authorized retailers nationwide and online directly through the manufacturer at: vapeamp.com.
Versatility and expert craftsmanship are just a few words you could use when describing the Underground from MCM Mods.
and Mose’ RDA By Chris Mellides
Photos courtesy of Allan Kwasnik
This box mod is manufactured in the Philippines, which is a country known for producing some excellent vape devices that usually sport unique features and a pinoy flair that’s uniquely their own. The Underground is a fully mechanical mod that’s commonly known for its capabilities as a hard-hitting dual 18650 series box. When utilized in this way, the mod is capable of delivering roughly 8.4 volts of serious power.
Keep in mind that voltage drop will play a role in the device’s true voltage output, which will determine how “hard” the device will hit, but if I’m being honest, this thing will sock you in the mouth with no quarter asked and non given. It’s an absolute beast when it comes to just how strong a drag it offers. Don’t want to run the Underground in series? No problem. Just insert the included delrin dummy battery adapter for a single battery option. In this mode, the box will run as a single 18650 mech and will deliver 4.2 volts before the battery drains and needs replacing.
The Underground is a hybrid device, which means that your atomizer will need to have a 510 pin at the connector that extends far enough to make contact with your battery. Otherwise you’ll run the risk of shorting the device. However, an included adapter that’s boxed with the mod will turn its stock hybrid connection into one where a contact stands between your 510 pin and your 18650 battery, which makes the Underground safer overall if it’s run in this way. This feature can be utilized in both dual battery and single battery configuration.
The Underground has a detonator style fire button that’s a combination of brass and delrin. The button is extremely responsive, and regardless of where you apply pressure with each push, the mod will fire. The delrin does a great job at displacing heat and sits above a spring, which offers a tad bit of resistance each time you fire the button. The mod itself is made of a resin that ranges in color. No two are the same, and a lot of these finishes are absolutely stunning and make use of a very wide color palette. There are some very trippy color combos out there. There are also Underground mods that have polished mirror panels on either side, others are constructed of wood and still others are offered in solid color options as well. They all do, of course, perform in exactly the same way. Since the mod I received is mostly constructed out of delrin and resin, it doesn’t heat up as quickly as something like a metal mechanical tube mod would, and this is a huge plus in my book.
The device is capable of delivering bottom, side and top airflow at the same time, which is adjustable at the top cap and makes for a very flavorful vape with the option of having a good deal of airflow to boot. Broken down, the Mose’ is comprised of five pieces, six if you count the 510 drip tip adapter. The stainless steel deck sports a 6mm deep juice well, with a negative post that’s milled into it and a positive post surrounded by peek insulation around its base. This is a two-post deck with ample room for bigger builds and post holes that measure about 3mm in diameter. Two big Phillips-head screws fasten down firm and trap the leads of your coils for a secure and easy installation. It’s also worth mentioning that the pin at the 510 connector is silver plated and peek insulated with excellent threading throughout.
A badge displaying both the MCM Mods logo and branding is affixed to one side of the mod, and a unique serial number and additional branding can be found on the underside of the mod that houses two screws that can be removed for an easy cleaning of the device’s contact and internals.
What’s really interesting about the Mose’ is that despite all of the airflow options, it is relatively leak-proof. There’s a lip on the the deck that stop it from traveling up the barrel. At the lip is where the inner sleeve of the device is fitted onto the deck, which accounts for a reduction in the chamber housing your coils. An outer barrel fits over the inner sleeve and hides the bottom and side airflow, and the top cap that’s threaded into the outer barrel makes use of its own airflow and it’s there that all of your airflow is directed.
Vent holes are located on either side of the device at its base to protect against injury in the rare event that your batteries should vent on you. At just 73mm tall and 50mm in length the Underground is super compact and tiny. You’ll have to adjust how you hold the mod, particularly if you have large hands, but overall it’s pretty comfortable in the palm. The Underground is not without its faults. I have found that the firing switch can back out during repeated use, which had me needing to tighten it here and there. Additionally, the switch that shipped with the latest version of the Underground mods was prone to sticking and getting hot. This was quickly addressed by the owner of Dragon’s Den Vapor, the official authorized U.S. seller of MCM hardware. He went ahead and sent me a replacement button that will now be shipping with the latest Undergrounds and it has worked without incident. Complementing the Underground box, MCM Mods also released a rebuildable dripper called the Mose’. It has been on the market for a number of months now, but that in no way takes away from the atomizer’s ingenuity and innovative design.
Available in stainless steel, copper, brass and a black version, the Mose’ is a 24mm RDA with bottom-to-top airflow design.
So long as the o-ring at the edge of your build deck holds, the Mose’ doesn’t leak. It simply cannot from a design perspective. However, the o-ring on my review unit isn’t the snuggest and so I have at times experienced very minor leaking, particularly when I over drip. I can’t say that this weaker o-ring is typical of all Mose’ RDA units being sold, but that’s been the case with mine. Other than that, the Mose’ is a huge win. I’ve never seen an atty like it, and the impeccable threading and quality of machining on this thing are second to none. Overall, the MCM Underground and Mose’ are an excellent combination and really stand out in my mind when it comes to quality, style and exceptional performance. Both pieces of hardware can be purchased online directly from Dragon’s Den Vapor at: dragonsdenvapor.com.
Rabbit’s Foot In the US, we are often spoiled with the literally thousands of e-liquid lines that pack the shelves of our stores. But international manufacturers are seeing success, as well. Rabbit’s Foot Custom Brews is a German company with a sales hub in Malaysia. Team members are selected through a rigorous process and speak a plethora of languages including Mandarin, Hindi, Tagalog, Russian, German, English, and others. When a niche market opened up in the Asia Pacific region, this company went after it. They wanted to hit the brick and mortar shops, but soon found themselves opening to online sales via a distributor. Rabbit’s Foot makes a combination of 200 flavors using Capella’s, Flavor Art and other flavor companies products. So, what are the most popular flavors in Asia that a vaper can find in a vape shop? Complex flavors seem to be the best such as a mango, coconut cream and sticky rice combinations, summer berries, and any bubble tea flavors (especially taro bubble tea.) Basically, the flavor combinations appeal to local taste. On the legal and lawful side of things, vaping (just like in the U.S.) is monitored by the government. The Asian media, just like the American media, have distorted the truth about vaping. Unfortunately, most people dare not question what the government says because most people are afraid of the government and encourage their children to smoke cigarettes because they have been around lon-
...The Asian media, just like the American media, have distorted the truth about vaping.
Custom Brews Takes a Global Approach to E-Liquid By Susan E. Oser
Because of the various Asian laws, Rabbit’s Foot has found itself in a bit of a bind. Considering that this German-based company is merely a guest in Malaysia, they dare not question, but instead counter attack with their own brand of media information with the help of Clive Bates and Dr. Farsalinos within the confines of the Asian media. They focus more on the individual benefits and try not to go against the grain. In addition to this, there are organizations out there such as Malaysian Organization Vape Entity (M.O.V.E) and the Taiwan Vape Association which have been a great help to vaping advocacy. Just like in the United States, tobacco corporations are trying to silence vapers in Asia and at the end of the day, it’s all about denying those who will never have a chance to vape as a means of smoking cessation.
ger and are considered safer than vaping. In countries like Singapore and Brunei, vaping is totally banned from both sale and usage.
Having said all that, one major concern from Rabbit’s Foot has been the packaging and labeling of e-liquid.
In Malaysia, there are a few places where there is a public ban on vaping. In fact, the government has even encouraged some vape shops to either change their name to a tobacco shop or add tobacco to their shops so vape products won’t be confiscated. Yet, looming bans do remain. In India, a seller was hounded for three years before a national ban eventually was issued. In Indonesia, while there may be a ban on vaping products, the public can still use and talk about them.
Along with the advocacy, doing business in Asian countries as a whole is not easy. With the restrictions this company has to face, social media and the online community has been key in getting the word out including using Google and Facebook ads. The greater community is also encouraged and persuaded to go online and get the word out about vaping. Along with the advocacy, doing business in Asian countries as a whole is not easy. As consumers, Asians donâ€™t want anything explained to them, they just want to get their product and go. So, when it comes to de-
scribing custom flavors or complex flavors, that customer is at a bit of a loss. Thus, the business has a challenge. This is why in some stores they have a teaching session and give a hands-on approach to making e-liquids. If you are interested in learning more about Rabbits Foot Custom Brews and the Asian vaping scene, visit them online at: www.rabbitsfootcustombrews.com www.facebook.com/myvapologists
VAPE SHOP EVENTS REVEALS THE
By Norm Bour As 2016 draws to a close, we make note of the many changes in technology, new companies launching (and closing) and of course, the release of the deeming regs which will change everything. Vape Shop Events, which holds quarterly B2B closeddoor events throughout the country, is seeing those changes and adjusting to them. And one of the best things that comes from these events is bringing together a group of 50-60 industry leaders for two days and containing them in a beautiful hotel where they get to network, party, eat and drink together. Some of the companies that attend are worldwide leaders, like VaporFi, JSPR, Pancake Man, and others.
the 60ML cuts into profit margins and decreases the buyers’ reordering cycle, which it does. The 60ML fans says that the larger sizes are more in demand and will stick with them. Time will tell which side is right. But one thing no one disputes is that the 15ML is on the way out barring any modifying FDA requirements on sizes. Hien Bui, with major distribution house Vape Genie, sees a transition towards smaller and more discreet hardware and many are shying away from the 200watt box mods. “The satisfaction of smaller units seems to work for many in the vape world. The cloud comps are gone or less common than they used to be,” Bui shared. “It appears that the market and the users are growing up and maturing,” he concluded. And it’s about time.
Interesting Thoughts, Observations and Factoids
As I sat in on several meetings, one of the conversations was about e-liquid bottle sizes and which would prevail in the future; the 30ML or the 60 ML sizes.
Some predications are yet to be determined, but one fact without dispute is that vape shops are closing and will continue to do so. Most say the estimated 7,000-9,000 retail shops will be reduced by 80 percent or more. One of the show attendees from San Antonio, Texas shared an observation.
The supporters of the smaller size believe the 30ML will be the de facto standard for a while, and that
“San Antonio had about 110 shops just a few months ago, but I’m hearing of one or two closing every
week.â€? This is probably a nationwide trend. The upside of that is the opportunity for successful shops to pick up these failed or failing shops for cheap or even free. Many shop owners are walking away and selling their inventory for cost.
The Future is Now
A partnership going the other direction is a new one forged between VaporFi on the east coast and Cosmic Fog on the west coast. Cosmic Fog has been an e-liquid market leader for the past two years and are based in Orange County, California, the hub of liquid production in the US. They are one of the top sellers worldwide.
VaporFi is a wholly owned subsidiary of International Vapor Group, Inc. and has one of the largest footprints in their home state of Florida. IVG also owns Direct Vapor, Motley Brew, and South Beach Smoke. This new partnership is a sign of things of come as those that are committed to change and adaptation are seeking out collaborative partners. David Epstein and Scott Alwine with VaporFi were in Scottsdale and got a lot of love from buyers who raved about the new flavors that this partnership created. Epstein ventured his thoughts: â€œVaporFi has almost 70 locations on the east coast and until recently we
only carried our own branded products. We decided it was time to expand and looked for potential partners that had clout and market share. We joined with Cosmic Fog.” “It took us about six months to develop our new flavors,” the guys from VaporFi said. “Cosmic is the manufacturer and we are the exclusive distributor.” Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream, the end result, was met with glowing reviews and response at the show.” The one thing we can count on in the vaping world is that things will change, just as they have been doing since it began.
The glory days of easy money are behind us but there is still money to be made. It will be reaped by those willing to change, adapt and partner. Will that be you? If you have a story to share please contact the writer. Norm Bour is the founder of VapeMentors and creator of the VAPE U online programs. They offer services & resources for anyone in the vape space, including vape shops, online stores and e-liquid brands. He’s also the host of Vape Radio, the largest vaping radio show in the world with more than 1.3 M downloads. Norm interviews the masters of vape and thought leaders in the vape space. Contact him at norm@ VapeMentors.com.
BIG SHOW? By Norm Bour
The ECC convention held their fourth event recently and this may prove to be the line of demarcation between “what was” and “what is” as the face of vape conventions has transformed over the past year. With shows dwindling over the past year, a return to ECC brought with it high hopes and expectations — as always. The event took place outside at one of the most famous horse racetracks in the country, 96
Santa Anita Racetrack. Since the beginning, most vape events have been contained inside, either in a convention center or hotel. This was the third outside event I have attended and each is fraught with perils and risk. Rain is one risk; wind is another. During the winter months, cold temperatures are also a problem, even in perpetually sunny Southern California.
The Electronic Cigarette Convention Story Since launching in 2013, ECC was in the right place at the right time, and brought in over ten thousand attendees. That was the largest vaping event to date and several big liquid brands were launched there, including Space Jam. The following year, 2014, they doubled their attendance and had to secure outside floor space at the already large Ontario Convention Center. That year Propaganda and other brands were launched. Last year, 2015, was challenging as they moved from Ontario to the massive Los Angeles Fairgrounds and took over six large hangars. Bigger has been shown to not always be better and this yearâ€™s event may change the future of ECC. The county of Los Angeles, along with many other counties, will not allow vaping inside. When trying to house 100,000 square feet of noisy vapers and hundreds of vendors clamoring to get in, that becomes problematic. The answer this
year was to take it outside and several hundred exhibitors and many thousands of attendees were brought to the infield of the race track. That caused some logistical issues as the distance from the parking lot and the exhibition space was considerable. Since all the spaces were outside, the morning of the opening B2B day proved to be an ominous sign as the heavy â€œSanta Anaâ€? winds blew through the night before. Some quick work and tie downs had most everything back together when the gates opened. The beautiful and massive racetrack in Arcadia, California, covers 320 acres and has a ginormous parking lot that rivals major league and college lots. The track also abuts the majestic San Gabriel Mountains which tower over the track and in the winter can bring hot desert air into the Los Angeles basin. And right through the racetrack.
The Exhibitors Reactions Coming into Day One and seeing signs and banners down and dust everywhere led many to think this might be a disaster. But fortune smiled and most thought it a good, but not great event.
“Being outside definitely made it more difficult,” Horton shared. “The turnout was lighter than we’re used in B2B day but better than expected. We’re really hitting the consumer (B2C) day heavy and expect to sell a lot of product.”
Josh Horton from Cosmic Fog, is a veteran of ECC and in years past they have exhibited within massive towers and blasting music. This year Cosmic Fog was more subdued as they had several 10x30 foot booths joined with Liquid State and other lines with which they are associated.
Which they did. Of course, with new regs in place, the fervor over free juice was gone and no one came in expecting samples. Some of the largest booths were manned by Ruthless and Charlie’s Chalk Dust. Charlie’s rep John said that “Day one was good, but when the sun dropped down the temperature dipped ten degrees very quickly.” Of all the enclosures, the largest was the ZampleBox family.
Housed in a massive military style tent, ZampleBox had over 20 of their signature products under one roof along with others that are part of the family. Founder Tony Mandarano was pleased with the event. â€œFor our brands, the show was absolutely phenomenal and we sold more product during the B2B days than prior shows. Saturday and Sunday (B2C) had less foot traffic than previous years, probably because we lost the 18-20 year old crowd (thanks to new California age laws), but it made for a more fun and intimate setting.â€? Though the major brands were well represented, some leaders were missing, including Space Jam and Five Pawns. Some of the suggestions offered towards making this event better included adequate signage directing attendees into the massive parking lot along with information on the ECC web site telling which gate to enter.
The Future of Events What the future holds is hard to predict. For new or experienced promoters, the risks have never been greater as they must seek out a venue that allows vaping and remains affordable. Las Vegas has been a dominant player and since anything goes in Sin City, they will probably remain a prominent location. In 2016 the number of events grew significantly and amazingly small cities hosted them. Most were utter failures. Any event with less than 100 exhibitors is void of energy and will have a hard time garnering a crowd. The debacle of Vape Summit in August 2016, may remove them from the agenda, and that leaves just a few major players. Is exhibiting a â€œgood valueâ€? for liquid companies?
As the market shrinks over the next few years there may be less market share to split, but significantly fewer companies to split with. Some say that up to 97 percent of all vape companies will close by August 2018, and that includes retail shops as well as liquid companies. Considering how many rags to riches stories have been created over the years this is sad as many entrepreneurs banked their savings and their futures on the Vape Space. I do believe there are opportunities yet to be seen. Yes, the market will be different. It will be more professional and it will be run by many less companies. The key to success is to find a need, a pain, a want, and find a solution that people will pay for. Norm Bour is the founder of VapeMentors and creator of the VAPE U online programs. They offer services & resources for anyone in the vape space, including vape shops, online stores and e-liquid brands. Heâ€™s also the host of Vape Radio, the largest vaping radio show in the world with more than 1.3 M downloads. Norm interviews the masters of vape and thought leaders in the vape space. Contact him at norm@ VapeMentors.com.
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