May 6, 2014

A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing

The FDA has finally weighed in on e-cigarettes with its deeming regulations.

But the FDA’s proposal fails. Miserably. Because their proposal is based on the wrong premise: that e-cigarettes should be regulated under the Tobacco Control Act.

Let's not confuse e-cigarettes with the products that
kill a half million Americans every year. They're different. 
Dear FDA: 

Since when is a sheep the same as a wolf? 

E-cigarettes are NOT tobacco products. They do not contain tobacco. They’re technology products. And they should be regulated as such. 



We’ve been waiting patiently since April 2011 when the FDA first announced its plans to regulate e-cigarettes. To say that their proposed regulations disappoint doesn’t even begin to touch how those of us in the industry feel.

Clearly, the FDA doesn’t understand the entire point of e-cigarettes. The reason e-cigarettes were invented was to mitigate the harm caused by cigarettes and other combustible tobacco products.

Putting them in the same category as tobacco products is like calling a sheep a wolf. One grazes and bleats. The other kills and eats.

E-cigarettes have grown overnight into a $1.2 billion industry because they address a key problem. One in every five – about 42 million Americans – still smokes, despite the well-known health risks. And that number hasn’t budged in years.

At least half of all smokers try to quit at least once – and many try to quit several times. But many are unsuccessful, because nicotine, which is NOT a carcinogen, is highly addictive. Quitting cold turkey is hard. The nicotine patch doesn’t work, for obvious reasons. Smokers are addicted to nicotine, but they’re also hooked on the habit.

The e-cigarette is a game changer in the smoking cessation market. (Yes, I just said “smoking cessation.” Please don’t report me to the FDA.)

All of the anecdotal evidence from millions of people who have switched to the e-cigarette is that they’ve reduced or eliminated smoking cigarettes altogether. They’re no longer taking in 4,000 chemicals and 60 known carcinogens into their lungs.

And while nearly a half million people have died every year of smoking-related diseases, not one person has died from e-cigarettes.

Sure, there have been some mishaps. Sure, we have a ways to go to ensure that these products and the e-liquids are as safe as possible. We also welcome and will propose regulations to prevent e-cigarettes from falling into the hands of minors.

However, I continue to laugh at the assertion that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking, given the fact that vaping is not just safer; it’s also cheaper than smoking. I don’t know one person who would switch to a product that will cost them more – do you?

I have a lot more to say about the FDA’s pending regulations. But I’ll save that rant for another day.

Apr 10, 2014

E-Cigarette Poisonings: A Drop in the Bucket

The latest news about the e-cigarette has unfortunately been largely negative: e-cigarette poisonings are on the rise as kids get their hands on bottles of e-juice.

It seems like long ago, but my 20-something-year-old daughters were once of the age when everything went into their mouths. When she was two, my daughter Emma (who later quit smoking using the e-cigarette and was the inspiration behind my founding Vaping Vamps) swallowed almost a whole bottle of children's Tylenol. She crawled up on the counter and was able to get the child-proof cap off of the bottle. Before I knew it, she had downed the entire bottle.

Fortunately, I was prepared and after calling poison control to confirm what I should do, I gave her syrup of Ipecac so she could eject what was in her stomach, and ultimately brought her into an urgent care center. She was fine, but it was a scare I'll never forget.

Kids are exposed to all sorts of hazardous things in our homes. Some of them look more attractive to them than others.

I won't argue that a bottle of e-juice looks more attractive than a bottle of bleach. But as responsible adults, we need to make sure than anything that's hazardous is kept far, far out of the hands of our kids, and especially young children who love to put everything in their mouths.

But does this give us reason to vilify e-cigarettes? Hardly! It should just remind anyone who has young children in the house to treat bottles of e-juice like you would anything that could be poisonous if ingested.

(At Vaping Vamps, we only sell pre-filled cartomizers, so there is no risk of poisoning.)

Nicotine is NOT a Carcinogen!

News reports about e-cigarette poisonings are a great reminder that we must be careful not to let our e-cigarettes or e-juice bottles fall into our kids' hands.

But these reports really lose me when they blow this way out of proportion. In 2012, America's 55 poison centers received over 3 million calls; the calls ranged from fear of exposure to carbon monoxide to food poisoning to kids who swallowed the wrong stuff.

But let's put these e-cigarette poisonings into perspective: the CDC reports that there were 215 calls to poison centers about possible e-cigarette poisonings in Feb. 2014. Slightly over half were about children who had been exposed, but 42 percent involved people who were over age 20. Multiply that by 12, and you get 5,580 calls a year -- out of 3 million calls. I just did the math, and that's only .00186 -- a very, very small fraction of the total calls to poison control. Call me crazy, but I would bet there were way more calls about kids who swallowed medicines than those who injested e-liquids.

You know what really flummoxes me? Two things: 1) The fact that some don't seem to realize that e-cigarettes do NOT usually include more nicotine than traditional cigarettes. In fact, about 20 percent of our sales are of e-cigarettes with NO nicotine.

And 2) Nicotine is NOT a carcinogen. Yes, it's addictive, which is why Big Tobacco has been increasing the level of nicotine in cigarettes by about 1.6 percent every year according to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health. In fact, they even put additives in cigarettes to increase the absorption of nicotine.

But one of the great things about e-cigarettes is that you can order cartomizers with various levels of nicotine -- from zero nicotine to low, medium and high -- or 18 mg. -- or about the same as in a traditional cigarette. That's the highest level of nicotine we sell at Vaping Vamps.

And we also sell the industry's only "Tri-Level" kit which offers three levels of nicotine so you can slowly reduce your nicotine consumption.

Let's keep our focus on the big picture here: the bad guy here is traditional cigarettes, which claims the lives of about a half million people a year.

And then look at the overwhelming benefits of e-cigarettes rather than the .002 percent of mishaps.

Apr 4, 2014

"Just Say No" Doesn't Work

I had never heard of Remy de Gourmont (1858-1915), but as soon as I read this quote by the French writer and philosopher, I immediately liked him:

"Of all sexual aberrations, perhaps the most peculiar is chastity."

Go Remy! I couldn't agree more. We are meant to love one another and show our love in physical ways.

It all starts when we're teenagers. Our hormones are on overdrive. As Ingrid Michaelson puts it simply, "Girls chase boys chase girls."

"Let's not make it harder than it has to be," Ingrid sings. And thus it continues for most of our lives. We humans are driven by the need to be desired, loved, cherished.

Denying the fact that we're sexual beings just gets us into trouble. "Just say no" may work up to a certain point, but eventually, the vast majority (95 percent) of young women and men have premarital sex.

And the age when they have sex for the first time is dropping; as of the last report, the median age was 17.6 years.

The study's author, Lawrence Finer, said this about the findings: "Abstinence programs face an extremely high hurdle. Is it really feasible to make it normative behavior to have everyone wait until they're married to have sex?"

In fact, the study was used to evaluate the effectiveness of abstinence-only programs to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

Dr. Doug Kirby, a giant in the field of adolescent sexual health who served as director of research for Advocates for Youth in the 1980's, reviewed 115 sexual education programs to determine which were the most effective.

He couldn't find one abstinence-only program that was effective. What was most effective were programs that supported both abstinence and contraceptive use. And despite what the nay-sayers want to believe, Dr. Kirby found that none of these programs led to increased sexual activity or earlier onset of sex.

Let's take a chapter out of that book when it comes to educating teenagers about the dangers of tobacco. None of us want to promote teenage sex, drinking or tobacco use. But we must educate them to how to experiment wisely and not take unnecessary risks with their health.

Teenagers are going to experiment with cigarettes and e-cigarettes, now that they're out there and in the hands of over 3 million people.

A CDC study found that the number of high school students who had tried an e-cigarette doubled between 2011 and 2012. That's not at all surprising. But the CDC failed to ask how many had actually purchased an e-cigarette and using it on a regular basis. My guess would be that the numbers would go down dramatically.

The other argument that really slays me is making a claim that e-cigarettes are a gateway to the real thing. I mean, who would switch to something that they know is way worse for you and that costs a lot more? Certainly no teenagers or adults that I know!

We all have our temptations and like most humans, we give in to them. Remy said, "Demons are like obedient dogs; they come when they are called."

But when we give into our demons, let's be smart and safe about it.

And let's also arm our teenage kids with information about how they, too, can be smarter. And safer.

Apr 2, 2014

I Loved Lucy. But Lucy Loved to Smoke.

I loved Lucy.

But Lucy loved to smoke.

Born in 1911, Lucy started smoking as a pre-teenager, probably sometime in the mid to late 1920's. Her father died of typhoid fever when Lucy was only four and her mother was pregnant with Lucy's brother. Perhaps the stress of her home situation caused her to start smoking. Or perhaps she just wanted to look cool, like most teenagers. Who knows?

Of course, back in those days, the dangers of smoking were not yet known. Lucy continued smoking most of her life. One of her early jobs was as the Chesterfield cigarette girl.

Phillip Morris was the key sponsor of her famous "I Love Lucy" show. One day during rehearsals, she was smoking her favorite Chesterfields in the corner of the set when a representative from Phillip Morris' ad agency pulled her aside. After that, Lucy reportedly carried her beloved Chesterfields in a Philip Morris tin box.

Her husband and co-star Desi Arnaz was famous for smoking several Cuban cigars every day for years. In 1986, over 25 years after they had divorced, Lucy called him up on what would have been their 46th wedding anniversary. Desi had been diagnosed with lung cancer just a few months earlier. He died two days later.

As incredibly funny as Lucy was, the circumstances around her last years were far from funny.

Several years before her death, her doctor advised her to give up smoking. But the years of heavy smoking has already taken their toll. Lucy died of an aortic dissection, which is associated with hypertension or high blood pressure.

Smoking and heart disease are inextricably related. Smoking increases blood pressure, and smokers are much more likely than non-smokers to develop hypertension and heart disease.

In fact, about 30 percent of the deaths from heart disease are directly related to cigarette smoking.

And your risks of a heart attack greatly increases with the number of cigarettes you smoke. Women who smoke a pack or more a day more than DOUBLE their risk of heart attack.

Young women are NOT unsusceptible. Women who smoke and also take birth control pills dramatically increase their risk of heart attack, stroke and peripheral vascular disease.

The good news is that if you quit smoking or switch to the smarter, safer, sexier alternative (we're talking e-cigs, baby!), you may reduce your risk of heart attack and prolong your life.

And in addition to getting healthier on the inside, you'll also look better on the outside: you'll prevent wrinkles, stop staining your teeth, and you'll also smell and taste better.

Which makes me wonder: do you think Lucy would have switched to e-cigarettes if she had had the chance?

Mar 26, 2014

Coffee & Cigarettes, Caffeine & Nicotine

I love coffee, and I'm not awake until I've had a cup.

I was recently in Jamaica, famous for its Blue Mountain coffee. I love having a nice fresh cup of coffee, with just a little cream and dark brown sugar. I shot a little video in the courtyard of the little cottage where I stayed.

Coffee & cigarettes, caffeine & nicotine
Your coffee break can also include a little nicotine! Nicotine is not the deadly
culprit in cigarettes. It's all the other chemicals that are so harmful. 
Caffeine is a stimulant and it’s addictive. I tried giving up caffeine once and just got killer headaches. Now I try to limit myself to just one cup in the morning.

Nicotine is also a stimulant and it’s even more addictive than caffeine. But nicotine is NOT carcinogenic. A surprising 40 percent of doctors think nicotine is the deadly culprit in cigarettes. How dumb are they?

When you smoke, it releases almost 5,000 chemicals, including tar, lead, arsenic and about 60 chemicals linked to cancer. 

Nicotine is what makes it so hard to give up cigarettes. But with the e-cigarette, you don’t have to give up nicotine. You can vape nicotine, without worrying about how bad smoking is for you.

(Of course, if you're like me, you might also just like vaping with no nicotine. We also sell non-nicotine e-cigarettes at Vaping Vamps!)

The main ingredient in e-cigarettes is the FDA-approved stuff (propylene glycol) that’s in asthma inhalers, nebulizers, fog machines and even drinks and cake mixes. Add a little vegetable glycerin and flavoring and that’s all that’s in an e-cigarette.

So now you can have your coffee and figgie break guilt-free every morning. You, too, can be a Vaping Vamp!

Mar 18, 2014

Cigarette Butts are Ugly Butts

I recently was on vacation in Negril, Jamaica, home of the famous Seven Mile Beach. It's easily one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, if not the entire world.

Unfortunately, this beach is like many all over the world: it's littered with cigarette butts. Ugly, filthy, disgusting cigarette butts. There's nothing that makes me sadder than to see one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world littered with trash.

My first instinct was to pick up these butts. I may have looked like a fool, but who cares. I'm long past the point when I care what people think. I'm revolted by these butts, and I'm going to at least clean up my little area of the beach.

My first instinct was to pick up these ugly butts.
After I returned back to my little cottage where I worked for three weeks, I got onto my computer and did a little research. I learned that cigarettes are the most littered thing in the world. And unlike what you might think, they're not made of innocuous cotton.

Cigarette butts are actually made of thousands of plastic fibers (cellulose ace tow) that are not biodegradable. In fact, it will take decades for these ugly butts to decompose. Cigarette filters are damaging to the environment, and littered butts cause numerous fires every year, some of them fatal. Research has also shown that cigarette butts are toxic to fish, who will die in water that contains cigarette filters.

I got so mad reading about the fact that several trillion cigarette butts are littered worldwide every year, I decided to do something about it. So I made a video. OK, I probably won't get nominated for an Academy Award. It's my first video and it's a little rough. But I tried to make a couple of points:

First, if you smoke, please, PLEASE don’t litter. Find a proper receptacle to dispose of your cigarette butt!

But in some places, I know it’s hard to find a place to dispose your butt. So then, what do you do? Well, my solution is to use the smarter, safer, sexier option: the e-cigarette, of course!

You can simply take your e-cigarette out when you want to vape and put it back in your beach bag when you’re done. A Vaping Vamp cartomizer equals 6 or 7 cigarettes, so you can bring one of our e-cigs and vape at the beach all day long!

Take a look at my video and let me know what you think. And please join me in getting rid of all the ugly butts on the beach!

Mar 13, 2014

Kids and E-Cigs: The Debate Rages On

A new study conducted by the University of California San Francisco gives the e-cigarette nay-sayers one more reason to get hysterical.

UCSF researchers examined data from middle and high school students who completed the National Youth Tobacco Survey in 2011 and 2012 and found that kids are experimenting with e-cigarettes as well as with cigarettes. Lo and behold, the same kids who tried e-cigarettes also smoked more cigarettes than non e-cigarette users. (Does any of this strike you as incredibly obvious?)

None of us want our teenagers to start smoking.
But let's look at the big picture for just a second. The survey wasn't designed to derive any insights about the possible motivation or relationship between e-cigarette use and smoking regular cigarettes.

In fact, what the survey data does show us is that cigarette smoking among teens has decreased. And the fact that we now have a better, safer alternative to deadly cigarettes is a positive thing, not a negative.

Remember: the smoking rate has not gone down in years. An estimated 42 million people in the U.S. -- about 20 percent of the population -- still smokes.

For every one of the 480,000 people who die every year from smoking-related diseases, another huge group of teenagers picks up a pack of cigarettes and eventually becomes addicted. In 2012, the American Cancer Society reported that nearly one in four male high school students smoked and nearly one in five female students smoked.

The fact that we now have a better, safer alternative is only a positive thing. The nay-sayers need to view e-cigarettes in light of the fact that it's a much better substitute for smoking, and the vast majority of people transition from traditional cigarettes to e-cigarettes.

In fact, if kids had actually purchased an e-cigarette with a rechargeable battery (not the disposable kind), my guess is that they wouldn't also be smoking, since vaping is cheaper in the long run. It defies logic that someone would switch to something they know is bad for them and that actually costs more.

Kids will be kids. And they will continue to experiment with whatever is out there. But kids are still able to access tobacco cigarettes, alcohol and whatever they can to be cool and act like adults.

Eventually, I hope that they will see traditional cigarettes as old school, NOT cool, like their mom and dad's big old Chevrolet, 8-track player and polyester suit.

The e-cigarette industry is doing its best to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of minors. And our industry is the first disruptive product to come down the pike that is helping to reduce the smoking rate. That trend is clearly taking off. Analysts predict that the sale of e-cigarettes will outpace the sale of traditional cigarettes in 10 to 15 years.

And that's a good thing for both kids and adults.

Mar 6, 2014

Kids Help Adults to Stop Smoking

Kids say the darndest things, don't they?

Kids who simply asked adults why they smoked went viral on YouTube. Shot in Thailand, the message is universal: adults who smoke would never want kids to smoke. Yet, despite the fact they well know of the serious health risks, they smoke themselves.

The video follows a little boy and girl who walk up to men and women smoking outside an office building. Cigarette in hand, they ask the adults for a light.

 Shocked by the request, the smokers refused to give them a light and instead tell them:

"I'm not giving it to you."
"Smoking is bad; you have to stop."
"Cigarettes contain insecticide."
"You look old when you smoke."

Every adult filmed reminded the children that smoking was bad for them. 

"If you smoke you die faster. Don't you want to live and play?"
"You know it's bad, right?"
"When you smoke, you suffer from lung cancer, emphysema and strokes."

So why are you smoking?, the children asked. Then they handed them a piece of paper on which was written, "You worry about me. But why not about yourself?

Almost every adult who received a brochure stopped to think and threw away their cigarette. 

No adult, however, threw away the brochure. 

Powerful stuff. And it made a difference. They reported a 40% increase in calls by smokers wanting to quit.  

Makes me wonder if a similar approach in our anti-smoking ads would be as effective in the U.S. 

Feb 27, 2014

Celebrities Who Smoke Send the Wrong Signal

Whether they like it or not, celebrities are role models for many impressionable young people.

We love to see how they dress, who and where they hang out and what they do in real life when they're not up on the big screen. They're larger than life, so we may even be surprised to see them do "normal" things, like taking their dog for a walk.

Keira Knightley smokes?!
But when they do something that's no longer cool -- like smoking -- they completely lose me.

Here's a list of 10 celebrities that were caught on camera smoking:

1.  Minnie Driver
2.  Mary-Kate Olsen
3.  Cheryl Burke
4.  Keira Knightley
5.  Rihanna
6.  Jessica Alba
7.  Melanie Griffith
8.  Kate Winslet
9.  Salma Hayek
10.Katy Perry

Frankly, they disappoint me. A lot. 

I thought they were supposed to be trend-setters. Since when is smoking cigarettes a new trend? 

I have a lot more respect for celebrities like Katherine Heigl, who went on David Letterman back in 2007 with her e-cigarette. 

And Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who was nominated for her roles in the HBO series "Veep" and film "Enough Said" gets two thumbs up in my book for vaping at the Golden Globes.

Any celebrity who sends a vapor signal instead of spewing deadly secondhand-smoke gets my vote. 

Thank you for not smoking!

Feb 20, 2014

Anti-Smoking Heroine Barb Tarbox

A heroine is someone who died for a cause.

Barb Tarbox (1961 – 2003, age 42) is without a shred of doubt in my mind, a heroine.

Like many teenagers, Barb began smoking in high school because she wanted to be "popular." Even though she was beautiful, she still wanted to fit in. While the dangers of smoking were well known when she started smoking in the mid-1970's, plenty of teenagers started smoking to look cool.

Barb Tarbox was a beautiful young woman who started smoking an occasional cigarette as a teenager.
What amazes me is that teenagers still start smoking for the exact same reasons: because they think it looks cool and they want to fit with the "in" crowd.

Anyway, back to Barb. Barb started small, like a lot of "social smokers." She would typically just snitch a cigarettes out of her mother's purse. But nicotine, while not a carcinogen, is very addictive. By the time Barb was 21, she was up to two packs a day and that's when she learned that her mother, a lifelong smoker, had terminal lung cancer. Barb famously reports that the doctor warned her that if she didn’t quit, she would find herself in his office within 20 years.

Sure enough, 19 years later, now married to the love of her life and with a young daughter of her own, Barb was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. The cancer quickly spread to her brain and bones, and there was little doctors could do. Diagnosed in September 2002, Barb was told she would be lucky to make it to Christmas.

And here comes the heroine part. Most of us would focus on what would make us happiest in our remaining months of life. But not Barb. Rather than quietly living out her final days in the company of family and close friends, she decided to spend her last weeks on this earth talking to kids, telling them her message.

She told them her story, why she picked up her first cigarette, and that she just wanted to be "cool." She told them she should have quit when her mother died of lung cancer. She told them she couldn't even quit when she was diagnosed with lung cancer.

She told them what she would do differently. Her message was simple and to the point. "If you smoke, quit. And if you don’t, never start." Her delivery was frank and open, full of emotion. She didn't hold back. She would even remove her scarf to reveal her bald head.

In the months following her diagnosis, Barb spoke to more than 50,000 kids all across Canada, reaching millions more in radio and TV appearances. Teenagers would hand over their packs of cigarettes, vowing never to smoke again.

Perhaps her mission kept her alive a little longer, because instead of dying at Christmas, Barb hung on until May 18, 2003. Since she passed away, the teenage smoking rate in Alberta has dropped by about five percent to 13 percent. And her work still isn't done. Two photos of Barb in her last days of life now appears on Canadian cigarette packaging, and the government has raised tobacco taxes and penalties for providing tobacco to minors.

Photos of Barb in her final days appear on Canadian cigarette packaging.
Barb was posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in 2003 by the Governor General of Canada, for her devotion to the anti-smoking cause. Her daughter, Mackenzie, accepted the decoration and continues to talk about her mother's amazing legacy.

Feb 14, 2014

A More Kissable You

Kiss me, you fool!

But as a smoker, you could be fooling yourself to think that a non-smoker enjoys kissing you. It has nothing to do with how sexy and adorable you are. It has everything to do with the fact that non-smokers generally dislike the smell and taste of smoke.

Non-smokers tend to prefer non-smokers. So not smoking means you
are more available to the majority of men.
Of course you could always carry a little vial of mouthwash around with you or chew gum to mask the taste of cigarettes. But these are just temporary fixes.

And the important thing to keep in mind is that it's not just the smell that's bothersome. Kissing someone is an intimate act that can lead to other intimate acts and a possible relationship. When you're thinking about have a relationship with someone, you're evaluating what kind of person they are and what kind of partner they'll be.

Smoking cigarettes may send a signal to a prospective mate that you don't care about your health. It may actually go against his core values -- especially if he's macho-man who loves to work out at the gym six days a week.

Smoking leads to a whole slew of dental problems, including bad breath and yellow teeth, which are just the early signs of an unhealthy mouth.

A new study has found that smoking can also lead to gum disease, which causes tooth loss. Smoking messes up the normal function of gum tissue, which affects the attachment of bone and soft tissue to the teeth.

Bad bread and yellowed teeth are just the tip of the iceberg.
Smokers were about four times more likely than non-smokers to have periodontal disease; nearly 53 percent of gum disease was attributed to smoking.

But there was good news in the study, too. Researchers found that smokers who had quit at least 11 years earlier faced no increased risk of gum disease, according to the findings published in the Journal of Periodontology.

So the upshot is that quitting smoking or switching to an e-cigarette will likely reduce your risk of gum disease.

And you'll be more kissable, too.

Feb 6, 2014

The Making of "Vape Inside and Get the Guy"

Picture this scene:

A handsome man walks past a woman smoking outside. She looks him up and down, clearly liking what she sees.

It’s winter in Minnesota and he hurries past her, paying her no attention whatsoever. She may be a "10" but he’s a non-smoker. He subtly holds his breath as he walks past her.

As he enters the bar, he's greeted warmly by a large group of friends, all dressed to the nines. They're chatting and laughing; several women are vaping, holding their sleek, black e-cigarettes between their index and middle fingers.

He stands next to one woman, elegantly dressed in a shimmery tight-fitting purple dress. Their chemistry is obvious to anyone looking on. She blows vapor from her e-cigarette in his direction; the sweet-smelling vapors dissipate immediately into the air.

Meanwhile, the lone smoker is missing out on the fun, the jokes, the stories and the laughter. She’s cold and alone. She can see through the window that her group of friends are having a great time.

The Inside Story Behind the Vaping Vamps Video

This is the story that we tell in our Vaping Vamps video and it’s not a stretch to assume that this scenario is a common one in a day and age when vaping e-cigarettes is becoming more and more popular. In fact, e-cigarettes may even replace traditional cigarettes within the next decade.

The concept for this video was developed by a special group of students at the University of Minnesota: P.R. students and members of PRSSA, the Public Relations Student Society of America. This talented group of students volunteered to help Vaping Vamps get the message out about the benefits of e-cigarettes over smoking to their fellow students.

We started by pulling together a focus group of their fellow students who smoked – all women in their late teens and early 20’s, most of whom started smoking in high school.

Most of them started smoking as a social activity – during work breaks, with friends or when drinking. Some were light smokers, while others had “graduated” to smoking a pack a day. They admitted that their parents didn’t know and wouldn’t be happy if they knew they were smoking.

While most of them thought they would probably quit someday, they didn’t have a clear idea how exactly they would quit or what resources they would use. They were familiar with e-cigarettes, and about half had tried them, but were not currently using them for various reasons.

Everyone wanted the experience of vaping an e-cigarette to replicate the sensation of smoking, because they all enjoyed smoking.

The Social Aspect: A Huge Factor for Women Who Smoke

In a nutshell, we learned that for women, the social aspect of smoking was huge. It was largely the reason why women started smoking as well as why they continued to smoke.

So we decided that the focus of our video would be to ostracize smokers and play up the fact that vaping is not only healthier, but it enables you to stay inside with your friends.

An important secondary message was the fact that most non-smokers don't want to be around smokers, and are unlikely to want to kiss a smoker. That's an important message for young women to hear, because most women want to feel attractive and alluring to men.

Check out the video on Vaping Vamps' YouTube channel here: We'd love your feedback and comments on our first produced video. Tell us - and the beautiful and talented U of MN students - what you think!

Jan 28, 2014

What's in E-Cigarettes?

"We don't know what's in e-cigarettes."

If I could get a dime every time I heard that, I'd be a rich woman sunning myself on a beach in the Caribbean.

We DO know what's in e-cigarettes. But plenty of people would rather push the fear button than to do a little research.

The main ingredient in e-cigarettes is the same stuff that's in asthma inhalers.
The fact is that over 60 studies have been done on e-cigarettes, and the most comprehensive one, by Drexel University, studied over 9,000 e-cigarette uses. Their conclusion? "It's about as harmless as you can get."

We’ve all heard the rumor that e-cigarettes contain a deadly antifreeze chemical in them. That rumor came after the FDA found a trace (1%) element of diethylene glycol (DG) in one brand of e-cigarettes four years ago. DG is certainly not in the any e-cigarettes these days. Isn't it about time that rumor died?

Then there was the rumor that e-cigarettes had toxic levels of nanoparticles in them. That sounded pretty suspicious to me, so I did a little investigation, and found a research article that read a little like a science-fiction movie.

These researchers dissected used cartomizers, took out the elements and put them in a centrifuge. Then, they spun them around at 14,000 cycles per minute to see what would happen.

Researchers put cartomizer elements into a centrifuge and spun them at 14,000 cycles per minute.
Now that’s a ride I think I'll skip! It was a little like “Will it blend?” performed on e-cigarettes.

After spinning the crap out of these cartomizers, they concluded that they could see trace elements of metals after looking at them under an electron microscope.

Turns out the research they did has “no clinical significance,” because even when you forgive the bizarre methods they used to examine e-cigarette safety, these small particles are not present in vapor. Also, because only the teensiest particles can actually get absorbed into your lungs, this “dust” is also not an issue.

Then I learned that there are 880 times less particles in e-cigarettes than in real cigarettes. I already knew there was only four main ingredients, compared to 4,000 chemicals and 57 known carcinogens in traditional cigarettes. The main ingredient, propylene glycol, is the same stuff that's in asthma inhalers, nebulizers, fog machines, drinks and even cake mixes.

Heck, they even give it to cows that are depressed and anorexic. Would I kid you about a thing like that?

So next time you hear someone say, "we don't know what's in e-cigarettes," please, do me a favor. Tell them we DO know what's in them. But they have to take their heads out of the sand long enough to listen.

Jan 20, 2014

An Open Letter About E-Cigarette Bans

Open Letter to Employers & Legislators About Banning E-Cigarettes 

As the mother of a daughter who quit smoking using the e-cigarette, the owner of the e-cigarette business Vaping Vamps and a P.R. counselor to several small business owners, I feel I’m in the position to offer advice on proposed e-cigarette bans.

First of all, I have to believe that anyone who proposes a ban on e-cigarettes truly means well. We ALL want to eradicate smoking in this country.

Cigarette smoking should be banned from inside buildings. But an e-cigarette is a totally
different animal. Studies show there's nothing harmful in e-cig vapor, which dissipates immediately. 
Nevertheless, 20 percent of Americans remain addicted to smoking, and that number has not changed in years. Nor have the long-term success rates for quitting smoking, which is well under 7 percent (some estimates are as low as 2 to 3 percent).

The e-cigarette is finally moving the needle on those numbers. Two studies conducted in the last several months and reported in JAMA and Addictive Behaviors found that the e-cigarette is effective in helping people quit smoking and reduce their cigarette consumption.

The latest longitudinal (year-long) study of 367 e-cigarette users clearly concludes, "E-cigarettes may contribute to relapse prevention in former smokers and smoking cessation in current smokers."

The Royal College of Physicians and a growing number of physicians now back e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to smoking.

The E-Cigarette is the ANTI-Cigarette

The whole idea behind smoking bans (which I support 100 percent) is to protect people from harmful secondhand smoke. But the e-cigarette is an entirely different animal.

Studies on e-cigarettes, such as the most recent one by Drexel University which reviewed all the available data on 9,000 uses of e-cigarettes, clearly state there is NO risk to either the e-cigarette user or to bystanders:

"Current data do not indicate that exposures to vapors from contaminants in electronic cigarettes warrant a concern." In other words, Drexel's Dr. Burstyn says: "It's about as harmless as you can get. I wouldn't worry at all if someone was using one of these by my kids," he said.

As comprehensive as this study was, it is by far not the only study done on e-cigarettes. Research has also been conducted by Dr. Eissenberg of Virginia Commonwealth University, Dr Maciej L. Goniewicz of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Dr. Laugesen of Health New Zealand and Dr. Farsalinos of Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center.

Ironically, even the FDA's own testing failed to find harmful levels of carcinogens or toxic levels of any chemical in e-cigarette vapor.

In short, banning the use of a smoke-free product is based on fears and not on the undisputed facts:

  • There is no such thing as secondhand smoke, since the e-cigarette user is blowing vapor, which is harmless to bystanders.
  • Nicotine, while addictive, is not a carcinogen. 
  • E-cigarette companies such as Vaping Vamps do not sell to minors. 
  • E-cigarettes are not only safer than cigarettes, they’re also cheaper. The argument that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking has no basis in fact and makes no sense. 
  • The FDA’s own study on e-cigarettes, conducted in 2007, failed to find any substance of harmful levels to humans. Diethylene glycol is not found in e-cigarettes. The main ingredient is food-grade propylene glycol, found in nebulizers, inhalers and foods. 
  • The nicotine amount in e-cigarettes is more measurable and predictable than in cigarettes, which has increased by an average of 1.6 percent a year, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
Some restaurants such as McDonald's are setting the trend and allowing their employees and customers to vape inside. Vaping is also allowed inside many bars and restaurants, as it leaves no lingering odor and is harmless to anyone nearby. When employers do their research, they'll find more and more information that clearly supports the fact that vaping an e-cigarette is far safer than smoking, while posing no harm to anyone nearby.

I truly believe that if you propose and pass a ban on e-cigarettes, you will actually make it MORE difficult for people to quit smoking. Smoking-related illnesses and premature death cause employers to lose $92 billion in productivity every year.

E-cigarettes also have a potential huge upside for your community, as e-cigarette stores are continuing to pop up all over, adding new jobs and contributing their fair share of taxes. Bars and restaurants can now increase their revenues as they lure back smokers-turned-vapers who left after indoor smoking bans passed.

I would be happy to discuss your concerns and help you make a decision that is truly in the best interest of your employees, customers and constituents.

Maria Verven
Vaping Vamps

Jan 15, 2014

Where to Buy E-Cigarettes? Where You're Most Comfortable

Women Would Buy E-Cigarettes in Stores Where They Already Shop

E-cigarettes are all the rage in 2014 for good reason: for people who have a hard time quitting smoking, they offer a far healthier alternative.

In fact, the Royal College of Physicians in London now backs e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to smoking. A recent report in JAMA also concluded that e-cigarettes were better than nicotine patches in helping people quit smoking or at least reduce how much they smoked.

E-cigarettes are a safer alternative to smoking and have proven to be
better than the nicotine patch in helping people cut down or quit smoking.
E-cigarettes are a great alternative for the 20 percent of Americans who smoke. That 20 percent represents a broad cross-section of people -- men and women, young and old. Some have been smoking for years, while others are only social smokers -- only smoking when drinking (the two tend to go hand in hand).

Because there's such a wide variety in the types of people who smoke, it only stands to reason that there should be a wide variety in the types of places where you can buy e-cigarettes.

Of course, the most convenient way to buy e-cigarettes is online. And there's a huge array of online e-cigarette stores to choose from.

E-cigarette prices are still all over the map, but at Vaping Vamps, we've worked hard to keep our prices as low as possible, not just on e-cigarette starter kits but on refill cartomizers and e-cigarette cases, which are selling like hotcakes to people all over the world, because they're nice and compact and a perfect fit for our standard 510 e-cigarette batteries.

E-Cigarettes Are a Bargain. So Don't Fall for "Free E-Cig" Scams

If you're looking for an even better bargain on e-cigarettes, and are hoping to even score a free e-cig starter kit: BEWARE. We fell for that trap, and we're here to warn you against it at all costs. You'll end up paying way more than if you simply bought a single battery kit outright.

You can score a high quality single battery e-cig starter kit for less than $20 (with our e-cigarette coupon). When you get suckered into getting this exact same kit for "free," you'll be unpleasantly surprised to find your credit card was charged $120 two weeks later if you don't hurry up and return it by the end of the trial period. After all, don't you want to keep and use your e-cigarette? Then just get the best deal you can on it, and don't fall for one of those "free" schemes.

A lot of people start with disposable e-cigarettes, such as an NJOY. It's a great way to sample to see if you like the e-cigarette, but it doesn't last very long (that's why it's called a disposable -- duh!). My recommendation is to spend the extra $10 (most disposables cost around $10) on a Vaping Vamps "Try Me" kit -- and you'll have your battery around for a year or even more. Believe me, the expression "you get what you pay for" is alive and well in the e-cigarette industry.

Places to Buy E-Cigarettes

E-cigarette starter kits are popping up in retail stores all over the place -- from gas stations to convenience stores. You can buy disposable e-cigarettes there, and you can also buy Blu, which is a brand owned by the tobacco company Lorillard.

E-cigarette stores are also dotting the landscape all over the U.S. and are becoming as prevalent as coffee shops in some cities.

Women would rather buy e-cigarettes from stores where they already like to shop.
Eventually, Vaping Vamps will also be popping up in retail stores, but since our target audience are women who want to switch to vaping, we're more interested in partnering with stores where women are most comfortable shopping. And we've found many women are not that comfortable in e-cigarette stores.

In fact, we just held a focus group of young women smokers and they told us several key factors that would help them make the switch to the safer, sexier alternative. First, women who are lighter smokers tend to like the style, look and feel of the e-cigarettes we sell at Vaping Vamps.

While many women want to try e-cigarettes, there are two key barriers to buying them in e-cigarette stores. First, they have to go out of their way to find an e-cigarette store. Second, these stores tend to cater to more serious vapers with a product line that features bigger, heavy e-cigarettes with tanks and e-liquids. Many women don't want to "putz" with the e-liquids and prefer the convenience of pre-filled cartomizers.

They've told us they would be far more likely to buy e-cigarettes from stores they like to frequent such as a boutique or gift store. Who knows? Perhaps someday soon, you'll be able to buy Vaping Vamps e-cigarettes and a cute new outfit or purse to go with it at your favorite boutique!

Jan 7, 2014

Vapor Couture vs. Vaping Vamps: E-Cigarettes for Women

Curious to Know Which E-Cigarette for Women is the Best?

Vaping Vamps consistently rates higher than Vapor Couture overall in offering the best e-cigarettes for women.  Plus, Vaping Vamps offers far better prices on e-cigarette starter kits, cartomizers and e-cigarette cases.

Reviewers who compare Vapor Couture and Vaping Vamps give Vaping Vamps higher ratings.
Vaping Vamps vs. Vapor Couture: Key Differences 

What are the key differences between Vaping Vamps and Vapor Couture? Here’s a quick summary:


Vaping Vamps offers far better prices on e-cigarette starter kits, cartomizers and e-cigarette cases:


Vapor Couture offers six flavors vs. Vaping Vamps’ five flavors. However, Vaping Vamps’ flavors come out on top according to reviewers.

"The flavor profile of Vaping Vamps completely obliterates Vapor Couture." ECigarette Reviewed

Battery Colors

Vapor Couture offers its batteries in four colors: deep purple, rose gold, platinum and white logo. Vaping Vamps currently only offers one color: a sleek black battery with its VV logo.


Vapor Couture is part of V2Cigs and owned by VMR Brands.

Vaping Vamps is a small woman-owned business.

Apparently, Vapor Couture hasn’t ever heard of Vaping Vamps. Their website says they’re the “only electronic cigarette brand created exclusively for women.” Vaping Vamps' website accurately states that it's the only e-cigarette brand created by women, for women.


As far as we know, neither Vapor Couture nor VMR Brands donates to non-profits. Vaping Vamps donates 5 percent of its profits to charities that help women in need.

What Reviewers Say About Vaping Vamps 

Vaping Vamps comes out on top. 

“Vaping Vamps just comes out on top. If Vapor Couture had better flavors, it would be a more viable contender, but at the moment it’s difficult to use at any length for that reason. Vaping Vamps, despite being a much smaller manufacturer, has more to offer the female vaper.” 

Read more at E-Cigarette Reviewed

Overall, we would recommend Vaping Vamps in a heartbeat! 

“From the very first pull I took from the e-cigarette, I knew I was in love with Vaping Vamps. The vapor was thick, but still refreshing and most importantly although the flavors are superb, it didn't overwhelm me like some electronic cigarettes do. There was not a single flavor that we did not go "Wow!" over. 

“We were also highly impressed with the Vaping Vamps different package levels and prices. We highly recommend Vaping Vamps to anyone who wants a sleek, sexy e-cigarette that exceeds the standard in quality and flavor!” 


Vaping Vamps could give Vapor Couture a run for their money. 

“Rather than flashiness, Vaping Vamps focuses on two far more important areas – function and flavor. Vaping Vamps developed its product line with a lot of care and planning. They held female focus groups to determine the e-cig model and flavors that most women would prefer. The end product was an all-black 510 style e-cig and five delicious flavors. 

"A common question among first-time e-cig buyers is “Which nicotine level should I choose?” Vaping Vamps is the first company we’ve found that really addresses this problem. They offer a version of their starter kit, called the Tri-Level Starter Kit, which includes two high, two medium and one low nicotine strength cartomizers."

Read more at Cocktail Nerd E-Cigarette Reviews

Vaping Vamps is great. . . far better than Vapor Couture 

“What makes Vaping Vamps so different from Vapor Couture is not its design but its performance and flavor. Unlike VC, Vamping Vamps uses the traditional 510 battery which is quite notorious for bigger, better and stronger vapor and flavor. It is this why the brand tastes and feels so good when you vape on it. 

"The flavors offered by Vaping Vamps are not only unique in taste, but they are also very great alternations of some of your favorite flavors like menthol and traditional smoke. So ladies, if you love hard hitting smoke, this brand is far better than Vapor Couture.” 

Read more at E-Cigarette Reviews by Cal’s

Even More Reviews. . .  

“Vaping Vamps did a lot of planning and research when developing their products. While they are still stylish, Vaping Vamps ecigs are more subtle in their design than Vapor Couture. The batteries and cartomizers are black with purple accents. The battery tips glow blue when in use. 

“When developing their flavors, Vaping Vamps held focus groups to find out what women really enjoyed. The winning flavors were Caroline – classic tobacco with a hint of mint, Mint Julie – menthol, Caramella – silky rich caramel, Tia Berry – teaberry and wintergreen, and Mango Lola – fresh mango.” 


“I love the look of this e-cig. To me it gives it that sleek 'I'm not your typical women who smokes' look." 


"I am absolutely in love with this! I can’t even begin to express how impressed I was with these. I chose the Caramel flavor and the Mango flavor and I loved both of them!!" 


“I loved the Caramella because it tasted like candy. I was a little iffy on the Mango Lola because I normally don’t like fruity anything but this tasted amazing!” 


"I love that this e-cigarette is lightweight and very easy to use. I have tried a lot of flavors and I found these ones to be very flavorful without being overpowering. They also offer beautiful girly cases which I love! This e-cigarette is nothing like the ones you can buy at the gas station; it blows those away!” 


“The more I use the Vampstick the more I like it and I think from now on my social smoking habit will be more like a social vaping habit!” 


"A great brand for women who want to vape in style.” 


“I’ll never go back to regular cigarettes after trying Vaping Vamps. There are so many advantages to this product. You can smoke it anywhere, without having to worry about second hand smoke, and best of all, no cigarette smell (the mango smelled amazing!)!!” 


“Vaping Vamps is not your average run of the mill e-cig. It is targeted to the classy woman who may or may not be trying to quit, but just have a healthier smoking addiction. Vaping Vamps e-cigs come in a variety of amazingly tasty flavors. The design: so sleek and definitely appealing to your average woman. I love the creative emblem with the V's made out of e-cigarettes." 


“I've tried other e-cigarettes. What first attracted me to Vaping Vamps was that it was for women made by women. It looks more feminine and is sleeker then other e-cigs. I also loved the choice of flavors.” 


Jan 3, 2014

Concerned About Weight Gain After Quitting Smoking? There IS a Solution.

Most Women Worry About Gaining Weight After They Quit Smoking

If you’re like most women, your body image is pretty darn important.

So important in fact, that you may be very concerned about gaining weight after you quit smoking. It could even be the main roadblock getting in the way of extinguishing your last cigarette.

It’s true that people tend to gain weight (researchers estimate about 10 pounds) after they quit smoking. Some women report gaining as much as 30 pounds. That’s scary for anyone. I get it. Ten pounds and you’re not fitting into your jeans anymore. More than that, and none of your pants or skirts will fit any longer.

Weight gain after quitting smoking may prevent some women from quitting
It is possible to quit smoking without gaining weight. Try vaping instead of eating!
When we make New Year’s resolutions, it’s usually to make the changes we feel are going to help us be healthier and happier. No woman is happy gaining weight, even if she knows that quitting smoking is vital for her health in the long run.

We’re not always thinking about the long run. We’re thinking about what we’re going to look like in that dress we just bought and whether we can fit into our jeans.

Quit Cigarettes, Not Nicotine

The reason that weight gain is associated with quitting smoking is the fact that nicotine is a stimulant as well as an appetite suppressant.

But what if you quit smoking without quitting nicotine?

Remember, while nicotine is highly addictive, it is NOT a carcinogen. It’s a stimulant, like caffeine, and while it gets a bad rap (because it’s so addictive), it’s not the worst thing in the world to be hooked on. (Please note: I highly advise pregnant women or anyone under 18 to avoid nicotine in any form.)

The reason cigarettes are so harmful is because of all the chemicals that are added to cigarettes (including around 60 known carcinogens) to speed the delivery of nicotine and increase its impact on your brain and nervous system.

E-cigarettes contain only four main ingredients, including food-grade PG or propylene glycol, which is in inhalers, nebulizers, fog machines and even foods such as cake mixes to help the ingredients blend together.

Also included is food-grade vegetable glycerin, a simple sweetening and thickening agent used in many foods and drugs, and flavoring such as vanilla. Oh, and nicotine, although you can vape an e-cigarette with no nicotine if you want, just for the fun of it (that’s what I do). 

The beauty of the e-cigarette is that it satisfies the habit and the oral cravings that drive many women to the refrigerator. When you quit smoking, your lungs will immediately start to heal, as will your taste buds. So it’s a one-two punch: women replace cigarettes with food, which now tastes better. 

While many smokers who quit gain weight -- an average of 2.5 pounds after one month, increasing to as much as 10 pounds or more after a year -- these are not cold, hard numbers. In fact, a study reported in the BMJ on weight gain after quitting smoking found a lot of variation in the amount of weight people gained.

Some people even lost weight. A full 25 percent of ex-smokers gained less than two pounds or even lost weight after they quit. Study author Henri-Jean Aubin, professor of psychiatry and addiction medicine at Hôpital Paul Brousse in France said, “The good news is that after the first three months, weight gain decelerates substantially. Nearly 20 percent of the smokers actually lost weight after one year of continuous abstinence.”

Last year, Vaping Vamps ran a photo contest on Facebook, asking women why they had switched to e-cigarettes. We got some amazing stories from women who told us they had quit not just for themselves but for the health of their children and loved ones who had been exposed to their secondhand smoke. 

Several women told us “vaping saved my life,” and that they lost weight using e-cigarettes. It simply stands to reason that e-cigarettes work, because they are a satisfying replacement for cigarettes. Many women start vaping tobacco flavors, but when their taste buds come alive, they will often switch to different flavors.

Vaping Vamps offers five flavors, including tobacco, mint, mango, caramel and teaberry, but eventually we hope to offer many other flavors (as long as they rate highly on our yucky-to-yummy scale!).

The long and short of it is that weight gain and smoking do not need to go together. Whenever you feel the need to reach for a snack, reach for an e-cigarette instead. Then join Vaping Vamps on Facebook and send us a photo of you in your sexy new jeans.