Monday, February 2, 2015

Gambling is bad... mmmkay?

Been a while hasn't it? I'm sure at least 5 of you noticed.

Lets talk about California shall we?

California.
Sunshine.
Movie Stars.
Babes in bikinis.
Dirty Old Meathea.... err men wearing dark sunglasses.

California Department of Public Health.
Senator Barbara Boxer.

Huh?

Well the California Department of Public Health has determined that Electronic Cigarettes are a public health threat http://www.cdph.ca.gov/Pages/NR15-12.aspx and http://cdph.ca.gov/programs/tobacco/Documents/Media/State%20Health-e-cig%20report.pdf It seems that the Department head, Dr. Ron Chapman would like all Californians to avoid using vaporizers.

(I'm going to tear that report apart in a follow up blog. I try to limit my blog length to one tank of juice and that one is going to require a massive tank.)

All Californians means smoking Californians. Apparently Mr. Chapman has such insight into the risks of vaping that he would prefer smokers to keep smoking (It should be noted that Mr. Chapman has announced his resignation, assumedly based on a bit of a kerfuffle over seniors and care homes complaints not being dealt with in an appropriate manner.).

There were the usual claims of all the things they"Know" followed by all the fears of the things they "Don't Know"; I kept looking for the line about "The Known Unknowns, and not knowing what we don't know" etc.

What could possibly be so immediately dangerous to life and health that a Public Health Department would ask a smoker to keep smoking?

Money. Lots and lots of money.

Once upon a time, tobacco companies were being sued, a lot. By regular people, by organizations, by local and state governments; So some of them settled, and US State Treasuries came to fall in love with The Master Settlement Agreement (MSA).

The MSA in the most simple definition is as follows. Tobacco companies involved can not be sued by the state. Ever. Those companies will truck bales of cash based on market share to States involved in perpetuity.

Forever. Until the world ends. Or until the Tobacco Company goes broke. Or the smokers all die out.

Or until they start to vape.

You see, some of those state governments weren't happy to just receive their annual payments until hell froze over, they wanted even bigger buckets of cash and they wanted it now. Knowing that "Haters gonna hate" and "Smokers gonna smoke till they die"; those governments started selling bonds based on future MSA payments. Purchasers knowing that "Smokers gonna smoke" thought that was a nifty idea and gobbled them up like ecstasy at a midnight rave and everybody got all touchy feely and felt the love... dude.

Gambling is bad... mmmkay?

Enter vaping. Smokers surprisingly enough thought it was a nifty way to not get cancer or emphysema and die. All the sudden there is a real threat that tobacco market share is going to drop. This means the money is going to go *poof*.

The money that the government needs to pay off those bonds they issued. You know, the ones that are maturing.

"Damn. Didn't see that coming"

"Uh, just how are we going to pay for this?"

Gambling is bad... mmmkay?

Now we start to understand why vaping is bad. How a phone call becomes a poisoning. How when you feel better when you switch to vaping, it's all in your head. Why there is just no proof that vaping leads to quitting.

Above all we see why the California Department of Public Health would advise that smokers not vape. Ever.

And we see why a Senator would jump on that bandwagon.

Join in the "fun" as I read on twitter.

Fun.

Lying to the public. Fun.
Convincing smokers NOT to try a less harmful alternative. Fun.
Scare the shit out of a populace based on cherry picked terminology, selective cognisance, and slight of hand.

Fun.

Dear California Department of Public Health, Dr. Ron Chapman, Senator Boxer et al;

You disgust me you greedy, lying sacks of waste. You placed your bets. You lost. Stop killing smokers.

Love and Kisses,

MadMeathead



Monday, December 1, 2014

Less than 100 words? Me?

The National Post is looking for letters.

Their question is "should e-cigarettes be regulated like tobacco cigarettes?" My opinion is that it's not a matter of should; Bill 45 - Schedule 3, as written DOES regulate e-cigarettes like tobacco cigarettes.

The limitation is that the letter not exceed 100 words. As you can see in this blog I usually average between 1500 and 2000.

To be considered for print your letter must also close with your proper name, along with your town and province of residence. The National Post is a national paper, so submissions are welcome from outside Ontario as well as from within.

It was indeed a challenge.

Send your submission to letters@nationalpost.com. Letters must be submitted no later than noon on Friday, December 5th. Don't let this opportunity go unrealized folks. Get those letters in.

Here is my letter as it was submitted this evening;


Editor,

If the aim is to discourage smokers from transitioning to a less harmful alternative;
If the plan is to drive Ontario small business out of a $2.5 billion industry;
If the ambition is to stigmatize and dehumanize ex-smokers with nothing but speculation and insinuation;
If the intent is to protect Tobacco and Pharmaceutical interests;
If the objective is to secure the Provincial tobacco tax income that exceeds $1 Billion annually;

If these are the goals of the Ontario Health Ministry; Then Bill 45 - Schedule 3 is one massive, steaming, pile of sheer brilliance.


MadMeathead
Morinville, Alberta

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bill 45 - Schedule 3; The Dipi Solution


I've had some interesting conversations this past week. I was involved in a forum post where I saw a few folks saying Bill 45 was good as it separated Tobacco from Vaporizers and we should focus on positively on applying some minor tweaks to flush it out. I also received a politely worded e-mail that suggested that seeing as Bill 45 was sure to pass as written; I'd best focus on HESA (The federal Standing Committee on Health) and their current series of meetings and stop focusing on Ontario.

While respecting those opinions, I disagree. In my opinion Bill 45 - Schedule 3 will do serious damage to the Ontario and indeed the Canadian vaping community in many ways. So lets go through this Bill shall we? I happen to have a copy here on the table, and you can follow along by going here.

I will cut/paste the relevant bits that support my argument. If you have a different take and believe me to be a tinfoil beret wearing hack, feel free to leave comments below, but also site your reasoning so we can promote discussion (For the record I prefer Tilley hats over Berets).

To avoid having to say "Ontario Bill 45 - Schedule 3, The Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2014" over and over again I'm going to shorten it up and give some reference to its champion The Hon. Dipika Damerla.

I will henceforth refer to Bill 45 - Schedule 3 as "The Dipi Solution".

Lets get to it shall we?

Section 1 of "The Dipi Solution" - Definitions

No one ever reads the definitions. Its kind of like the terms of agreement on iTunes. Our eyes glaze over and we just want to get past it; so with a mental "yadda yadda yadda" we move on.

Except me. I didn't. You shouldn't either. Pay attention in particular to these definitions;

“commercial”, with respect to electronic cigarettes, means something done or prepared for the primary purpose of generating profits from the sale or use of electronic cigarettes, directly or indirectly; (“commercial”)

Hello @stinkycanuck, hey there @flavourcrafters, Renegade Vapors, MLV, *insert business name here*.

“electronic cigarette” means any of the following:

    1.  A vaporizer or inhalant-type device, whether called an electronic cigarette or any other name, that contains a power source and heating element designed to heat a substance and produce a vapour intended to be inhaled by the user of the device directly through the mouth, whether or not the vapour contains nicotine.

    2.  A component of a device described in paragraph 1.

    3.  Any other prescribed device or product; (“cigarette √©lectronique”)

That covers every e cigarette out there. "Personal Fogger", "Personal Vaporizer", "Cig-a-like", "Billy from Topeka" it doesn't matter what the end user calls it. This bill speaks to it. Battery, tank, coil, circuit board, wire, and wick. All covered.

“employee” means a person who performs any work for or supplies any services to an employer, or a person who receives any instruction or training in the activity, business, work, trade, occupation or profession of an employer; (“employ√©”)

Hello @stinkycanuck, hey there @flavourcrafters, Renegade Vapors, MLV, *insert business name here*. Oh Yeah and you also classify here...

“employer” includes an owner, operator, proprietor, manager, superintendent, overseer, receiver or trustee of an activity, business, work, trade, occupation, profession, project or undertaking who has control or direction of, or is directly or indirectly responsible for, the employment of a person in it; (“employeur”)

Moving along now that we have identified the players, lets define places:

“enclosed public place” means,

  (a)  the inside of any place, building or structure or vehicle or conveyance or a part of any of them,

           (i)  that is covered by a roof, and

          (ii)  to which the public is ordinarily invited or permitted access, either expressly or by implication, whether or not a fee is charged for entry, or

  (b)  a prescribed place; (“lieu public clos”)

A vape shop is an enclosed public space. Then; so is a gazebo, this is why our seniors in residences smoke out beside the road in the rain and snow.

 
“enclosed workplace” means,

  (a)  the inside of any place, building or structure or vehicle or conveyance or a part of any of them,

           (i)  that is covered by a roof,

          (ii)  that employees work in or frequent during the course of their employment, whether or not they are acting in the course of their employment at the time, and

         (iii)  that is not primarily a private dwelling, or

  (b)  a prescribed place; (“lieu de travail clos”)

A vape shop is an enclosed workplace. Hello all you folks previously identified as "Commercial", "Employees", and "Employers".



Now lets move on to definition of actions. If you pay attention to nothing else, make damned sure you understand these:

 “promote”, with respect to electronic cigarettes, means to use any commercial act or practice or to use any commercial communication, through any media or other means, that is intended to or is likely to,

  (a)  encourage the purchase or use of an electronic cigarette or a brand of an electronic cigarette, or

  (b)  create an awareness of or association with an electronic cigarette, a brand of electronic cigarette or a manufacturer or seller of an electronic cigarette; (“promouvoir”)

Any is an incredibly powerful and inclusive word in law. You can't show an electronic cigarette. you can't talk about the electronic cigarette. You can't say one brand is better than the other. You can't say "This one is better for a new user". For those of you who think you can do that on the internet please se the three words in the first line "through any media". If you own a business and you have a website that has that business' name on it. YOU ARE PROMOTING THAT BUSINESS.

 But I just make liquids!... See the definitions for "Commercial" and "Electronic Cigarette" and then go turn your web page to a blank black page.

 If you want a visual reference. go have a look anywhere tobacco cigarettes are sold. Can you see them? Nope. See any brand recognition? Nope. You go in, you ask for your brand, and all you hear will either be "We don't carry that brand", or, "That'll be 17 bucks. Thank you, come again"

 This will become the summation of all business transactions in any vape shop that is compliant with law.

 “use”, with respect to electronic cigarettes, includes any of the following:

    1.  Inhaling vapour from an electronic cigarette.

    2.  Exhaling vapour from an electronic cigarette.

    3.  Holding an activated electronic cigarette. (“utiliser”)

If it has a battery in it and you push the button. You are using it. Doesn't matter if its a demo, a sample tube, troubleshooting, or a fat finger. If it has a battery and you push the button, you are using the device.

Ok definitions are done, or at least the ones that most impact the vaping community. Any time you see those terms you know have the clear definition of what they are. Now lets get into the rest of it.



Section 2 of "The Dipi Solution" - Selling or supplying to persons under 19

I'm ok with Section 2, so are most reputable vendors.



Section 3 of "The Dipi Solution" -Display etc

3.  (1)  No person shall, in any place where electronic cigarettes are sold or offered for sale, display or permit the display of electronic cigarettes in any manner that would permit a consumer to view or handle an electronic cigarette before purchasing it.

Promotion

   (2)  No person shall promote electronic cigarettes,

  (a)  in any place where electronic cigarettes or tobacco products are sold or offered for sale; or

  (b)  in any manner, if the promotion is visible from outside a place in which electronic cigarettes or tobacco products are sold or offered for sale.

Exceptions

   (3)  Despite subsection (2), if the regulations so provide, a person may post signs providing information about electronic cigarettes and their price, but only if the signs meet the prescribed conditions.

Same

   (4)  Despite subsection (2), if the regulations so provide, a person may make available a document providing information about electronic cigarettes and their price, but only if the document meets the prescribed conditions.

In short. Until a vendor has your cash in hand, you see or touch nothing. You discuss nothing.

Where they refer to "Signs" and "Sheets" with electronic cigarettes and prices I again send you to 7-11 where you often will see a small board that says "Premium Brands $17.00, Generic Brands $16.99. You better go revisit the definition of promotion at this point. In fact, just go memorize that one.



Section 4 of "The Dipi Solution" -Places of Entertainment

  4.  (1)  No person shall employ or authorize anyone to promote electronic cigarettes or the sale of electronic cigarettes at any place of entertainment that the person owns, operates or occupies.

Definition

   (2)  In this section,

“place of entertainment” means a place to which the public is ordinarily invited or permitted access, either expressly or by implication, whether or not a fee is charged for entry, and which is primarily devoted to eating, drinking or any form of amusement.

 Vape meets? what vape meets.



Section 8 of "The Dipi Solution" -Flavoured electronic cigarettes

 

  8.  No person shall sell or offer to sell a flavoured electronic cigarette that has been prescribed as prohibited at retail or for subsequent sale at retail or distribute or offer to distribute it for that purpose.

 Before we go jumping up and down, ecstatic that "tuti fruity" is not defined here, we need to understand how this process really works.

 The "Bill" can get a lot of public attention, it also has a more robust review process. Bills define laws. That's what this statement does. It says that when you are told a flavour is to be banned. It will be illegal to stock and sell that flavour.

 "Regulations" are used to define how an Act (Bill) is defined and enforced. They require much less open oversight and can to my knowledge be determined by a committee.

 So; The law says flavours prescribed as prohibited shall not be sold. That's the law. At a later date a meeting is held to determine which flavours will be prescribed as prohibited. The first notice vendors will get will be the letter that says take it off the shelves. Due to the definition of "promotion", the first clue the customers may get will be when they go in and specifically ask for "x" and are told the vendor no longer carries "x".

Well that and proud proclamations of saving children in the paper.

"Tuti Fruity" How I shall miss thee. Pass the tinfoil.

 

Section 10 of "The Dipi Solution" - Prohibition

10.  (1)  No person shall use an electronic cigarette in any enclosed public place or enclosed workplace.

 As per the definitions, we know that Vape Shops are workplaces, and public spaces. We have also studied the definition of "use".

 Goodbye Vapor Lounges

Sayonara Sample Stations

Toodles to trouble shooting 

See you on the street, 5 meters (or whatever the law allows) from any door, window, or HVAC inlet. Bring a coat, it's cold out.

 

2)  No person shall use an electronic cigarette in the following places or areas:

    1.  A school as defined in the Education Act.

    2.  A building or the portion of a building occupied by a private school as defined in the Education Act and the grounds surrounding the building of a private school, in cases where a private school is the only occupant of the premises, and the grounds annexed to a private school, in cases where a private school is not the only occupant of the premises.

    3.  Any common area in a condominium, apartment building or university or college residence, including, without being limited to, elevators, hallways, parking garages, party or entertainment rooms, laundry facilities, lobbies and exercise areas.

    4.  A day nursery within the meaning of the Day Nurseries Act.

    5.  A place where private-home day care is provided within the meaning of the Day Nurseries Act, whether or not children are present.

    6.  The reserved seating area of a sports arena or entertainment venue.

    7.  A prescribed place or area.

 Most of that makes sense (Parking garages? Really? Parking Garages?)

 #7 though.... see earlier comments on Acts vs. Regulations.

 

 The last one I'm going to hit on is Section 12, but not for the reason you might think...

Section 12 of "The Dipi Solution" - Protection for people under 16 years old in motor vehicles

 12.  (1)  No person shall use an electronic cigarette or have an activated electronic cigarette in a motor vehicle while another person who is less than 16 years old is present in the vehicle.

While I may agree with the sentiment, the fact is we are now starting to invade personal space. It's not that far of a leap to go from a car to a private residence.

 That and my wife is short. I'll get pulled over all the time.

 The act goes on to cover inspections and inspectors, employer and employee obligations, records and offences.

 It also has the fine schedule. you should read that if you are a vendor.


____

 
So just what does "The Dipi Solution" mean to us?

If you are a vendor; walk to your front door turn and take a picture of your shop. Put that picture in photoshop and black out the displays, the glass counters, and posters on the wall, basically anywhere you see anything to do with e-cigarettes, vaporizers, juice or anything else. Delete your flavour sample station and put some duct tape over the mouth of whoever is behind the counter.

Do the same to your website.

Take a picture of your parking lot. That's where your customers can vape. You can't troubleshoot or sample out there either. That's promotion.

This is your future and I don't see robust growth in this model.


If you are the consumer; well after all your shops close you could go to Quebec I suppose... until they enact their own "Most thourough and toughest anti-smoking/vaping law in all the land".


If you are a smoker; It does exactly what I think it was meant to do. Prevent you from moving to a less harmful delivery system by making access difficult and complicated as you try to figure this stuff out on your own, removing the majority of the social and tactile benefits, and keep as much as possible of Ontario's 1.2 Billion dollars of annual tobacco excise tax rolling in while around half of you are relegated to a statistical early death due to a smoking related ailment.


____


Banning sales to minors, and the fact that E-cigarettes are in their own classification as opposed to being classified as tobacco are the only good things in this act. The rest is cut/paste from cigarette legislation with no scientific evidence supporting this level of fear based prohibition.

 Tobacco companies and NRT manufacturers may rejoice. This bill guts their biggest competitors to date... Ontario Small Business, and Ex-Smokers.

 "The Dipi Solution" is just... well... dippy.

 

___________________________________________

 

 

Post script: While typing this up I was informed that Bill 45 goes in for it's second reading tomorrow. Monday December 1st. You better start squawking folks. Letters, phone calls, The National Post. Addresses are available in this very blog. Ontario is the center of the Canadian Political Universe. If Ontario falls, we are all buggered.

Now excuse me, I need 2.2 litres a year to keep vaping. Liquids keep for 2 years. I'm off looking for some bulk discounts.

 

 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Addresses for Members of the Ontario Legislature; So you can tell them what YOU think

Simple; Highlight the addresses, hit "Control-C", click on the "To" box in your e-mail and hit "Control-V".

Add whoever you want to the CC field; your favorite vendor or e-liquid manufacturer, local newspaper, whoever. I've put a few down at the bottom.

Put something in the header like "Feedback - Bill 45 - Schedule 3"


And then tell all the Ontario MLA's what you think of their bill.

'lalbanese.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'tarmstrong-qp@ndp.on.ca'; 'ted.arnott@pc.ola.org'; 'bob.bailey@pc.ola.org'; 'ybaker.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'bbalkissoon.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'cballard.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'toby.barrett@pc.ola.org'; 'lberardinetti.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'gbisson@ndp.on.ca'; 'jbradley.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'scmpp@ndp.on.ca'; 'mchan.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'mcolle.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'mcoteau.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'gcrack.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'ddamerla.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'bdelaney.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'sdelduca.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'vdhillon.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'jdickson.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'dinovoc-qp@ndp.on.ca'; 'hdong.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'bduguid.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'garfield.dunlop@pc.ola.org'; 'christine.elliott@pc.ola.org'; 'vic.fedeli@pc.ola.org'; 'cfife-qp@ndp.on.ca'; 'kflynn.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'cforster-qp@ndp.on.ca'; 'Jfraser.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'JFrench-QP@ndp.on.ca'; 'wgates-qp@ndp.on.ca'; 'fgelinas-qp@ndp.on.ca'; 'mgravelle.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'LGretzky-QP@ndp.on.ca'; 'ernie.hardeman@pc.ola.org'; 'michael.harrisqp@pc.ola.org'; 'PHatfield-QP@ndp.on.ca'; 'randy.hillierco@pc.ola.org'; 'ahoggarth.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'ahorwath-qp@ndp.on.ca'; 'ehoskins.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'tim.hudakco@pc.ola.org'; 'mhunter.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'hjaczek.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'sylvia.jones@pc.ola.org'; 'skiwala.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'mkwinter.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'mflalonde.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'jleal.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'dlevac.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'tmaccharles.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'jack.maclaren@pc.ola.org'; 'lisa.macleod@pc.ola.org'; 'hmalhi.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'amangat.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'mmantha-qp@ndp.on.ca'; 'gila.martow@pc.ola.org'; 'dmatthews.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'bmauro.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'jim.mcdonellco@pc.ola.org'; 'kmcgarry.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'emcmahon.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'tmcmeekin.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'monte.mcnaughton@pc.ola.org'; 'mmeilleur.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'norm.miller@pc.ola.org'; 'pmiller-qp@ndp.on.ca'; 'rmoridi.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'julia.munro@pc.ola.org'; 'gmurray.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'inaidoo-harris.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'ynaqvi.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'tnatyshak-qp@ndp.on.ca'; 'rick.nicholls@pc.ola.org'; 'dorazietti.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'randy.pettapiece@pc.ola.org'; 'apotts.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'sqaadri.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'lrinaldi.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'lrinaldi.mpp.co2@liberal.ola.org'; 'lrinaldi.mpp.co2@liberal.ola.org'; 'lsandals.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'Psattler-co@ndp.on.ca'; 'laurie.scott@pc.ola.org'; 'laurie.scottco@pc.ola.org'; 'msergio.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'jsingh-qp@ndp.on.ca'; 'jsingh-co@ndp.on.ca'; 'todd.smith@pc.ola.org'; 'todd.smithco@pc.ola.org'; 'csousa.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'tabunsp-qp@ndp.on.ca'; 'htakhar.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'htakhar.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'mtaylor-qp@ndp.on.ca'; 'mtaylor-co@ndp.on.ca'; 'lisa.thompson@pc.ola.org'; 'lisa.thompsonco@pc.ola.org'; 'jvanthof-qp@ndp.on.ca'; 'jvanthof-co@ndp.on.ca'; 'jvanthof.kl-co@ndp.on.ca'; 'jvanthof.sf-co@ndp.on.ca'; 'dvernile.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'bill.walker@pc.ola.org'; 'bill.walkerco@pc.ola.org'; 'jim.wilson@pc.ola.org'; 'jim.wilsonco@pc.ola.org'; 'swong.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'swong.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'kwynne.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'kwynne.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'; 'john.yakabuski@pc.ola.org'; 'john.yakabuskico@pc.ola.org'; 'jeff.yurek@pc.ola.org'; 'jeff.yurekco@pc.ola.org'; 'dzimmer.mpp@liberal.ola.org'; 'dzimmer.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org'


People worth putting in the CC list;

'news@ctv.ca'; 'w5@ctv.ca'; 'health@ctv.ca'; 'fifth@cbc.ca'; 'city@thestar.ca'; 'jkline@nationalpost.com' info@ectaofcanada.com

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

So I wrote another letter...

Just went out to all members of the Ontario Legislature regarding their proposed anti vaping legislation. It's another long one, but hey! I was sticking up for granny and I got to use the word platypus in a sentence...

Grab a coffee, have a vape, and read on...


Premier Wynne, Associate Health Minister Damerla, MLA’s of Ontario, et al;

My name is MadMeathead and I am at this time an eight week ex-smoker. I switched from a 32 year habit of smoking (a combustion driven nicotine delivery method which has been statistically shown to result in early mortality for 50% of its users), to vaping (which recent studies have shown to be orders of magnitude safer than the combustion process due to the cleaner delivery of nicotine without the tar, carbon monoxide, and 6-7000 other contaminants found in a cigarette).

While I am a resident of Alberta, I do have a considerable stake in Bill 45, Schedule 3 – Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2014. In the eight weeks since I have quit smoking I have been responsible for contributing in excess of $1000 dollars to Ontario small business concerns to source my hardware and e-liquid supplies. I spend on average 40-50 dollars a week on liquids from Ontario liquid manufacturers alone, and because I consolidate my purchases I order my hardware from the same vendors. I also encourage others making the switch to do the same. I recently helped a co-worker to make his initial purchase through an Ontario vendor and his starter kit put 230 Alberta dollars into Ontario small business.

Bill 45, Schedule 3 as it is written will prohibit that money from moving from my wallet to your economy. So I am writing to you to discuss Bill 45, Schedule 3. In particular section 3 as a consumer and section 10 as a former smoker/current vaper.

I chose Ontario because I chose to do business with members of the Electronic Cigarette Trade Association of Canada (www.ectaofcanada.com). Since 2011, ECTA of Canada has done what no Canadian Government has done. They regulated their own organization to ensure standards were in place to make sure their customers are informed and safe. ECTA banned sales to minors from conception; their shops are access restricted by age. ECTA applied existing labeling standards for liquids including contents, poison symbols, warnings, and bilingual print. ECTA mandated child proof caps for all of its liquid manufacturers as well as a liquid testing regimen through a Health Canada accredited laboratory (Enthalpy Labs) to test for accuracy of contents as advertised, known potential hazards, and quality control. No bill put forward in Canada to this point has done that, including yours.

So ECTA members get my consumer respect, and my money. It turns out most of those vendors are in Ontario.

 

On Bill 45 – Schedule 3

 

Section 2 – Banning Sales to Minors

Not a single argument from me, or likely from any vaper/ex-smoker, or vendor.

 

Section 3 – Display etc.

These are not cigarettes where you just declare your brand and then make your purchase. In fact in most cases they do not remotely resemble cigarettes, nor are they as intuitive as cigarettes; they are electric devices with closer relation to cell phones or in some cases computers. New users require instruction on operation and safety. If I passed a “Kanger EVOD” (a common beginner device) around the chamber, fewer than 25% of the seated MLA’s would be able to turn the device on without instruction, never mind load the liquid, change the coil when required, clean the unit, or charge the battery. This will result in smokers continuing to smoke due to steep learning curves and frustration. Remember when you tried to teach grandma how to use the internet in the 90’s? Grandmas buy vaporizers too. A surprising number of them actually.

Further; display and promotion bans will shut down internet websites and folks like me who choose to support the only Canadian trade association that mandates regulation for safety and quality control, would in many cases, be unable to contribute to your economy. A conservative estimate based on my current e-liquid consumption and hardware requirements ($40.00 a week for liquids and 20% for assorted maintenance hardware) would come in at 2,496 dollars a year. This isn’t upgrading to a new 300 dollar device, this is standard consumables; but upgrades definitely happen, and they would happen where I spend the rest of my money.

I am just one consumer from Alberta contributing to your economy. Last week I convinced two others to do the same thing. Next week I have several folks who have asked me to help them make the switch.

Vaping is currently understood to be a 2.5 Billion dollar industry worldwide, is growing at a profound pace, and according to some is expected to outpace tobacco sales sometime in the next decade a smokers who could not or would not escape, transition to harm reduction.

To avoid this language should be introduced to the effect that if a business is;

A)      Dedicated and solely focused on sale of electronic cigarettes, and or any part or liquid used within or in operation of an electronic cigarette; and

B)      Does not sell tobacco products; and

C)      Is age restricted at the door so that minors may not be present within the business; and

D)     Follows Identification legislation where applicable and as Identified in the Bill (Act); then

That business may display and promote e-cigarettes, and associated liquids/hardware within the boundaries of that business or website for the business. To include instruction, consultation, troubleshooting and handling of the device.

 

Section 10 – Prohibition

Let me start with; Vaping is not smoking.

Smoking requires the incomplete combustion of tobacco products. It is the incomplete combustion that creates the harm for users and bystanders. Not the nicotine. We have 50 years of evidence demonstrating harm from both ends of a cigarette.

Vaping has no tobacco, no combustion (incomplete or otherwise) and studies done to this point show it is magnitudes of order safer than a combustible cigarette. Do not legislate based on fear and 20 years of dehumanizing smokers based on plumes and nicotine.

A platypus has a bill. That does not make it a duck no matter how similar the nosepiece.

No vaping in playgrounds, schools, civic buildings, etc. is denormalization. This makes sense as we are not looking to flout an adult product where children are often present.

Sending smokers outside into the weather, removing their heat and shelter (see “Roof” stipulation in Bill 45) is dehumanizing. We have all seen seniors out beside the road in front of a retirement home in the dead of winter. I didn’t like it as a smoker (and still don’t actually) but government and society are convinced that both the senior, and I, deserve (d) to be there. It is/was our penance for our legal action.

Sending vapers out to the same area? You are mandating that a non-smoker, who made a conscious choice to use a safer alternative, must perform that safer alternative in a known hazardous atmosphere.

Beyond the whole “Let’s have an AA meeting at the pub during happy hour” Monty Python skit; you are asking myself and others to knowingly expose ourselves to the very carcinogens we are trying to divorce ourselves from. The same second hand smoke that every government in Canada has touted for over ten years will cause serious harm non-smokers; you are mandating that I, now a non-smoker, who otherwise would not be subjected to the tar, carbon monoxide, and many other known poisons while vaping, must go stand in a cloud of all those poisons.

An order of magnitude safer delivery system for those who are trying to quit smoking; That by law must be performed in a cloud of second hand smoke.

 

Getting back to granny in the vape shop. Teaching granny how to use the device means you have to let granny use the device. Trouble shooting granny’s device means you have to use the device. Granny is also going to have to find a palatable flavour to help her get past her tobacco dependency. At 20 dollars a bottle that’s an expensive trial and error process so shops tend to have sample bars where granny can find something she likes that works for her (let’s just get this out there now, granny has taste buds, and they are probably going to get better, she likes what she likes, even if it is fruit or candy. Granny may just have a bottle of liquor at home that may taste like fruit or candy, which across Canada is perfectly legal. In fact check your own liquor cabinets at home. Unless you are drinking unflavoured grain alcohol, you may be enticing the neighbor children).

As with display within a dedicated vape shop, language should be added so that if a business is

A)      Dedicated and solely focused on sale of electronic cigarettes, and or any part or liquid used within or in operation of an electronic cigarette; and

B)      Does not sell tobacco products; and

C)      Is age restricted at the door so that minors may not be present within the business; and

D)     Follows Identification legislation where applicable and as Identified in the Bill (Act); then

That business may allow the use of those devices within the premises. To include instruction, consultation, troubleshooting, handling and use of the device and or liquid sampling devices.

In fact given that there is no proof of immediate or long term, equal or increased harm compared to smoking in the use of e-cigarettes (in fact current studies show the opposite) and that we are not supposed to be fear based or discriminatory in our legislative proceedings. A privately owned business that through legislation bans minors from the premises should be able to set their own standards regarding vaping until such time that there is factual evidence that supports a safety or health related curtailment.

 

It was a long letter. To sum up;

Your bill in its current form will protect tobacco interests by discouraging those who might otherwise choose a safer direction. Statistics say 50 percent of those who continue with their current tobacco dependency will suffer a premature mortality rate.

Your bill in its current form will stifle small vaping business in Ontario (I can’t find a single vape shop owned either in whole or in part by tobacco interests within your province).

Your bill actually does not speak to packaging, testing, and quality control of these products for consumers and consumer safety, it is focused solely on restrictions. Please visit the www.ectaofcanada.com and read the scientific studies and requirements of membership. Further studies have been compiled at the Tobacco Harm Reduction Association of Canada www.thra.ca.

The best way to protect the children is to age limit the shops, similar to liquor stores and drinking establishments. ECTA and indeed the vast majority of vape shops have already done this.

Allowing vaping rules to be set in adult establishments by establishment owners until such time as there is a factual reason beyond “It looks like smoking”, “I don’t like it”, “Someone told me it has X in it” or my favorite “We just don’t know”, protects the children by keeping us off the sidewalk out of public view and encourages and supports more smokers to try a safer alternative to their current destructive path.

 

Thank you for your time,

MadMeathead
 
(Address Culled)


 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dictionaries, and Demonization

Back to work tomorrow. I work on a 10 day rotation up north, so when I go to work, I GO to work. Up at 4am to get ready, off to the airport by 430, and on the plane at 730. The plane. Anyone who has ever flown with a loaded tank will get this next statement:

The day before I fly is the day I huff down all my tanks and clean them.

This also means that is the day you are most likely to see long rambling blog entries that meander around in a disjointed manner and incorporating abrupt changes in consciousness like an addled fainting goat. I'm typing and huffing, stopping to clean a Mini Naut, huffing and typing, checking my mail (my replacement Raspberry Pinto is coming today), etc...

So lets go for a ramble.

----

The Oxford Dictionary Word of The Year for 2014 is "Vape". (links should open in a new window). The 6/7 week former smoker in me thinks that's pretty cool. The dad in me would like to note that the 2013 word of the year was "Selfie" and thinks I should write a long letter about the downfall of the human species through the rapid devolution of our general focus from things of import to things of tabloid worthiness.

Still; "Vape" is word of the year, that's pretty cool. I'm associated with something cool. Wow. The kids in high school said that would never happen.

----

I was up until midnight last night watching the live video feed of Bloomington Minnesota's Council meeting. They had an amendment up that would include vaporizers in the current legislation around smoking. Banned usage in public spaces, including city parks, buildings, and vape shops; of which there are two in Bloomington. This would mean no sampling, no troubleshooting of devices, and no demonstration of operation within the shop to educate new customers. All of that would require the store staff and customer to exit the shop and remove themselves from the premises by 25 ft. before using any device.

So I sat through an hour of discussion on right hand turn lanes for one of the roads, followed by about two hours on signage as it pertains to city ordinance and The Mall of America, and a 10 minute intermission where they played the same electronic elevator tune on an  infinite loop.

I then listened to testimony and questions;

The testimony was pretty much standard fare from both sides.

Pro-Amendment brought up the standard "We don't know if it's safe" argument. The "Think of the Children Argument" and one even brought up K. Farsalinos' study where Diacetyl  was found in a bunch of liquids (I've been waiting for that little nugget to pop up).

Anti-Amendment responded with the "Harm reduction" argument, The "Cessation of tobacco use argument" and pointed out that there is more Diacetyl in tobacco cigarettes. They also made it clear that they were willing to give up on everything else, if they could continue to use their own products on their own age restricted shops.  So that their customers could try products, be educated in their safe use, have their issues with those products resolved, and perhaps keep coming to their shops instead of driving 30 minutes down the road where there is no ordinance preventing those actions from occurring outside at -20 in the dead of winter. One of those vendors had applied for and received a permit from this very council last year to put in a 100,000 dollar expansion to their premises specifically to accommodate sampling and vaping in the shop.

Of  the questions, one from a councillor sticks out in my mind, paraphrased here "So what's to stop someone with bad intent from say putting bleach in these open systems?" This was answered by noting that there is no financial benefit to do so given the cost of manufacture of liquids, the availability of components, and margin of profit on liquid manufacture. The councillor then reiterated his question a few more times without really clarifying his intent leaving the respondent to guess as to what he was looking for; illicit drug use? that's a different type of vaporizer all together. Finally it came to (again I paraphrase) "What's to stop someone from loading something bad into a vaporizer and walking into the Mall of America vaping and dispersing that bad substance?"

That's right. E-Cigarettes; Weapon of Mass Distraction. Tools of Terror.

I knew at that moment; The vapers of Bloomington were hopelessly buggered. I didn't need to hear councils uneducated comments on Big Tobaccos domination and stranglehold of the e-cigarette industry. I didn't hardly pay attention when the one councillor brought up a lawsuit against the FDA preventing the classification of vaporizers as cessation products and intimated that it was the vapers fault they were in this predicament. Nor was I shocked when she incorrectly stated that the plaintiff in that suit was "Big Tobacco".

Hopelessly, and absolutely, buggered.

There was a motion to apply a specific exemption for the two existing vape shops to allow product use for two years. It was seconded; and then summarily squashed.

The amendment was passed as presented with a unanimous vote.

Why do I care? Why do I watch?

Because Municipal and State/Provincial governments when put in a position where they "feel" the need to regulate something "for the good of the public" like to compete with each other.

"We have before us the most comprehensive and toughest anti-(whatever) legislation in ALL the land" is the proud cry heard every time.

Then the neighboring municipal or state/provincial government goes about creating "their" most comprehensive and toughest anti-(whatever) legislation in ALL the land.

I watch so that I can see how the process goes, so that I can learn. Some day it's going to be MY municipal government, or MY provincial government. Looking to continue to "Denormalize" me as a vaper in the same manner they "Denormalized" me as a smoker...

Someone might be watching ME in a live video stream, scratching my nose and nodding off as I wait to have my say right after the right hand turn issue and signage ordinance.

----
 
Which brings us to "Denormalization" the opposite of "Renormalization" which is the fear brought forth by those who say vaping will revitalize the smoking industry.
 
Ask any convert to vaping if they would willingly go back to smoking. Record the answer for future reference.
 
Denormalization as applied to the currently legal activity of smoking, if we look at it closely isn't so much "denormalization" as it is "dehumanization" or at it's worst "Demonization".
 
Having to go into an age restricted liquor shop to buy a bottle is denormalization, having to go into an age restricted bar to have a social drink in a public setting is denormalization. Preventing smoking in playgrounds, schools, civic buildings etc. is denormalization. Limiting advertising and media portrayals is denormalization.
 
We wish to prevent others from taking on a legal yet potentially hazardous endeavor so we limit its view so that our most impressionable have limited cues that may lead them to take up the habit.
 
Telling a 70+ year old man he must stand outside at -40 in front of the senior citizens home next to a provincial highway, for a habit he's had longer than you've been alive, is dehumanization. You are no longer focusing on the act of smoking, you are focusing on punishing the smoker, for what is still, like it or not, a legal act. Providing a bench is not acceptable for the removal of heat and protection from the weather.
 
You are not worthy of our comforts because we do not approve of your actions, regardless of their legality. We deny you these things in hopes you will give up your addictions and that others may be discouraged from taking them up. (That last line is often added to any act of dehumanization as the justification for treating one human being in a lesser manner than another).
 
Convincing one portion of society that another portion of society is "Bad", "Dangerous", or "A public hazard to all they come in contact with" as they perform a legal act moves us to the last category; Demonization, not only are we ignoring the action that we are concerned with and focusing on the legal user, we are actively trying to convince others that the harm is NOT associated with the act or "Thing" (tobacco for example) in question but that the harm is in fact attributed to the user.
 
This becomes more evident when the argument for demonization is attributed to other acts due to their resemblance of the original "vile" act. We have no proof that it's NOT hurting us and it looks like the evil we fight, therefore it IS the evil we fight.
 
Similar arguments have been used at various times in history by groups of humans against other groups of humans, it's considered crass to bring them up in this type of discussion because "We aren't doing that!"
 
Really? A septuagenarian on a sidewalk at - 40 in a housecoat beside a highway or in front of a hospital is no different than someone segregated because of skin tone or racial heritage during time of war either through policy or fear. Particularly if society has been conditioned, and especially if the septuagenarian has been conditioned to believe he deserves to be there.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

You Only Hurt, The One You Love - Part Two

So the other night, after railing about Smoke NV's scuzzy little toy cigarettes (no nicotine, no use) I was actually just to irritated to really move on to "the other thing" on my mind.

Lets take care of that now shall we?

Dear VIP E-Cigarettes,

Due to a bit of a lapse in British broadcasting law (My, understanding from reading a few news articles on the matter, however I haven't actually gone about citing it) there is about a 2 year window where TV adverts for electronic cigarettes can actually be broadcast on the television.

Now a group that perhaps gave a rats ass beyond a quick buck might look at it as "a two year window of opportunity" to encourage smokers to swap to your product. Perhaps one could also look at it as a two year window to demonstrate that e-cigarettes could be marketed in an up front manner and perhaps provide some evidence so that 2 years from now you could go at that law showing what a fine and upstanding group you were and how you deserve to continue to help smokers make a better choice.

Or,

You could try very hard to make every adolescent lad in the country blow a load in his shorts in 58 seconds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N5aiVog-jQ

What. the. f**k. did. that. have. to. do. with. vaping?

I wa... I wa.... I wa.....nt you to give me 250 and we'll whip into this hotel and I'll....

That's how that conversation should have reasonably ended.

You could have had two blokes meeting; one coughing and smoking, one vaping and not, and proceeding to have a conversation.

You could have had that same model heading into a club and a handsome fellow rejecting her because she reeks of smoke, and then watches on as the girl the bloke does walk off with is holding your product behind her back. Or Same scenario with 2 blokes and a girl. Still has a certain amount of sex. but won't wind up on redtube under the heading "Vape Porn".

There are SO many ways you could have approached smokers with your product in a way that didn't give the whole industry the taint of stale purchased sex and misogyny. You could have done so much better.

Two years from now, that bloody advert is going to be rammed up all of our collective arses as the reason e-cigarettes, just like analog smokes, should never be advertised on television.

You were successful, your brand name is certainly out there. If I lived in the UK, I'd certainly be yapping you up.

I'd be telling everyone who would listen not to buy your product because in 58 seconds you managed to validate every ANTZ argument about vaping being targeted at adolescent minds and not towards smokers. You did the vaping community and the industry a vast bloody disservice with your advertising approach.

I do however believe you will be responsible for a brief up-tic in sales for hand lotion, tissues, and laundry soap.

Thanks for that.


Love and Kisses

MadMeathead