Despite our best efforts, online petitions, various positive ecig stories from within our own health departments and an attempt at reversal by the House of Lords, the Tobacco Products Directive has passed and is slowly rolling into the juggernaut of destruction for the industry, as we had feared at its inception. This month sees the true implementation upon the industry. From a consumer point of view, it may appear business as usual; mark my words, from the end of November onwards, the consumer too will see the effects of TPD for themselves. For now, the real change is upon vendors and manufacturers. From Nov 20th all stock will either need to be TPD compliant or have been made before this date. It will technically be illegal to sell non compliant stock after Nov 20th if the product was made on or after that date. All old stock made before Nov 20th is legal until May 2017 for all vendors, be that on the high-street or online stores.
What does compliant juice mean? Well, the TPD is clear on this, all pre-mixed juice containing nicotine must be only sold in 10ml plastic (glass is no longer prohibited) bottles. It must have clear labels marking it as a product that contains nicotine with cigarette style warnings on a white box warning of nicotine's addictive nature. Additional information about use of the product, ingredients of the eliquid and proof of its lab testing submission should also be on the product or on a leaflet supplied when purchased. Due to the costs for submission companies will have to pay to appease the MHRA (on average £3000 per flavour, per nicotine strength), the costs of all the extra packaging and leaflet printing required will likely see the price at retail much higher then standard 10ml juice does now. Whether made in UK, USA or China, all juice with nicotine must meet these regulations to be sold legally within the EU.
Where does that leave Tokenvape? I will presume, if you're reading this you are either a fan of Tokenvape or would at least like to see us continue on past November 2016. These regulations are not new information to a lot of us. I knew this was coming and had been pre-warned of their implementation. As a result I've tried to get help with TPD where possible. Sadly, the costs are unworkable. My company, whilst more successful than I ever imagined, is still very small and incomes made are modest. I do not have the money to meet the £3k per flavour per strength demands. I do not, currently, even have the money to have just one flavour passed.
When I explored my options several came to mind. I do not see this spoken about very much on other vape sources, so I feel I should mention it here. There are companies out there trying to milk vape companies dry for everything they have to help them meet TPD compliance. I will not mention names, but rest assured more than one company suggested I hand over everything I have to them to make my products meet TPD regulation. Gleefully, they announced they would make my product for me, bottle my product, repackage my product, even send it out to wholesale customers for me! Leaving me with literally nothing to do and no control over anything I'd worked years to build. Not only would this leave me with no control over anything, I would have to pay them vast sums for the privilege. It would put my chemist and friend Mick, the man with whom I could not have even started Tokenvape, out of a job. And for what? To meet some ridiculous regulations decided miles away in Brussels as a knee jerk reaction to protecting big tobacco and big pharma profit margins.
Who is the TPD for? What does it protect? Who benefits from its implementation? The government will sell this to you as protecting you, dear reader. "We are doing this for your own good! To appease your concerns over public health." See one of the main (and most costly) aspects of TPD is testing eliquids to identify 'potentially unsafe ingredients'. This statement sounds great on a surface level, sure, no-one wants unsafe ingredients in their eliquids. The trouble is of course, there is no scientific, peer reviewed and agreed list of unsafe (potentially or otherwise) ingredients for eliquids to begin with. It is, essentially, meaningless regulation at best and an outright mafia style racket at worst. £3000 per flavour, per nicotine strength to identify something without any scientific consensus or merit is utterly meaningless. It protects no one against anything. Companies have to pay it because the law says so. Do not fall for this absent minded bullshit, this is not being done for your benefit. You will end up paying more for less with less overall choice of eliquids, this has nothing to do with your best interest and all to do with the interests of big business.
Which businesses benefit? The obvious two (and the two who would have had a huge hand with lobbyist money at the EU to help implement these regulations in the first place) are big tobacco and big pharma. Both have a vested interest in you dropping vaping and going back to smoking. Big tobacco obviously would rather sell you their existing product. Big pharma would be happy to sell you their 5% success rate quitting aids. The pharmaceutical and tobacco companies are second only to oil and arms industries in terms of income. Do not for a minute think they can not influence lobbies, regulation and laws to their own benefit. But they are not the only people that can benefit.
Controversially, I'm going to mention some within the vape industry themselves who will happily see the TPD into the new year. See, if you run a successful, million + pound / dollar vape company, you'll be fine with the TPD. Expensive regulation cost always benefits those that can afford the regulation costs in the first place. It helps keep their product on shelves as meeting costs to change is a minor inconvenience, all the while eliminating competition which eats away at the bottom line. If a company cannot meet regulation they can't sell legally any more. It eliminates competition and brings you closer to a monopoly on your market sector. I don't begrudge these companies. They did not, after all, ask for the TPD any more than I did, but it remains a fact all the same.
So there you have it. The golden age of vaping as we currently know it is at its end. We welcome instead rich companies about to become much richer and a flood in huge black markets. Facebook juice selling will be rampant. Imports from non-TPD compliant countries will increase. Deals over Ebay, unregulated areas of the internet and more will begin to become more commonplace.
To survive at all, Tokenvape will be selling current stock until May 2017. After this time we will be switching to a separates model. All eliquids we sell will move to zero nicotine pre mixed juice. Zero nicotine eliquid has no restriction or regulation. It is not limited to 10ml bottles only. Separate nicotine shot options will become available. It is either this or die altogether. Essentially, ladies and gents, if you want your favourite juice, premixed with nicotine already present in decent sizes, you need to buy it now not later, because it simply will not exist as you currently know it later. You have been pre-warned. Happy vaping, all.
My wife and I got up nice and early, leaving Plymouth for Shrewsbury on Friday 5th August. An impressively easy 4 hour drive up saw our arrival at the Greenhous West Mid Showground, joining many other vendors at Vapefest 2016. After getting our spot in order we put up the trusty marquee which has seen us good at Vape Collective in May. Feeling a bit smug that it only took twenty minutes to set up, we talked with our neighbours who were still getting sorted. The fabulous Forbidden Flavours. I'd never spoken to or tried their product before but remembered their technicolour logo from Adam's Great British Vapes review. Anyway, swapping similar stories of our journeys through this industry, Thom and co were very cool people with a lovely full colour banner to be envious of, to be sure.
As we'd been on the road most of the day, we went off to check in at the hotel 30 mins away in Oswestery, confident our early pitch popping up would save us hours of time come Saturday morning. Sitting down to a relaxing pint and listening to my wife say how she was glad not to have to drive anymore that day, I got the email from Ric, one of the Vapefest organisers. I was on terrible 3g coverage and it read cryptically, and yet worryingly "Slight issue mate" and what I thought was nothing more. Replied back and Ric suggest I look at the picture he'd sent which was still loading from a blurry mess into what turned out to be a blurry mess where my tent used to be. Bizarrely, a sudden gust of wind had managed to completely total, snap, wrangle and bend the metal supports of our marquee into an unusable heap!
We went to see the damage for ourselves and it was indeed as bad as we feared. Even with the helping hands of the Forbidden crew, we still failed to erect our tent. New plan: find an Argos nearby, get tent and go set up Sat morning in a mild anxious panic.
Another 30 min drive later, making many Viagra jokes, we sat over dinner scouring the internet for any appropriate gazebos and places nearby where we could get one (we had no idea, we are from Plymouth, Devon, over 300 miles away...thank goodness for Google). Obviously, all of the tents I thought looked any good were all out of stock or a million miles away in somewhere you might need a passport to get into. So I settled for what was clearly the marquee equivalent of a Fisher Price dolls' house and set it aside to pick up at 9am when they opened.
All set up and open to the glorious public a little late (but open!) at 11:00. Saturday at 'fest was an incredible mass of blazing sunshine and steady stream of people! As a tiny little company at our first Vapefest we were not sure what to expect. Reaction was good though; the Coil Nut box and Crunchy Nut cornflake bowl as well as the hastily purchased lemon cake with cherries display seemed like a good shout, with our little set up of tanks and juice for testing.
Early reception seemed to favour Sweet Salt and Samic Berry, but the star juice would be quite different by the end of play. Then first to come see me was Jon the Coil Builder from instagram. He very kindly popped a frankly amazing alien build on my dot mod petri. The flavour from those coils are superb and I couldn't thank him enough to chucking that in for me. After that, James, the Everyday Vaper popped by. A long term friend of ours and the juice, James was one of the very first we selected to review us last year when we started. Then Hendo (Alan) of Vapebase fame with partner and their little sock-wearing Jack Russell made a surprise show (I honestly thought he was on holiday somewhere) as nice as ever, with nothing but praise on our newest flavour, Lemorello!
Damon, resident Grumpy, leader of the Vape Collective, VTUk celeb, survivor of insect attacks and all round lovely chap popped over for a much delayed bottle of Lemorello (review coming soon!) and that was all before noon!
In the afternoon, I was very happy to meet a long term fan of Tokenvape: Miguel, the diving vaper from instagram, one of our only overseas customers from sunny Portugal! A real pleasure to meet and introduce him to our newest flavour too.
I also met Ohm My Goth from instagram and her friends, again fans of the juice. It is always a pleasure to meet people you follow online in real life as they become much more than just a name.
All in, day 1 of Vapefest was a great success, with many new customers made, new friends met and generally a good feeling in the belly! However, because we are complete idiots and believed bad things wouldn't happen again, we left the shell of our marquee still up ready for day 2. I left my mobile number with Poppy from Forbidden Flavours in case disaster should strike once more.
No calls in the middle of the night. No texts of doom. A feeling of relief. So off we ventured, confident that Sunday would be a good day. Literally, as I got in the car at 9am however there was a call. My gazebo had once again snapped. It collapsed in a generally unusable mess. In less than 24 hours our new Argos tent had utterly failed. We went to 'fest a little shouty and upset in truth, unsure if we could even rescue our pitch.
But...the kindness of strangers and the vape community was alive and well! We were offered to share with no less than three other vendors at the show! From our new friends at Forbidden Flavours, the great Scots at Vape Emporium and Cloud Chasers Club, who were our neighbours on the other side. Hurriedly removing a little seating section with hay-bales, CCC very, very generously let us take over a part of their tent. They are a UK based mech mod maker, who make frankly beautiful pieces, all handcrafted and glorious. Thankfully, they didn't also sell juice, so no toes were being stepped on and we all got along just fine, having lots of laughs throughout the day!
Sunday was a quieter day than the Saturday overall, but the customers that did stop over were as kind and pleasant as those from the day before. We received so many nice comments it reassured us once again that we are doing something right. More than a handful of people said that Sweet Salt and Lemorello were the best juices of the entire show! Given there were 74 other vendors there, a great many of which had some amazing juices, this was some praise indeed!
We also met a big fan of Coil Nut Flakes: Kev from Telford, a fan of mine on Twitter who has reviewed us and purchased everything from us, more than once. A real pleasure to meet the enigmatic terror of Telford himself, whom I was again told would likely not be able to make it to Vapefest, but did so anyway!
The real surprise for me, personally, was the shock showing of Mick the Tokenvape chemist and his lovely wife, Mandy! This was a true pleasure and long overdue. Amazingly, (and this sounds faintly ridiculous as I type it) despite me starting Tokenvape in January 2015 and developing flavours with Mick until ready to sell at the start of Sept 2015, I had never actually met Mick in person until that day! With Mick living in Stafford and us in Plymouth, phone and email had been our main method of communication. Finally meeting one of the very key elements in how our eliquids are made was a real joy. It is funny how you can know someone without really having ever met them before though. It was a really nice surprise to see them both however and already we are plotting some new things for Tokenvape as we move forward.
Loads of potentially interested wholesale partners were made, impressing a fair few stores who had not seen or heard of us before as well as meeting so, so many friendly new and old faces alike. Vapefest was a roaring success for us. It may not have had the capacity turnout of last year, but it was very special and an absolute honour to be part of the historic UK festival. A personal dream of mine was always to get Tokenvape ready and able to pitch at Vapefest, which we realised that weekend. As well as that, I saw the sheer kindness and goodwill of the vapefam too. Sometimes it's too easy to believe no-one cares and everyone's out to make money in this industry, but Vapefest totally proved to me, actually, there are plenty of companies out there doing this purely for the love of helping others stay vaping and off tobacco as best they can. If I have missed anyone out in this blog, I do apologise, but rest assured I appreciate every single one of you stopping by to chat and try our juice.
So long Vapefest, and vapefam, you were both awesome.
Like many today I awoke to the news I didn't really expect: the UK voted to leave the European Union. Yes, as a vaper I'd voted for this, but I wasn't sure if the rest of the UK felt similarly impassioned to leave.
The Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) is currently in place here in the UK. It perhaps doesn't feel especially imposing to the average vaper on the street right now, after all there is still a wealth of e-liquids, devices, tanks and other additions available on a crowded and growing market. But make no mistake: the effects of TPD on the vaping populace have yet to be truly felt. The golden years and the good times will come to a sharp and dramatic halt in May 2017. For it is in May next year where the truly devastating effects of the EU directive will be felt. From restrictions on tank sizes, to e-liquids reduced only to a maximum of 18mg and limited to 10ml bottles, emblazoned with warning labels. Leaflets containing dire warnings about nicotine and its 'apparent dangers' will be included with every bottle. The submission process for every new vaping related device and liquid on the market will see significant and costly delays, up to 6 months before being brought to market. But it is the sheer cost and scale to meet these regulations imposed on small business which will hurt this industry the most.
At an average cost of £3,500 per flavour, per nicotine strength, as well as an average £100 yearly submission cost to the MHRA, it becomes an astronomical feat to an e-liquid manufacture to meet TPD demand. Tokenvape has six flavours currently. Five of them are in 50/50 in 3/6/12mg (0mg is excluded from the directive) six of them are in 70/30 across 3 & 6. Technically, this means I have 81 possible combinations to submit. If I were to submit the current portfolio of Tokenvape liquids to current MHRA testing costs it would cost me £283,500 in legal regulation fees. Even if I were ruthless and cut everything down to just my best-sellers in 70/30 3mg only it would still cost: £14,000. For a small business like mine that it is simply unsustainable.
Fast forward to today, to a United Kingdom mandated to divorce itself from the EU and things now begin to look different for vapers. Basic logic dictates that we are no longer part of Europe and therefore we are no longer subject to EU regulation. However, like all bureaucracy and crumbling empires, change takes time. The government now needs to adjust to an exit strategy from the EU bloc. For two years, whilst trade deals and much more is negotiated, the TPD will still stand. The real struggle for vapers starts now. We need to unite, more than ever, to have our elected government propel the TPD as priority for reform or outright removal sooner rather than later. The longer the regulations remain, the more we risk seeing small independent businesses fail to survive. Previously, under the EU regulation and with sad news the fatal motion by the House of Lords had failed, we had little to no hope of ever having the TPD reformed. But now, things look different. Nothing is for certain still, but vapers should take solace that a possible end of the TPD just became a tangible reality. Keep up the pressure, vapers. We will hold the government to their promise of acting on the interests of the electorate and we will vote them out if they fail us; something we could never achieve with the elite of Brussels.
We launched Tokenvape around 8 months ago. In that time we have learned a lot about the vaping industry and still feel we have much to learn about new things and ways to approach business everyday. However, whilst I was aware of this phenomena as 'a thing' (which seems to be slightly unique to this industry) namely: people expecting (occasionally demanding) free stuff. All the time. Like daily. No really.
I'm going to let you few who read these blogs into a little secret, Tokenvape is a tiny, tiny company. It is literally just me and my chemist with the (gratefully accepted) occasional helping hands of my wife. That's it. We are not Cuttwoods, Charlies Chalk Dust, One Hit Wonder or any number of global vaping super brands you want to think of. As a result, how much 'free stuff' (or actual stock as we call it here) do you think we have just 'laying about?' I'm trying not to go off on a violin filled 'oh poor me' segment here, but I do feel it prudent to mention that Tokenvape as a business is still in its infancy. For a year I made no income. If it wasn't for my wife supporting me whilst I sampled, tested and designed flavours for months and months, there would be no Tokenvape at all. This means, we went into significant debt, just to start the company.
The initial stock and development of new stock simply paid for the next batch of materials needed to make new stock, it did not go into the Tokenvape bank.
So what does all this mean with regards to samples and freebies? Essentially, it means there are no such things in Tokenvape. It means everything we buy and produce is meant for stock. If a reviewer, distributor, shop or whoever gets a freebie, know that's coming from our stock. Of course, sometimes we can make this work (and have done) but not always. We take the hit in the hope, that sample can go on and get our name out there among vapers and store owners alike.
Advertising is a costly venture in any business, though it is harder in an industry which is still very young and still frowned upon by a huge swathe of the world. Our marketing budget (ha!) was and still is nonexistent. We rely on the good word of our brand, of vapers liking our liquids as well as reviews and social media to slowly get out there about our little company. And we are truly grateful to all of you for this.
Where does this idea that companies have huge amounts of stuff around to give away come from?
Some of the requests I've had are a bit crazy. Every day, usually multiple times, I will have requests for freebies from someone. Be it a YouTube channel which has just started out with around 6 subs
and on average 2 views per video. Be it someone who has just found us on Instagram or wherever and I suspect, asks every company he or she comes across for free stuff. Sometimes I'll get asked for 'sponsorship'. I'll be honest, I'm old, I've been vaping for over 5 years, I had no idea until fairly recently what this even meant. You want me to sponsor you to, er, vape? And that involves me giving you free stuff every month (sometimes this is requested per week!) to, er, say you like my brand? What is this? Essentially you are being asked to pay someone to say how great you are.
Do these people go to other stores and request free things I wonder? I'm left scratching my head at the response this would get if they asked in HMV or Tesco or wherever: "Hey, I really like DVDs, your brand looks great, can I have some of yours?" Whilst I appreciate that the people making these requests couldn't know this, but I often get more requests for freebies per day then I do actual sales! Simple economics tells you that can't work. Is this a by-product of over saturation in the market? I guess it could be, but i mentioned earlier, I don't think the expectation for free products in other industries is so widely accepted. Are people wandering into their local newsagents and asking for samples of Malboro, Benson and Hedges and Lambert and Butler?
The last four reviews (among others) on YouTube actually bought the product from our web-store. That may seem a crazy novel concept, but I, as a e-liquid manufacturer really appreciate that gesture. You are far more likely to get a significant discount / one or two chucked in for free if you approach me like that.
It was on the vaping forums I started to see why it is now a popular view that companies can and will give out huge amounts of free eliquid like it's nothing. I've seen a lot of photos from vapers getting back from expos and festivals with their freebie hauls. Suicide Bunny at Vape Jam UK 2015 definitely went to that event with a freebie game plan. The sheer numbers of bottles they gave away and which were then shown in proud 'look at all this free stuff I got' photos was frankly, incredible. Full 30ml bottles of their entire range, given away in their thousands.
Whilst as a customer at such an event I could see how awesome that would be, as a vendor I'm left working out the staggering cost they must have incurred doing that. As a US based company they must have paid a hefty fee to ship all that over, not to mention the production cost, from the liquids, to the bottles, to packaging and everything else the operation required. Yet, as both a vendor and
vaper I'm also left wondering, have they not seen the irony in suggesting you have this premium, excellent quality, awesome tasting juice, which is then rendered worthless?
They are essentially saying: "Our juice is so premium and amazing we give it all away...."
I would love to know what the sales metrics are on all the freebie juice people get from expos. What percentage of those receiving (sometimes) entire rucksacks of free juice, go on to then buy said juice at retail? I wonder what the conversion rate is, i suspect it is actually very low. What is more, is the damaging long term impact upon the industry as a whole.
People expect and occasionally demand you supply them with free bottle after bottle of juice, because they have had this in the past from others. it has become a normalized expectation. This might be sustainable if you are a huge global company, with endless marketing budgets and 'snap back cool branding', but if your small, like us, it is unrealistic and unworkable. Just because these massive companies have managed to get their production costs down to so low they can take the hit on thousands of pounds worth of free stock, it doesn't
mean we all can.
To date, I've been given one freebie bottle of juice. A 10ml sample of Snake Oil at Vapefest 2015. I've vaped for over 5 years and bought every single bit of kit and every single bottle of juice I own (believe me, that it's been a lot of juice). I don't ask for freebies and I do not expect them.
I truly appreciate people want to try our brand, I know our stuff is good! It took us a very long time to perfect. The reviews speak for themselves (look here for hours of them). There's a reason just months after launch our brand was in a leading UK brick and mortar chain. But please, this is a business and my only income. This job
pays for my mortgage, my bills, for my stock, my everything. Tokenvape isn't a charity shop, so please, give it a rest asking for free stuff all the time.
If I had the kind of money Suicide Bunny and others clearly have to throw around on free juice and samples for all, rest assured, I would. If you want to try Tokenvape, we've launched an affordable 10ml line, give it a shot and tell us what you think! Failing that, if you live near Devon; VapourStation, some Flavour Vapour (whilst remaining stocks last) and City Vaper stores carry us, request to try our line on a dripper. I'm confident that you won't be disappointed.
Support your home grown small UK businesses! With the fast approaching toll of the 'TPD death bell', it may not be around for much longer. We will need all the help we can get.
Future freebie requests will be directed to this Blog.
Ross - Tokenvape
Thanks to a widely published and hugely fear mongering paper by Harvard, Diacetyl is back in the headlines among the vaping press. I'm not going to attempt to tell you anything really new about Diacetyl (DA from here on in) but I would like to highlight some of the really glaring issues with both the vaping and anti-vaping community getting all worried about this chemical in their liquids (or not, as the case may be).
To date, the Wikipedia entry for DA points to one story with concerns about DA with regards to it being potentially harmful when inhaled (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diacetyl#Safety). The whole issue appears to be based on a single study: Kreiss et al, N Engl J Med 2002; 347:330-338 (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa020300#t=abstract). It's linked to the now infamous 'popcorn workers case', some of whom were found to have bronchiolitis obliterates (OB) which the press referred to as 'popcorn workers lung' in their reports for this case.
Popcorn Lung is, it turns out, an incredibly rare and hard to diagnose condition. In this instance, it was felt, the inhalation of a powder containing DA was the reason for these 'otherwise healthy'
workers contracting the condition. The study comprised medical tests (lung function etc) and an
assessment of occupational exposure to respirable dust and volatile organic compounds.
The paper concludes: …” The excess rates of lung disease and lung-function abnormalities and
the relation between exposure and outcomes in this working population indicate that they
probably had occupational bronchiolitis obliterans caused by the inhalation of volatile butter-
It should be noted that:
The authors state :“Analysis of air samples from the mixing room identified more than 100 volatile organic compounds. There were no known occupational causes of bronchiolitis obliterans identified among these compounds or in the plant at large. Diacetyl (2,3-butanedione), a ketone with butter-flavor characteristics, was the predominant compound isolated from air samples.”
Note: diacetyl is included in the list of compounds that are not known to cause OB
Simply put, there is not enough information about this case to really conclude any concrete details here. Remember this was not a scientific test under perfect lab conditions. What was the health history of the workers? How much of the chemical was inhaled? Did all or only some of the workers exposed contract the condition? How long and over what period did they inhale the substance? We have no idea, as the vital consensus of information is simply missing or not printed.
Interestingly, the study found that quality-control workers—a group of individuals showing
higher rates of impaired lung function—may have been exposed to volatile flavouring
ingredients which were qualitatively different from those to which the other workers were
exposed as a result of the very high temperatures used in the ‘popping ‘of microwave popcorn.
The study does not address the short-term/acute exposure to very high levels of volatile
organic compounds in operations involving adding flavourings to heated tanks. The effects of
acute exposure may be very significant in this case.
Popcorn production involves the use of flavouring and also food colouring. The use of artificial
colouring agents in food is controversial, do they cause adverse health effects when inhaled?
Does anyone else find it slightly strange that this fairly common chemical, used to make a buttery flavour in foods, has only one loose-on-the-details case connected with it causing public health
worries? This cannot be the only popcorn factory that has ever existed which uses DA. If the
connection between DA and Popcorn Lung was so clear cut, surely cases would be more
abundant? We would be looking at a public health epidemic as the multitude of popcorn industry factories, the butter and margarine makers all desperately tried to explain why all their workers were getting sick with this fatal and incurable condition. Can I just remind readers that it was apparently the inhalation of a powder containing DA that caused Popcorn Lung in the Kreiss
study? They are called e-liquids for a reason...
Respirable Dust is that fraction of inhaled airborne particles that can penetrate beyond the
terminal bronchioles into the gas-exchange region of the lungs; it is a notorious and well
documented occupational hazard.
Fibrous dusts have been shown to present special health problems primarily related to the
shape of the particles. It’s a fairly safe bet that airborne dust from popcorn production will
contain some sharp, fibrous material as it’s produced by physical rupturing of the hard
(fibrous) corn husk. The effects of chronic exposure to relatively high levels of respirable dust hasn’t been considered—I think this omission represents a fundamental flaw in the study.
The shape, chemical composition and particle size distribution of the respirable dust fraction
hasn’t been taken into consideration although it is known that hard, fibrous fine dusts (think
asbestos) are particularly injurious to health.It is also possible that respirable dust could also produce antagonistic effects in combination with other materials present, for example, volatile organic compounds.
There appears to be a correlation between inhalable dust levels and volatile organic
compound concentrations—areas where highest DA levels were measured also show highest
levels of respirable dust and vice versa. Organic compounds have been implicated as a possible causative agents for OB, yet no attempt has been made to correlate respirable dust level and incidents of the disease despite the pollutants well know adverse health effects.
We the vaping community need to hold our hands up a little here. We were the ones who really
highlighted the issue of DA in e-liquid based on, well, not very much. The clear science behind DA and its possible harmful effects do not exist in sufficient quantity for any conclusion to be made.
You cannot make an assumption or guess based on a lack of evidence for something, this is
simply not how science works. In theory, with provable cause and effect, you write your paper,
show your workings and have it peer reviewed. To date, this hasn't happened with diacetyl at all let alone within e-liquids.
The Harvard paper found small amounts of DA in some of the e-liquids they tested the chemical
for. They unhelpfully didn't highlight that cigarettes have far greater amounts of the chemical in
thereby skewing the results to look much worse for e-liquids than they actually are.
As I type this, there is an ongoing case (the first of its kind that I'm aware of) of an e-liquid company being taken to court for producing e-liquids with DA and AP in: http://legalnewsline.com/stories/510649694-five-pawns-sued-over-allegedly-false-claims-about-e-liquid-products
Now I am not affiliated with Five Pawns in any way, though I have vaped some of their liquids and enjoyed them in the past. To take a company to court for false advertising is one thing, but to take them to court on the grounds that either DA or AP is harmful to the consumer surely requires the burden of proof of such claims from the prosecution? Perhaps conclusive, comprehensive evidence can be produced out of this case which once and for all proves DA in an e-liquid does or does not pose a health risk.
Why You Shouldn’t Draw Conclusions from a single Scientific Study.
The papers I have read that attempt to link electronic cigarette use with lung disease use the
Kreiss study as their basis. Not only does the article contain an untested hypothesis, but it appears that it’s the only paper available on the subject. As it can be seen from the graphic
above, more often than not, single studies contradict one another. You could cherry-pick a study to support what ever point you’ve decided to ‘prove’, it’s patently obvious that no
scientifically robust conclusion can be drawn from a single study.
Articles like the Harvard paper (Joseph G. Allen et al) do not follow any stages of the scientific
method. They are fallacious because they are based on an assumption that is not proven (DA inhalation causes OB) and this renders them meaningless. Not even wrong.An alternate approach would be to turn the issue on its head: Examine any of the thousands of industrial processes where workers are exposed to diacetyl and do not suffer OB. The hypothesis: “Occupational exposure to DA is not related to obliterative bronchiolitis” would be easy to test and will likely have a mass of data in support of it.
To date, there has been zero cases of an ecig user contracting bronchiolitis obliterates. Diacetyl is recognised as safe both within Europe and America. There is no clear evidence the chemical is
harmful to public health and until further testing is done it is irresponsible to say otherwise. Bad
science used to support a biased position can have devastating effects on the community.
Bad Science and Scaremongering: Study links e-cigarettes to incurable disease called 'Popcorn Lung'
Predictably, widespread news articles refer to the Harvard study as ‘proof’ of a link between
diacetyl inhalation and obliterative bronchiolitis. This type of misinformed, sensationalistic, propaganda would be laughable if it wasn’t for the fact that some people do actually believe it and it’s in danger of being seen as received wisdom if repeated often enough.
Press articles which are so ill-informed, contrived and biased seem to be a deliberate attempt
to mislead and discredit the use of ecigarettes. If this is the case, it begs the question: Cui Bono?: who benefits? Who would benefit by e-cigarettes being banned on health grounds and the subsequent collapse of the vaping industry? What industry has suffered most because of the rise in popularity of vaping? It appears sales of traditional nicotine replacement therapies have taken a bit of a dive recently…http://vaperanks.com/?p=708
These products are made by GlaxoSmithKline—quintessential Big Pharma —and they stand to lose millions in future as the popularity of vaping continues to grow.
What is Tokenvape's stance on Diacetyl?
From the start I wanted our e-liquids to be DA free and we have endeavoured to do that. A lot of
the flavour manufacturers know that ecig companies want their liquids free from this chemical, just in case. As a result most are reformulating their flavourings to suit the needs of their customers. Testing of e-liquids is available at some cost to the manufacturer. I support this in principle as it gives concerned customers peace of mind to see test results. This is something we have been looking into and will be doing with Tokenvape e-liquids moving forward. Though I should say, within e-liquids there is no agreed 'safe limit' of a chemical to aim for. Testing for DA, AP or acetion is fine, so long as we all agree how much is or is not a safe amount within an e-liquid.
At the risk of repeating myself a little, shouldn't we also be proving that these chemicals in any amount are actually a health concern in the first place? Agreed guidelines and standards need to be set at all levels for any of this stuff to really matter.
We need scientific, peer reviewed, tangible links with evidence before lambasting Diacetyl or any
other chemical within the vaping world before we raise the pitchforks and start taking legal action against companies. We need to work together as a community or we will not survive the coming fight against big tobacco companies and big pharmaceutical companies this year and beyond.
Legislation is coming, its impact will be enormous upon the entire industry, worldwide. We can bicker and fight each other or we can take a stand now in solidarity as vapers. Handing the 'ill-informed opinion stick' to our enemies in which to beat us with is as illogical as it gets.
Matt from Suck My Mod did a great little video about this subject on his YouTube page recently which echoes much of the same concerns we have around this. I strongly urge others to go have a watch:
Next week sees the launch of a brand new Tokenvape flavour!
For a few years now I, like many other vapers, have been really excited by cereal vapes. The
undisputed king of cereal e-liquids (for me anyway) is Looper by Anml. It absolutely nails that
frosted American Froot Loop cereal taste like few others. A soft, vaguely citrus note on the exhale,
before giving way to a smooth creamy milk with that out of the box cereal like taste. I consider
Looper if not my adv of all time, at least in my top 5. I tried looking for alternatives, of which, if you
want fruit loop style, there are many. None were quite as good. Breakfast Club's Loops isn't a bad
alternative, although it's stronger on the fruit notes and tends to cost a bit more too. Re-looped is a cheap, less satisfactory version by Cornish Liquids but is also worth a shot; let it steep for a month or so and you will get a vaguely Looper-esque vape from it.
Other cereal vapes that are worthy of note would certainly include the marvellous Churrios by
Milkman. This is a remarkably authentic tasting e-liquid version of Cinnamon Grahams (Curiously
Cinnamon over here in Blighty!). The cinnamon, whilst strong, isn't hot; it won't blow your head off
like a Fireball sweet and it gives way to a soft milky cereal. Very good stuff! Cuttwood's Boss
Reserve is also a decent vape, though a little subtle to my pallet. A golden square cereal with
banana and milk, its soft and quite background flavour may leave you struggling to find every
element, although it remains a decent vape all the same.
There are many, many versions of Froot Loops out there, both in the premium juice market and the
cheaper brands too. In short, whilst I like the flavour a lot, I had little interest competing in an
already crowded sector. Instead, I really wanted to attempt a cereal flavour that's seen very little
attention and yet, at least here in the UK (and I suspect around the world) is easily one of the most
favoured adult cereals around: Crunchy Nut Cornflakes!
I did some research and saw very little in the Cornflake vape flavour profile: Frosties yes, but
Honey Nut cornflake? Not so much. It was important to me, as with all Tokenvape flavours, that we capture the essence of the real thing with an authentic taste which Tokenvape has become well known for with Sweet Salt and Tatin Anglaise.
With Crunchy Nut, the main taste is that toasted cornflake flavour, distinct and unique to this
cereal. This simply had to taste of cornflake first, the honey brown sugar sweetness second, with
extra layers of a light peanut and a cooling milk later.
Mick spent a long time perfecting a true cornflake savouriness which I feel has a great toasted
flake flavour. The honey sugar has a genuinely authentic honey-like taste without outstaying its
welcome. The light peanut cuts through the sweetness before the vape gives way softly into a
creamy cool milk. Like Sweet Salt, the coolness is a physical taste sensation thanks to a cooling
agent. Coil Nut Flakes was born.
Entirely by coincidence the French e-liquid makers BordO2 had just brought to market a double
pack of cereal vapes, one a Honey Loop and the other a more Froot Loop inspired flavour within a
little cereal box style packet. This was slightly annoying, as I'd had the exact same idea with Coil
Nut Flakes! Let it be known, for the record, the process was in the works long before I'd first heard
or seen BordO2's packaging choice! I loved the idea of a cute cereal box package for these to live
in. I really wanted my customers to experience the packaging and give out something a little
special with every one.
I talked with James over at Growl Creative, who'd previously done some amazing work on my t-
shirts and whom I knew had experience with packaging too. After discovering the small variety
packs of cereals you can buy in supermarkets were actually the perfect size for 30ml e-liquid
bottles we disassembled some and talked about how it should look. Cereal, at least here in the UK
can sometimes have quite a child centric appeal about it, with cartoon graphics, bright colours and
free toys. As a result I really wanted a clear distinction that whilst fun, this was a product for adults
with a firm adult tasting cereal. This is why Coil Nut Flakes looks familiar and playful but doesn't
have cartoon monkeys, spacemen or anything else on it!
We kept the idea of a free gift though (hey, vape bands are cool!) and so I had my contacts make
up some vape bands with the Tokenvape logo on as well as a circular sticker with our branding on.
You'll find both in every box!
Reviews haven't come in at the time of writing, but we are confident that if you like cereal vapes,
we have made something very special here! Coil Nut Flakes should be up on the store before
Christmas! Stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feed for more news!
The power of the Internet in linking like minded individuals never ceases to amaze me. Shortly after launching the website, one customer had bought all five of our new flavours and then connected with Tokenvape through the contact form.
We got chatting and, by pure coincidence, it appeared we had a remarkable amount in common. Henrik from Denmark had longed for a while to try and establish a retail space in Denmark in the vaping sector. We talked about how vaping wasn't an especially big scene in Denmark, yet smoking was still a big pastime, with huge amounts of Europeans still smoking traditional tobacco.
The hope was to help promote the benefits of vaping as an alternative to smoking for all, including the good people of Denmark and other countries within Europe.
Henrik, like myself, was primarily interested in the best premium e-liquid lines around, the types of gourmet mixes which vapers of all experience ranges could enjoy and embrace. After ordering all of the Tokenvape range, Henrik returned to me with a keen request to start stocking Tokenvape on his Danish web-front.
We talked a little more, getting to know each other as well as one can over email and social media platforms. It turned out that Henrik had a background in social care with his previous employment, which I found remarkable, given for seven years before I started Tokenvape, I'd also been within the care sector! A coincidence and nothing more I'm sure, but instantly I felt a connection with Henrik and was keen to help him with his venture having just accomplished it myself the month before.
Many companies out there whilst friendly enough, will not entertain small quantity orders where they would normally expect shipments of thousands of bottles a week. In Denmark though other headaches present themselves. Whilst it would seem ok to import liquids containing nicotine from within Europe, the import of US juices with nicotine is a different proposition. As a result, the focus, for now, was much more on the best quality European made e-liquids he could find, from those companies willing to supply a new start up company without large order quantities.
Having been there and done that, I was happy to supply Henrik without a minimum order quantity to help him establish Juzy Vape. The finished site is impressive, clean and has some really good descriptions of the products they offer. I'm pleased to say, Tokenvape shares some fantastic company on Juzy Vape from Craft Vapes, Space Jam and Cream as well as many others. Feel free to visit http://www.juzyvape.dk/ for yourself. If you are based in or near to Denmark, this is easily the best site to get your Tokenvape fix from!
Here is to you Henrik, the site looks fantastic and I hope business goes well for you. Hopefully we can make a real difference to smokers in Denmark and neighbouring countries and can provide the best quality products to ensure they stay off the cancer sticks in favour of vaping!
Two weeks ago, in my last blog post, I talked about a meeting with my local retailer of all things
ecig: Flavour Vapour. I've always admired the way those guys and girls managed to build a
successful franchise up from scratch, with the humble beginnings normally only reserved for
heartwarming American Dream lemonade-stand style stories. From a little market stall, as a Totally Wicked reseller, these guys had grown exponentially. They managed to do what I really wanted to do a year before.
While working as a support worker in the private residential care sector, I too dreamed of owning a
big vaping store selling great gear and tasty e-liquid. Fear stopped me. Fear and a lack of funds to
procure retail space, stock, anything really. I was too scared to step away from the familiar and the
comfortable, too worried I couldn't pay the bills if I simply gave it all up to run my own business.
So I got on with my safe life, as Flavour Vapour became a large player in the retail sector, especially here in the southwest of England.Fast forward the five years or so until today and you'll have noticed I did give the finger to fear and worked hard to make five e-liquid flavours the best they could be. I knew what I wanted from an e-liquid and after several glowing reviews later, it appears, I'd made something other vapers wanted too!
Stepping into Flavour Vapour and anxiously awaiting their reactions to my little juice company's
efforts was quite a feeling. Would they like this? Would they laugh me out of the building? What if
they liked it though? What if they were genuinely impressed? A real mixture of emotions flowed in
my mind as two of the managers of the company filled a dripper from the full range of Tokenvape liquids.
I've talked previously about just how well that meeting went. They were stunned at how good
Tokenvape tasted. I could feel their excitement, as they talked fast and excitedly moved on from
one flavour to the next. We left the shop with samples of Tokenvape for all the staff to have a toke
As I got back to Tokenvape towers, there were quite a few things still to sort out. My labels were
good but not quite right for retail. They needed to be fully CLP compliant. The tube packaging, as
nice as it is, was also adding a fairly significant cost to manufacture. Sadly, they needed to go and
so I retired them at 500, exclusively for my loyal first time customers to enjoy. Maybe one day they
may return, but they were an expense I could barely afford and didn't want to add on my wholesale costings.
The next step was reducing that cost further where I could. All the way through I was adamant that
our flavours would not be compromised. They needed to be the best that they could be so cheaper flavourings and ingredients were simply not an option. Even so, I negotiated with Mick to try and get a reduction on cost and he did accommodate where he could.
I ordered 500 labels of each flavour in each strength from the printers; it was a huge stack of
labels, which took them at least three weeks to get ready. All the while reviews kept rolling in, each one seemed as impressed with Tokenvape as the last. To date, Tokenvape has never had a
negative review. We have some flavours which are more popular than others but feedback has
been very positive overall.
During the wait for my labels to be printed with some more bottles on the way, things were a little
quiet. Steady sales on the site kept spirits up, but the quietness from my retail partners was a little
unnerving. Naturally, I worried I was losing time on the window of hype around my juice line. In the
world of vaping things move alarmingly quickly. What might be the best flavour / mod one month
can quickly be forgotten for the next new kid on the block. However, it seemed I was worrying over
nothing when Flavour Vapour got back in touch. Whilst it is true things move fast in this sector, it is
equally true that once someone finds a vape they like, you might be really blessed to have a
customer who likes a flavour so much, it becomes their all day vape.
With Flavour Vapour having ordered 750 bottles of Tokenvape, there was still one small issue for
me to resolve: the batch info. From a manufacturing point of view, the issue with batch labelling is
that the information contained changes from batch to batch. As a result you need a way to print all
the information when you make a batch of liquid. It would be fantastic if I had money available to
buy a professional label printer and print out the batch info directly onto the label every time I need them. This method though simply isn't an option for Tokenvape right now. We had our labels
already printed, with a small space set aside to place batch information on.
Eventually, I found a reasonable way to do it, though it remains time consuming and slightly fiddly. I found a small, thermal tape printer, normally reserved for covering office stationery with labels,
which was very close to the official sizes they needed to be. Thermal printing uses no ink, and can
be printed on this plastic film covered tape. They are water proof, very hard to remove and could
have all the information printed on a sticker in a tiny space of just under 2cm long. I can print these
as and when I need them per order. All need to be cut to size, by hand, and then stuck in the space
on the back of the label, again all by hand. Doing this for 1000 or so bottles, as you might appreciate, can take a long time!
Once the bottles arrived, we had to assemble, again by hand, all of the pipettes, orange squeeze
tops and the safety caps. This can be fairly trying on your fingers, but we spread it out over a
period of a couple of days. It's a repetitive action, but one which can easily be done in front of
Netflix or whatever in an evening.
Mick had found a good solution to sending large quantities of e-liquid down to me and once these
arrived we began the task of filling our labelled up bottles. It took us just one day to actually fill the
bottles; although filling manually is time consuming, it's everything else which takes time to
complete. The processes are fairly numerous: sticker the bottles, assemble childproof caps with
pipettes, print and cut out batch stickers, stick on the batch stickers and a tactile warning triangle,
fill the bottles with the liquid, seal them with a heat tamper sleeve and, finally, box up the order!
All in, we had around 6 large boxes filled with Tokenvape goodness for Flavour Vapour. After an
early Monday morning start we dropped off the liquids to their warehouse and felt pretty good that we'd finished our first large order. By Wednesday their Truro and Exeter branches received their first stock of Tokenvape liquids and had them on sale later that afternoon. The Flavour Vapour website also put up Tokenvape e-liquids that week and by Friday all stores, including Plymouth were now selling our e-liquids. At the time of writing this blog, I don't know how they have sold, but hopefully they have been well received by Flavour Vapour customers.
Exciting news: Mick and I are developing a brand new flavour. It is much too early to talk about
here and it isn't quite ready yet, but suffice to say, cereal fans might be very interested in our recent
experiment! More news about the latest Tokenvape flavour will be announced soon so stay tuned
to the blog and our social media channels and vape on!
Unfortunately though, as the end of Saturday rolled around, we didn't get a single sale. On the Sunday, we had our first sale. I was out taking photos of the product on a really warm and,
some might say, rare sunny day down in Cornwall. The order was from a friend and whilst it was an amazing feeling to see my site get its first sale, I did wonder if this was going to be a small
business just selling to friends and friends of friends forever more.
During the week, as I grew nervous over reviewers getting their liquids in the post, I decided to
contact my local B&M: Flavour Vapour. I'd chatted to some of the guys and girls of this store for
years and had seen their enormous growth in the 4 or 5 years they'd been trading. They started as
a small market stall trader, a Totally Wicked reseller at that time. It was really cool to have a brick
and mortar store in my local town centre and I was happy for them; they'd done something I myself had wanted to do around a year before, but work commitments and a lack of clear vision with business had prevented me from it.
However, their reaction was incredible. In their office we talked and dripped and on each toke,
across every flavour they just grew more and more excited. "This is really good. Wow, that is
incredible" etc. Excitedly, we threw around some numbers, talked about some issues moving forward and prices at wholesale. As I waved goodbye, I left them with some samples and the shop floor staff excited to experience the Tokenvape range in a big huddled group.
I went home that day with a renewed sense that Mick and I had created something a bit special in
Tokenvape. I can't tell you, dear reader, how good it feels to have nine months of unpaid work
validated like that, but suffice to say, I had a drink or two that night!
Queue a few days later and I began to see a slight rise in interest. Then the reviews came in the
middle of the week and everything changed. Our first review was by Martyn Parker. I'd had a slight
heads up on his reaction as he'd emailed me to say he found three of our liquids incredible, the
best he'd ever tasted. The review was to go live the same day at 9pm. My wife and I watched it,
giving a heads up to Flavour Vapour to maybe tune in.
It's well documented now, just how well Martyn got on with our e-liquids. He liked all five, found
three of them among the best he'd ever tasted and with Sweet Salt, suggested it might even be the best e-liquid he'd ever tried. Wow! Praise like that was amazing. As a result Tokenvape was firmly on the map and sales began to reflect the views of the reviewers.
To date we have had five reviews from YouTubers online. All of them liked our liquids, with three of them suggesting they were some of the best on the market today. This week, I had one more
meeting with Flavour Vapour and it's looking very likely that our liquids will soon be available to buy in brick and mortar stores across the UK, starting with our home turf of the South West of England.
By the time October rolls around, we should be available to customers locally in Plymouth, Exeter
and Truro Flavour Vapour stores. To say we are excited is an under statement! And it's all thanks to you guys: the customer. You've told us what you think of our e-liquids and some of you have given us awesome, mind blowing feedback! We cannot thank you enough. It means the world to us to know that nine months of work has been worth it.
At the risk of this sounding like an Oscar acceptance speech, I also really need to thank my amazing wife and partner. For nine months whilst I sampled, tested and built up
Tokenvape I wasn't earning. She accepted this needed to take time to grow, all throughout that
process she paid the bills, the mortgage and bought us what every family needs month to month. I
did what I could with cleaning and cooking the evening meals, but even so, she supported me and
this venture from the start. Never complained, never got annoyed. I can't thank her enough for all
of her financial, emotional support and encouragement.
With the Stoptober campaign soon upon us, Tokenvape is offering a week long 10% off discount
across all orders with the code: STOP10 at checkout. So, if you are still on the fence about
Tokenvape liquids or interested in making the switch to vaping with some premium UK made e-
liquid, pop in the code at checkout and enjoy a little bit off your order.
Originally, I thought I could use these 'faces' as part of my flavour ranges, with roughly ten e-liquids per range, from desserts and sweets to tobaccos and fruits. I even made up some prototypes with a home printer and some glossy card. I revealed this initial look to close friends and family and received a variety of responses. Some loved the visuals and use of celebrity in a faintly satirical way; others wondered about the potential copyright and trademark implications of their use.
I never did get a definitive answer if using celebrity likenesses now deceased or otherwise was an infringement on copyright or not. It really depends on the country you are selling in, the individual copyright laws of states in America, as well as the legal red tape of finding out who these names and likenesses belonged to, be it an estate or film agency.
These are products for adults. The negative attitude in the press that 'vaping was a gateway to smoking for young people' really cemented in my mind this was not the most appropriate way to launch.
Back to the drawing board. I wanted clean, classic and classy design. Tokenvape is all about refined, decadent desserts and interesting, never before seen flavours. I wanted a brand which reflected that.
There was only one small issue: my logo is quite long, horizontally. With vaping, a lot of the things you might need to put a logo on are quite small items. Be it a 30ml bottle of e-liquid or as a logo on a mod of some description. My long logo worked, especially on a website or on a t-shirt, but would need to be printed rather small on a 30ml bottle.
And just one more thing.......
Only kidding!! Let me know your thoughts on any of our design ideas in the comments below.