It's been the talk of the vaping industry for the past few years, but it really rocked our world when the FDA released their 499-page document on E-Cig regulations this year.
Everything seemed fine coming into 2016, like vaping was at an all time high. Vape Chemist had a record breaking 4th quarter in sales. All of our friends with vape shops were absolutely crushing it, as more and more people were getting off the cancer sticks. All this occurred as the industry tried our best to keep the FDA announcement from happening.
So what do we do now?
As a vape consumer…
As mentioned in our last article about buying safe e-liquids, vaping fans should continue to support ejuice brands that are taking steps to provide a great product mixed in certified ISO7 cleanrooms.
It's no secret Vape Chemist e-liquid is produced by Molecule Labs, the same lab that produces industry leaders such as Cuttwood, Halcyon, Frisco Vapor and Mr Good Vape to name a few. Molecule Labs prides itself in having the largest and cleanest lab in North America. It’s time that customers continue to support the ejuice brands that care.
Why you ask?
Here’s the deal - in order for us to continue providing the same clean ejuice you've always enjoyed, we need your business.
Vape brands you see in convenience stores like Mystic, Mark 10, Blu, and Vuse are owned by big tobacco and retail corporations. They'll have no trouble paying any regulatory fees but small businesses and entrepreneurs in the industry are going to struggle.
Much like 95% of the industry, Vape Chemist is a local small business. We aren’t out here trying to make a quick buck selling off some gimmicky one hit juice line to you. We're trying to provide the best premium lines of connoisseur flavors.
Big tobacco's vaping solutions are akin to cheap cigarettes, whereas our ejuices are designed like fine cigars.
If you're looking to stock up on ejuice in the event the FDA strengthens regulations, we're capable of producing bulk orders, so please don't hesitate to contact me. Also be sure to check out some tips for safely storing eliquid.
As a cloud chaser...
Let’s take it down a notch on the cloud competitions. I know I'm going to get some flack for this, but it has to be said.
I get the idea. Blowing clouds is a fun hobby for everyone to stay out of trouble while kicking the habit. It's also a great way to get sponsored for free juice and mods. We all get it, but just like alcohol, marijuana, pharmaceuticals, supplements, and even food, we have to be careful how we portray our products.
Marketing nicotine or any drug to children is generally frowned upon and some worry cloud-chasing competitions and videos are glorifying vaping for kids.
Maybe it's true, and maybe it's not, but you'll notice I still have an age check on this site to make it clear Vape Chemist is for adults.
Let’s just not forget that we want to showcase the real reason as to why vaping exists in the first place, which is to kick the nasty habit of smoking. Although vaping isn't 100% safe (let's face it – nothing is in this world), it's infinitely safer than smoking because carcinogens are removed.
It's cool that vapers have better lungs and cardiovascular systems than smokers, but we don't need to be so in-your-face about it. I think it's time to pull back some of the bro culture that's developed with vaping.
Lets also chill out on the modifying all the hardware and use regulated box mods. We need to keep vaping safe on every level. Exploding e-cigarette batteries, blinding and burning innocent people, are becoming a popular target with the mainstream media. The hardware of vaping isn't even the focus of the FDA nor any regulatory agency yet, but it's only a matter of time if we let things get out of hand.
These types of safety issues are the concussions and domestic violence incidents of the vaping world, and both the media and opponents of vaping will continue to highlight such accidents.
As a manufacturer…
Of course, the job of making both e-juice and e-cigarettes safe falls on manufacturers. We need to start playing by the rules and start implementing best practices industry-wide.
In the past three years we evolved our Vape Chemist brand to maintain a professional image. We switched to certified childproof bottles, added prop 65 warnings on our labels and insured our liabilities.
Why did we do this?
Because when the FDA comes knocking on our door, we want to make sure we exude professionalism and willingness to conform to new standards. Copyright infringed logos, stock room juice and lack of professionalism will only hurt our chances of survival. Companies not willing to adhere to high government standards will crumble.
Understand nicotine is the least of the government's worries. Much of the FDA's testing and regulations will center on determining which flavorings used in common vape juices are can be safely heated and inhaled. Currently most ingredients used are considered generally safe to eat, but not much research has been done in vaping.
Money paid to the FDA is meant to aid in comprehensive testing on these flavors. Although all e-liquid ingredients have been used in foods and drinks for generations, nobody knows for sure the long-term effects of vaping them.
Diacetyl is a popular target for anti-vaping advocates, as it's been cited as responsible for a rare form of bronchitis (known as 'popcorn lung') in workers at factories that produce the chemical, used as artificial butter flavoring on popcorn. However, research shows levels of diacetyl in ejuice flavors that contain them are significantly lower than those found in cigarette smoke.
Still – all manufacturers should remain vigilant and maintain consistently high quality and production standards to keep from being shutdown by the biggest gang on the block.
As a store owner…
Storeowners are the gatekeepers of the vaping industry, controlling what filters through to the customer. It's ultimately up to this line of defense to keep e-juice and e-cigarettes out of the hands of minors.
Check ID’s and sell to adults 18 and up (21 and up in California and Hawaii.) Educate your customers on safety. Buy from trusted vendors. Present yourself in a professional manner as if the FDA is secret shopping you. These shouldn’t be hard as these are already long-standing common retail practices.
Beyond that, storeowners shouldn't notice much difference. Vaping started in smoke shops before vape-specific businesses opened up. These vape shops already had a foundation to build a strong infrastructure and simply need to ensure they keep customers educated and seek out suppliers that follow FDA labeling regulations.
Since many of the vape flavors are sweet (and the same ingredients are used to make candy and sodas), criticism will always exist that vape products are being marketed toward children. Take this criticism in stride, and keep your head up – you're in a better business than most.
Customer-facing employees will need to be kept updated on FDA regulations and actions, and creating a cheat sheet highlighting important facts about vaping for both employees and customers isn't a bad idea.
Government regulation isn't necessarily a bad thing. While our vape products have always been thoroughly tested to ensure a high level of quality, many were cutting corners to save a buck at the expense of consumer safety.
With federal regulations in place, it's only a matter of time before we learn which vape ingredients are truly safe and which aren't. We do know vaping is safer than smoking, but the associated risks have yet to be determined.
Personally I don't think regulation is a bad thing. It's going to be tough to adapt and some of your favorite vape brands may end up disappearing because they weren't adhering to high enough standards. Big tobacco may purchase some more vape brands as well. Keep an eye on the industry to make sure you know what's going on.
As we move forward into the next evolution of vaping and e-cigarettes, the only thing I can tell you for sure is that Vape Chemist will be there, and we hope you'll join us.