March, 2016

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Vaping and battery safety

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It doesn’t take much to short a Lithium-Ion battery.  And it seems with the velocity of information on the internet, we’re seeing more stories about batteries shorting, mods exploding, and someone in our vaping family being injured due to faulty battery or mod handling. We hope that this information can and will help all of our vaping family members have a safe and wonderful vaping experience.

To put things in context, and to understand what happens when a battery shorts out and vents, you should watch this video.  We can assure you that even for a very light short, you may feel the heat and the battery acid well before the explosion, but do you really want to take your chances?  Odds are the short, the vent, and explosion will happen much faster than you can react.

So what steps can we all take to minimize the risk of a battery short and explosion?
 

Storing Batteries

Picture1First, never carry loose batteries in your pocket, purse, the console of your car, a drawer, or any other place where the batteries may touch.  Indeed, your spare batteries should be in a battery case when they are not being used or charged.  The case keeps the batteries aligned such that the ends will never touch and nothing will come in contact with the batteries. Reputable retailers are more than happy to sell you a quality battery case.
 

Transporting Batteries

Picture2You can be sure that one of the most common causes of battery shorts is that the battery (or batteries) were in a person’s pocket and possibly even with a few coins bouncing around.  This is a recipe for disaster, and the result is usually at least 2nd degree burns as diagnosed by the emergency room doctor.  And you probably had to yank your shorts down in front of all your friends.

 

When You Are Not Vaping

None of us are constant chain vapers.  Perhaps we work inside where we cannot vape.  Maybe we’re playing ball and it’s not convenient to carry our mods in our hands.  What can we do with our mods when we aren’t vaping?  This is a tough one, but also this is why I vigorously recommend using a regulated mod.

Picture3It is quite convenient and tempting to tuck your mod into your pants pocket.  No problem there…unless something in your pocket activates the mod.  Did you lock your mod first?  That’s an easy one to forget to do.  Does your mod have an actuator limit, such as only five to ten seconds of activation then it automatically shuts off?  (This is one reason why I prefer regulated mods!)  What happens if you set your mod in the car console and it tips just enough for the actuator to be depressed?  This actually happened to me once, and my unregulated mod caught on fire just as I smelled the burnt atty.  Now imagine that this happens in your pocket…where nothing should ever burn or explode.  (By the way, where are our genius vapers who want to make a belt clip for the various mods we use?!)

 

Do NOT Leave Your Mod in Your Car

Picture4Leaving your mod in your car may seem convenient, but is it safe?  Absolutely not. During periods of even moderate temperatures, the inside of your car can turn into an oven.  This increases the risk of overheating the batteries and potentially causing an explosion or setting your unattended car on fire. Some experts recommend keeping your batteries where they will stay between 50 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit.  To be even safer, avoid triple digit temperatures.  And NEVER leave your batteries in your car!
 

Battery Integrity

Picture5Another cause for shorts, and certainly something that may lend to a mod venting is poor physical battery condition. The “sheath” and negative end of these batteries are typically one single piece, and there is only a small gap between the negative surface and the positive contact.  This is the reason we have battery wrap and plastic tabs involved in the design of the battery.  Believe me when I say this level of protection is just enough to be safe as long as the integrity of the battery wrap is not violated.  Even a small tear like this can pose serious danger!
 

Dripping, Pulsing, and Dry Atomizers

Another piece of safety advice is if you drip, be very cognizant of how quickly your mod consumes juice.  Dry cotton and a current with sub-ohm resistance are poor bedfellows.  If you like to pulse while dripping, wait until you have enough juice in the atomizer first.  Never pulse or activate your mod while the atty is dry.  Here’s one example of how things can go south very fast.
 

Know What You Need In a Battery

Picture6Finally, we all love innovators and geeks when it comes to improving the vaping industry.  We love huge clouds.  But let’s be realistic.  If your mod needs this many batteries, you don’t deserve the teeth that are about to be blown out of your skull.  We’re trying to save lives through tobacco harm reduction.  We’re not building weapons of mass destruction!

A satisfying vape does not require truckloads of power.  It really just needs a proper understanding of watts, voltage, ohms, and amps.  Most regulated mods handle the calculation of watts and voltage, relative to your implementation of atomizer, which is where the ohms rating is established.  Thus, place focus here on the battery, which is where the amps come in to play.

The following chart (we would love to credit the author, but…..) gives guidance on which type of battery is generally best for your usage.  However, lean heavily on your reputable retail specialty vape shop for guidance on your mod and configuration.  That is your best source for expertise and assistance!
 

battery_type
 

Conclusion

Talk with a reputable vaping-specialty retailer (not a smoke shop!) about your battery needs.  Use retailers who avoid cheap clone mods.  Seek out specialty retailers who provide expert guidance on vape safety, your mod, atomizers, builds, etc., and who also stock the materials that provide the best, safest vape experience. These folks are there to help you with your vaping experience and keep you as a lifetime customer.  We’re all in this together, so let’s work together to keep each other safe from harm.  Tobacco Harm Reduction is not just about eliminating tobacco from our lives.

If anyone has additional suggestions for safety or links to publish in the article, please let us know.
 

Kevin Carly – UTSFA Vice-President

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2016 Sine Die

sinedie“House file for bills not passed” is one of the most exciting things we as advocates can hope to see on a bill during a legislative session – at least when the bill it references targets the industry we love so much. This was seen THREE times during this session!

The legislative session has ended and we have been victorious at beating back the Tobacco21 movement for this year in addition to TWO attempts at taxation. This was no small undertaking and took tremendous footwork by not only our organization and our lobbyists but all in the vaping community. It’s no secret that this year was our most intense battle yet with old lies being renewed and new lies being created. We had to go toe to toe with a new high school organization that had their targets set on the industry. While there were high points and low points in this year’s battle, in the end we managed to once again protect over 25,000 consumers, 75 business owners and close to 900 industry employees.

I want to talk about Rep Paul Ray for just a moment. There are some who feel that we don’t go after him enough in a more direct fashion; especially for his use of children as pawns to get his legislation passed. While we do agree that using children as pawns is poor behavior for any politician, we will not directly attack him for it regardless of how many kids get bussed into the capitol. We’ve worked the Utah political scene long enough to know that when you back someone with a personal agenda (some would argue vendetta) into a corner and force them into a defensive posture, it makes them angrier and more prone to combative behavior; which during a legislative session is VERY dangerous and akin to lighting a powder keg. Actions like this can have severe consequences on the outcome and we are not willing to risk the longevity of the industry for “personal satisfaction”; at least not during an active session. To us, having the “stones” means knowing the most appropriate times to use them and when not to.

Politics is not a short game. It is a long strategic game of chess that takes weeks…months. This legislative session, we worked MANY angles behind the scenes to ensure a win which most generally do not see and you’ll rarely hear us talk about. We not only have our lobbyists we work extremely closely with during the session but other allies and supporters we don’t discuss in public as it would damage our strategy. In all this year, we worked closely with 3 other lobbyists, 4 national organizations and a few inside ‘spies’ in the capitol who were in our corner fighting for us. These are relationships that took years to develop and ones that would not have occurred if we always took an attack posture with anyone that tries to pass legislation against our industry. Good politics is not about winning or losing, it’s about finding the most suitable middle ground that all parties can live with.

On to the best part – gratitude. First off, we can’t say “thanks” enough to our lobbyists Andrew & Charlie. These guys put up with LOTS of flack from the legislators because of decisions we make and directions we take; sometimes that change on a whim. Every action we take on our side, angers some at the capitol and these guys bear almost 100% of the criticism and do it with the utmost professionalism and calm attitude. They are in our corner fighting 365 days of the year and are constantly working to improve our industry’s image to the elected leaders. Without these guys up there, this summary would be a very different one this year. They earn every penny of their fees and without solid membership in the organization, we couldn’t fight the bills in the way needed to ensure victory.

Next, we want to thank everyone who took the time to attend the various hearings this year, send emails and make phone calls. Not only did quite a few within the vaping community show up to be seen and heard, but we had our business owners. LOTS of business owners. In fact, we had more business owners participate in the session this year than any year prior. Most of the businesses closed for half the day during the HB333 hearing so all their employees could participate (a first!). We had great testimony this year from not only the UTSFA but from SFATA and VaporLoc owner Brad Parsons who brought one of his many books containing personal success stories from his customers. I (Aaron) personally would also like to thank our President Tad Jensen for agreeing to testify while I was down with the flu during the final days of the session. Testifying in front of a committee on a critical bill is never easy and he accepted the challenge with the utmost desire to protect our entire community.

We want to thank Paul Blair with Americans for Tax Reform and Jeff Stier with the National Center for Public Policy. Jeff took precious time out of his ski vacation in Park City to spend with us at the Capitol helping us convey our message of #ABillionLives and #IVapeIVote. Paul happened to be in town fighting another bill and took the time out of those discussions to help us on HB333 specifically. Lastly, we made new connections with Americans for Prosperity who agreed with us that taxation on the industry is bad and used their resources to help in the fight as well. These groups all believed in our position so much, we didn’t have to spend extra funds to hire external lobbying resources as we had planned for.

We had CASAA working hard to keep our Utah CASAA members and those around the globe informed of our fight. Fist bumps and hugs to Alex and Julie for spending time during what ended up being a heavy travel period for their organization to keep the CTAs updated and accurate. We worked closely with Libertas Utah who support our industry goals and worked hard on their side to keep these bills from gaining added support.

We also had more media attention from around the world on the bills from outlets we never would have thought of. It’s apparent that the fight for vaping is catching the attention of journalists around the world and they all appear to be awakened at the dishonesty of taxing ex-smokers.

So with that, thank you. Thanks to every vaper in Utah and around the world. Thanks to every business owner who fought to save your business. Thanks to our advocacy friends from around the country who believe in the Utah community enough to help fend off the attacks. Thanks to our elected leaders at the capitol such as Senator Mark Madsen and Senator Jim Dabakis who saw through the lies and smoke and continue to support our efforts. And thanks to each of you for continuing to have trust in the Utah Smoke Free Association to keep vaping legal and available to the adults in the state.

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Dear Paul Ray

Dear Paul Ray

This is my family. My husband Morgan and I both work 40+ hours a week (my husband works 2 jobs), we have 2 beautiful daughters 9, 3 and one on the way in May. I guess you could call us your typical Utah family! We work hard and play harder. 2 years ago that wasn’t the case. You see my husband and I started smoking at a very young age (13), after years of chronic smoking we were unable to keep up with our children and had multiplying medical issues. We knew we had to make a change and that change was to quit smoking. We had tried everything to no avail until a friend introduced my husband and I to vaping. It was the best decision that we as a couple could have made for us and our family. My husband who was a 2 pack a day smoker has now been cigarette free for over a year and I have been cigarette free for almost 1 ½ years. We are now able to do things with our children and actually enjoy it! We are healthier and happier and we have vaping to thank for that. The bill that you are trying to pass will ruin the new found joy that we have found in life for individuals and families like ours. Please don’t punish us for bettering and prolonging our lives by vaping.

Very Sincerely Yours,
Kara & Morgan Burningham

If you would like us to publish your story to Representative Paul Ray, please sent an email with at least one good photo to board[at]utsmokefree.org

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Dear Paul Ray…

Dear Paul Ray,

I want you to see exactly who you are affecting with your vaping bill. You are affecting my wonderful boyfriend, my newborn son, and myself. Not only because my boyfriend and I are vapers, but because it is my boyfriend’s livelihood. My boyfriend is employed at a vape shop and your bill is literally going to take food off our table, and formula from our son. We are good, honest, hardworking people, who are just trying to make a living, and continue living. I was a heavy smoker diagnosed with heart disease and was told if I continued smoking, it was a certain death sentence. My heart condition is now under control and I don’t even need meds. My Dr has told me vaping saved me. If it weren’t for vaping, I might not even have this picture, I very well could have had an obituary instead. You are not just punishing vapers themselves, but their families and loved ones as well.

Signed,

Amber Christensen & Stopher Russell

If you would like to tell your story to Representative Paul Ray through our website, please use the contact form above to let us know.
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HB333 Call to Action – Hearing

This Call to Action has ended – thank you to everyone that made your voice heard!

This is an URGENT CALL TO ACTION on House Bill 333 introduced by Representative Paul Ray which threatens to crush every vapor industry business in Utah by applying a crippling 86.5% tax on our industry.
 

HB333 will be heard in the House Revenue & Taxation committee on Thursday March 3rd at 08:00 in room 445 of the main capitol building. We ask EVERY industry business owner to close and be at the meeting on Thursday morning until the hearing has concluded (plan on through noon). We ask for all employees of shops be present and every consumer to join in. 
 

They likely will only give time for 2 or 3 people from our side to speak (probably 2 minutes each) so a showing of numbers is more powerful in this case than your voice. If they allow a single short statement from each of you, the most they will allow is your name and if you are for or against the bill.

 

Representative Ray claims that this punitive tax would discourage underage youth from using it, though he has not presented any evidence that the tax would achieve his goals; the fact he anticipates $11 million in revenue is proof this is about adult control more than youth. Further, it is improper to punish adults financially simply because some youth may be violating the law that already prohibits them from purchasing and possessing these items.
HB333 will:

  • Introduce a regressive 86% tax (based on wholesale cost) on all e-liquid, hardware and accessories in Utah (excluding batteries and chargers). 
  • Require Vapor Specialty stores to obtain licenses to sell cigarettes despite the fact they sell none.
  • Classify vapor devices and accessories as tobacco paraphernalia

 

As a matter of priority TODAY, we ask that you please contact all members of the House Revenue & Taxation committee both by phone and email to also ask them to “support you as a consumer or business owner by opposing HB333.”

Suggested talking points (just pick one or two but be prepared for questions just in case): 

  • Let them know that you do not condone the use of e-cigarette products by youth but imposing punitive taxes that will affect adult consumers is not an effective method
  • Remind them that the regulations from last year’s session have not even taken effect yet and the sponsor wishes to place an even tighter stranglehold on the industry.
  • Nicotine is no more a tobacco product than milk is a beef product.
  • Let them know that the UK government recently released the most comprehensive study to date and finds e-cigarette products to be over 95% safer than combustible tobacco and are promoted to their smoking residents resulting in the most dramatic decline of smoking in history.

 

Important: We can’t say this loud enough – Be courteous and respectful at all times on the phone. If you attend the hearing, do NOT show up in torn up jeans, t-shirts, hoodies, etc. You are in a highly respectful location so dress your best (think weddings, funerals and church). 

 

House Revenue & Taxation Standing Committee

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