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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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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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What have we done?


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Some have been questioning the benefit of the UTSFA is and why membership is so important.  Others believe that the fees we charge (of which $0 goes to anyone on the board) are too high. Allow me to outline what our group has done for the Utah industry.

  1. The Utah Smoke Free Association, formerly the Utah Vapers Association, was one of the first statewide organizations in the country and has been the only true “boots on the ground” organization in Utah for the last 4+ years.  We have fought at every legislative hearing since our formation.
  2. No other state or national organization has spent as many hours (days, weeks!) fighting for the rights of the individual Utah business owners thereby fighting for every vaping consumer in the state (and beyond).
  3. No other state shares in the unique political climate of the Utah Legislature mixed with the unique influences of the church.  An influence that spills over into every single government sub-agency and an influence that must be carefully catered for and managed.  One size fits all advocacy does not work in Utah.
  4. No other organization locally or nationally has the respect given to us for the positive relationships we have spent 4 years growing.

 

Ok that’s all well and good, but what have we REALLY done?

Including the one session prior to the formation of our organization, we have:

  1. Beat a legislative bill to ban vapor products entirely.  We included this even though we had not been formed because the same community that came together when we formed, pulled together and beat this with no formal coordination (2010)
  2. Beat a legislative bill to ban flavors (2011)
  3. Lost a legislative bill that (2012):
    1. Lumped vapor products under Utah’s tobacco definitions thereby creating highly restrictive zoning regulations but still allowed for an estimated 45 dedicated vapor shops to open and service the community.
    2. Created an online sales ban for Utah businesses to Utah customers.
    3. Included vapor products & hookahs in the indoor clean air act for 5 years
  4. Helped to defeat a bill to raise the use age to 21 (2013)
  5. In response to our opponents complaints of the industry, introduced the first ever set of industry self-regulations at the state level for retailers and manufacturers to help reduce and prevent against youth access and improve the quality of products being manufactured in the state. (2013)
  6. Fought Bountiful city hall, the city attorney and the mayor through a heavy media and social media campaign (with the help of the only attorney available over the Christmas week holiday) to protect 4 vapor speciality retailers from being shut down 3 days after Christmas (2013/2014).
  7. Beat a legislative bill to over regulate manufacturing, labeling, packaging and more; preventing outside companies from distributing into Utah. (2014)
    1. This had the unfortunate side effect of allowing each individual county to regulate manufacturing and retail sales including varying levels of packaging, labeling and permit requirements.
    2. We worked with several of the county health departments, including flying in specialists from AEMSA to help ensure the manufacturing regulations being introduced were sensible and manageable for both the departments and the industry.
    3. Attended and submitted both written and verbal testimony at every county level regulation hearing available to ensure the bill language was accurate and the regulations were sensible, sustainable and as aligned as possible.
  8. Participated as a presenter in a region-wide health conference to educate mental health workers, nurses and doctors on the positive aspects of vaping as an alternative to smoking. (2014)
  9. Invited to present to doctors and nurses that care for one of the largest Indian populations in the Mountain West on about the positive aspects of vaping as an alternative to smoking. (2014)
  10. Relaunched the Utah Vapers Association into the Utah Smoke Free Association, a formal 501(c)4 trade association dedicated to industry excellence and advocacy to protect the rights of all business owners and consumers throughout the state of Utah. (2014)
  11. Designed and implemented the first ever statewide industry active age verification program at the point of sale through heavy coordination and development with 2 different manufacturers to prove our dedication to cutting off access to youth at the point of sale. A program we tried to introduce at the statewide level which was fought by the retail merchants association and Big Tobacco (2014/2015)
  12. Turned a bill that would have decimated the industry into a good bill by (2015):
    1. Hiring a team of highly skilled lobbyists to bring a level of expertise and professionalism at the capitol our statewide industry has never had.
    2. Killing an 86.5% tax requested by and supported by our Governor (through brilliant CTA assistance from CASAA, NVC and NJOY along with the vaping community input)
    3. Creating numerous amendments to the bill through careful coordination with with the House of Representatives and the Senate
    4. Held one of the first ever roundtables with lobbyists across many industries to align our strategies
    5. Hosted a fly in with key industry and related industry dignitaries (NJOY, NVC, ATR, AVA, Altria, RJR and more)
    6. Received written support to the Senate and House from a notable addiction specialist
    7. Met with and received tremendous support from the House of Representatives and the Senate (including leadership from both) on the strides we have taken as an industry.

All of this doesn’t count the shops and manufacturers we have consulted with over the last 4 years to help them get their start and become profitable.  It also doesn’t include the countless events we hosted where we helped hundreds of smokers make a life changing improvement in their life and thereby improving the lives of their families.  It doesn’t include the positive relationships we developed in the media and public community to help drive a positive image of our industry and vaping community.  We could go on and on but I think the above speaks very clearly.  If you agree with us and are impressed with our achievements in the last 4 years, what until you see what we do in the next few years!

So next time someone suggests to you they are “the first”,  are “the only” or brag about what they bring to the table for the Utah vaping community, you should ask them where they have been when the fights mattered and what have they done to protect the interests of the business and the Utah vaping family….

 

Keep your cotton wet, your batteries charged and your loved ones close…

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