Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Unwarranted Fearmongering That Surrounds E-Cigarette Use

*RTS Vapes does not offer any medical advice. This is an opinion based post

Just the other day I was looking for some e-cigarette studies to read, and first search result from Google was a recently updated post from the American Lung Association®. The title of this post American Lung Association Statement on E-Cigarettes”, I was intrigued. I began reading and the more I read, the more aggravated I became. While some of the statements cannot be refuted, the lack of any data being provided and zero references given immediately turned me off to the post. So I resumed my hunt for a peer-reviewed, scholarly work (the only kind recognized in the scientific community). The next article I came across was a review article in the Journal for Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety titled Safety evaluation and risk assessment of electronic cigarettes as tobacco cigarette substitutes: a systematic review” written by Konstantinos E. Farsalinos and Riccardo Polosa. This is a very thorough review published in April 2014 that goes into length about the article selection process for articles that were included in the review. It has everything that a good article should from analytical data to over one hundred references. In this post I will touch on just a few of the points from the review regarding the safety of e-cigarette use.
In 2013 the World Health Organization stated that there are nearly 6 million deaths annually as a direct result of tobacco cigarette use, with a predicted death toll of 1 billion in the 21st century. A 1992 report from the EPA revealed that a conventional cigarette contains more than 4000 chemicals and carcinogens present in the smoke emitted. Then in 1993 a study by Pryor and Stone revealed that each puff from a cigarette contained more than 1 x 1015 free radicals. If you are having trouble visualizing what that number looks like, let me help: 1,000,000,000,000,000. One fallacy that is being promoted by Big Tobacco and physicians is that nicotine is a carcinogen. According to the World Health Organization – International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2004, nicotine is not classified as a carcinogen and does not promote lung disease. Nicotine intake through Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRTs) has been demonized in the eye of the public by the media, even though it has been shown that nicotine intake may have beneficial effects in treating some disorders. Studies that have shown this beneficial effect are:
Disease Studied
Year the Study was Published
Nielsen et al.
McClernon et al.
Sahakian et. al.
ulcerative Colitis

Another public fear is that electronic cigarette users will overdose on nicotine. This very unlikely for vapers since three different studies by Farsalinos et al. 2013, Nides et al. 2014, and Dawkins and Corcoran 2013 have all shown that the amount consumed and actually absorbed is quite low. In 2013 a study done by Etter et al. tested 20 e-liquids and found that the actual nicotine levels were off by about 20 % above and below the labeled amount. I believe the root of this problem goes back to some nicotine suppliers not testing the strength of the nicotine that they are selling to the customer to ensure accuracy and quality. That is why here at RTS Vapes we test every batch of flavorless liquid nicotine before the product is bottled to ensure that it meets the US Standard for Weights and Measures. With that said, this goes back to the studies mentioned before that it is unlikely to overdose because vapers much like smokers self-titrate their nicotine intake. For example I vape all day at 3 mg/mL, but if someone gives me a bottle that is 6 mg/mL I notice that I do not pick up my mod as much throughout the day.
Going back to the post that sparked this blog post, they talk about tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), formaldehyde, and benzene trying to scare the public without even giving a reference. A study done by Cahn and Siegel in 2011 reported that the amount of TSNAs were similar to those found in pharmaceutical NRTs. The best study done on TSNAs in e-liquids was performed by Kim and Shin in 2013. They evaluated 105 liquids and found that on average the liquids contained 12.00 ηg/mL. The daily exposure to these chemicals by smokers (with an average of 15 cigarettes per day) is estimated to be up to 1800 times higher when compared to e-cigarette users.
There is so much more information in the article that I cannot relay in a blog post, so please give the article a read and post in the comments below with your thoughts or questions.

By: Joshua Sheffield, Chemist at RTS Vapes

*RTS Vapes does not offer any medical advice. This is an opinion based post

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Vaping Etiquette

     Finally! It’s Friday, I’m off work, and I am walking into one of my favorite Happy Hour location to meet up with some friends for a drink. I love this bar because they have great food, drinks, and most of all they are Vaping friendly. I know their policy because I asked on one of my first visits. So there I am, listening to one of my friends talk about their week at work as I take a pull from my gold colored xPro M36. Suddenly, I hear, “Um excuse me!” I turn to the woman to my left who is clearly irritated. Once she has my full attention she says to me “Don’t you know you can’t smoke in here?!” At first, I am caught off guard but my mind quickly recovers and is coming up with many responses to this woman’s rhetorical question.  I decide to take the high road and simply say “I apologize if my vapor bothered you. This bar does not have a ban on indoor vaping but I will respect your space and I’ll vape outside”. This encounter from my weekend provoked a lot of thought about the perception of public vaping.
     Just a few weeks before this exchange I was at another watering hole and I was vaping outside while some of my friends were smoking analogs. A group of nearby smokers started inquiring about my mod, eJuice, and general vaping questions. I informed them that I worked in the industry and actually made my eJuice myself using the products that we sell at RTS Vapes. They asked for my business cards and a few have since contacted me to place an order. I found it perplexing that I had two completely different reactions about my public vaping. However, the more I thought about it I began realizing that there really is an etiquette that should be practiced when vaping.
     I think one of the main reasons I had varied responses was because in the first situation I was vaping indoors. I believe that one should always ask both the establishment and those nearby if they mind if you vape. Although the establishment may not have an issue with vaping indoors it is polite to take an individual’s concerns into consideration especially while in a restaurant or bar. You see, your Fruit Fusion Fantasy eLiquid may taste and smell great to you but the person next to you who is enjoying a Ribeye may not find the two to be a pleasurable combination. 
     Another polite gesture is to be conscientious of where and how you blow your clouds. A public place is generally not a stage for an impromptu cloud competition. Try to take small drags off your ecig to reduce the amount of vapor that is exhaled. Also, when you are in a crowded place or talking to someone direct your cloud downwards or to the side to avoid blowing vapor in someone’s face.
     Be polite but be informative. If someone addresses your vaping as harmful or concerning this is your opportunity to share your knowledge about the benefits of vaping. This industry is still very new but research so far has indicated that there are not health risks associated with second hand vapor or even first hand for that matter. Ultimately there are enough naysayers who already have their opinions about the industry. By being respectful and practicing vape etiquette we are able to show those who may be opposed that Vapers are an informed, polite community who are dedicated to a healthy alternative to smoking. 

By: Bethany Stinar, Sales Representative

Friday, July 10, 2015

Trade Show Trailblazing

Trade Show Trailblazing

For a little over a year I have been fortunate enough to be a part of a booming and exciting industry. The variety of products, the energy, and the success of a young generation in a new industry are a few of the reasons why I love my job. I have had the opportunity to experience events that bring all of these factors under one roof. The experience, knowledge, connections and opportunity that come from traveling to tradeshows for the vaping community has been invaluable.
This year my sales team and I have traveled to Las Vegas, Miami, Chicago, Houston, Chattanooga, Phoenix, and Winston-Salem for industry tradeshows. Each show has had its own unique atmosphere. Houston and Chattanooga had car shows in the same venue which was unexpected but it brought group of people to the shows which may not have come on their own. Every show has a number of giveaways which is a great way for companies to get their name out there to people who may not have previously known about them or purchased their products. There was a “cloud competition” at every show which provides an interactive way to get everyone at the show involved and excited. These venues are packed with aisles upon aisles of vendor booths. Each booth is different from the one before it. Seeing the hard work, dedication, money, and creativity that each company pours into these events is evident as you make your way through the crowd. Also, seeing an entire convention center filled with vapor clouds is quite the sight.
As the Customer Service Representative my favorite aspect has always been getting to meet our existing customers. Because we are an online vendor our methods of communication are limited to phone and email. Getting to meet customers face to face that I have spoken to numerous times was truly a once in a lifetime experience. When we met with these customers we were able to see first-hand how our company has helped their business grow as well as where we may be able to do more business with them. Many of us even met up after the shows for dinner to talk about how to gain more business from each other. Another amazing experience was being at the shows and being approached by people who said “RTS Vapes! I love you guys” or “I order from you all the time”. Being recognized at these events speaks volumes for our company.
I was able to fine tune my sales abilities and build my confidence at this year’s trade shows. Traveling with experienced sales people was certainly to my advantage. At the first few shows I was in the background watching the senior sales staff as they gained new customers and by the last show I was taking the reins on many potential customers. After each show we began following up with our leads and there is no doubt that our presence at these trade shows was not only an amazing experience but beneficial for the company.

Thanks to the company and industry I work with I have been given life skills and unforgettable opportunities that I will carry with me wherever I go. If your company has been on the fence about what you will gain from attending trade shows I hope that this entry has provided some insight into how invaluable the experience is. For a more personal look into RTS Vapes’ tradeshow travels follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram

Monday, May 4, 2015

Using Quality RTS Vapes Products in Creating a Two-Flavor Vape Juice

One of the best things about vaping and e-cigarettes, according to an informative RTS Vapes review, is the ability to mix your own e-juice. You can come up with a flavor that hits your throat sharply, or perhaps a fruity one, or simply one that closely mimics the sensation of smoking. You can experiment with various flavors and in the process create a simple two flavor e-juice.

Imagine savoring two flavors at once, like the sweet and tangy essences of strawberries and apples swirling around your palate. Though this might seem complicated, mixing your own two-flavor juice can be easy enough with the right ingredients.

What You Need

In mixing your own two-flavor juice, you’ll need the usual ingredients, namely propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), and 100mg nicotine base. Identify the two flavors you want to combine, say a strawberry and an apple flavor base. For highly-satisfying results, use nothing less than quality RTS Vapes products.

Don’t forget to use safety tools and gear when making your own vape juice, such as nitrile gloves and safety glasses; and the necessary measuring equipment, including a 10ml dropper bottle, a beaker, a measuring cylinder, and syringes (for more accurate measurements).

What to Do

Before actually mixing your ingredients, use an e-juice calculator (you can find a lot of them online) to determine the exact measurements you’ll need. You’ll have to enter the base strength of your nicotine (100mg), then your preferred nicotine strength (say 18mg) and the amount of juice you plan on making, for example 10ml. You will also be asked to input the percentages for flavors, then set the PG/VG ratio (you can play it safe and opt for 50/50). The calculator will then generate the ideal measurements for you to follow.

Combine the two flavors, PG, and VG in a measuring bottle. Fill 3/4 of the measuring cup with water then place it on the microwave until it boils. Take the water out of the microwave, place a dropper on the measuring bottle with the flavor mixture, then leave the bottle on the measuring cup with the hot water for about 10 minutes. This will change the VG’s thickness for better mixing with other ingredients. When the 10 minutes have lapsed, pour out the hot water, take the measuring bottle with the flavor mixture, and let it cool for another 10 minutes. You may then proceed to add the nicotine.

Cover and shake the bottle, then let it stand for another 10 minutes. Do this repeatedly for an hour to ensure the ingredients are mixed well before trying it with your vape. You can add more of the flavors to suit your taste.

My First Day as a Vaper

My First Day as a Vaper:

By: Bethany Stinar, RTS Vapes Sr. Customer Service Representative

                As the title suggests, this blog is about my first day as a vaper but let me begin by telling you about my life as a smoker. Not even a year ago I was smoking nearly a pack a day. Despite being only 25 years old my nasty habit left me feeling more than twice my age. Walking up a flight of stairs was a chore that left me out of breath. My car, clothes, hair and skin smelled like an ashtray. Anytime I was under the weather it took me twice as long to recover because of smoking cigarettes. Of course I wanted to quit and even succeeded for about 4 months. Ultimately stress took me back to the habit and I couldn’t find anything to help me quit for good until July of 2014.
                At the end of June I was offered a job here with RTS Vapes as the Customer Service Representative. Although I had some customer service experience my knowledge of the vaping industry was pretty much nonexistent. However, I was up for a change of pace and a challenge and I gladly accepted the job. After working with RTS for about a week I was learning more and more about vaping and I had even heard many customer testimonials about how vaping helped them quit. However, I was still set in my ways as a smoker. I was on one of my routine smoke breaks when one of my coworkers, an avid vaper, stepped out for some fresh air. We made some small talk and then he asked when I was going to purchase an ecig and start vaping. I replied honestly by stating that I hadn’t really thought about it. “What are your lunch plans today?” he asked. He immediately answered his own question by stating, “We are going to the vape shop to get you an ecig.”
                We walked into the store and I while I felt like a lost puppy, my coworker resembled a kid in a candy store. He was asking about items in the case in verbiage that sounded like Spanish to me at the time. Terms like “wattage”, “sub-ohm”, and “variable voltage” flew right over my head. My coworker must have sensed that I was feeling like I was in over my head because he told the shop employee that we were here to get me started with something simple. The man behind the counter recommended the eGo Starter Kit. My coworker agreed that it was a good product to start with. When we returned to the office he instructed me on how to fill my tank and adjust the voltage. I took my first hit off my eGo and that was it. It was a sensation that I did not expect. There was the hit in the back of my throat that gave me the sensation of smoking a cigarette without the smell. The taste, the smell, the vapor! Finally! I had found the resolution for my 7 year addiction.
                I would be lying if I told you that I quit cigarettes that same day. The first few weeks were a challenge. But nearly a pack a day turned into less than half. And then as the weeks went by I was able to get down to just 2 or 3 cigarettes a day. And now, 10 months later, I have completely kicked the habit. I have since added multiple mods to my collection and have even started making my own eJuice. I have also been able to reduce my nicotine level from 12 mg to 6mg.  I am extremely thankful for what the vaping industry has done for my personal and professional life. I get paid to be surrounded by the best support system in the world. My first day as a vaper is one that I will always remember. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Facts on E-Juice Suppliers

By Dillon Haraburd, RTS Vapes Director of Operations

           Strolling through a convenience store in 2015, the average person is almost guaranteed to witness at least a handful of individuals blowing massive clouds of vapor from electronic cigarette devices. This is a common scene today, but compared to a few years ago this is a drastic adjustment. As the e-cigarette and the e-cigarette community have evolved and prospered over the past few years, new products, flavors, e-juices and companies have come barging into the market head first. This massive influx in products and new companies has allowed electronic cigarette users of all experience levels the ability to become overwhelmed exploring countless websites, catalogs, trade shows and other forms of advertising in the pursuit of new mods, e-juices, and accessories. Just trying to keep up with the latest trends, devices, and e-juices can become a monumental task for any consumer, but one rarely stops to contemplate the origin of these new products.
The electronic cigarette industry, ECI for short, has ballooned at such a great pace, it is easy to understand why so many new companies are coming into the market. E-cigarettes, and especially e-juices, have such great margins of potential profit; the industry is inevitably attracting individuals more passionate about dollar bills rather than the quality of their products.  For an experienced e-cigarette user, spotting cheaper end mods and builds is not a very hard task to accomplish, but what will surprise even the most experienced vapor is the origin of the raw materials used to manufacture e-liquids.
While comparing and contrasting the differences between bottles of e-juice from separate manufacturers, it would be difficult for an individual to make the distinction between which is of higher and lower quality. The main reason for this is because once the raw materials are diluted down to a safe level for vaping, the variance between a high quality and low quality product is extremely hard to distinguish.
                The three main components that make up e-juice can be put into three basic categories; the first category being nicotine, second the base (Propylene Glycol or Vegetable Glycerin), and third being the concentrated flavoring. Of course, there are other chemicals and recipes out there that call for additional additives besides what I have listed above, but in my opinion these three categories cover the vast majority of e-juice suppliers.
                Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin come in a variety of grades. These different grades classify the liquid as either United States Pharmaceutical Grade (USP) or Food Grade (FG). While common knowledge would lead us to believe that since e-juice is going into our body, that Food Grade PG and VG is sufficient for E-Juice. This notion is INCORRECT! Because the Vegetable Glycerin and/or Propylene Glycol is being inhaled into the lungs, and not just ingested through the GI tract, the only classification that is safe for vaping is the United States Pharmaceutical Grade, or USP Grade. A great multitude of E-Juice suppliers and retail stores are resorting to using the Food Grade bases mainly because of the drastic difference in cost. For example, a 55 gallon drum of USP Grade Propylene Glycol can cost upwards of $800.00, while Food Grade Propylene Glycol can cost as little as $500.00. The best way to tell if your e-juice supplier or vendor is using USP Grade Vegetable Glycerin and Propylene Glycol is to ask them. A supplier using USP Grade will be happy to provide you with documentation showing that their VG and PG meets the USP standard.
                Concentrated Food Flavorings are what give E-Juice it great flavor. These concentrated flavors can be sourced from all over the world including Italy, China, Spain, Poland, and the USA. These flavors range in potency, price, and chemical composition depending upon the manufacturer. What is important to know is that some of the Concentrated Food Flavorings produced are safe to ingest, or eat, but NOT safe to inhale, or vape. Chemicals such as diacetyl are found in a great number of Concentrated Food Flavorings because the compounds give a distinctive buttery note that some people enjoy. These chemicals are regulated by the FDA and are safe to eat, but can cause a disease known as “Popcorn Lung” when inhaled, leading to shortness of breath and prolonged coughing. The disease is currently irreversible with modern day medicine. Unfortunately because of the great competition in the E-Juice industry, getting an E-Juice company to disclose the exact flavors it uses in its E-Juice recipes is nearly impossible. The good news is larger, more established E-Juice manufactures have taken the initiative to ban all flavors containing any harmful chemicals such as the one listed above. Just remember that if you are unsure about the E-Juice you are about to purchase, and the vendor will not disclose if the e-juice contains any harmful chemicals, do not purchase that particular e-juice. Instead, go to a more established, reliable retailer who is willing to disclose the Concentrated Flavoring in their E-Juice recipes.
                Liquid nicotine is the third major component used when making any E-Juice recipe. Since the beginning of the e-juice market, finding quality nicotine has been a serious challenge for e-juice suppliers. Good, pure, high quality pure liquid nicotine, or 999 mg, has a slight yellowish tint to it, and a slight odor. Unfortunately, Pure Liquid Nicotine also has an extremely short shelf life, and when exposed to oxygen, sunlight or heat it can turn dark brown in color and become impossible to use for vaping in just a few days’ time. Because pure liquid nicotine producers know that an e-juice company cannot use product that is not of high quality, some manufacturers are resorting to adding unsafe chemicals to their pure liquid nicotine to make the liquid appear clear and not turn brown and pungent over a short period of time. To ensure the company you purchase your e-juice from is only using pure liquid nicotine that is completely safe and free of these chemicals, do not hesitate to ask for a Chemical Analysis of the liquid nicotine. A Chemical Analysis will show the exact chemical make-up of the liquid nicotine. Also, be sure to check that the date of the Chemical Analysis is recent to ensure that the company is not just showing you a generic form.

                Overall, the vast majority of large e-juice producers are using high quality chemicals and following safe manufacturing procedures. Unfortunately, there are still companies in the e-juice market who are solely in it for the money, and will continue to use the absolute cheapest materials they can find in order to maximize profits. Just remember that ALL good e-juice suppliers will not hesitate to provide you with any documentation pertaining to the chemicals that make up their e-juice. Lastly, do not forget to do your own research, and do not always believe what a supplier is telling you without getting some form of documentation to back it up. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Don't Drip and Drive

By Joshua Sheffield, RTS Vapes Chemist

At RTS Vapes, we sell only the highest quality USP grade Vegetable Glycerin (VG). Our Kosher Certified VG is derived from coconuts as opposed to soy beans giving it a naturally sweeter taste. At one of the lowest prices online our VG is great for making max VG, clouding e-juices for your RDA or RBA.

There is something very satisfying about taking a full inhale and blowing out a huge cloud, but be mindful about the time and place. If you are an RDA user it can be dangerous to vape while driving for several reasons. One, that dry hit, you know which one we are talking about. The one where the wick became dry after the last pull on your atty and you think it has one more in it. The dry hit that leaves you needing some water and thinking, “Do I really want to vape anymore today?” Two, between getting your top cap off and opening the bottle of your favorite e-juice (hopefully DIY e-juiceJ) the bottle slips out of your hand and the car smells like banana for weeks. Third, the struggle of where to blow your cloud. While it is cool and fun to see your vapor take up the entire windshield, watch it roll across your dashboard, or look over at your passenger and envelope them in vapor for a good laugh, the bottom line is that it interferes with your view of the road. Lastly, and most importantly, even if everything goes smoothly your eye is taken off of the road to drip your e-liquid. As we all know from those texting and driving ads, taking your eyes off of the road for even just one second could result in the car swerving off of the road or worse into the other lane with oncoming traffic or maybe you hit the brakes too late for the stopped cars at the red light.

A car crash would not be cool or fun for anyone involved, so please, do yourself and everyone else on the road a service and don’t drip and drive. If you need your vaping fix, swap out your RDA for a RBA or sub-Ohm tank before you hit the road. Remember to blow your clouds down, out of the view of the road and Vape On!