Saturday, 31 January 2015

Grow a Pair - It's Time To Be United

I've got something to get off my chest, so this week I am going to have a damn good rant. At the end of the day, I figure that nobody cares less what I think, so I am just going to say what is on my mind. I am going to say this as an indivdual. These views are mine and mine alone. If you don't like what I say, then TOUGH. It needs to be said and I am going to be the one to put my neck on the line and say exactly what I think.

Over the past 7-10 days, I have seen a lot of posts telling how vapers are selling smokers down the river and how smokers do not respect the views of vapers etc etc. What we are seeing is the exact outcome the ANTZ have been looking for. For a long time now, they have been looking to drive a wedge between the smokers and the vapers. For the majority of that time, they have failed. Failed miserably in fact. Then, all of a sudden. the very outcome the ANTZ have looked for has occurred completely spontaneously and without their input ... and I am sure that the ANTZ are absolutely delighted.

I'll be honest. I don't know who fired the first salvo, and in all honesty I don't care. But what I do care about is that all of a sudden, the united front against the lies that the ANTZ continually spout, has suddenly become splintered.

I have no need to name names. You know who you are. All I ask is that you all grow up and stop it at once.

What am I talking about ?

I am talking about the open warfare that has erupted between vapers and smokers through the medium of social media and and blog entries. It simply has to stop and it has to stop NOW !!

I've read bitter Twitter exchanges between people I thought were friends with each other. I've read claims and counter claims through a number of blogs. each telling how they are right and the other side is wrong.

Whether you are a smoker or whether you are a vaper. You will have developed alliances with different people that can help to advance your cause. You are not going to agree with everything those alliances may have to say. In fact, I would be amazed if you all do. However, we each have to fight our own battles and we have to fight them the best way we know how. However one side chooses to do battle with the ANTZ, the other side is not going to necessarily agree with either the tactics, the wording, the alliances or  the method. But the key to all, this regardless of what side you are on, is that we all have the same common enemy.

I was a smoker for over 30 years. I have now been a vaper for almost 3 years. What has not changed is the fact that I am a libertarian. It is my firm belief that that is nobody's business what you (as an individual) decide to do with your life. It is most certainly NOT the business of Government, nor indeed of the ANTZ, how you decide to live your life. If you want to gamble, if you want to booze, if want to smoke or vape, that's YOUR choice. It is nothing to do with Government or the ANTZ how you choose to live your life.

What IS of consequence is the battle we all have with a common enemy. We all know the ANTZ will not rest with getting rid of smokers or vapers. If they won that battle, they would soon find another target to go for. We have already seen hints of this happening with the first stirrings of the war against salt, sugar, obesity. These people have tax-payer funds to defend. If they win one war, then they have to find another to keep the tax-payer funded lifestyle they have grown accustomed to. They don't don't care about health. They don't give a shit whether you are a smoker, vaper, drinker, gambler or whatever else cranks your chain. All you are to these ANTZ is a cash cow. A cash cow that they will milk until it is dry, and when it is dry they will find another target.

So, I don't particularly care what cause you are supporting. All I will say to you all is to grow a pair. I couldn't care less who started it all. This is NOT a school playground. Bickering amongst ourselves will only serve the cause of the ANTZ. The only way they can win is by divide and conquer. An enemy divided is far easier to beat than one that is united. Over the last 12 months, we have seen the ANTZ slowly splintering into ever smaller factions. We were winning the war. Now I am seeing us start to fight amongst ourselves. That is an absolute gift to the ANTZ. They have to tried to manipulate such a situation for years without success. Now we appear to be doing it for them.

All I ask is that whatever our petty differences, remember who our common enemy is. If we splinter now, we will all regret it for years to come. I realise that many of you have developed years of building up respect for what you do for your cause. I respect your cause regardless of whether it a cause I share. I am also fully enveloped in such a cause. But I am humble enough to swallow any pride I may have and understand that we are all united in a fight against a common enemy.

Yes, we will have different ways of fighting our cause. We will also have alliances that others may not approve of. But we all must fight out battle in the way we best deem fit to advance our individual causes. But when all sides have a common enemy (the ANTZ), the last thing we need to be doing is fighting amongst ourselves.

Whatever viewpoint you are coming from, please think on this. There are people amongst the smoking fraternity that I have a lot of respect for. The same can be said on the vaping fraternity (of which I am one). But we all have a common enemy and our venom (for want of a better word) should be directed at that common enemy. Not each other.

I am probably going to be criticised from pillar to post for this blog, but it is something I need to get off my chest. All I ask is that you all think about what is happening and the ammunition we are freely giving to the ANTZ.

Monday, 19 January 2015

A Meeting with the Welsh Dept of Health

New Year, new challenges, same barriers to overcome. It may now be 2015, but the battle against the insane proposals by the Welsh Government to ban vaping in public enclosed spaces rages onward. Throughout 2014, a group of us had been meeting with different AM’s to explain our point of view about why they should oppose any proposals to ban vaping in public enclosed spaces. We had met with a great deal of success in this matter, bringing those AM’s to our point of view and gaining their support. Now I was preparing to go into the Lion’s Den. I was about to sit down and discuss the issue with the Tobacco Control people at the Welsh Department of Health. I have to admit that I have done this so many times over the last few months that I no longer feel nervous at all in these meetings and have got very used to them occurring.

So it was that I found myself entering the Welsh Government building in Cathays Park, Cardiff. I was not going to be alone in this particular battle. Today I was going to have the support and help of Richard Hyslop – organiser of the UK Save eCigs Campaign. Strangely, until this time I had never actually met Richard !!

So I walked confidently into the Welsh Government building to be met by Richard (fortunately he somehow recognised me). We signed in, and then awaited to be collected for our meeting.

After being collected at reception, we were taken to the meeting-room deep in the bowels of the Welsh Government building and awaited our hosts. Presently, we were joined by Sue Bowker, Chris Tudor-Smith and Sarah Meredith (who would be taking the minutes of the meeting).

Greetings and pleasantries exchanged, both Richard and I were surprised to be asked if we had any direct or indirect links with the Tobacco Industry. It simply demonstrated the level of paranoia in the Tobacco Control Industry that we were asked such a question. Vapers in general are well-used to being accused of being Tobacco Industry shills. It is something that vapers find extremely annoying that the Tobacco Control Industry cannot understand how we are not shills of Big Tobacco. But that is the plain old truth of the matter. We are all individuals with no connection to Big Tobacco whatsoever. What we do have is a network of knowledgeable people who openly share information, science and studies with each other via blogs, forums and social media.

Though I admit that I had a strong urge to ask them if they had any direct or indirect links to the Pharma industry in return, I chose to bite my tongue on this matter. Richard and I simply confirmed the truth of the matter, which is that neither of us have ANY ties whatsoever to the Tobacco Industry.

After the introductions, Richard kicked off the meeting by explaining what the Save eCigs campaign is all about and why we are opposing the proposed ban the use of eCigarettes in enclosed public spaces. Sharing the brief he had prepared for the meeting, Richard argued that from a Public Health perspective it was absurd to propose to ban something that helps smokers to quit.

Chris Tudor-Smith then responded by explaining how at this stage in the Bill process, the Welsh Government and only hear and respect the views put forward by people such as ourselves. He went on to describe how the White Paper had received a large number of responses, particularly on this aspect of the proposal and that the summary was now published.

It was at this point that I felt I needed to respond to Chris’s assertions by pointing out the flaws. Contrary to hearing and respecting the views put forward by opponents of the proposed Ban, I pointed out how Mark Drakeford (on speaking in the Senedd) had sought to disregard the views of 60% of the respondents who had written to oppose the ban because he felt that they had come from a template. I stated that such an attitude was a gross misrepresentation of public opinion and that just because a response had come in a template format, that did not annul the fact that those individuals had made the effort to respond. Furthermore, I pointed to the statements in the published summary that NHS Trusts had ‘colluded’ in their response yet their responses were accepted. I stated that it was extremely hypocritical to disregard the template responses when the NHS Trusts had effectively done exactly the same thing. I also raised my concerns about Mark Drakeford’s reliance on evidence from Stanton Glantz (who I pointed out is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering NOT Medical Science) when far more robust evidence and studies were available from the likes of Profs West, Hajek, Stimson (in the UK), and the likes of Etter, Farsalinos, Polosa et al from further afield. I re-affirmed that these names are the true experts on eCigarettes and NOT the likes of Glantz.

Chris acknowledged my point and then stated that the current position is looking at the responses received to develop a draft Bill and that at this stage they could not confirm which aspects of the proposals might be taken forward. He also confirmed that the Bill is due to be presented to the National Assembly before the summer recess and will be considered by the Health and Social Care Committee for their consideration.

I then questioned Chris on how amendments may be arrived at and who would be able to propose them. Chris replied that ONLY the HSCC can table amendments at Stage 2 of the Bill and that it will be down to the HSCC alone to call for further evidence (I have an update on that toward the end of this blog).

Richard then asked how the Welsh Government planned to handle any eCigarettes that may gain a medicinal license. Sue Bowker admitted that this was one of the ‘complications’ that they were considering and looking at how best to handle this scenario.

At this point, I decided that it might be a good idea to take the meeting into my personal journey into eCigarettes. I won’t go into the detail of that story here, but suffice to say that my story is typical of many vapers journey. I simply used my story as a way of demonstrating how eCigarettes can help in the journey away from lit tobacco and to demonstrate why I think they are a successful of means of quitting lit tobacco. I pointed out to them that far from what some Public Health people would have them believe, I am NOT an anecdote and that I was a living proof of how effective eCigarettes are.

I continued by discussing the ramifications of any Ban on vaping in enclosed spaces. I stated that by enacting the smoking ban, the Welsh Government had taken on a ‘duty of care’ for non-smokers. Therefore, if they were to force vapers outside with the smokers, then not only would they be placing vapers at risk of relapse, but that they would also be failing in their ‘Duty Of Care’ as vapers are also non-smokers. My solution to them was that (for example) Pubs which were happy to allow Vaping should place a sticker at their entrances stating that Vaping was allowed on the premises. Therefore, anyone considering entering that Pub would know of that fact before entering and could make up their own mind as to whether to enter. I pointed out that there are plenty of pubs that do not allow Vaping therefore this measure would be effective.

Sue Bowker then raised concerns about Nicotine addiction. I countered this by stating  recent findings that Nicotine itself is not addictive, but rather that it is only addictive when mixed with other chemicals found in lit-tobacco – all of which are absent in eCigarettes. I also reiterated Prof Peter Hajek’s assertions that Nicotine is no more harmful than Caffeine.

Sue then pursued the point that I vape in bars and asked if this had caused any issue because many people do not like the presence of clouds of vapour in the air. I answered truthfully that it is a very rare occurrence when this has happened, and when it has that I have invariably been defended by other non-smokers who appreciated that I had actually quit smoking. I also went on to state that somebody ‘not liking’ the vapour is not a viable basis upon which to propose legislating for banning vaping in enclosed public spaces. I pointed out that are always things that people will dislike. As an example I stated that many people will wear strong perfumes or after-shave that give out strong aromas that not everybody will like, but nobody has proposed banning those on this basis. Furthermore, that strong perfumes/aftershaves also give off far more chemicals into the air than an eCigarette.

Richard followed up on this by putting forward the argument that if the smoking ban was to protect the health of non-smokers, then extending the ban to eCigarettes implied that second-hand vapour is also harmful to health. He went on to details studies such as those from Farsalinos, West and Hajek which showed this not to be the case. He also used examples of establishments which had reversed their ban on vaping (Cambridgeshire Police, Warrington Wolves etc) and work that had been done by ASH and the CIEH on how to develop eCigarette friendly policies. Sue Bowker then pressed Richard to produce any evidence of where the banning of eCigarettes had an adverse effect. As one we both cited New York and Spain as examples of where a ban on vaping in public spaces had caused the smoking rate to skyrocket.

During that last exchange, the precautionary principle had been mentioned in passing, so I took the opportunity to point out how Mark Drakeford was misusing the precautionary principle and that nothing in life is 100% risk-free. I used condoms as an example of a proper application of the precautionary principal as it was used in the fight against HIV. In the HIV campaign, nobody suggested that everyone should stop having sex, merely that they should use a condom to reduce the risk of infection. eCigarettes are exactly the same as they are merely a ‘safer’ way of enjoying nicotine.

Richard then stated that there is universal agreement that there is never a situation where it is better to smoke than to vape and used the recent ONS data on adult vapers to reiterate that e-cigarette use is mostly restricted to ex or current smokers and that smoking rates in the UK were at their lowest levels ever.

At this point, Sue Bowker commented that Mark Drakeford had made it clear that he does not want to prevent use of e-cigarettes where they are proving to help smokers quit but this needs to be balanced with the risk of renormalising smoking behaviours. My response to this was to ask how ‘not smoking’ could possibly renormalise smoking and then produced my Hana Modz DNA 30 to ask how she could possibly mistake that for a cigarette.

Pushing on, I proceeded to describe the unintended consequences on e-cigarette vendors by describing the buying process of eCigarettes such as calculation of cost savings of e-cigarettes compared to conventional ones, calculation of initial nicotine strength required, flavour preferences (including sampling), and that all this was done within the shop premises. A ban on vaping in enclosed spaces would prevent this and reduce chance of smokers switching to e-cigarettes. I suggested that a Ban could also be construed as restraint of trade.

At this point, Sue Bowker interjected by stating that eCigarettes can be bought in any newsagent. So I had to educate her on the fact that only cigalikes are found in Newsagents as a rule and that the cigalike market is dominated by her arch-enemy Big Tobacco. I went on to advise that second and third Generation eCigarettes are far more successful in enabling smokers to quit and that Big Tobacco is a very small player in this market. When Sue Bowker started talking about the ‘benefits’ of the TPD, I showed her Clive Bates’ excellent critique of the TPD and pointed out to her that all the TPD would do is hand the entire eCigarette market to Big Tobacco.

A few other smaller topics were covered off as the meeting drew to a close, and the meeting in general ended in good spirits.

One important fact that did come to light during our meeting is that the Welsh Dept of Health follow a number of Vapers blogs to guage opinion and also to glean evidence. So for all you vaping bloggers should be aware that it is not only Vapers that read your words ;-)

So how did we feel the meeting went in general ?

I think it is fair to say that our ‘adversaries’ in this meeting were very much anti-vaping. We knew that before we entered into the meeting. I have no real idea of whether they will take on board everything we had to say. Neither do I have any idea of whether our arguments will have done anything to sway their opinion. However, all we can ask is that such people do meet with us and hear out point of view. So, in fairness, the Welsh Dept of Health did exactly that. They met with us and they discussed and debated the issue of eCigarettes in an open and non-hostile way. The minutes of the meeting will be available eventually on the Welsh Govt website as a public record. All we can do is to thank Chris, Sue and Sarah for agreeing to meet with us and for listening to what we had to say. I trust that Welsh Vapers are grateful (and happy) for us acting on their behalf in this way.

Finally, earlier in this blog, I mentioned that I have an update on things from the Health and Social Care Committee (HSCC). Many Welsh vapers (and quite a few beyond) will be aware that Members of this Committee include Kirsty Williams (Lib-Dems), Elin Jones (Plaid) and Darren Millar (Cons). All three are staunch supporters of eCigarettes and oppose the proposed ban on vaping in enclosed public spaces. I tweeted all three of these AM’s later on the same day as the meeting and received reassurances from them that when the call for evidence comes about, they will want to see ALL of the evidence. Furthermore, they asked me who they should be contacting during this call for evidence, so I have suggested that the experts who should be consulted are Professor Robert West, Professor Peter Hajek, Professor Gerry Stimson and Clive Bates. So hopefully all four will be available to give evidence when the time comes.

It’s a long old fight folks, but I am still confident we can win that fight !!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

From Lone Voices To A Choir

Like many Vapers out there, I read the many tweets that go around both in support and against eCigarettes. I also read the media articles, sometimes shaking my head in shock at the ignorance, other times getting a feeling of euphoria when I finally read something that tells the truth. But what really hits home is how vaping advocacy is finally coming together as one voice.

In June 2015, I will be celebrating my Vaping 3rd Anniversary. It will be a significant milestone and a measure of how eCigarettes empowered me to escape from the clutches of Big Tobacco.

When I first began my vaping journey, I knew of very few others who had discovered the freedom to vape, of the health benefits I was clearly gaining, and of course the pure enjoyment. I still remember the first time I vaped at the bar in my local pub. People were astonished at what they were seeing and I constantly found myself the centre of attention. Now it is extremely rare to find myself as the lone vaper in the bar. Almost every time I go out for a beer I see others enjoying a vape. When I walk down the street, I see people walking toward me with an eCigarette clutched in their hands.

In the early days, there was little resistance to vaping. In general, people did not know what they were, and those that did assumed that they were just another passing fad that would soon pass into the annuls of history.

When the first rumblings of disinformation and potential bans started appearing, the voices in support of Vaping as a valuable harm reduction tool were very few and far between. In fact, until I first encountered Vapour Trails TV (in what now seems like another age), I was also unaware of what was looming on the horizon. What I encountered were a handful of people prepared to stand up and be counted for vaping. They were what I would term the 'Lone Voices On The Wind'.

This was the way that Vaping advocacy evolved. As more people started discovering Vaping, the Lone Voices gradually became augmented, slowly becoming a gentle 'Choir'. A somewhat disjointed and not entirely harmonius Choir at first, it must be admitted. But a Choir of Vaping voices nevertheless. The momentum had begun. Eminent scientific professionals started coming onboard as the studies and research began to back up what we all knew. eCigs Save Lives.

Over the course of 2014, the voices began to be more refined and knowledgeable as they spoke out in an ever rising crescendo. Disparate 'Choirs' began to come together as one. Personally, I believe that the shenanigans in the European Parliament at the tail end of 2013 was the trigger-point. Others may have a differing view on that. But it is at that point that I started noticing the coming together of the 'Choirs'.

Throughout 2014, we saw various initiatives by differing 'public' bodies to try to undermine the threat they perceived in eCigarettes. National governments started initiating bans or began consultations to bring in potential bans. Other public bodies used more insidious tactics of disinformation in an attempt to derail the runaway success that was the eCigarette. But all these messages did were to add the 'harmonies' to growing 'Vaping Choir'. The Choir mobilised and became ever more integrated. The messages refined, back up by scientific evidence, and thus the 'Choirs' were now all singing from the same hymn sheet.

This infuriated the ANTZ as every argument they presented was critically disembowelled and thrown back at them. So they tried to undermine the 'Choir' by claiming they were being victimised/bullied (something they still try to claim). As their claims were clinically dismissed, they tried closing their ears to the Choir and moved their disinformation behind closed doors. Unfortunately for them, the Choir contains a numbers of resourceful members who quickly found ways around that tactic.

As we head into 2015, the Choir has refined to the point as to be 98% singing in tune with one another. The ANTZ meanwhile, are slowly sinking into an ever more disorganised rabble of individuals, even arguing amongst themselves.

So here we are in 2015. We have a well-oiled 'Choir' singing from the same songsheet and for the first time we are starting to see the benefits of that. We are beginning to win the war.

Let's hope that 2015 sees the Vaping Choir become 'world class' as the next round of battle commences.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

eCigarettes 2015: To December And Beyond

It's been a long time since I wrote a new blog (on here at least), so I thought it might be time to put that right by reflecting on events that happened over the Christmas and New Year period, and on what 2015 might bring.

As with most people, the Christmas/New Year period was spent making merry and consuming copious amounts of food and alcohol. The Public Health nut-jobs must really dread this time of year, seeing people actually going out and enjoying themselves for once. The economy gets a massive boost as we all go out and buy frivolous things as presents for people who will probably never use them. We buy far too much food (a large part of which ends up going to waste), enough alcohol to keep a pub going for a week, and of course quite a few people will having 'embarassing' moments to try and forget as a result of having consumed just a little more alcohol than they intended at their works do.

The pubs and restaurants did a booming trade catering for Christmas parties and of course the pubs themselves were full for almost the entire period as customers were finally able to let their hair down and stick two fingers up at the Public Health zealots. It was certainly a time to make merry and forget about any troubles we may have. Mercifully, the period also shut those Public Health zealots up (for the most part).

Cue the New Year however, and the inevitable 'Stop Smoking' campaigns started in earnest in a fanfare on Breakfast TV and the news. You can tell how orchestrated it all was by the supposed 'big names' that were all wheeled out to speak on the subject.

As an ex-smoker myself, I always detested this kind of nannying and cajoling. At the end of the day, people who choose to smoke know of the risks and no amount of campaigns is going to make an iota of difference to them. But Public Health need to justify the obscene amount of public money it receives each year and I guess they think that such campaigns show that they are doing something. It's about time that cuts in public money was brought down on these people as they serve no purpose other than their own ideological and puritanical interests.

People are opening their eyes and seeing through the Nanny state. Their days are numbered. The three main political parties are in panic-mode to stop the electorate moving to ‘alternative’ parties with their votes. Labour in particular are worried about this as the general public shows increasing signs of tiring of their nannying ways.

Which brings us nicely on to where 2015 might take us.

Two immediate areas of concern are the ongoing Public Health Consultations in Wales and Scotland. The Scottish Consultation has only just completed (2nd January), but the Welsh one ran its course during the second half of 2014. In Wales, Labour are beginning to wake up to the reality that the general public are fed up of the constant intrusions into their personal lives. There has been strong opposition to the proposal to ban eCigarettes from enclosed public spaces. The Welsh Petition drummed up considerable support both from the vaping public and from opposition AM’s.

However, a lesson learned during the Welsh Consultation is how the people attempting to impose such bans ‘cherry-pick’ the responses. The fact that the majority of public responses were in opposition to the proposals seemed to bear no weight in the eyes of the Health Minister, who bullishly pushed on stating that most of the public bodies were in agreement with his proposals. He neatly avoided noting that both the Royal College of Physicians and ASH opposed his proposals. Furthermore, he accused the general public of being part of an orchestrated campaign due to the fact that many of the responses were from template letters. The fact that the responses from many of the public bodies (especially the NHS Trusts) were also almost word for word identical to each other is, in his eyes, by-the-by.

The Health Minister needs a strong reminder that public bodies such as the NHS Trusts and the BMA do NOT vote him into office. We, the general public, do that and he ignores us at his peril. Elected officials are elected to serve the public, not puritanical societies like the BMA. This is something I fully intend to remind the Health Minister of when he finally comes face to face with me in the coming year.

The Scottish opposition to a ban on vaping in enclosed spaces would do well to learn this lesson. They must not allow the politicians to run roughshod over the electorate and ignore their wishes. The SNP gained significant support during the Independence campaign, but if they think they can sit back and rely on that support continuing whilst they try to interfere in the private lives of their citizens then they will be in for shock. The upcoming General Election may go a long way in reminding them of this fact when May arrives. It is easier to LOSE support than it is to gain it.

2015 is also the year when the TPD will finally be challenged in the European Court. It is being challenged on several fronts. The Tobacco Industry were the first to launch a legal challenge, quickly followed by an actual Nation – Poland. Toward the end of the year, Totally Wicked also launched their legal action and were given permission to take their case to the European Court. I have heard rumours that other vendors are also about to launch legal challenges of their own. But as those are unsubstantiated rumours (to the best of my knowledge) at present, I will not be naming any further names in this blog.

I am confident that at least one of those challenges will be successfully (and reasonably confident that all of them will be successful). My big hope is that the legal challenges will expose the cloak-and-dagger negotiations that went on behind the scenes in the European Parliament when the TPD was forced through and that we will also learn just who was lobbying whom. I am pretty certain that more than a few skeletons might be exposed from the closets were this to happen.

Of course, any successful legal challenge to the TPD will have an inevitable knock-on effect to the proposals in both Wales and Scotland that the prohibitionists are trying to push through. For this reason, I feel the first 6 months of 2015 is going to be the most significant period.

On other fronts, science and evidence is beginning to show its teeth in the ongoing propaganda war being waged by the likes of McKee, Chapman, Glantz, the WHO and the BMA. Constantly being faced with real scientific evidence from the true scientists, the ANTZ are increasingly tripping themselves up and they desperately strive for new angles to undermine vaping and put their own evidence-less, puritanical viewpoints over. I find it interesting that each time new scare stories appear in the news, non-vapers are now also questioning what they are hearing. As stated above, people are starting to push back on the ever increasing intrusions into their private lives by these people. They are starting to see where the path is inexorably leading us and they don’t like what they see. If left unchecked, the ANTZ will see the entire EU become one massive police state (some may argue it is already dangerously close to being that).

Finally, what about eCigarettes themselves ?

Toward the end of 2014, we saw the launch of what is probably the 4th Generation evolution of the eCigarette. This is something that could never have been achieved if eCigarettes were already regulated in the way the TPD seeks to do. It is this very innovation that is driving the eCigarette industry forward with ever increasing momentum. With the release of Evolv’s rDNA40 chip, we now finally have a means of controlling the temperatures of eCig coils. This removes one of the big obstacles that the ANTZ were trying to use against us in 2014. With temperature control, it will be impossible to push an eCigarette to the temperatures that are said to produce any dangerous by-product (notwithstanding the fact that no vaper would ever go to such temperatures anyway as it would produce a nasty burnt taste).

However, with the ever increasing rate of innovation in eCigarette Technology, it wouldn’t surprise me if we were to be talking about Generation 5 devices before the end of 2015 is reached. What would a Gen 5 device look like ? The answer to that is ‘How far can your imagination take you ?’

Whilst it was said that eCigarettes sales plateau’ed during 2014, personally I did not see much evidence of this. At the start of 2014, it was still quite rare to see an eCigarette being used ‘in the wild’. As 2014 closed, I was aware of ever increasing numbers of people I could spot in all walks of life and environments happily vaping away on some device or other. From how busy I have noted the local bricks and mortar shops to be in the run-up to Christmas, I expect to see eCigarettes becoming even more commonplace in 2015.

Also of interest to me was how few ‘cigalikes’ I was actually seeing about the place by the close of 2014. Big Tobacco may have invested heavily in buying the independent cigalike companies up in an effort to control the eCigarette market. But they have got it badly wrong in my opinion, and backed the wrong horse. People are increasingly going directly to Gen 2 (and sometime even Gen 3) devices and ignoring the cigalike market. Of course, there is nothing to stop Big Tobacco from trying again and buying up the independent Gen 2 Vendors/Manufacturers, but the current situation means that we can still assert with considerable ease that Big Tobacco is very much a minor player in the eCigarette marketplace and I would even argue that what presence they do maintain in the eCigarette Marketplace is rapidly dwindling.

So, in summary, we have two areas to watch in 2015. The first is the regulatory side of things and whether they manage to force through strict regulation (which I doubt), and secondly the really interesting part will be the speed of innovation and evolution of eCigarette Technology. I strongly suspect that the Technology is moving much too fast for the Regulatory side of things to keep up with. Innovation and evolution is going to be our greatest ally. Long may it continue.

A very Happy New Year to all my blog readers and Twitter followers.