RiP Trippers Quits Doing Vape Reviews


Love him or hate him, with more than 1.3 million subscribers, RiP Trippers is by far the best-known YouTube vape reviewer. At least he was until yesterday. According to his latest video, RiP is done with vape reviews once and for all!

In the video, RiP explained his decision, and broke it down to three reasons:

  1. RiP is not vaping anymore. He hinted at quitting in a video posted last October, and it turns out he really did it. That’s not due to safety concerns; he repeats the Public Health England claim that vaping is at least 95 percent less harmful than smoking. But he shares that he has been fighting with autoimmune prostatitis, which was also the main reason behind his alarming weight loss. The medical nightmare made him refocus on what is important, he says, and he is now spending more time with his family, getting outdoors, and working on other types of YouTube content.
  2. Lack of innovation in the vape world. RiP says that the sheer quantity of cookie-cutter vape products—and especially the overwhelming number of pod systems—is damaging the industry and, as a result, has taken away his enthusiasm for doing vape reviews. It turns out RiP is sick of vape pods and MTL stuff, and thinks that rebuildables is where it’s at for the future of vaping. And clouds, lots and lots of clouds.
  3. Paid reviews and what came with them. RiP claims that he wasn’t getting paid for the products he would like to review (cloud-chasing rebuildables for the most part), and that if he decided to review them it would be for nothing, which would damage the market for other reviewers. As he says, “If I do products for free, it affects them.”

Some other things we learned from RiP’s latest video:

  • He is not a politician, he’s just a regular dude doing reviews
  • He wasn’t in it because of the money (but claims he made $100,000 a month from sponsored reviews)
  • “Grassroots is where it’s at”
  • His channel will remain active and will spread love and not hate

Unfortunately, he didn’t say if his other channels will keep providing us with comedy gold. Did someone say “Super Bloke”?

Soon after the video went live, a couple of reviewers decided to respond to it—and especially the part about paid reviews. Jai Haze responded, and Vaping with Vic weighed in too. Others, like the Vaping Bogan, decided to respond by leaving a comment under RiP’s video.

Are you a RiP Trippers fan? Do you think he will be coming back, or is he done for good with vape reviews? Sound out in the comments section!



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Netherlands Plans to Ban Flavors; Other EU Countries May Follow


The Netherlands’ government plans to introduce legislation soon that will ban flavored vaping products (except tobacco) next year, and tax the products that remain. The news came in a letter from health minister Paul Blokhuis to the Tweede Kamer, the Dutch house of representatives.

Blokhuis told the parliament that the government would not ban tobacco flavors “in order not to discourage smokers who wish to quit smoking.” In addition to the flavor ban, the finance ministry is drafting a plan to tax e-liquid—a move supported by the health ministry. The Dutch government also supports the inclusion of vaping products in the European Union’s harmonized tobacco tax framework.

“All kinds of organizations are working very hard to make it harder to start smoking and easier to quit. This is also urgently needed because it remains unacceptable that 20 thousand people die in our country every year from the effects of smoking and about 75 children start smoking every day,” Blokhuis said, according to NL Times. “The new insights confirm that the smoke-free generation that is on its way must also be an e-cigarette-free generation. There is no room for e-cigarettes with all kinds of seductive, exotic flavors in this.”

The announcement came after the release of a health ministry-commissioned study by the Trimbos Institute that claimed vaping flavors attract teenage users, that dual use of vapes and cigarettes is worse than smoking alone, and that vaping is less safe than previously thought. The Trimbos study used typical anti-vaping arguments—and precious little real evidence—to justify the need for harsh regulations.

More than one-fourth of 12- to 16-year-olds had vaped at least once in 2017, said the Trimbos study, and “there is increasing evidence that the e-cigarette is a stepping stone to tobacco cigarettes.” The study said that teens are attracted to vaping flavors, and that the products are easily available to them.

But experimentation and occasional use aren’t the same thing as widespread habitual use among never-smokers. Few youth who have never used tobacco products are daily or even weekly vapers, and the top reasons European teenagers cite for using e-cigarettes (according to Eurobarometer) are to quit smoking and because they are less harmful than cigarettes.

The Dutch announcement coincides with a recent study from the Yale School of Public Health that found flavored vaping products were superior to tobacco flavors for cessation, and did not boost youth smoking. The Yale authors looked at data from almost 18,000 survey responses, and concluded that “vaping nontobacco-flavored e-cigarettes was not associated with increased youth smoking initiation but was associated with an increase in the odds of adult smoking cessation.”

Several previous studies have linked e-liquid flavors to success in smoking cessation. A 2018 survey of over 69,000 adult American vapers found that full-time vapers who have completely quit smoking prefer fruit and dessert flavors, and just 7.7 percent vape tobacco flavors.

In a response to the government’s plan, Dutch consumer organization Acvoda explained that flavors have always been a key for people who use vaping to successfully stop smoking. “Health policies need to be effective and the flavors in e-cigarette liquids have played an important role for our members to definitively renounce the cigarette,” said Acvoda chairman Sander Aspers. He added that a flavor ban would be “a complete insult” to vapers that use e-cigarettes to avoid smoking.

The announcement from the Netherlands might be a sign of additional trouble to come. Three European countries—Estonia, Finland and Hungary—currently have flavor bans. However, Lithuania’s parliament is close to debating flavor restrictions. And the new German drug commissioner Daniela Ludwig, who sees almost no value in e-cigarettes, is planning to review the flavor issue too, with an eye on instituting a ban.

Finally, anti-vaping groups across Europe are gearing up to push for flavor and other restrictions when the European Union revises the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) next year. Organizations like the European Respiratory Society and The Union share the same opinions and in some cases the same funders as American anti-vaping hardliners, and they are prepared to use the same tactics to get their way.



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Bloomberg’s War on Vaping Expands to Latin America and Beyond


In Latin America there is an established, stable vaping market that coexists with laws banning commercial sales of vaping products. This is the case in all Latin American countries except Costa Rica and Colombia. The informal “no-regulation” environment which has served vapers and the vaping industry in Latin America—and in many Lower and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) around the world—is very different from the environment in high income countries like the United States, Canada, and most European countries.

These prohibitions are not strictly enforced most of the time, as law enforcement is lax and regulating bodies that should enforce them do not have the resources and personnel to do it (there is no comparison with the FDA). While e-cigarette sales are, strictly speaking, outside the law, they are not black market operations run by organized criminals, but small businesses run by vendors acting within the large unregulated informal markets prevalent in the region.

Opposition to vaping has been (and still is) harsh and visceral, but it is restricted to organized anti-tobacco groups claiming to fight the tobacco industry (which they erroneously claim promotes vaping). These are non-governmental organizations (NGOs) sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies and associated charities like the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, acting in synergy with small but influential groups of health professionals clustered in the tobacco control sections of government public health institutions.

Evidence that The Union’s recommendations are taken seriously by health authorities in Latin America is furnished by the gradual hardening of recent anti-vaping legislation, which fits a clear prohibition strategy in the region.

The so-called EVALI crisis in the U.S. provided a “perfect storm” that disrupted the previous “no-regulation” calm in Latin America. EVALI pushed the anti-vaping message to the highest levels of government and generated a public reaction of fear and suspicion against vaping. (Two factors probably mitigated this crisis to some extent: (1) no EVALI cases occurred in the region, and (2) the onslaught against vaping was directly identified with the governments, which are deeply mistrusted by large sectors of the public.)

Once the COVID-19 pandemic reached Latin American countries (by early March 2020), the EVALI-motivated attacks ceased; because health institutions suddenly had to deal with a real global pandemic, they were forced to temporarily put vaping on the back burner. Anti-vaping groups would have liked to use COVID-19 as a new vape bashing opportunity to continue the EVALI onslaught, but they had to face the fact that the data unequivocally showed other factors (old age, diabetes, obesity) being more determinant risk factors than vaping (or even smoking). This, together with the absence of registered records of seriously ill or dead vapers from COVID-19, has so far prevented them from repeating the EVALI trick.

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is a well known public figure in the U.S. However, most Americans are unaware of the overwhelming influence of his philanthropy on public health policies (sugar, food and tobacco/nicotine) in Latin America and in LMICs elsewhere in the world. This influence is exerted through the political framework of the World Health Organization (WHO), either directly or indirectly via various Bloomberg-funded NGOs.

If effective tobacco control means fewer smokers, vaping creates a win-win situation that strengthens tobacco control without depriving local public health institutions of scarce resources.

There are structural reasons for Bloomberg’s philanthropy to focus its efforts on LMICs: (1) these countries often welcome external private funds given the chronic lack of resources and personnel in their health ministries and public health institutions, and (2) most governments of LMICs are non-democratic regimes, with vertical, non-transparent public health bureaucracies always ready for wheeling and dealing. Thus, all it takes for a policy to be officially enacted is to lobby and convince the head of government, or a sufficiently influential group among high-ranking health officials.

To get an idea of the type of the policies on vaping (and other non-combustible nicotine and tobacco products) that Bloomberg’s philanthropy recommends for the LMICs through the WHO, it is useful to examine the document entitled “When bans are best,” produced by The Union, a private agency openly funded by Bloomberg. The Union offers a full policy blueprint for dealing with e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products (HTPs, also known as heat-not-burn tobacco products), advising LMIC governments that bans are preferable to regulation.

The Union justifies outright prohibition with arguments allegedly based on the need to comply with the tobacco control policy advice of the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC), an international treaty on tobacco regulation sponsored by the WHO, which has been signed by more than 180 countries, including most LMICs. At first sight these arguments might look reasonable, but a closer look reveals that they are real recipes for disaster.

While e-cigarette sales are, strictly speaking, outside the law, they are not black market operations run by criminals, but by vendors acting within the large unregulated informal markets prevalent in the region.

Evidence that The Union’s recommendations are taken seriously by health authorities in Latin America is furnished by the gradual hardening of recent anti-vaping legislation, which fits a clear prohibition strategy in the region. A concrete example is the Mexican prohibition of importing e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products (and their consumables), enacted by a presidential decree on February 19. The Mexican government received official praise on May 31 (the WHO’s World No Tobacco Day) from the WHO for having enacted this import ban.

Besides the predictable false claim (present in practically all documents from the WHO) that ENDS are some sort of conspiratorial Trojan horse created by Big Tobacco to recruit new consumers by enticing youth, the document produced by The Union argues that banning ENDS is preferable to regulating them for these reasons:

  • The political and social context of LMICs is different from that of the U.K., where tobacco control institutions are strong and the objectives of the FCTC are efficiently implemented. As a contrast, says The Union, tobacco control institutions in LMICs are weak. Therefore, a regulation providing legal access to non-combustible consumer nicotine products (whose safety and harm reduction is questionable anyway, according to The Union) would make the local tobacco control institutions of LMICs even weaker, which would further decrease their compliance with FCTC policies. In other words, vaping products are an unaffordable distraction that will prevent full FCTC implementation in LMICs
  • Regulating vaping products is complicated and costly, and will deprive the health ministries and public health institutions in LMICs of many resources that are badly needed to reinforce and strengthen tobacco control institutions to achieve the fulfilment of FCTC objectives
  • Institutions in LMICs are weak (as opposed to institutions in the U.K.), hence if vaping products are not banned they would be, most likely, regulated under a vulnerable framework. Since public corruption is rampant and law enforcement is lax, it is very likely that the resulting e-cigarette regulation in LMICs would contain many legal loopholes which would allow the industry to operate and interfere with tobacco control efforts.

EVALI pushed the anti-vaping message to the highest levels of government and generated a public reaction of fear and suspicion against vaping.

While these arguments do contain a nucleus of truth, a closer examination reveals their high damage potential.

First and foremost, the document starts with a false premise by denying that usage of e-cigarettes is vastly safer than tobacco cigarette smoking, something that is a fact, not a hypothesis or a theoretical possibility.

Second, it is true that tobacco control goals are not as efficiently implemented in LMICs as in the U.K. It is also true that health ministries are poor in resources. However, these conditions furnish the ideal scenario favoring regulation that would provide adult smokers legal access to vaping products. Regulating and not banning e-cigarettes would allow smokers, out of their own initiative and without cost to public resources, to choose to switch to lower risk products. If effective tobacco control means fewer smokers, vaping creates a win-win situation that strengthens tobacco control without depriving local public health institutions of scarce resources.

Third, prohibition is much more costly than regulation in terms of public resources: it needs to be enforced and policed, and it deprives governments of needed tax revenues. Also, given the rampant corruption in public institutions of LMICs, the resources saved by avoiding regulation will not likely be redirected to tobacco control. The cost balance in the regulation vs prohibition debate cannot be based only on tobacco control objectives as defined by the FCTC. It must also factor in the whole range of adverse effects of prohibitions: black markets, criminality, lack of quality control, and increased underage usage. Definitely a lose-lose situation.

It is very unethical to regard the probable adverse (unintended) consequences as mere collateral damage worth accepting as part of the glorious quest to create a nicotine-free world.

Fourth, prohibition of vaping products favors tobacco cigarette smoking, as vaping products compete with tobacco cigarettes—hardly a gain for the advancement of tobacco control. Health ministries in LMICs do not even need to promote e-cigarettes, but simply regulate their market and concentrate only on prosecuting the remaining illegal sector. Health authorities can advance in pursuing the FCTC goals by focusing on those who continue to smoke.

The main flaw of The Union’s recommendations (and all similar policy documents on vaping produced by WHO bureaucrats and Bloomberg-funded agencies) is a lack of proper consideration of the reality of markets and consumers in LMICs. Aside from the social harms they may cause, their policy recommendations will very likely crash against the realities in countries like Mexico, India, Brazil, South Africa or Nigeria. It is very unethical to regard the probable adverse (unintended) consequences as mere collateral damage worth accepting as part of the glorious quest to create a nicotine-free world.

Bloomberg and tobacco control fellow travelers dismiss all criticism as naïveté or by accusing critics of being tobacco industry fronts. However, as well intended as it may be, funding by Bloomberg’s philanthropy must be declared as a major conflict of interest, and it must be subjected to the same scrutiny and accountability as any other source of funding.

Roberto A. Sussman, PhD, is a senior researcher in theoretical physics at the Institute of Nuclear Sciences of the National University of Mexico (UNAM). He is also the founder and director of Pro Vapeo Mexico AC, a non-profit association representing Mexican consumers of non-combustible nicotine products.



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Australia Will Shut Down Imports of Nicotine for Vaping


Australian health minister Greg Hunt has announced new policies that will make it nearly impossible for vapers to import nicotine, and will impose draconian penalties on those who get caught trying. The changes were announced while the country’s parliament is on recess until August, and will take effect on July 1—just 11 days away.

Australia’s position on vaping has always been an outlier among western democracies. The country has banned all recreational nicotine products, except cigarettes, and refuses to recognize the value of consumer nicotine products like e-cigarettes for harm reduction. Just last week, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced it would not change the policy to allow sales of heated tobacco products (HTPs).

There existed, however, a loophole that allowed vapers able to obtain a nicotine prescription from a doctor to import small quantities for personal use. Additionally, many vapers buy nicotine without a prescription from online retailers in China and other countries. Restrictions on nicotine imports have not been strictly enforced—but that is about to change.

The new policies will include cooperation between the Department of Health and the Australian Border Force to enforce the import ban. Hunt has also added brutal penalties for those caught violating the new rules, including fines of up to 222,000 Australian dollars (about $152,000 US).

Vapers who have already ordered and paid for nicotine being shipped to the country are not exempt from seizures and penalties. According to the TGA, any nicotine arriving on or after July 1 can be seized. That would even include orders that had been placed before the announcement of the new policy.

Products not subject to the new rules include cigarettes and nicotine replacement therapy products, which can be purchased without a prescription in Australia. Yes, that is correct: medical cessation products require no prescription, but recreational consumer products do—except the most dangerous one, which is freely available in every corner store across the country.

In theory, nicotine will still be legal for those vapers who have doctor’s prescription. However, since nicotine can no longer be imported, it will have to be bought from a pharmacy. And in a classic Catch-22, pharmacies aren’t allowed by state law to carry nicotine.

“Only a handful of Australian doctors are willing to write nicotine prescriptions under current laws,” wrote Dr. Colin Mendelsohn of the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association (ATHRA). “Even fewer will be willing to comply with the complex and time-consuming requirements of the new plan.

“Under the new laws, vapers are no longer able to import nicotine e-liquid for their own personal use. Only medical suppliers or pharmacists can import nicotine with permission granted by the Health department.

“The proposal suggests that pharmacists could make up nicotine solutions for vapers who have a prescription. However, pharmacists need permission to possess and import nicotine from the state health departments. All have so far refused to give permission for this purpose.”

So, unless pharmacies are willing to lobby state governments to change their laws regarding nicotine possession—which they probably would have already done, if they considered it worthwhile—the new TGA policy is an effective ban on legal nicotine vaping. Hunt and the TGA have designed an airtight regulatory maze that will prevent smokers from accessing low-risk vaping products.

Less than two years ago, it appeared that the Australian Liberal party position on nicotine might be changing. Even Greg Hunt, who once said nicotine vaping would never be legal “on my watch,” seemed ready to soften his position under pressure. But Hunt returned to his drug war stance quickly. (You can read an excellent timeline of Hunt’s history regarding vaping and nicotine in this Twitter thread by Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance executive director Brian Marlow.)

Now Greg Hunt has reaffirmed his reputation as a diehard nicotine drug warrior and prohibitionist. And Australian vapers and smokers will suffer because of it.





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First PMTA from an Indie Vape Manufacturer Submitted


E-Alternative Solutions (EAS) has submitted Premarket Tobacco Applications for its closed-system vape products to the FDA. The company is the first vaping manufacturer not owned by a major tobacco company to announce a PMTA submission. All of the big tobacco companies that sell vaping products in the U.S. have submitted applications, the most recent being Imperial Brands’ application for myblu.

The EAS PMTAs submitted were for the company’s Leap device and pods and its Leap Go disposable product. Leap products are primarily sold in convenience stores, and are designed to compete with popular pod and disposable products from JUUL, NJOY, and similar tobacco industry products. EAS also sells a line of CBD products.

Since the FDA’s January 2020 guidance prohibiting sales of prefilled pods in flavors other than tobacco and menthol, EAS suspended its sales of fruit- and candy-flavored Leap pods, although it continues to sell the disposable Leap Go in mint and mango flavors. The company has submitted all of its flavors for FDA approval. But because only currently marketed products may remain on sale after the Sept. 9 PMTA submission deadline while the agency reviews the application, the candy and fruit Leap pods will remain unavailable until (and if) the PMTA is approved.

The Leap pods have all been submitted in 2.4 and 4.8 percent strengths. The Leap Go devices are only available in 5 percent. According to EAS, these are the flavors the company submitted to the FDA:

  • Leap Carolina Tobacco
  • Leap Rough Cut Tobacco
  • Leap Georgia Tobacco
  • Leap Kentucky Tobacco
  • Leap Menthol
  • Leap Kentucky Menthol
  • Leap Apple Strawberry (not currently available for sale)
  • Leap Arctic Berry (not currently available for sale)
  • Leap Mango (not currently available for sale)
  • Leap Watermelon Kiwi (not currently available for sale)
  • Leap Island Cream (not currently available for sale)
  • Leap Mint (not currently available for sale)
  • Leap Go Smooth Tobacco
  • Leap Go Mint
  • Leap Go Mango

According to EAS, the PMTA included more than 108,000 pages of testing results and analysis, including toxicology, behavioral studies, and an extensive review of existing literature of vapor product science. The company also studied abuse liability, and performed a risk assessment of its products.

“Our PMTA submissions provide a robust analysis of the Leap and Leap Go products that will enable FDA to conclude these products are appropriate for the protection of public health,” said EAS vice president and general counsel Chris Howard.

“From an industry perspective, the PMTA process sets a high bar and holds companies accountable, ensuring vapor product manufacturers follow the rules and act in good faith,” Howard added. “Looking ahead, a robust collaboration with FDA will help build a strong future for both the vapor industry and adult consumers.”

A company able to spend the millions it takes to submit a viable PMTA has to be optimistic about the future, as EAS is. But there is no assurance the FDA will approve any independent company’s PMTA submission. And even if the agency does approve applications from some small closed-system manufacturers like EAS, it’s questionable whether any open-system devices or bottled e-liquid will ever make the cut.

The E-Alternative Solutions products, if approved, will be sold in c-stores, not vape shops. E-liquid and open-system hardware manufacturers, however, need vape shops to survive as outlets to market their products. And vape shops will not survive unless a wide variety of e-liquid flavors and devices are available. It’s unlikely the FDA will approve enough open-system products and e-liquid flavors to allow vape shops to prosper.

The streamlined PMTA promised in January by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has never materialized—and it looks like it never will. With no changes to the process that make it fair or affordable for small businesses, thousands of vape manufacturers will be left twisting in the wind when the Sept. 9 PMTA deadline rolls around.



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Will the Revised EU Tax Directive Include a Minimum Vape Tax?


The European Union will include vaping products in its harmonized tobacco tax framework, called the Tobacco Excise Directive, or TED. This became a virtual certainty after the Council of the EU recently approved “political guidance and priorities” for updated tobacco taxation rules, and asked the European Commission for legislative proposals. However, no final decision is likely to be made for a year or so.

Ministers from each member state make up the Council of the EU, and along with the European Parliament they pass laws. The European Commission (EC) proposes laws, and once passed, acts as the executive body and carries them out.

Since the TED is a Council Directive, any legislation sent from the EC must be approved by the Council—and it must be passed unanimously. Unlike the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), the excise rules will not be decided by the European Parliament.

In its communication to the EC, the Council said it is “urgent and necessary to upgrade the EU regulatory framework, in order to tackle current and future challenges in respect of the functioning of the internal market by harmonising definitions and tax treatment of novel products (such as liquids for e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products), including products, whether or not containing nicotine, that substitute tobacco….”

If one or more large countries oppose setting a minimum tax, any such plan would be derailed. The ultimate policy must be approved unanimously.

Harmonizing means that member states agree to adopt uniform product definitions, regulatory procedures, and a common tax framework for products that are included in the standards. They can also set minimum tax rates (although the minimum could be set at zero) for each kind of product. A harmonized taxation system is intended to reduce or eliminate incentives for smuggling or illegal manufacture. Theoretically, if all governments (and businesses) operate with the same rules and standards, no individual country would gain advantage over the others.

Does that mean a minimum tax is inevitable? Not necessarily. According to EU vaping industry experts, there are reasons to be hopeful that the Council will not adopt a minimum tax on vaping products as part of a revised TED. First the Council did not specifically ask the EC for one. Rather, the ministers focused on the need to harmonize definitions. More importantly, the adoption of changes to the TED requires a unanimous vote of the Council, which is no simple task—especially on complicated legislation. The Council will likely want to avoid unnecessary controversies that could get in the way of a consensus.

While it may seem logical that the EU would want to encourage the recovery of lost cigarette tax revenue in member countries by setting a minimum tax on vaping products, experts say that such an outcome isn’t at all certain. If one or more large countries oppose setting a minimum tax, any such plan would be derailed. And remember, the policy that is ultimately settled upon must be approved unanimously.

There will be other disputes over necessary choices in the TED that are more important to all the countries—including setting a minimum cigarette tax—and delegates will want to avoid hanging up negotiations over a lesser issue, especially if France or another powerful country takes a firm position on the lesser issue.

France itself may be the key. The country is home to a vibrant vaping market, and there is support for vaping as a harm reduction tool, including by the French health minister. With the U.K. now out of the EU, France will likely be the best target for vaping advocates when the time comes to apply pressure.

Vapers participated in the consultation in large numbers, with most strongly opposed to a minimum tax.

Of course, the lack of a harmonized tax structure (and a minimum tax rate) in the EU doesn’t prevent individual countries from imposing taxes. Twelve of the 27 EU member states currently have some kind of tax on vaping products. Additionally, Poland is scheduled to begin collecting a tax on July 1, and Croatia has a tax on the books, but it’s currently set to zero. Most of the taxing countries have per-milliliter e-liquid levies, ranging from Italy’s €0.08 (€0.04 for zero-nicotine e-juice) to €0.30 in Finland and Portugal. (One Euro—€1—is currently equal to $1.13.)

The member countries of the EU, even without the U.K., collectively make up the second-largest economy in the world—and the second-largest vaping market. As it stands now, only two of the 10 biggest individual economies in the EU—Italy and Sweden—have a tax on vaping products (Poland’s begins July 1). And while Italy does have a modest e-liquid tax, most of the largest, most economically powerful countries in the EU have no tax at all. That includes four of the five biggest EU economies: Germany, France, Spain, and the Netherlands. Those four countries together account for nearly half of the entire 27-country EU’s gross domestic product.

Germany and Spain are likely to impose a tax on vaping products after the TED revision, according to insiders. That again leaves France as the best bet among the largest EU economies to oppose a minimum EU-wide tax rate being included in the harmonized taxation scheme.

Upcoming consultations on the TED revision will include vaping industry advocates, and also consumer representatives. The continent is home to a new organization—European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (ETHRA)—that is a consortium of consumer groups from European countries. ETHRA will devise a game plan to guide EU vaping consumers in applying pressure where its most needed when the time comes.

Background on the Tobacco Excise Directive and vaping

The European Union included vapor products in its Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) that took effect in 2016, harmonizing product standards, regulations and cross-border advertising rules. Decisions on a taxation framework were postponed until a scheduled overhaul of the Tobacco Excise Directive (TED) was done. That is what is happening now, with the final approval probably coming next year. The TED was last updated in 2011.

In January 2018, the European Commission announced it would delay a decision on taxing vapes until the TED review was completed, because it needed more data on the vaping market. From May to September of that year, the European Commission’s taxation policy arm, the Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD) opened a public consultation to gather opinion on imposing an EU-wide tax on vapes, and soon after began studying the issue in earnest.

Vapers participated in the consultation in large numbers, with most strongly opposed to a minimum tax. Of more than 11,000 public comments, 96 percent were from individuals, and the Commission noted that “The high rate of response among individual citizens is primarily due to the massive participation of e-cigarettes consumers.”

The February 2020 EC evaluation, released less than a month after the United Kingdom left the EU, noted that “the widespread concern among e-cigarettes stakeholders and consumers about the possible adverse effects of e-cigarettes taxation should be noted, although a significant share of operators would seemingly support a harmonised definition with no minimum rate attached to it.”

Smokers created vaping without any help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and vapers have the right to keep innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I recently joined the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy



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Angry Vapers Force Australian Health Minister to Back Down


Forgive Australian vapers if they celebrate too loudly today. Following a week of public outrage, Australian health minister Greg Hunt has backed down and postponed a strict nicotine import ban that had been due to take effect on July 1. The ban was announced just a week ago, and would have essentially prevented vapers in Australia from accessing nicotine to mix e-liquid. It is now postponed until Jan. 1, 2021.

The health minister had faced growing backlash to his ban, including from members of his own party. On Thursday, 28 Members of Parliament from the ruling coalition signed a letter opposing the import ban. The angry opposition to Hunt’s plan was driven by vapers, who took to social media, and called and wrote their elected officials to complain. A petition opposing the ban, created by two MPs, received more than 52,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.

Hunt announced the delay Friday, and also promised a “streamlined” process to allow vapers to obtain nicotine by prescription. Currently, pharmacies do not carry nicotine, because of state laws that make the process onerous or impossible. That leaves vapers—even if they have a doctor’s prescription—unable to access nicotine without buying it overseas and shipping it to Australia. The ban would have prevented all imports, and left vapers without a source for legal nicotine—a Catch-22 created (apparently deliberately) by Hunt.

Sales of nicotine-containing e-liquid is illegal in Australia, where nicotine (except in cigarettes and pharmaceutical products) is classified as a poison. Vapers are allowed to import a three-month supply for personal use with a doctor’s prescription. And many vapers ignore the prescription requirement and import it illegally.

The restrictions had not been strictly enforced. But the changes announced by Hunt would have mandated cooperation between the Department of Health and the Australian Border Force to enforce the import ban. Customs officials would have been empowered to seize all shipments of nicotine—even those paid for before the ban was announced. Punishments for violating the import ban would have included fines up to more than 220,000 (Australian dollars.

Over the week since Hunt announced the July 1 ban, panicked vapers reportedly attempted to stockpile nicotine, ordering large quantities from dealers in other countries. Some Australian appliance dealers supposedly sold out of chest freezers.

Among major democratic countries, only Australia and India have banned sales of nicotine vaping products outright. Most countries regulate the sales and manufacture of vapes, and the United Kingdom even encourages their use by smokers.

With Hunt forced to back down and the outrage over his proposed prohibition fresh in the public mind, now is the time for vaping consumers and businesses to push their MPs for a sensible, permanent solution. Some are eager to make changes—even some from Hunt’s own Liberal Party.

“Six months gives us the time to put in place a system that ensures anyone who needs access to these safer alternatives can get it,” Liberal MP James Paterson told the Guardian on Friday.



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Why the ban on nicotine vape fluid will do more harm than good

Last week the federal government’s Office of Drug Control announced changes to the importation of nicotine-containing electronic cigarette fluids that will seriously affect the estimated 227,000 regular e-cigarette users in Australia.

From January 1, 2021, users will no longer be allowed to import nicotine-containing fluids for use in e-cigarettes, even if they have a prescription. The measures, which were initially set to come into force on July 1, 2020, are in addition to the existing domestic ban on sales of these products.

When quizzed last week on the new rules, Health Minister Greg Hunt claimed “people can still bring them in if they have a prescription from their doctor”. But this is not strictly the case.

What do the new rules actually say?

From January 1, e-cigarette users will not only need a prescription from their doctor, they will also need a doctor who is willing and able to import the products on their behalf. This will require the doctor to have a permit to import nicotine as an unauthorised therapeutic.

It is hard to imagine many doctors will to go to these lengths to provide access to nicotine so their patients can continue vaping. As these regulations have only just been announced, there are currently no medical professionals in Australia with these permits already in place.

With doctors already hesitant to prescribe nicotine for vaping (there are only nine GPs on the Australian Tobacco Health Reduction Association’s list of known prescribers), it is unlikely there will be any who are willing to add the additional burden of applying for permits and organising importation.

Vaping has helped many smokers quit cigarettes, and there are fears they may go back to smoking. Thomas Peter/AAP Image

So, come January 1, what are Australians who use nicotine-containing e-cigarette fluids going to do?

Option one: vapers go “cold turkey” and give up nicotine altogether. Many vapers use e-cigarettes because they were unable to quit smoking using any other method, including nicotine replacement therapy. One study found 18% of ex-smokers who had switched to e-cigarettes were still smoke-free at the one-year mark, compared with 9.9% of those who had switched to nicotine patches.

Option two: vapers ignore the new regulations and attempt to continue importing their e-cigarette fluids. Besides risking a A$222,000 fine if caught, there are significant risks to buying e-fluids on the black market. There will be no warning labels or instructions for safe usage; nicotine levels may be unknown or inconsistent; and samples might be cut with dangerous substances, as in the case of the bootleg cannabis vape refills contaminated with vitamin E acetate that killed 60 people and hospitalised a further 2,558 in the United States last year.

Option three: vapers go back to smoking cigarettes, as a legal and more easily accessible source of nicotine. Current estimates are that e-cigarette use is 95% less harmful than smoking. There are fears among the vaping community that this will be the default option for many users, despite the increased health risks of smoking over vaping. Vapers who are worried they may turn back to cigarettes should consider asking their GP to help them devise a plan to stay away from smoking.

Why is the government doing this anyway?

The government’s rationale is twofold. First, it points to the increase in nicotine poisonings associated with e-cigarette fluids in the past few years in Australia, including the death of a toddler in Victoria in 2018.

But these cases, including the toddler’s tragic death, involved highly concentrated imported nicotine-containing fluids, purchased from overseas because of the existing domestic ban. Cracking down on legitimate imports would arguably make it more likely, not less, that users may end up accessing illicit e-cigarette fluids with little or no safety labelling.

The government’s second argument is the increasing use of e-cigarettes among US school students aged 14-18. But while there has indeed been an increase in vaping, smoking has declined among these age groups, so it is likely a case of experimentation, rather than vaping being a gateway to smoking.

There is a crucial distinction to draw here: if the new rule change is intended to restrict youngsters’ access to vaping, it is unlikely to succeed. E-cigarettes and e-fluids without nicotine will still be available at any tobacconist or vape store. The only banned products will be nicotine-containing e-fluids.

The rule change may be framed partly as a preventative move to protect young people from vaping. But the people most likely to be affected are those who have successfully used e-cigarettes to quit smoking.

For that reason, it’s my view the new rules will do more harm than good. I would urge the government to consider regulating nicotine-containing products rather than banning them.

A regulated e-cigarette fluid market should consider: limiting the maximum concentration of nicotine to 24 milligrams per ml; childproof packaging for all products, with dropper-style tops to prevent accidental exposure through spillage; and appropriate warning labels and ingredient lists.

President Trump’s Proposed Flavor Ban Under Fire


PRESIDENT Trump’s proposal to ban all e-cigarette flavors has been questioned by health campaigners who say it could see millions switch back to tobacco.

The US president announced on Wednesday that the government’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would be putting out “some very strong recommendations” to force all sales of flavored vape juice, other than tobacco, to be withdrawn from the market.

Critics claim, however, that Trump’s announcement is a knee jerk reaction to an outbreak of a severe respiratory disease in the US, which is being blamed on vaping. However many of those hospitalized have admitted to vaping a range of substances and marijuana-based products and do-it-yourself brews, not regulated products.

Trump, however, has said his proposed ban is to combat teen vaping and the FDA will now be developing guidelines to remove all flavors from sale, which have been blamed for enticing young people to vape.

The proposed restrictions would only apply to nicotine vaping products, which are regulated by the FDA, and will be subject to public consultation before coming into effect.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said: “It’ll take several weeks for us to put out the final guidance that will announce all the parameters around the enforcement policy, and then there will likely be about a 30-day delay to effective date, as is customary.” But “at that point all flavored e-cigarettes other than tobacco flavor would have to be removed from the market.”

E-cigarette companies making tobacco-flavored products would have the chance to file for approval by the FDA by May 20th. While those producing flavors can also file but their products would then be off the market until approved.

The FDA has previously considered a flavor ban but has chosen not to and has instead been looking at how flavors in vaping products have helped adults quit cigarettes.
American Vaping Association president Gregory Conley reiterated that vaping flavors is responsible for helping millions of adults quit – and continue to stay off – cigarettes.

He said: “A ban will remove life-changing options from the market that have been used by several million American adults to quit smoking.

“In the history of the United States, prohibition has never worked. It didn’t work with alcohol. It hasn’t worked with marijuana. It won’t work with e-cigarettes.”

The proposed FDA law change has also been criticized by industry and public health experts who are also concerned ex smokers who have successfully switched away from tobacco thanks to flavors – including fruit and candy – could return to their old habits.

There is also a risk even more illegal – and potentially dangerous – products would flood the black market.

Scientists and researchers who have studied how vape flavors are linked to quitting cigarettes, have also panned the Trump administrations’ move, calling it a “really bad idea”.

Peter Hajek, a Queen Mary University of London researcher who led a recent study on vaping’s role in smoking cessation explained: “Although most smokers start with tobacco flavored e-liquid, they often switch to other flavors, most frequently to fruit and sweet flavors. In our trials, successful quitters used most frequently fruit flavors.”

Trump told reporters at the White House announcement that his drive for implementing a ban was because he wanted to protect children from vaping, including his 13-year-old son Barron.

Federal law currently prohibits e-cigarettes and all other tobacco sales to those under 18.



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Best Tobacco Vape Juice


These are the vaping.com experts and customers best tobacco vape juice flavors in 2019:

Introduction

Once you’ve been a smoker its hard to resist that welcoming hug of tobacco. Tobacco vape juice is the perfect way to transition to vaping and get your nicotine fix without cigarettes. With so many vape juice flavors to choose from its hard to decide. That’s why the vaping.com ‘best’ articles are here to help.

How we selected the best tobacco vape juice flavors

Our vaping experts are constantly testing new devices and vaping a wide range of vape juice flavors. Everybody’s taste buds are different but we’ll break down what we love about each flavor so you can have a better understanding of what you’ll be getting.

We haven’t just asked our experts, we’ve scoured the reviews on our site to give you the best, most descriptive comments we can find for each flavor. We read every review our site gets to find out which products our customers are loving. So if you buy one of these flavors don’t forget to leave a review of how you feel about it.

I Love Salts Sweet Tobacco

Best Tobacco Salt Nic Vape Juice - I Love Salts Sweet Tobacco

I Love Salts is one of the best brands of vape juice you can buy with beautifully blended flavors at an affordable price. Sweet Tobacco is a great flavor to vape if you have a bit of a sweet tooth. One of the benefits of tobacco is that it’s strong enough to blend with lots of other robust flavors. This salt nic vape juice flavor is high strength, perfect for vaping on a portable pod vape like the awesome SMOK Novo 2.

Here’s what our happy customers have to say about Sweet Tobacco:

Devin
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Seriously good Like tobacco, only better and without the nastiness

Bailey L.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Very good! Like A graham Very good! Like A graham cracker flavor. Love this one

Pavithra P.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Smooth Very nice blend – hits smooth. But too sweet for me – it’s not as sweet as a dessert flavor but still creamy/heavy

Glas Basix – Butterscotch Reserve 60ml

Best Tobacco Vape Juice - Glas Basix - Butterscotch Reserve 60ml

If you want a classy super smooth tobacco vape juice flavor then look no further than this Butterscotch Reserve. Butterscotch is the main feature of this flavor but the caramel adds a slight sweetness on the exhale. Cream RY4 is one of the oldest vape juice flavors and has long been a blend that has helps millions of smokers around the world transition to vaping. So if your looking for a tobacco like experience with super smooth and complex flavor, Butterscotch Reserve is the one.

Here’s what our customers think:

Stacie K.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Mellow tobacco Smooth and mellow. Not much butterscotch, more like a muted caramel. The best tobacco flavor I’ve tried, and I’ve tried quite a few.

Aaron B.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Very smooth Taste just like butterscotch candy. The blueberry one is good also. Good brand.

Beard Vape Co. No. 00 Cappuccino Tobacco Salts 30ml

Best Tobacco Salt Nic Juice - Beard Vape Co. No. 00 Cappuccino Tobacco

If you loved the combination of coffee and tobacco you should check out Cappuccino Tobacco from vape juice maestros Beard Vape. A delicate blend of two amazing flavors and smells, coffee and tobacco, Cappuccino Tobacco Salts is a super smooth vape. Despite having a sweet cappuccino taste the juice doesn’t gunk up your coils too. Not too sweet and the tobacco flavor not to strong with a satisfying throat hit. This is a perfectly blended vape juice for coffee lovers.

Check out these rave reviews:

Cyndi G.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Def my fav!
I’ve tried many vape juices now, as I’ve transitioned from cigs to my vape & this one has become my go to!!! It’s excellent in taste, vape cloud and throat hit! It’s perfect!!!

Jason L.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Really enjoying this flavor.

Doc B.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Good Stuff
Full, rich flavor. Slightly sweet ending.

Naked 100 Tobacco Cuban Blend 60ml

Best Nicotine Salts 2019 - Naked 100 Tobacco Cuban Blend 60ml

If you really want to replicate the experience of smoking a strong cigarette or cigar this is the tobacco vape juice for you. Naked 100 have to be one of the most established vape juice brands, definitely one of the best selling brands in our online vape shop. So you’d expect them to have a great tobacco flavor, and Tobacco Cuban Blend is just that. Super smooth and flavorful it has a hint of sweetness and a surprisingly rich tobacco flavor. If you want a pure tobacco flavor it doesn’t get better than this.

But what do our customers think?

Heather A.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Smooth and delicious
This was the first vape juice we bought after quitting smoking and it was a great transition. It’s not too sweet and tastes like a blend of coffee and fresh tobacco!

Janette L.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Tastes great
Just like a nice cigar. Smooth and easy.

Cindy H.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
awesome flavor will absolutely buying this product again

Propaganda Salts Wildfire 30ml

Best Salt Nic Tobacco Vape Juice - Wildfire by Propaganda Salts

Last but very much not least is the latest amazing vape juice flavor from Propaganda – Salt Wildfire. Here at vaping.com we love the different take on this tobacco vape juice. We love it so much we even featured it on our 10 Best Salt Nic Vape Juice article. Propaganda salts are a massive sellers in our online shop, they also filled 3 slots out of ten in the above article. A very different tobacco flavor in comparison to those above it on this list but it’s a must try. Its flavor range includes chocolate, almond, cookies and of course sweet tobacco. If you’re looking for a different tobacco twist try Propaganda Salts Wildfire.

That’s what we think, what about our customers?

Weston B.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Delicious! Love it altogether, tasty and just thick enough.

Cheryl J.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
very good not too strong and doesn’t clog up my pod

Jeff S.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Great

Do you agree with our experts and customers? If you do or don’t we’d love to hear from you, send us a signal in the comments below.



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