This Week in Apps: Apple’s vaping app ban, Disney+ gets installed, apps gear up for Black Friday
After getting injured during a fire, a Los Angeles Fire Department captain has sued the owners of a building and the owners of two vaping supply shops after a May 2020 explosion that left him with so-called catastrophic injuries.
LOS ANGELES — Firefighter Victor Aguirre and his wife, Claudia, filed a lawsuit recently against the owner of a building, Steve Sungho Lee, and the owners of two vape and smoke shops, Green Buddha and Smoke Tokes, housed in the building.
The building in question was the scene of an explosive fire that resulted in an injury sustained by Aguirre.
The lawsuit was filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court against the owners. The facility in question was a warehouse found on a block in East 3rd Street in LA. Twelve firefighters were injured were harmed with an injury. After a criminal investigation, law enforcement authorities in Los Angeles held those being sued by Aguirre criminally liable for at least 300 criminal counts.
The criminal cases resulted in plea deals with state and federal prosecutors that order the businesses to pay the city government more than $100,000. Video and still images, additionally, show an engulfed Aguirre in flames during the incident in question.
Aguirre, according to the reports, is a 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department. Reportedly, he suffered from injures in the explosion, including severe burns over much of his body and what is referred to as devastating third-degree burns.
Those burns resulted in some of his fingers needing partial amputations and, since, has forced Aguirre to undergo 25 surgeries. He was hospitalized for two months.
He is no longer an active-duty firefighter but is still in the employment of the Los Angeles Fire Department in what media reports indicate is an administrative capacity.
Storz & Bickel sidesteps Apple’s vaping app ban
After more than a year of delays, the Australian government will finally implement its notorious prescription-only vaping scheme on Oct. 1. After that date, those caught illegally importing nicotine without a doctor’s prescription will face fines of up to $222,000.
Meanwhile, cigarettes—which kill about 21,000 Australians a year—will remain available in all the places they’re available now, and treated as a normal consumer product.
The new rules will force Australia’s estimated 600,000 vapers to either jump through the hoops of finding a doctor willing to prescribe nicotine vaping products, or risk severe punishment for doing what they’ve always done. (The law in Australia already requires a prescription to import nicotine, but it’s almost completely ignored.)
The primary difference between importing vaping products now and after Oct. 1 will be more severe enforcement of the nicotine import ban that already exists. The government says the Australian Border Force will crack down on those bringing nicotine in without a prescription.
Colin Mendelsohn, a physician and chair of the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association (ATHRA), has created a good explanation of the procedures for legally obtaining nicotine and e-liquid after Oct. 1. There is also a link on the ATHRA site where you can search for participating doctors, although you may be able to get a nicotine prescription from your current family doctor.
In addition to importing nicotine or e-liquid yourself with a prescription, there is also the possibility of buying through pharmacies, although it’s not entirely clear how well this will work in practice. Mendelsohn says not many pharmacies will participate.
For those importing products, be aware that the government has also instituted some new standards for nicotine vaping products. The maximum nicotine strength is 10 percent (100 mg/mL—a common DIY strength), and the government has banned these ingredients: acetoin, benzaldehyde, cinnamaldehyde, diacetyl, diethylene glycol, ethylene glycol, pentane-2,3-dione, vitamin E acetate.
The list of verboten ingredients appears to include all the results you might get in a Google search for “dangerous e-liquid ingredients.” Every substance on the list has been the villain in at least one panicky news story about vaping—some from way back in 2009. (And vitamin E acetate—the thick, oily substance used to dilute the black market THC oil that led to the “EVALI” outbreak—has never been used as an ingredient in e-liquid.)
Generally, once you find a doctor who’ll help obtain a prescription, the process of getting nicotine isn’t much different from what Australian vapers have always done. It’s annoying and wrong that the government has taken this route, but most vapers who understand how it works should be able to navigate the system.
The question is whether most vapers are aware of the new requirements or grasp the risks of not following the process. It’s fair to assume that many won’t understand the greater risk of enforcement and increased penalties promised after Oct. 1. And even vapers who know about the new requirements for importing nicotine may not be aware that it’s a crime to even possess nicotine without a prescription in Australia. To be safe, vapers will need to carry a copy of their prescription wherever and whenever they vape.
The worst part of Australia’s new process is that it makes vaping less accessible for people who smoke. Cigarette smokers will be unlikely to try vaping if they must first meet a doctor and get a prescription. Vaping in Australia is already difficult enough without the added steps, and many smokers aren’t convinced in advance that vapes will be able to replace their cigarettes.
What the government has done fences vaping off from the normal nicotine marketplace, forcing potential vapers to waste their time and money to get access. It makes the product less attractive to try, even if it does come with a weak sort of medical endorsement.
Smoking isn’t a disease, and vaping isn’t a cure. They’re competing consumer nicotine products that should be available in the same retail locations so Australian nicotine users can choose. Vaping can win a fair fight, but the Australian system isn’t fair.
Instead of letting the deadly product and the low-risk one battle it out on equal footing in the consumer arena, Australia has decided to give cigarettes a huge market advantage by forcing vapes to compete with a regular store-bought product while trapped in this bizarre, government-induced zombie state. It will lead to more smoking and less vaping, and that’s not good for anyone—except the tobacco industry.
There was no associated decrease in ‘ever’ or ‘current’ smoking patterns with California’s T21 law, at least three years post-implementation.
The study titled, “Smoking behavior in 18–20 year-olds after tobacco 21 policy implementation in California: A difference-in-differences analysis with other states,” was published in Preventive Medicine and examined local smoking patterns after the state set in place the first tobacco 21 (T21) policies.
UC Davis researchers Melanie Dove, Susan Stewart and Elisa Tong, analysed such patterns before and after the law was implemented. Subsequently, they compared California to other states which don’t have a T21 policy in place, examining data from the 2012-2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
The study showed that the new T21 law was indeed associated with a greater decrease in smoking, at least when it came to daily smoking. “Before California’s T21 policy, there was an 11% annual decrease in the odds of ever smoking among 18–20 year-olds in California and a 6% decrease in the referent states. After the policy, these trends did not change significantly. Results for current smoking were similar. For daily smoking, there was an 8% annual decrease before the policy and a 26% annual decrease after the policy among 18–20 year-olds in California; D-I-D estimates were 0.80 (95% CI: 0.57, 1.14) using referent states as the comparison and 0.62 (95% CI: 0.41, 0.95) using 21–23 year-olds in California as the comparison,” reported the study Abstract.
No decrease in ‘non-daily’ smoking rates 18–20 year-olds
However, the measure failed to impact its target audience. “There was an association between California’s T21 policy and a decrease in daily smoking among 18–20 year-olds, compared with 21–23 year-olds, more than three years post-implementation,” concluded the researchers.
The researchers speculate that the reason may be that these users don’t smoke regularly and often obtain cigarettes from peers. Moreover, there was no associated decrease in ‘ever’ or ‘current’ smoking patterns with California’s T21 law, at least three years post-implementation.
To this effect, said Tong, an internist and associate professor who directs tobacco cessation initiatives at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, further studies should be conducted to inform policy. “Future studies should examine the role of e-cigarette use, policy enforcement as well as online sales,” said “These are important public health issues that deserve examination and, potentially, new policy solutions in order to protect our youth in California from the deadly diseases that often result from addiction to tobacco products.”
Read Further: News-Medical
It’s getting nigh on Holiday Season and how better to celebrate the old Yule log than with a nice herbal vaporizer. The Firefly 2 is a very clever and very well-built convection vape that creates a smooth, flavorful draw and can extract the maximum in herbal pleasure out of a little bit of material.
Like Pax the Firefly 2 is foremost about function. The system heats herbs to 400 degrees Fahrenheit inside a small chamber that is visible through a window on the top panel. The whole thing is four inches long and about an inch thick and the glass top panel sticks to the body with magnets. To activate the vape you simple hold your fingers over two little pads on either side of the Firefly. Finer control is achieve via the app that connects seamlessly to the Firefly and allows you to set the temperature and manage the activation method.
Users of older vapes definitely won’t miss the arcane button press combinations and timing requirements of earlier systems. The Firefly activates and begins heating when you touch the side buttons and is ready when the light turns green. Once green you simply inhale for 10 seconds. I estimate you can get about 15-20 hits off of one charge and you can swap out batteries as needed. You can also add concentrates after sticking in a little aluminum disk into the heating chamber.
The thing you’ll notice is that the Firefly 2 does not get hot – it’s nicely insulated and the glass top remains cool to the touch – and it’s very well built. My only concern would be that the magnetic top could slide off in transit but even energetic pushing couldn’t dislodge it so, while care is must be taken, it should survive a ride in a back pocket.
The vapor is cool and flavorful and very effective. I’m not a regular smoker by any stretch but I had no trouble inhaling and enjoying the experience. The smell is also reduced with the Firefly 2 as the material is carefully and fully heated.
It’s interesting to note that the Firefly is so cool because its creators, Sasha Robinson and Mark Williams, came from Flip, the once ascendant camcorder company, and Apple. This dream team of product design and software creation led to what can only be described as a perfect storm for heshers.
Now for the potentially bad news. The Firefly 2 costs $329 but includes an extra battery, USB charger, and a cleaning kit. You also get three concentrate discs in the package. Still, a little over $300 is a small price to pay for what amounts to one of the most perfect vaping machines. It’s compact, easy to use, and simple – just the treat for folks who want a puff or two now and again without the fuss of rolling papers or pipes. I, for one, welcome our streamlined convection vaping overlords.
Pax today is announcing a new app for its cannabis vaporizers. The service offers access to device controls, cannabis strain information and safety features. The company previously launched an Android and iPhone app with similar features, but Apple later removed the version on the App Store, stripping iPhone users of features and information.
Pax is not coy about the motivations behind this desktop app. “Built in response to Apple’s removal of vaporization-related apps from the App Store,” the press release reads. This desktop app has been in the works for some time. Apple removed vaping apps in late 2019, and Pax representatives told me in January 2020 they had been working toward a new solution.
“We’re thrilled to be able to restore functionality to Apple users,” said Jesse Silver, SVP of Product at PAX Labs. “While we build our devices to work beautifully even without the app, the magic truly happens when you have precision control over things like temperature and dose, not to mention the confidence that comes with this level of information and transparency around what’s in the pod. Because so many of our features are developed through the lens of delivering a predictable, high-quality experience, it was really important to us that all of our customers could access them—regardless of whether they use iPhones or Androids.”
This web app features the same functionality of the smartphone app, but it’s unfortunately tied to a desktop computer. The web app does not work on smartphones. Because of this, some of the magic is lost as users are still unable to fine-tune control of the vapes while away from their desks.
Other companies have made similar moves, most notably, Canopy Growth Corp.’s Storz & Bickel. In March 2020, the vaping device maker launched its web app to bypass Apple’s ban. In its solution, users have to use a specific mobile browser due to Bluetooth. If willing to jump through a few hoops, the web app restores features of Storz & Bickel’s vaporizers for Apple users.
I use the company’s Android app with a Pax Era Pro and enjoy the wealth of information available through the portal. Not sure what’s in a Pax pod? Snap it into the Era Pro to see where the strain was developed and cultivated, as well as the results from testing reports. But as an iPhone user, it would be great to have this information on my primary device.
Pax’s new desktop app requires Chrome for macOS users. For those on Windows, functionality is only available with the Pax Era Pro. After several setup steps, the desktop web app works as advertised and features a slick interface and rich functionality.
Some retailers are reportedly selling between 600 and 700 disposable devices per week.
Vaping products which do not meet UK standards (such as ones having a nicotine content of over 20mg) are making their way into unsuspecting convenience stores. This is coinciding with the booming demand for some disposable e-cigarette brands such as Elf Bar and Geek Bar, which some sellers are trying to capitalize on.
These disposable devices which are pre-filled with e-liquids and can be discarded after use, are rising in popularity with some retailers reportedly selling between 600 and 700 devices per week. “Products that are illegal for UK resale, such as Geek Bar Pro, have been developed for the American market. You look at the packaging and they literally say ‘For the USA’. Do not touch anything with a nicotine content higher than 20mg,” said a UK retailer as quoted by betterRetailing.
The Daily Mail alleges that over 53,000 devices of the GeekBars brand, a vape company hailing from China, are currently being sold weekly up from approximately 2,000 in May, while thousands of devices are believed to be bought online. The news site added that the hashtag #geekbar has had about 46million views on TikTok, with videos praising the brands ‘yummy flavours’ and jokes about their addictive nature.
The article highlights that the products are not listed on the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency register, when retailers are only allowed to sell notified and approved products.
GeekVape sponsors top football club
Earlier this year, GeekVape became the official global partner of the world renowned Paris Saint-Germain Football Club (PSG). The Chinese manufacturer said it hopes that with the worldwide presence that will come as a result of this collaboration, new possibilities will open up.
The e-cig manufacturer believes that since PSG is a relatively young football club with a lot of potential, via the partnership the brand will continue to strengthen its position “as a game changer in the world of football backed by its proven track record of fearlessly exploring its potential for growth.” Geek Vape believes that being a combination of sports and competition, football is a sport that encourages a healthy competitive spirit and actions that push the envelope, all qualities that are aligned with the values and beliefs of its brand. #
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