It's been hard to miss the nearly nonstop hysteria and political pearl-clutching in the media recently. About 500-600 people have been sickened by misusing electronic cigarette technology and tragically, a handful have died of stupidity.
The national media, along with the usual suspects in the anti-nicotine & tobacco Nazis have seized on the fear, uncertainty and doubt to scare smokers away from vaping. Local media have fallen right in lockstep.
They can't see the smoke through the cloud.
if you’re a smoker or you know or love someone who smokes, please take a few minutes to read on.
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths.
In 2017, 14 of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older (14.0%) currently smoke or very recently had smoked cigarettes. This means an estimated 34.3 million adults in the United States currently smoke and at least 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease. Millions more have close friends or family members who smoke.
Smoking is big money in this country. With big money comes taxation. The U.S. government collects about $12 billion federal tobacco tax revenues, but receipts are declining. State and local tobacco taxes also rake in tens of billions in revenue, but their receipts are also declining.
Tobacco tax receipts are declining because fewer people are smoking. Smokers are dying, there are fewer new smokers each year, and current smokers are smoking less or quitting altogether.
But some very powerful special interests don’t want you to have access to a technology that 11 million Americans are using to reduce tobacco harm and quit smoking. The media sells it for them, paying for the air time with ads from Pfizer Pharamaceutical and Glaxo.
Just 10 years ago, vapers numbered in the hundreds. There are now tens of millions worldwide and the number is growing.
The market potential for the vaping industry is not good—while the industry has seen rapid growth from 2007 through 2019, the pool of current smokers dwindles each year, according to the CDC. As more e-cig makers enter the market, competition for a shrinking customer base will be fierce. This means prospective butt kickers will almost certainly see both rapidly advancing technology and shrinking prices.
The vaping industry has some very large and powerful opponents in the U.S. Vaping is growing because people who want to quit smoking want options. Options that don’t include pharmaceuticals and methods sold by tobacco companies are understandably very popular among current adult smokers.
There are about 20 prescription and over-the-counter tobacco cessation drugs on market. Some of these are simple nicotine replacement methods. But some others are psychoactive chemicals with potentially severe mental and emotional side effects. The non-vaping tobacco cessation market is worth about $42.5 billion.
In 2016, President Obama ordered his Food and Drug Administration to begin heavily regulating what the government acronymized as "ENDS": Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems. In September 2019, President Trump announced that his FDA would develop rules to prohibit flavoring ENDS to combat the “epidemic.” Neither administration moved to end the epidemic sale of tobacco cigarettes, however.
The vaping market is expected to reach $16.5 billion in the U.S. and $54 billion globally by 2024. The compound annual growth rate of the U.S. market—the single largest—is about 18.3%.
The vape device market can be divided into three distinct segments: the closed pod, the open vape mod, and hybrids that borrow from both pod and mod systems. While media attention has been focused on closed pod systems like JUUL and Vuse, it’s the open system vape mod that is expected to grow fastest, say financial analysts.
“Of all the products, the highest growth in the demand for the vape mod has been observed over the last five years which is anticipated to remain the highest among all e-cigarette products during the forecast period. The research and development leading to the product innovation have led to the development of highly differentiated vape mod, thus creating huge traction among consumers.”
These are larger and more expensive devices, offering greater power, more versatility and a higher degree of customization and user control than JUUL and similar pod and pod-like devices. The vape mod market is also highly segmented, with a large and growing group of suppliers.
However, politicians, the media and the anti-nicotine folks are focusing on the pod systems for three reasons. The first is that young people are attracted to these systems for their small, concealable size and powerful nicotine punch. The second is that Altria and RJ Reynolds have significant investments in this segment. Regulators don’t want to see tobacco companies capitalizing on consumers fleeing their coffin nails. The third is that the larger and faster-growing vape mod segment is so heterogeneous that any attempts at regulation and enforcement would be a bureaucratic nightmare.
The fact that the pod segment also attracts current adult smokers is of no consequence to pod detractors. Current smokers are just as likely to favor small, disposable and punchy devices as they are larger and more complex systems because the smaller pods are easier to use. Pod detractors don't seem to care.
Ironically, it’s the open systems that are more susceptible to the kind of abuse that led to the rash of lung ailments that sickened hundreds and ultimately killed seven. While it has not been officially acknowledged, open systems were almost certainly hijacked by illegal drug users and used to vape THC, the active alkaloid chemical found in marijuana. Or perhaps other illicit substances were involved in their Darwinesque experiments. These weren’t vapers. They were drug users trying to get high in new, interesting and ultimately deadly ways.
So, all current government attempts to regulate e-cigarettes and vaping are focusing on the slowest growth segment of the market. The segment most likely to see future Darwinesque experiments by drug addicts will be left untouched.
But what about the children? The teen vaping epidemic? ”In 2017, 11.7% of teens reported having vaped over the past 30 days; in 2019, 27.5% did. There’s nothing to suggest that this increase in vaping is encouraging real teen smoking, which continues to decline and has fallen to less than 6% from roughly 35% in the late 1990s.”
Teens trying vaping is something that can be addressed at the point of sale. But the real epidemic is the one that is subsiding even now. That 6% of our youth still have access to tobacco is alarming. NOT that they are attracted to a techy, trendy gadget that shows no more threat to health than the caffeine and corn sugar packed 16 oz soda in the school vending machine. The fact that there is absolutely no correlation between an increase in teens sampling a vape pod and teen smoking rates should put an end to the credibility of people suggesting that vaping is a gateway to smoking.
“Everyone would prefer that teens not develop a vaping habit, but it presents nothing close to the health issue presented by combustible cigarettes.”
So if you’re a smoker or you know or love someone who is, the clear message is that you shouldn’t succumb to the hysteria.
“[A] counterproductive hysteria has been unleashed, one that ignores the positive effects vapes have had in adult smokers’ lives and rushes to judgment in the absence of the facts. … The bottom line is that officials should not ignore how well-regulated vaping has dramatically reduced sickness and death from cigarette smoking. As alarming as today’s health scare is, a puritanical approach to vapes is very unlikely to serve the public interest.”
Cross-posted to I Bleed Crimson Red: Seeing through the cloud of media and political hysteria
Note: This post refers to tanks that use drop-in factory coils located at the bottom of the tank and are filled from the top. However, some of the concepts apply to rebuildable atomizers.
Some tanks need to have the airflow closed off when refilling because they rely on capillary friction and vacuum to overcome the head differential.
Stick a straw in some water and hold your finger on the top. Pull it up and the water stays put. This is because a vacuum created by your finger doesn't let the water flow out. That's what a top cap partially does on your top filling tank unless you have a leaky o-ring.
The liquid could still find a way through if it weren't for the wick material. Our liquid is thicker than water, so the right amount of very porous wick material creates enough friction between it and the juice to stop the flow.
The vacuum and the friction work together in a properly sealed tank of juice. Take away either one and you might get a leak while filling. You might also get a leak after filling if the capillary friction is defeated by a liquid pathway through the wick. Once that pathway opens, there's no closing it without a re-wick or a new coil.
When you close the airflow before filling, it's like also having a finger on the bottom of the straw.
Close the airflow, open the tank, fill it quickly, close it quickly and then open the airflow. You might also give the tank a little kiss--pull gently with you lips on the tip of a freshly filled tank while the airflow is still closed. Vacuum loss may be replaced and you should be clear to vape.
A mod that is in temperature control mode seeks to provide a pleasurable vape by measuring the cold resistance of your coil, monitoring the resistance change caused by heat when you use the device, and adjusting the amount of power delivered to maintain a specified temperature based on the resistance of the coil.
There is no thermometer or thermo-coupling device on your coil or in your atomizer. Coil temperature is estimated by your device using a mathematical relationship between a metal’s temperature and its resistance.
You start this by allowing the device to read the resistance of the coil at about room temperature. This is the “cold resistance.” You then select the temperature you wish to use and a starting wattage. When you press the fire button, the device applies the starting wattage and monitors the resistance of the coil. The chip in the device is programmed to calculate the temperature based on the change between cold resistance and “live resistance.” Each wire type has a different relationship between its temperature and its “resistivity.”
Without getting into all of the math, understand that the relationship for each metal is defined by its “temperature coefficient of resistance,” or TCR. TCR is always a positive number because resistance always moves in the same direction as temperature—either up or down. TCR defines the rate of change in resistance. A higher TCR means that resistance increases faster for a certain temperature increase and a lower TCR means the opposite.
Currently, only Stainless Steel, Nickel and Titanium wires are supportable using temperature control. There are device manufacturers working on a TC algorithm that supports Nickel Chromium (NiChrome) but results are inconclusive as of February 2018. Your device is either pre-programmed with the data needed to perform the calculation, or the user provides the data through the device’s menu system or a program on your computer.
Here are the basic steps to getting a temperature controlled vape:
User installs temperature compatible coil (see above).
User selects temperature to vape and sets the starting wattage.
Device measures the resistance of your coil and stores it.
User presses fire button to begin vaping.
Device continuously measures coil resistance, calculates temperature and throttles or increases power based on the difference between starting resistance and live resistance.
It's a good idea to set the starting wattage somewhere higher than you would normally use with that coil. If you're a 50-Watt vaper, pick 55-ish. This gives you a quicker ramp up and lets you vape at temp sooner.
There is no way to vape at a wattage that will produce a temperature higher than your set temp. If you want to vape at 50 Watts and the mod is throttling back to 40, it means that 40 Watts is what is necessary for that temperature. If 50 Watts is too hot, it's too hot.
If your device has the ability to lock the starting resistance then you should take advantage of it. Locking cold resistance allows the device to more accurately estimate temperature. Say you’ve been vaping a while and your tank and device are warm. If your resistance has significantly increased since the coil was first read, the mod may not be able to correctly estimate temperature.
This confuses some people. Their vape may seem too hot for the set temperature, or temperature control is throttling back power because the change in resistance indicates that the set temp has been reached. If you don’t lock resistance or the mod isn’t programmed to do it for you, then you will be constantly fiddling with the temperature setting.
If you don't get starting resistance right, or if you cannot or do not lock starting resistance, your chances of success are very low.
Most people have a happy zone that’s somewhere between 380° F and 480° F. Below 380° F produces a very cool and weak vapor. Above 480° F the vapor is too warm and probably harsh. Cellulose, which is the fiber used in 99% of our devices, begins scorching at about 450° F. If your temperature setting is outside of this range, something is wrong. If your setup never reaches a set temp inside this range, something is wrong.
Electronic nicotine delivery has only been around about ten years. Temperature controlled vaping has only been around about two. Both technologies are developing and changes are coming rapidly. This entry was posted in March 2018. If more than a year has elapsed, things are probably very different.
More on the science:
Be it TC or DNA Replay, the thing is that we're dealing with a model of a real world phenomenon. The model is a mathematical relationship between at least one dependent variable and at least one independent variable.
Here's a simple univariate model where there is one dependent variable whose change in value depends on the change in the independent variable. Dependent variables are always measured by the vertical axis; independent always on the horizontal.
Say this is the TC model. Temp is x (horizontal) and Resistance is y (vertical).
In order for TC to work as designed, two parameters have to be reasonably accurate. The value of y at the beginning of the red line and the value that represents the change in the slope of the red line.
We call the first parameter the intercept because it's the point where the red line intercepts the y axis. We call the second parameter the coefficient because it's the measure of change in y given a change in x.
In TC, starting resistance is the intercept and the coefficient is TCR.
All models have to be calibrated, which means their model runs have to be compared to their real world phenomenon and adjusted until the model models reality.
There are two ways to calibrate the model. One is changing the intercept. Two is changing the coefficient. In some realities changing the intercept (starting resistance) for the model is enough to produce acceptable results if you are sure the coefficient is accurate. In others (complex, multi-wire builds) that's not enough and the TCR has to be changed. In really fun situations both need modification.
Changing the intercept by adjusting the starting resistance shifts the entire red line up or down in the same direction and by the same amount at all points. You start lower (or higher) and end lower (or higher).
Changing TCR changes the slope of the red line so that it gets steeper or flatter. Increasing TCR makes it steeper and decreasing it makes it flatter. Nickel has a very high TCR, so the slope for a Nickel wire is much steeper than that for Stainless Steel. Kanthal has an almost nonexistent TCR, so it's slope is very flat (which is why it is unsuited for TC.).
"... so I put a brand new coil in the tank, filled it up, tried it and got this horrible burnt taste!"
This post shows up over and over again on ECF. Almost every time, this outcome is the result of the user not priming the new factory replacement coil before starting to use the device. The coil absolutely must be primed with liquid before you can use it, and you can't just dial up a big wattage number to start.
Here's a step by step guide to priming your new coil.
Open the tank and if there is a coil inside, unscrew it from the base and set it aside.
Screw the new coil into the base and tighten it firmly, using only your fingers. Do not over-tighten as doing so can damage the coil or the o-rings that help it create a leak-free seal.
Choose a flavor, and carefully place between two and four drops of it into each of the wicking holes you see on the side of the coil. It's ok if it gets a little messy.
Place between four and six drops of liquid into the center of the coil from the top down, trying to moisten the wicking material.
Assemble the tank according to the manufacturers directions.
Fill the tank and close it up.
This step is important: Find something else to occupy yourself with for the next 20 minutes or so! This allows the liquid to saturate the wicking material.
Place the tank on your device and tighten snugly, but not over tight.
Close the airflow vents on the tank.
Take one to three un-powered puffs. Don't press the fire button yet.
Open the airflow, and set your device to a power level well below any wattage recommended by the manufacturer or that dude at the vape shop. Say, 15-20 Watts to start with.
Press the fire button and take a few puffs. There should be little if any flavor or vapor.
Slowly increase the wattage, a few Watts at a time, while alternating powered with unpowered puffs. Vapor and flavor production will improve.
Check the airflow--get this to your liking (your liking is the only one that counts).
Increase the wattage to something approximating the recommended range, and you should be good to go.
If you get a bad taste at anytime during steps 13-15, back off the power. That little wisp of bad flavor is your coil telling you that it was good where it was on the last puff and that you should stay for a while. You can always adjust the airflow and the wattage after the coil has been broken in fully. Maybe on the next tank refill.
Separate names with a comma.