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Lisaf01

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Jun 22, 2009
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    Hi Jman8,
    I'll try to answer all your questions and statements, but I don't have information on Dr F's motives and policies with regard to publicising his own results in detail. I can say that he has only ever had vapers' health in mind and felt extremely strongly that our results should be in the public domain.

    Think for a moment, how it would have looked if we'd made broad statements about our findings without actually disclosing the information at the root of the concerns. If we'd made a declaration without going into any detail at all, and refused to back it up with lab reports, it would have been doubted and mistrusted, leaving customers without the information they want and need. This was evidenced by the number of people who contacted us to request the test results because the information had come as such a shock to them, and they felt sure that a reputable manufacturer would have disclosed this information to them, had they known about it.

    With the greatest of respect, the root of the issue here isn't really the test results or the differences between them. Differences between lab protocols and methodologies is an interesting topic, and a much more joined-up approach is required (and some labs are already working towards), however, comparing results in this way is merely a distraction from the main issue. The issue is that no test results were available at all in the public domain until we released ours, and customers (ourselves included) were denied the tools they require to make their own choices.

    I agree that it is too bad that it has gone the way it has, there are many ways this could have gone down differently and indeed, had we'd been given any idea that multiple test results already existed showing these compounds present, we'd have ended it right there, and none of this would have happened and consumers would still be vaping liquid they were confident was free of these compounds.

    On a positive note, this episode very clearly demonstrates that the full disclosure consumers demand (and deserve) is the only way to go and I hope companies and consumers will all work together towards an industry where full transparency is firmly rooted as the gold standard to aim for.
     

    SeniorBoy

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      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for starting this thread.

      1. Please tell us your "story"? I'm guessing that a lot of members are not familiar with your business story. Stuff like how you got started, why vaping, and any other thoughts you wish to post so members can glean a sense of your business. Please don't be bashful since this is your forum. :)

      2. Your on the other side of the pond and face some regulatory challenges that those of us in the USA may not be aware of. We have the FDA along with local regulators to deal with. What is the regulatory climate like in the UK and what are your concerns? Yes, you can rub your crystal ball and help us understand the global implications of "vaping regulations".

      Continued best wishes

      /Steve
       
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      Pinggolfer

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        I have some questions for you.

        1. Why was it necessary for you post the results for Five Pawns on your web site instead of just removing the products and a not saying we will no longer carry Five Pawns?

        2. You posted: We regularly send random samples of our liquid to an independent UK laboratory for GCMS analysis so you can be certain we are supplying a high quality and consistent product which doesn't contain anything it shouldn't. The tests carried out include nicotine assay, PG/VG percentage and known contaminants including Diacetyl, Acetyl Propionyl, Diethylene Glycol and Ethylene Glycol.

        Looking at your test results posted for your cloud 9 liquids I see no such reference to PG/VG. http://www.cloud9vaping.co.uk/WebRo...esults/Classic_BananaDream_150714_BE07544.pdf

        3. Why didn't you meet with Rob from Five Pawns when he called and asked to meet with you in person. Is your business model set up for strictly email only?

        4. Five Pawns made it clear how they helped fund Dr.F work. Has Cloud 9 funded any study for vaping safety?

        5. Has testing lab you used West Yorkshire Analytic ever tested e-liquids for DA/AP in the past?

        6. Looking over your testing of your e-liquids why can't I find the product on the test result using that name the lab uses? Such as Banana Dream? The same method is used with Five Pawns however on your site you decided to list Five Pawns name.

        7. Since Vg is heavier the PG when mixed together would you come to the conclusion that your lab when testing for Five Pawns for PG and VG that the sample wasn't shaken? You told the world Five Pawns Castle long is 76% PG. So are you saying Five Pawns eliquids are mostly PG? Your results clearly show more PG than VG in Five Pawns liquids.

        8. This question has nothing to do with eliquids. However since Cloud 9 is determined to sell only safe products can you explain why the iStick 50 watt has been on your site from day one and you must be aware of the the auto fire problems, overheating while charging, and exploding iStick 50's.

        Thank you and I will look forward to reply.
         

        Jman8

        Vaping Master
        ECF Veteran
        Jan 15, 2013
        6,419
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        Wisconsin
          Hi Jman8,
          I'll try to answer all your questions and statements, but I don't have information on Dr F's motives and policies with regard to publicising his own results in detail. I can say that he has only ever had vapers' health in mind and felt extremely strongly that our results should be in the public domain.

          Think for a moment, how it would have looked if we'd made broad statements about our findings without actually disclosing the information at the root of the concerns. If we'd made a declaration without going into any detail at all, and refused to back it up with lab reports, it would have been doubted and mistrusted, leaving customers without the information they want and need. This was evidenced by the number of people who contacted us to request the test results because the information had come as such a shock to them, and they felt sure that a reputable manufacturer would have disclosed this information to them, had they known about it.

          I believe my previous post demonstrated with words chosen that I had thought about how this would look. Dr. F. was able to get away with the broad statements and retain trust in his message of DA/AP in liquids that claim none. Your sales policy is that you offer product with none, and that was violated. That there was any, would be the information that would address the reasonable concern of those customers. The specific results are what lead to the current dispute, and not the general information. Yes, hindsight is 20/20, but your reasoning here sheds more doubt, perhaps even mistrust, on what Dr. F. provided to the community based on notion that we did not receive specifics. Kind of a catch-22 from the Dr. F. angle.

          To me, the idea that you were selling before having the trusted independent lab results in hand is the issue that is on you. You now know not to do that again. Releasing specific lab results, from a vendor who you are not in contact with, is (or was) a gamble, but I don't see how that was going to pay off for you. And I do see it as unreasonable consideration from consumers demanding it, when you are not in contact with the vendor. Would be no different than if same consumers demanded Dr. F. release his full data, to which I'm thinking he won't unless he had okay from all vendors.

          With the greatest of respect, the root of the issue here isn't really the test results or the differences between them. Differences between lab protocols and methodologies is an interesting topic, and a much more joined-up approach is required (and some labs are already working towards), however, comparing results in this way is merely a distraction from the main issue. The issue is that no test results were available at all in the public domain until we released ours, and customers (ourselves included) were denied the tools they require to make their own choices.

          And as I've said (elsewhere), customers could do their own testing if they were that concerned, just as you did, and have chosen to do, because you care that much. (Perhaps) all of these same customers were previously met with denial of full disclosure around this issue with release of Dr. F. findings in his study that brought tremendous light to this issue. That vendors claiming zero were instead releasing product that had any was seemingly enough for most to conclude with the position of - we need to know, yes or no, if it is in there. Had you made contact with the vendor, and essentially received their blessing to release your specific results, it would then make sense to publish full results. Without that, it strikes me as a gamble that could backfire, which in reality, it did.

          Also as I've noticed elsewhere, your site makes note that some of your tobacco eLiquids that advertise as zero nic may indeed contain some nic, albeit it in trace amounts (less than .02%). Based on your reasoning here, it would seem you ought to have policy that gets ahead of the curve that notes on your sales page, the lab results showing the exact amount of nicotine in your zero nic liquids. For otherwise, customers are denied the tools they could conceivably require to make their own choices.

          I agree that it is too bad that it has gone the way it has, there are many ways this could have gone down differently and indeed, had we'd been given any idea that multiple test results already existed showing these compounds present, we'd have ended it right there, and none of this would have happened and consumers would still be vaping liquid they were confident was free of these compounds.

          The split obviously occurs in this situation between you and 5P not being in full contact with what you were ready to release. Desiring to release to maintain integrity around your offerings, and to appease a segment of the vape buying community. That you went in the direction you did, without vendor approval, tells me that Dr. F. could've, arguably should've, done the same thing, otherwise I'm now unclear as to how these same consumers can trust Dr. F.'s previous study. But that is on them to answer for.

          On a positive note, this episode very clearly demonstrates that the full disclosure consumers demand (and deserve) is the only way to go and I hope companies and consumers will all work together towards an industry where full transparency is firmly rooted as the gold standard to aim for.

          Not all consumers are demanding full disclosure. FDA is clearly asking for full disclosure, and if that costs $330,000 per product, so be it. Customers of vaping can then be more assured they are getting the "gold standard" treatment from an agency, that on the surface, is all about consumer safety. I'm quite certain they could point to a demand for that sort of standard, and that this justifies industry being treated as forcefully as possible to live up to that standard.

          The way things have been, with little to no standards, has been working fairly well for vaping community up to now. Push too hard on those standards with justifications that all customers demand/deserve this (when the demand part is unlikely not true), and another market will arise where costs are kept down, and standards are lowered to still meet the actual demand, rather than the one based on trumped up concerns of a small segment of consumers.
           

          Lisaf01

          Unregistered Supplier
          ECF Veteran
          Jun 22, 2009
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          www.cremedevape.com
            Hi Lisa,

            Thanks for starting this thread.

            Hi Steve, you're most welcome, I am happy to be here to answer questions openly and honestly and that so many have taken the time to come out to ask them.

            1. Please tell us your "story"? I'm guessing that a lot of members are not familiar with your business story. Stuff like how you got started, why vaping, and any other thoughts you wish to post so members can glean a sense of your business. Please don't be bashful since this is your forum. :)

            Wow, that's a big question to answer, and difficult to answer concisely. Culturally, us British tend to be a reserved bunch who often shy away from expressing their positives, and we have been told quite a few times that we don't do enough to "blow our own trumpet" about what we do and what makes us different from other vaping businesses. Additionally, I am hampered by not being the best writer, and sometimes have a habit of being too honest. Honesty is a positive in most areas of life, but in many business endeavours in this day and age, it can cause more issues than you'd think.
            My background was initially in Retail management which gradually became more and more IT-focused until I moved completely into IT hardware and software consultancy from about 1995 onwards. I gave it all up and used my (very small) life savings to begin Cloud9vaping which launched in late 2009.

            I discovered vaping in June of 2009, and was surprised to find that despite many failed attempts in the past, using other methods and going cold-turkey, this time I was finally able to say goodbye to a very heavy smoking habit overnight, and with so much ease. I began using a DSE901 mini e-cig, which was obviously not really fit to replace such a heavy smoking habit, and I had to carry 7 or 8 batteries and about 10 cartridges around with me on a daily basis. Unfortunately, there was not a lot of choice around at that time, but innovators were beginning to address the needs of those with serious vaping habits, and thus the screwdriver was born here in Britain, the GG was born in Greece, and Puresmoker and Super-T amongst others in the US came along with other mechanical devices that could take larger batteries and provide a more satisfying vaping experience. There weren't many companies selling vaping equipment in the UK at that time, and I decided I could do a good job of identifying good products, and bringing them to market so that other smokers could discover the amazing freedom I had discovered for myself.
            I'd become a memeber of the ECF quite early on in my "vaping career" and immediately enjoyed the camaraderie of the community, which was pretty small at that time. Keith (my husband and co-owner of the company) and I happened to meet on one of the supplier sub-forums here, and immediately hit it off. He was out in Florida welding by day, and working on his IT degree at night, and he'd coincidentally started his vaping journey at the same time as I had, and we had a lot in common, despite being on different continents, and having quite different backgrounds. As our relationship developed, and romance blossomed, I spoke to him about my idea, and he strongly encouraged me and was instrumental in supporting me as I began working on founding Cloud9Vaping. He was finally able to join me here in the UK, in 2012 and we got married and continue to operate the business in partnership - both of us having direct responsibility for, and involvement in all the day-to-day operations.

            The initial idea was to do things differently to the other few companies that were around, many of whom were making ridiculous claims as to cartridge equivalences or just selling products that weren't really fit to replace a heavier smoking habit, or selling products at massively inflated prices. We were keen to ensure that hardware was tried and tested, and liquids were correctly packaged and labelled in accordance with the requirements in Europe for these products (which were not at all known or understood back then, and indeed, are still not properly understood or correctly implemented by many vendors in the EU).
            Our idea was to test all hardware, and only ever bring those products into stock that we'd personally tried and approved. We specialised in advanced products at a time when they were being made in very limited numbers, by only a few individul mod-makers.
            We have never done, nor never will offer pre-orders off the back of CAD drawings of products that haven't yet been made, let alone seen or tested. When manufacturers release new products, we purchase samples, and then put the products through their paces, discovering their strengths and weaknesses, trying to do what we can to break them, and generally using the opportunity to decide whether or not they bring some value to our range, and whether or not we are happy to offer them to our customers and put our name behind them. This often means we miss the inital wave of interest and clamour for newly released products, but we have chosen to forgoe this potentially profitable wave to ensure we never supply untested kit that may at best be unfit for purpose, and at worst, potentially unsafe. Our customers aren't guinea pigs, and they deserve to trust that we will supply fully tested hardware that we can stand behind. This policy does have the added bonus that we are already so familiar with the product by the time it goes on sale, that we can provide tips that we've discovered about how to get the best from it, and can also provide knowledgeable support about it from day one of sales - which is particularly pertinent to some of the higher-end RTAs that we distribute these days. It also means that we often bypass any niggles that are common to first iterations of new products.

            It sounds trite, and is said so many times by so many companies, but we are vapers ourselves and we truly care about supplying a quality product that will help our customers switch from smoking to vaping, and maintain that switch long term.

            We're thrilled and ever-so proud to have won several awards for our products and customer service and to consistently be number 1 in the UK electronic cigarette category on the Independent TrustPilot Reviews site. Our customers are fantastically supportive and we appreciate every one of them for allowing us to be their supplier of choice in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

            2. Your on the other side of the pond and face some regulatory challenges that those of us in the USA may not be aware of. We have the FDA along with local regulators to deal with. What is the regulatory climate like in the UK and what are your concerns? Yes, you can rub your crystal ball and help us understand the global implications of "vaping regulations".

            Continued best wishes

            /Steve


            2. Another big question. Yes, we do face many regulatory challenges that don't exist in the US, even when you don't factor in the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) which will restrict our market massively. For those who are unaware of the TPD and how it will affect vapers in the EU, check out this video.



            The existing regulations that effect any business in the UK, not just vaping businesses, are many and long, and would probably bore you half to death, to be entirely honest.
            Certainly our whole industry faces many challenges ahead, all across the world, and sensible, proportionate legislation is welcomed, but it would appear that sensible and proportionate regulation is increasingly unlikely to happen. This stands to impact us all, vapers and vaping retailers alike. I believe that vapers who are involved in the community and on forums have the least to lose, since there will always be a way for those "in the know" to source these products even if traditional vape shops are regulated out of existence. What I worry about is the average bloke that pops into his local vape shop to buy his supplies, and just won't be able to obtain the supplies he needs to keep him off the cigarettes, when all the local vapeshops close. I worry also about those who haven't yet discovered vaping, in an open market, who will face a decreased amount of choice, decreased level of innovation and change, and risk not being in the position we are now with an infinite number of choices that make moving to a smoke-free life-style very easy.
            The last few years in this market have seemed like a race to the bottom, and now we're faced with a race to over-restrictive regulations. It's a very worrying time for all of us.
             

            Lisaf01

            Unregistered Supplier
            ECF Veteran
            Jun 22, 2009
            4,515
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            www.cremedevape.com
              I have some questions for you.

              1. Why was it necessary for you post the results for Five Pawns on your web site instead of just removing the products and a not saying we will no longer carry Five Pawns?
              We have already fully explained our reasoning, earlier in this thread.

              2. You posted: We regularly send random samples of our liquid to an independent UK laboratory for GCMS analysis so you can be certain we are supplying a high quality and consistent product which doesn't contain anything it shouldn't. The tests carried out include nicotine assay, PG/VG percentage and known contaminants including Diacetyl, Acetyl Propionyl, Diethylene Glycol and Ethylene Glycol.

              Looking at your test results posted for your cloud 9 liquids I see no such reference to PG/VG. http://www.cloud9vaping.co.uk/WebRo...esults/Classic_BananaDream_150714_BE07544.pdf

              Our typical testing protocol is exactly as described by you above, and by us on our site. We have traditionally "blind tested" all our samples, a procedure common in many industries, and introduced to us by ECITA, as fully explained on our site in our Liquid testing protocol blog post. All our test results were only ever produced for our own internal due diligence, and we never expected to release them publicly.
              In the light of recent events, and because a few people questioned this common practice where samples are identified by number and visual description rather than by actual product name (other than in the file name), we re-ran testing, just for diketones on all of our own-brand liquids that had not been batch tested in the previous wave of tests. We chose just to test only diketones on this most recent batch of tests because the purpose of the test results was to directly address concerns over the presence of these compounds and the extra expenditure on the PG/VG level, nicotine level etc was unnecessary, given that we already have this data on hand from previous tests, in a format that is perfectly suitable for our internal use. If you check the Euro Blend and Gold & Silver lab results on our site, you'll see the most recent prior blind test results.

              3. Why didn't you meet with Rob from Five Pawns when he called and asked to meet with you in person. Is your business model set up for strictly email only?
              Neither Gavin or Rob have called, skyped, or emailed us to discuss these test results. Gavin did respond to our email where we notified him about the test results and indicated that he would like to discuss them in person. Given the experience we'd already had with them, we were keen to keep all further contact and discussions in writing, which is an extremely sensible thing to do in a situation of this kind. However, Keith's last message to Gavin stated that we would be perfectly happy to meet with him at VapeJam to discuss this matter, but despite waiting at their stand for around 30 minutes, he wasn't there.

              4. Five Pawns made it clear how they helped fund Dr.F work. Has Cloud 9 funded any study for vaping safety?
              Yes, we have been in regular contact with Dr Farsalinos since 2013, and have helped publicise and fund some of his research.

              5. Has testing lab you used West Yorkshire Analytic ever tested e-liquids for DA/AP in the past?
              Yes, of course - we've been running tests with them for several years, as have many other vaping retailers.

              6. Looking over your testing of your e-liquids why can't I find the product on the test result using that name the lab uses? Such as Banana Dream? The same method is used with Five Pawns however on your site you decided to list Five Pawns name.
              I've answered this in question 2.

              7. Since Vg is heavier the PG when mixed together would you come to the conclusion that your lab when testing for Five Pawns for PG and VG that the sample wasn't shaken? You told the world Five Pawns Castle long is 76% PG. So are you saying Five Pawns eliquids are mostly PG? Your results clearly show more PG than VG in Five Pawns liquids.

              We're not "saying" anything, we merely reported our lab's findings. It's unreasonable and frankly, bordering on the preposterous to come to a conclusion that a lab of the experience and calibre of West Yorkshire might have improperly prepared samples for testing. Their background is in being the primary lab of choice for Trading Standards departments across the country and in preparing and testing samples on behalf of the Police and court services.

              8. This question has nothing to do with eliquids. However since Cloud 9 is determined to sell only safe products can you explain why the iStick 50 watt has been on your site from day one and you must be aware of the the auto fire problems, overheating while charging, and exploding iStick 50's.
              Thank you and I will look forward to reply.


              On the contrary, it hasn't been on our site from day one of its release, in common with all our hardware, it was actually two or three batches into production before we purchased our product for re-sale, after performing our usual tests. I would advise you to look at our last post, which explains our hardware testing protocol in detail.
              Now that we have been selling it for a period of time, we have not received any concerned reports of overheating or exploding from any of our customers. Eleaf have blamed the problems on counterfeit devices, and I have no evidence to either back up that claim or dismiss it, however our own experience must always be our primary source of information and to-date, it's not been an issue at all with any of our units.

              Many thanks for your questions, I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to address some of your concerns directly.
               

              Lisaf01

              Unregistered Supplier
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              Jun 22, 2009
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              www.cremedevape.com
                I believe my previous post demonstrated with words chosen that I had thought about how this would look. Dr. F. was able to get away with the broad statements and retain trust in his message of DA/AP in liquids that claim none. Your sales policy is that you offer product with none, and that was violated. That there was any, would be the information that would address the reasonable concern of those customers. The specific results are what lead to the current dispute, and not the general information. Yes, hindsight is 20/20, but your reasoning here sheds more doubt, perhaps even mistrust, on what Dr. F. provided to the community based on notion that we did not receive specifics. Kind of a catch-22 from the Dr. F. angle.

                Dr F's actions and our actions aren't directly comparable for many reasons, not least because Dr F is not involved directly in retailing vaping products, and thus, information he provides (or doesn't provide) is accorded a different kind of "status" and not as likely to be doubted, or questioned as information provided by manufacturers and retailers might be. Those that might have mistrusted our results, without having clear site of the evidence to back them up, simply do not have the same argument in the absence of Dr F's information. There could be many reasons to prevent him from directly releasing his data, other parties involved in the study, contracts with his employers etc. We don't know if he's autonomous and has the authority of his peers to disclose the information, as well as the stomach and time to deal with the possible fallout.

                To me, the idea that you were selling before having the trusted independent lab results in hand is the issue that is on you. You now know not to do that again. Releasing specific lab results, from a vendor who you are not in contact with, is (or was) a gamble, but I don't see how that was going to pay off for you. And I do see it as unreasonable consideration from consumers demanding it, when you are not in contact with the vendor. Would be no different than if same consumers demanded Dr. F. release his full data, to which I'm thinking he won't unless he had okay from all vendors.

                We are extremely upset that we were as trusting as we were.
                This was never about any kind of "pay-off" for us though - this was only ever about keeping customers informed.

                And as I've said (elsewhere), customers could do their own testing if they were that concerned, just as you did, and have chosen to do, because you care that much. (Perhaps) all of these same customers were previously met with denial of full disclosure around this issue with release of Dr. F. findings in his study that brought tremendous light to this issue. That vendors claiming zero were instead releasing product that had any was seemingly enough for most to conclude with the position of - we need to know, yes or no, if it is in there. Had you made contact with the vendor, and essentially received their blessing to release your specific results, it would then make sense to publish full results. Without that, it strikes me as a gamble that could backfire, which in reality, it did.
                We don't believe it's reasonable on any level for individual vapers to have to do their own testing for compounds that are known to be harmful. We also think vapers should have the right to choose whether or not they are happy to take these risks, given that they are choosing harm reduction, which isn't the same as "safe", and as I've said before, they need the information provided to be able to make these choices.

                Also as I've noticed elsewhere, your site makes note that some of your tobacco eLiquids that advertise as zero nic may indeed contain some nic, albeit it in trace amounts (less than .02%). Based on your reasoning here, it would seem you ought to have policy that gets ahead of the curve that notes on your sales page, the lab results showing the exact amount of nicotine in your zero nic liquids. For otherwise, customers are denied the tools they could conceivably require to make their own choices.

                This is in common with many tobacco liquids across the world, although with newer refinement techniques and more sophisticated tobacco flavouring development, the potential for this contamination is becoming rarer. The information that we test for it may have come as a surprise to you because we may be the only ones who are testing for it, and disclosing that we are testing for it.
                There is no nicotine in any of our zero liquids currently for sale. The information in our blog post serves only to illustrate the comprehensive nature of our testing protocol, not as disclosure that there is nicotine in any of our zero nicotine liquids. If there was any nicotine in any one of the particular flavours at trace levels, it would be detailed clearly in the product description. You might want to question why this type of testing is such big news, and why no-one else seems to be performing these kind of checks on zero nic tobacco liquids where nicotine could potentially "creep" into the product within the flavouring.

                The split obviously occurs in this situation between you and 5P not being in full contact with what you were ready to release. Desiring to release to maintain integrity around your offerings, and to appease a segment of the vape buying community. That you went in the direction you did, without vendor approval, tells me that Dr. F. could've, arguably should've, done the same thing, otherwise I'm now unclear as to how these same consumers can trust Dr. F.'s previous study. But that is on them to answer for.

                Not all consumers are demanding full disclosure. FDA is clearly asking for full disclosure, and if that costs $330,000 per product, so be it. Customers of vaping can then be more assured they are getting the "gold standard" treatment from an agency, that on the surface, is all about consumer safety. I'm quite certain they could point to a demand for that sort of standard, and that this justifies industry being treated as forcefully as possible to live up to that standard.
                The way things have been, with little to no standards, has been working fairly well for vaping community up to now. Push too hard on those standards with justifications that all customers demand/deserve this (when the demand part is unlikely not true), and another market will arise where costs are kept down, and standards are lowered to still meet the actual demand, rather than the one based on trumped up concerns of a small segment of consumers.

                Not all consumers are demanding full disclosure no, because the vast majority remain completely unaware that this is even an issue, because they expect these products to be as safe as they possibly can be, and free from any potentially harmful compounds before they are readily available for sale. I believe it to be the ethical thing to do to prove to customers that your product is what it says it is, in all respects, and provide basic information about any potentially harmful compounds, or inhalation risks, or allergens that may be present. It's by no means a small segment of consumers though, that are demanding this information, and it's in the interests of all vaping businesses to supply it.
                 

                Lisaf01

                Unregistered Supplier
                ECF Veteran
                Jun 22, 2009
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                387
                UK
                www.cremedevape.com
                  Now, after being up till way past 5am yesterday and with it being 11pm here now, I am signing off and getting some down-time. Please understand that our responses to any further posts may be delayed for this reason, and because we generally prefer to take Sundays as a rest day.
                   

                  Jman8

                  Vaping Master
                  ECF Veteran
                  Jan 15, 2013
                  6,419
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                  Wisconsin
                    Dr F's actions and our actions aren't directly comparable for many reasons, not least because Dr F is not involved directly in retailing vaping products, and thus, information he provides (or doesn't provide) is accorded a different kind of "status" and not as likely to be doubted, or questioned as information provided by manufacturers and retailers might be.

                    Disagree due to the principle that science is (allegedly) science. This would be admission that your results are subject to doubt, via commercial interests. Is this what you mean to purport?

                    Dr. F.'s study was crowd funded by either industry and/or consumers. It is comparable.

                    Those that might have mistrusted our results, without having clear site of the evidence to back them up, simply do not have the same argument in the absence of Dr F's information. There could be many reasons to prevent him from directly releasing his data, other parties involved in the study, contracts with his employers etc. We don't know if he's autonomous and has the authority of his peers to disclose the information, as well as the stomach and time to deal with the possible fallout.

                    All interesting speculation that is what you are basing your reason to publish your own results.

                    Had to do some digging, but here is link to the thread regarding Dr. F. study and am linking to first post I could find by Dr. F. where he states rationale for not disclosing the names. As I read more of the thread, I would say the rationale for not disclosing was: it would be perceived as targeting a specific vendor (or small segment of vendors) when greater than 70% are engaged in the (perceived) problem.

                    We are extremely upset that we were as trusting as we were.
                    This was never about any kind of "pay-off" for us though - this was only ever about keeping customers informed.

                    By pay off, I specifically meant "keeping the customers informed." I don't see how that was going to work for you when you are targeting a vendor with results that the vendor was very likely to dispute. That they did dispute it, perceived it as out of line by you, backs up what I am conveying. That consumers are arguably less informed about specifics now, by you releasing specifics, is what I will keep coming back to as to how this would backfire against you. I get that you might say you don't really care if it backfires against you, as long as the customer is informed, but I've got to say that I don't see the consumer as being any more informed. With regards to your business model, the information that a reasonably concerned consumer can draw from this is that C9 will be more diligent in testing all products they receive and will not allow themselves to be put in the position they felt 5P put them in (though reality, which you accept, is that you put yourself in this position).

                    We don't believe it's reasonable on any level for individual vapers to have to do their own testing for compounds that are known to be harmful.

                    Then you are arguing for individual vapers to ultimately place trust in vendors / manufacturers. This takes consumers back to where things were in 2011 with regards to this issue. How'd that work out for consumers? I don't get how a consumer would ever be able to claim they know (for sure) if they don't do own testing. But IMO, this is really not a debatable point. Some want to argue for faith over science, while basing a substantial amount of their DA/AP position on "what science tells us." (Actual) science tells us to repeat the tests, to verify results. That you, or anyone, would call it unreasonable for individual vapers to do their own testing strikes me as an issue that will never, ever, be resolved to satisfactorily level of consumers. Or akin to the satisfaction vapers enjoyed in say 2012 when telling everyone that studies show this is 100 times less harmful than smoking, but during a period when vendors were claiming one thing, while actual data would've shown anyone, using science, otherwise. A caring consumer, truly interested in this issue, could've learned about their favorite vendors specific results in 2012, but instead chose trust as the guiding factor. Sound familiar C9?

                    This is in common with many tobacco liquids across the world, although with newer refinement techniques and more sophisticated tobacco flavouring development, the potential for this contamination is becoming rarer. The information that we test for it may have come as a surprise to you because we may be the only ones who are testing for it, and disclosing that we are testing for it.
                    There is no nicotine in any of our zero liquids currently for sale. The information in our blog post serves only to illustrate the comprehensive nature of our testing protocol, not as disclosure that there is nicotine in any of our zero nicotine liquids. If there was any nicotine in any one of the particular flavours at trace levels, it would be detailed clearly in the product description. You might want to question why this type of testing is such big news, and why no-one else seems to be performing these kind of checks on zero nic tobacco liquids where nicotine could potentially "creep" into the product within the flavouring.

                    I apologize in advance, but i find it hard to believe there is zero nic in all your zero nic liquids, based on what this wording is stating:

                    It has been our experience that some tobacco type flavour zero nicotine liquids can contain miniscule traces of nicotine, due to to the method of production involved in manufacturing some tobacco flavours, however, we have never seen any results above 0.04% nicotine (0.4mg/ml) in a zero nicotine e-liquid, and any product that tested above 0.02% (0.2mg/ml) would not be released for sale. The last time any of our zero liquids tested positive for traces of nicotine (at 0.01%) was in January 2013.

                    This implies that your zero liquids could plausibly test for positive traces above zero, and below 0.01%. Otherwise, why stipulate with the parenthetical 0.01% and with the "traces" wording. Why not state what you conveyed in this post, "There is no nicotine in any of our zero liquids currently for sale?"

                    Not all consumers are demanding full disclosure no, because the vast majority remain completely unaware that this is even an issue, because they expect these products to be as safe as they possibly can be, and free from any potentially harmful compounds before they are readily available for sale. I believe it to be the ethical thing to do to prove to customers that your product is what it says it is, in all respects, and provide basic information about any potentially harmful compounds, or inhalation risks, or allergens that may be present. It's by no means a small segment of consumers though, that are demanding this information, and it's in the interests of all vaping businesses to supply it.

                    And I would say that the interest ought to be met with all businesses being on same page when they are looking to present the information, especially if naming names. Otherwise, it will come across, as it did in this situation, like there is discord between vaping businesses, and the consumer is essentially invited to take sides with one vaping business over another. There is a visible divide in the community over this, and I would say a majority favor what you did. I do not. I see it as targeting when targeting via specifics was not necessary, and not really helpful. I think your actions warranted legal guns being aimed right back at you for the audacity in doing what you did. That you won't keep your data public, based on the principle of ethics you cite, demonstrates that (your) ethics matter up to a point, and staying in business matters a little more. I do not blame you, even a smidgeon, for wanting to stay in business. I'm glad you exist in the community going forward. But the ethics around this situation is questionable. That you learned your lesson and accept responsibility for the rather significant error you made (via trusting) does give me comfort in knowing you are highly unlikely to target more vendors going forward.
                     

                    Pinggolfer

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                      However, Keith's last message to Gavin stated that we would be perfectly happy to meet with him at VapeJam to discuss this matter, but despite waiting at their stand for around 30 minutes, he wasn't there.

                      If you can clear this up more Gavin who traveled 8 times zones was to meet you at VapeJam and as you waited you made no effort at all to call or text him? You waited 30 minutes and decided to walk away?

                      We're not "saying" anything, we merely reported our lab's findings. It's unreasonable and frankly, bordering on the preposterous to come to a conclusion that a lab of the experience and calibre of West Yorkshire might have improperly prepared samples for testing. Their background is in being the primary lab of choice for Trading Standards departments across the country and in preparing and testing samples on behalf of the Police and court services.

                      I take it you agree 100% in the test results for PG/VG in all of Five Pawns liquids you tested. You are confident Five Pawns liquids are at least 70% PG?
                       

                      Lisaf01

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                        Disagree due to the principle that science is (allegedly) science. This would be admission that your results are subject to doubt, via commercial interests. Is this what you mean to purport?
                        No, that's not what we mean to purport. I believe I was quite clear when I said that releasing our results without the actual data to back them up, might have made them subject to doubt.

                        Dr. F.'s study was crowd funded by either industry and/or consumers. It is comparable.
                        All interesting speculation that is what you are basing your reason to publish your own results.
                        Had to do some digging, but here is link to the thread regarding Dr. F. study and am linking to first post I could find by Dr. F. where he states rationale for not disclosing the names. As I read more of the thread, I would say the rationale for not disclosing was: it would be perceived as targeting a specific vendor (or small segment of vendors) when greater than 70% are engaged in the (perceived) problem.
                        I understand it's your view they are comparable, and we disagree, for many reasons. I have explained some of our thought processes, which were informed by customer demands for information. I cannot and will not comment further on someone elses thought processes and reasoning, and further belabouring this point as it relates to someone elses work is beyond the scope of this thread.

                        By pay off, I specifically meant "keeping the customers informed." I don't see how that was going to work for you when you are targeting a vendor with results that the vendor was very likely to dispute. That they did dispute it, perceived it as out of line by you, backs up what I am conveying. That consumers are arguably less informed about specifics now, by you releasing specifics, is what I will keep coming back to as to how this would backfire against you. I get that you might say you don't really care if it backfires against you, as long as the customer is informed, but I've got to say that I don't see the consumer as being any more informed. With regards to your business model, the information that a reasonably concerned consumer can draw from this is that C9 will be more diligent in testing all products they receive and will not allow themselves to be put in the position they felt 5P put them in (though reality, which you accept, is that you put yourself in this position).

                        I really think we'll have to agree to disagree on many things here, Jman8.

                        Then you are arguing for individual vapers to ultimately place trust in vendors / manufacturers. This takes consumers back to where things were in 2011 with regards to this issue. How'd that work out for consumers? I don't get how a consumer would ever be able to claim they know (for sure) if they don't do own testing. But IMO, this is really not a debatable point. Some want to argue for faith over science, while basing a substantial amount of their DA/AP position on "what science tells us." (Actual) science tells us to repeat the tests, to verify results. That you, or anyone, would call it unreasonable for individual vapers to do their own testing strikes me as an issue that will never, ever, be resolved to satisfactorily level of consumers. Or akin to the satisfaction vapers enjoyed in say 2012 when telling everyone that studies show this is 100 times less harmful than smoking, but during a period when vendors were claiming one thing, while actual data would've shown anyone, using science, otherwise. A caring consumer, truly interested in this issue, could've learned about their favorite vendors specific results in 2012, but instead chose trust as the guiding factor. Sound familiar C9?
                        Again, I think this is an area where our beliefs are unlikely to align.

                        I apologize in advance, but i find it hard to believe there is zero nic in all your zero nic liquids, based on what this wording is stating:

                        This implies that your zero liquids could plausibly test for positive traces above zero, and below 0.01%. Otherwise, why stipulate with the parenthetical 0.01% and with the "traces" wording. Why not state what you conveyed in this post, "There is no nicotine in any of our zero liquids currently for sale?"

                        I have been very clear in my earlier answer about this question. We may not have been as emphatic as we could have been in our blog post about current zero liquids being completely free of nicotine, although I would have thought the phrase "The last time any of our zero liquids tested positive for traces of nicotine (at 0.01%) was in January 2013" in that blog was quite clear - unless you think we might be selling e-liquid that's well over 2 years old (which we're not).

                        And I would say that the interest ought to be met with all businesses being on same page when they are looking to present the information, especially if naming names. Otherwise, it will come across, as it did in this situation, like there is discord between vaping businesses, and the consumer is essentially invited to take sides with one vaping business over another. There is a visible divide in the community over this, and I would say a majority favor what you did. I do not. I see it as targeting when targeting via specifics was not necessary, and not really helpful. I think your actions warranted legal guns being aimed right back at you for the audacity in doing what you did. That you won't keep your data public, based on the principle of ethics you cite, demonstrates that (your) ethics matter up to a point, and staying in business matters a little more. I do not blame you, even a smidgeon, for wanting to stay in business. I'm glad you exist in the community going forward. But the ethics around this situation is questionable. That you learned your lesson and accept responsibility for the rather significant error you made (via trusting) does give me comfort in knowing you are highly unlikely to target more vendors going forward.

                        As I said above, we'll have to agree to disagree in some areas.
                         

                        Lisaf01

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                          If you can clear this up more Gavin who traveled 8 times zones was to meet you at VapeJam and as you waited you made no effort at all to call or text him? You waited 30 minutes and decided to walk away?
                          There was an event that weekend, as you know, and we indicated we could meet him at that event since he was already in the country for it. I'm surprised you seem to be under the impression he might have traveled all the way here just to meet us. You'd think he'd have made this clear (he didn't) and you'd also think he'd have given us his phone number, to ensure we'd touch base (he didn't). We waited, he didn't appear. He did have our skype details, email addresses and phone number though.
                          I think we've been as clear as we can be about the entire situation, and will not be answering any further questions about who did what, and when. The legal situation is not fully resolved yet.
                          I take it you agree 100% in the test results for PG/VG in all of Five Pawns liquids you tested. You are confident Five Pawns liquids are at least 70% PG?
                          I refer you to my earlier answer regarding the lab's findings.
                           

                          Pinggolfer

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                            I'm surprised you seem to be under the impression he might have traveled all the way here just to meet us. You'd think he'd have made this clear (he didn't) and you'd also think he'd have given us his phone number, to ensure we'd touch base (he didn't). We waited, he didn't appear. He did have our skype details, email addresses and phone number though.

                            I know Gavin went to Vapejam, but I'm amazed you didn't have one of your vendors phone number. I have it and I only order from Five Pawns online. The fact still remains he traveled 8 time zones and was to meet with you and you gave him a total of 30 minutes to be at a certain place. Not having his phone number is in the least suspicious since this was an important matter to Five Pawns. Sorry I don't buy not having his phone number.
                             

                            LouisLeBeau

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                              I know Gavin went to Vapejam, but I'm amazed you didn't have one of your vendors phone number. I have it and I only order from Five Pawns online. The fact still remains he traveled 8 time zones and was to meet with you and you gave him a total of 30 minutes to be at a certain place. Not having his phone number is in the least suspicious since this was an important matter to Five Pawns. Sorry I don't buy not having his phone number.

                              You have Gavins private phone number?! Well, I guess I am not surprised. You apparently have some dogs in this fight that are not apparent to the rest of us.
                              Ohhhh.... You mean the CORPORATE number? The one that if rung from England anywhere between 8am and 5pm would result in a phone ringing in a corporate office, 8 time zones away,
                              at anywhere from midnight to 9am? In an office that is open from 10am to 6pm? Oh, maybe you didn't realize she was 8 time zones away?

                              I cannot imagine why Gavin would not give his vendors his own personal cell phone? THAT is pertinent and important information. Mere Lab Test results for a consumable retail product, now THAT is something best kept confidential from them. I am beginning to understand why you are standing on the side you are, even without knowing the hidden agendas.
                               

                              Pinggolfer

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                                You have Gavins private phone number?! Well, I guess I am not surprised. You apparently have some dogs in this fight that are not apparent to the rest of us.
                                Ohhhh.... You mean the CORPORATE number? The one that if rung from England anywhere between 8am and 5pm would result in a phone ringing in a corporate office, 8 time zones away,
                                at anywhere from midnight to 9am? In an office that is open from 10am to 6pm? Oh, maybe you didn't realize she was 8 time zones away?

                                I cannot imagine why Gavin would not give his vendors his own personal cell phone? THAT is pertinent and important information. Mere Lab Test results for a consumable retail product, now THAT is something best kept confidential from them. I am beginning to understand why you are standing on the side you are, even without knowing the hidden agendas.

                                What in the world are you talking about. Gavin was in the same time zone at vapejam. Follow me into the p3 thread. It's my next stop. Check the posts before you make accusations.
                                 

                                LouisLeBeau

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                                  What in the world are you talking about. Gavin was in the same time zone at vapejam. Follow me into the p3 thread. It's my next stop. Check the posts before you make accusations.

                                  My apologies Ping. I was assuming you were on the wrong side because either there were hidden agenda's, or... something else. Your last post makes clear I need not worry about hidden agendas.
                                   
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                                  Lisaf01

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                                    I know Gavin went to Vapejam, but I'm amazed you didn't have one of your vendors phone number. I have it and I only order from Five Pawns online. The fact still remains he traveled 8 time zones and was to meet with you and you gave him a total of 30 minutes to be at a certain place. Not having his phone number is in the least suspicious since this was an important matter to Five Pawns. Sorry I don't buy not having his phone number.
                                    Ah I see now why you're confused - you are under the impression we purchased from them directly. This is not the case, they use a distributor in the UK, and so day-to-day contact with the manufacturer directly was not conducted in the way you seem to be thinking it was. As someone else has said, having their office phone number was pointless as it relates to the purchase of this product and would have been pointless in these circumstances too because Gavin was in the UK at that time, and indeed because of the large time difference. In any case, I've been extremely clear and totally honest about what happened, whether you choose to believe me is entirely up to you, and I feel the position you occupy means that you won't believe anything I have to say anyway.
                                     

                                    Pinggolfer

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                                      Ah I see now why you're confused - you are under the impression we purchased from them directly. This is not the case, they use a distributor in the UK, and so day-to-day contact with the manufacturer directly was not conducted in the way you seem to be thinking it was. As someone else has said, having their office phone number was pointless as it relates to the purchase of this product and would have been pointless in these circumstances too because Gavin was in the UK at that time, and indeed because of the large time difference. In any case, I've been extremely clear and totally honest about what happened, whether you choose to believe me is entirely up to you, and I feel the position you occupy means that you won't believe anything I have to say anyway.

                                      If you think I'm confused I can say everyone is confused including all the members who like your posts as they are clueless too. Never has anyone mentioned a distributor. Did you return the unsold bottles to FP or to your distributor?

                                      I have no issue with you personally and as far as business is conducted I'd say the UK and the EU are hands down better than we are in the USA. I just feel you handled the situation wrong. Oh and thanks for the British invasion as our music was pathetic.
                                       
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