Just another day

People who know me know that right now is a very hard time, my husband’s cancer is terminal, they have told us he has less than a year left.

Friends try to be supportive, but really what answers can I give them to their questions.  I know most of them really do care, but just how many times do they want to hear same things over and over.  Do I tell them I am not fine, I am not holding up well?  Or that I wake through the night just to make sure he is still breathing?

Even in the caregivers group I am part of, I feel out of place.  The people there understand much of what I deal with between suctioning and filters and any number of other issues that come up due to the total laryngectomy Ben had.  But they haven’t heard the words all of us dread, the seven words that change your world forever, the “There is nothing more we can do”.

For now I keep going, trying to enjoy my time with him while planing a life alone.


Last few months

As you already know I haven’t posted in a long time, but life has a funny way of rearing it’s head and interfering in what we want to do.

What should have been my husbands 2nd anniversary of being cancer free we got the news we had been fearing, the cancer was back but this time in throat, much frustration, worry and testing later they told us it was in his voice box and they would have to remove it.

Once they said this everything seemed to move at almost blurring speeds, right up until the day of his surgery.  Then it felt like it slowed to a snails pace, he was in the hospital for 14 days, over the Christmas holidays and let me tell you that was the longest two weeks of my life.

He was in the hospital in Seattle, and I was stuck at home three hours away, not having a car meant I couldn’t even go see him.  I called daily but he was unable to speak and it felt like I was pulling teeth to get any sort of answers from most of the staff, one of the doctors didn’t even know he was to call me.

He finally made it home, but it didn’t relieve my fears as now I had to learn to take care of him in ways I never dreamed.  Between caring for his lary tube (a small tube inserted into his throat that he breaths through), suctioning it, making sure his humidifier is set up and full, for a few weeks taking care of the feeding tube, learning to coordinate between the sea of doctors and suppliers, and still deal with the day to day stuff of running the house and the animals.  At times I really felt like I was going to lose my mind (yes, I do actually still have one to lose lol).

Add to all of this, when they did the PET scan before the surgery they also found a spot on his lung.  Originally we were scheduled to go in and have it checked in January, but he wasn’t up to dealing with it so it was pushed back for later.

Jump forward to now; he has agreed to have the spot on his lung checked.  At this time the CT and PET scans are all over 6 months old so the doctor want new ones, which is a headache in and of itself as he is allergic to the dye used for contrast CT, so in scheduling all of this I also have to make sure they order the medications he needs before hand.  I have doctors trying to juggle their schedules as to when this can be done, I have him getting upset and pharmacies that can’t seem to fax the right refill information to the doctors.

As we prepare for the appointment with the Cancer Care Alliance to find out what is going on with his lungs I feel like the craziness is starting all over, and I can only hope I have the strength to get through it.

Who am I?

Who am I?  I am a middle aged female vaper.

I don’t care about blowing huge clouds and I don’t want to see half naked 20 somethings pushing e-liquid too me.  I don’t care about the latest and greatest 200 watt mod or the newest sub-ohm tank on the market.

I know what I like and what I don’t.  I don’t have the time or money to waste with your sales people who want to try sell me something I don’t want.

What do I want?  I want good juices at reasonable prices.  I want shops to understand not everyone vapes like they do, and to remember that most of us were smokers at one time and we should be wanting to help smokers transition to vaping.

I want to know what is in my juices, I want them tested and I want to know no coloring was added.   I want descriptions that actually tell me what type of flavorings are in it.

I want to know how much pg and vg is in my juice. Don’t tell me it is max vg or pg free. If it is pg free what is the base of the flavoring?

I want to know I can get my 12 to 18 mg nic levels in your juice, and if I am sending someone new to you that they can get up to 24 mg nic if that is what they need.

I want to know if I have an allergy to a flavor and I ask you if it is in it that I will be told the truth and not “sorry that is proprietary”.

So who am I?  I am a consumer.

Modified Risk Tobacco Products

Can we stop with the argument that e-cigs are not a tobacco product already, it is not only misleading but it is flat out wrong.

Now before you get your knickers in a twist hear me out, we all know nicotine comes from tobacco.

So, to say that it is not a tobacco product would be like saying cheese isn’t a dairy product. Yes, there is 0 nic liquid out, just as there is dairy free cheese out.

Do we change how cheese is classified due to the dairy free cheese?  No, cheese is still counted as a dairy product. So why all the push to say e-liquid isn’t a tobacco product?

We invalidate everything else we might say the minute we say “but it’s not a tobacco product”.

Does this mean we should just accept the fate of being taxed and regulated the same way as cigarettes? Not only no, but HELL NO!

This does mean we need to support good manufacturers/vendors in going through the steps for “Modified Risk Tobacco Products” Or MRTP’s.

This won’t be cheap or easy for manufacturers to do, however, in the long run it may very well make a difference in who can and should stay in business. The longer they wait to start, the harder it will be for them to get all the necessary information and testing done in any sort of timely manner.

Modified risk is not a new category, but it does seem to be misunderstood. So far only one company has applied for and had the application accepted by the FDA for MRTP status, and that is Swedish Match, a manufacturer of Swedish Snus.

It is time we start including lobbying for easier access for manufacturers to obtain MRTP status, as well as push for financial assistance for smaller companies who would otherwise be able to meet the requirements.

If we don’t start taking the initiative, the FDA will. Who do you want making the choices for you?

Review of The Disrupter From Innokin

I have two things I want to say first. One is I won my Disrupter from the ECF contest, second is I always said I wouldn’t do reviews as I would hate everything.

That out of the way, I have to admit when I seen the first pictures of the Disrupter I quite honestly thought it seemed like a silly idea.

Then I started doing some reading on it, and the info I was finding made me rethink my initial impressions. First feature that really caught my eye was the ability to run it in voltage mode instead of just watts. Everything coming out currently seems to run in watts, and don’t get me wrong, most people like using watts only, but some of us prefer using voltage.

To me it is just easier to dial in my vape using voltage. I also find that unlike using wattage voltage lets me feel the differences between attys. Maybe you like them all exactly they same, but I enjoy the differences when changing the atomizer on my device.

The most noticeable difference is the Innokincell. The cost of one cell isn’t really much more than the cost of a high quality 18650, and because you can slide one off and put another on, it still allows the end user to change cells.

This is important to someone like myself. I have never been a fan of built in cells because once the cell dies, the whole device has to be tossed. It also means instead of carrying an extra cell when away from home I would have to carry a second device. Another big plus for most of us.

Then I got to looking at the safety aspect of it. The idea of the Innokincell allows them to have control over what cells are used in the device. This allows newer vapers a chance to move into a device with replaceable cells without the guess work and needing an external charger.

Now for (what to me) the most important feature, the power output. I won’t pretend to understand how it all works, or bore you will tech info (some of which I don’t fully understand either), but will say with most regulated devices the vape seems somewhat muted to me. I prefer a DC output, which is part of why I have been a hardcore mech user (the other part is the fact most regulated devices break easily on me). However, Innokin has really outdone themselves with the Disrupter and the Cool Fire 4, the power output gives me the type of vape I fully enjoy.

Last thing I have found I really like with it, is the way the up and down buttons need to be held for a few seconds to change the voltage or wattage. It doesn’t have the lock on the settings, but if you hit the button when you pick it up or put in a pocket or purse, it isn’t going to change. Some may not like that feature, I personally love it.

The only downside I have had with this device is the size, while it is smaller than the MVP 3.0 Pro, I wouldn’t call it small.

Ramblings of an Antiquated Vaper

As many of you know, I spent over a year away from the online vaping community. This was something out of my control, sometimes life doesn’t give us many options.

When I went offline variable wattage was the newest thing in mass produced devices. The idea of sub-ohming was 0.5 not 0.1. Temp protection was unheard of. One of the biggest debates was rather brass or copper should be used.

Back then you would find cartomizer tanks everywhere and in all shapes, sizes and colours you could think of. We might have had limited colours in devices, but had a world of colour in tanks and drip tips. Now we have many options with devices, but limited in tanks and tips.

I return and find all sorts of things have changed.  Sub-ohming was once only done by a few of us using mechanical mods and genesis atomizers, now it is everywhere and well below what most of us back then thought to be safe. 

All this makes me feel antiquated as a vaper. I use to enjoy trying to help new vapers, celebrating their successes as much as my own.

That joy is now gone as too many push ways I can not bring myself to support. The few that speak with level heads are called old fashioned or foolish. One person went so far as to say we were trying to make new people waste money and that we should have them start out with the gear they will wind up with anyways.

What happened to the idea that we each need to find the vape that works for us. The options that are out are only worth having if it allows us to find what works best for us.

Vape Expo NJ

Most of us have head about this weekends Vape Expo that took place in New Jersey. For some of us the first thing that comes to mind, is why would anyone plan a major vaping event in a state that is so unfriendly to vapers?

New Jersey was the first state in the US to include vaping as part of their indoor air act, which basically means if public can attend and it is indoors you can’t vape. They didn’t make an exceptions for private clubs, so the waiver they had everyone sign is pretty much useless.

For anyone who thinks that 0 nicotine juices would be alright, you need to read how e-cigs were written into it

“Electronic smoking device” means an electronic device that can be used to deliver nicotine or other substances to the person inhaling from the device, including, but not limited to, an electronic cigarette, cigar, cigarillo, or pipe.

“Smoking” means the burning of, inhaling from, exhaling the smoke from, or the possession of a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe or any other matter or substance which contains tobacco or any other matter that can be smoked, or the inhaling or exhaling of smoke or vapor from an electronic smoking device

NJ does make exceptions for cigar bars and lounges, however this trade show doesn’t qualify under those either. As a cigar bar is all or part of a bar that is set to allow smoking or vaping, and a cigar lounge is all of part of a establishment that is set to allow smoking or vaping.

Even by the off chance you could say the trade show was a business, part of the requirements for either is proper ventilation. If you have looked at the photos, or seen any of the footage from the event you have to agree the air was filled with vapor. So the ventilation did not meet the requirements.

So the event organizers set up a vaping even that had vapers breaking the law in the state. At this point it doesn’t matter if you agree with the law or not, the simple fact is it was broken. All day today I have read tweets showing how upset vapers where, not over the fact the law was broken, but over the fact it was enforced.

We need states to enforce the laws they have on vaping! If they don’t enforce them, that means they also don’t enforce restrictions on underage sales, without that, we are right back to them saying more laws for restrictions to minors are needed. They are not needed if they already have them, they need to be enforced.

Instead of being upset the law was enforce, be upset the law was written the way it was, and use that energy in getting it changed for the better instead of helping make it worse for us.

Right now we are our own worst enemy. Breaking the laws of a state doesn’t get the government on our side. What it does do is give them reason to distrust us even more.

For the Children

One of the arguments used is we must do this for the children. Now I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I was a child if my parents said no, it was no. There was no compromise, there was no getting them to give in, their word was law in our house.

Those days are all but forgotten, the state has taken away parents rights to discipline their child. Social workers visit schools telling children to call them if they feel threatened.

This makes parenting harder, then throw into the mix modern society with laws even limiting a child working on the family farm or other things that for years was considered chores then add everyone having cell phones, computers and video games, what are parents to do.

Law enforcement officer and the courts are not really any help either. Blaming parents for out of control kids, but then arresting the parents or removing the child if they try to correct the problems in their own home.

Don’t get me wrong, we need ways to protect children from actual abuse, but it isn’t abuse when parents say no and mean it. Nor is it abuse for kids to learn that they must work for what they have. The way it is now, is actually a slap in the face to those who have suffered real abuse.

Just as states need to enforce the laws they have, they need to let parents parent without fear of their child being taken from them, once given that then hold parents accountable for the actions of their child.

Look throughout history at any great man or woman when they were young, chances are you will not find them getting their way all the time or having everything handed too them. More often than not you will find a child that grew up knowing there was consequences for their actions. Learning that lesson can take a child far in this world, a lot farther than being told everyone’s a winner.

So, let’s support the right of parents to be allowed to parent their children, and educate those who don’t know how. Yes, mistakes will happen, but in the long run we and our future will be better for it.

Why The Words ‘Max VG’ Means Nothing

It is commonplace anymore to see juices listed as max VG. Sadly those words tell us nothing of the PG/VG ratio in them.

Here’s why: You have a 30 ml of juice marketed as max VG. Lets say you are wanting 12mg nicotine level, at 100mg nicotine base, that is 3.6ml of the juice or 12%. Is that nicotine PG or VG based?

Then you add flavorings, many average around 20% flavor, meaning another 6 ml of your juice. Most flavorings use a PG base, there are a few VG flavors out, but sadly not many.  There are also some vendors who use as much as 30% flavors. Which will lower any VG ratio even more.

So already you have a juice that maybe 32/68 PG/VG, but could also be 20/80 PG/VG This difference is all based off the nicotine used.

That ratio though could wind up being much lower in VG, as this is assuming that straight VG is used for the rest. Some juice makers also add water, or instead of using 100% USP grade VG, use a 50/50 mix. All of that would still be a max VG for them, but in reality if a 50/50 base is used, you will have less than 40% VG

Why is this information so important? Many vapers have a sensitivity to PG. Some like myself it is mild, in others it is more pronounced. One friend of mine is so sensitive that even her husband vaping a high PG juice around her will cause her issues. So where I can go up to 30/70 PG/VG without concern she can’t go over 20/80.

Most experienced vapers who are PG sensitive know the ratio they can handle and will look for juices in that range. A few years ago that meant contacting vendors and asking as there wasn’t many high VG options at the time. At this stage of vaping we have a variety of options.

Many of us no longer bother e-mailing a vendor to find out the PG/VG ratio as why should we waste our time doing so when other vendors have it on their site?

Another Post about Diacetyl

Lately diacetyl in e-juice has come back under fire. So I wanted to take a few minutes and share some interesting facts.

What is Diacetyl? The short answer is, it is a flavor additive that tastes like butter. The longer answer can be found on-line here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diacetyl

Diacetyl (IUPAC systematic name: butanedione or butane-2,3-dione) is an organic compound with the chemical formula (CH3CO)2. It is a volatile, yellow/green liquid with an intensely buttery flavor. It is avicinal diketone (two C=O groups, side-by-side) with the molecular formula C4H6O2. Diacetyl occurs naturally in alcoholic beverages and is added to some foods to impart its buttery flavor.

It has been known to cause what is referred to as popcorn lung (bronchiolitis obliterans (BO)  ) in workers in microwave popcorn plants. While this is troubling it should be noted that so far only one consumer has ever gotten BO.

Is it really that bad? While I want vendors to test their juices for diacetyl and other diketones, the question we should look at is: “Is this really that bad?” I find it curious that for something as bad as this is, to not have caused many of us to get BO from smoking, as diacetyl is one of over 500 chemicals added to cigarette tobacco under the name 2,3-Butanedione. http://www.tricountycessation.org/tobaccofacts/Cigarette-Ingredients.html#list

If 2 bags of microwave popcorn a day for 10 years can cause a man to get BO, then surly those of us who smoked 2+ packs a day for 10+ years should have also been at risk, but to my knowledge none of us have developed BO.

Now all of that said, I personally don’t want needless risks for such things as BO in my e-juices and I do applaud vendors like Mike at Roar Vapor who do test their juices and reformulate any that come back with it.

Just using flavorings said to be free of diacetyl isn’t enough. As while it is an organic compound it does have a chemical formula, one that can be a by product of chemical reactions in mixing different flavorings. Also it should be noted that higher amounts of some flavors can also show diacetyl when lower amounts of the same flavor does not.

A prime example of this is 2 juices that Mike had tested. Roar Vanilla and Roar Vanilla Rootbeer.

From the email between Mike at Roar Vapor and myself:

what you are referring to is Roar Vanilla and Roar Vanilla Rootbeer. Both juices, while having different amounts of flavoring, had the same flavorings in them except one. Roar Vanilla came back very positive with Diacytel while Roar Vanilla Rootbeer, which had the same flavors as Roar Vanilla but with the addition of a rootbeer flavoring, came back clean. They were both made and tested at the same times. 

Mike being the responsible vendor he is, pulled both flavors and reformulated them.

So what about those of us who DIY? As most of the juice I vape is DIY it is important to understand the risks of what I am doing. As many of us can’t afford to spend $300 per juice to get it tested, we need to rely on facts and common sense.

We know not all flavor manufacturers test their flavorings, in reality very very few do, but that doesn’t need to stop us from being on the safe side of things. Using high quality, highly concentrated flavorings helps. As the less of a favoring needed the less chance it has to naturally create chemicals reactions leading to unwanted things in e-juice.

At the end of the day it comes down to what we already knew, vaping is safer than smoking. Even with diacetyl in a juice it has been shown to be 100 times lower than that found in cigarettes. http://www.ecigarette-research.com/web/index.php/research/2014/178-da-ap