Business self-regulation will produce positive ‘vaping’ results

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

Better Business Bureau is a champion of self-regulation – in many situations it is faster to adopt, more flexible and ready to change with the market, and less burdensome on taxpayers, enforcement agencies and lawmakers.

Idaho lawmakers and health officials want to ban minors from being able to purchase e-cigarettes, and proposals are being tossed around for the state legislative session in January.

But, neighboring Utah has already been through the debate, and a non-profit self-regulatory group has stepped up. The Utah Vapers is a consumer advocacy group and trade organization that cooperates with state agencies for the greater health of the public. Founded in 2011, it supports education and manufacturing, regulation and marketing by the industry while working with state agencies.

“I can support an interventionist approach when the risks are too great to rely exclusively on the private sector,” organizer and spokesman Aaron Frazier says. “But, when there is a level playing field, self-regulation can mete out the needed outcomes.”

The group has taken a stand with the manufacturing process and urges users to investigate the products for sale. The group has a list of vendors who have joined with The Utah Vapors voluntarily to make sure quality and protection, versus regulation.

“We are not affiliated with or receive any financial support from retail operations or manufacturers,” Frazier says. “We’re not affiliated with tobacco or pharmaceutical companies, either.”

The group has extended its reaches to southern Idaho with conversations in Boise and Pocatello within the past year.

Vapoligy, a Garden City business, came to BBB because of self-regulation.  When Jim and Ginger Longden conceptualized the business in 2007, it was with a belief that people wanted a change from tobacco.

“We’ve always believed that the responsible way to run a business is to take care of your customers,” Jim Longden says. “We believe most people want to walk into a shop and talk face to face about Vaping with honest and caring people.”

Vapoligy actually set the regulations in Boise and surrounding communities. During the no-smoking ban, Longden helped the city council set the standard right.

“Up until a year ago, we were the only one in the state with retail stores,” he says. “We’ve pretty much paved the trail for everyone. We’ve always been the ones out front, educating the public and community leaders about the newest products.”

Lawmakers need to catch up with the industry since businesses like Vapoligy set standards before it gained popularity.

BBB has always encouraged self-regulation. Most notably has been the BBB Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative. The initiative is a voluntary self-regulation program comprising many of the nation’s largest food and beverage companies. It’s designed to shift the mix of foods advertised to children under 12 to encourage healthier dietary choices, and healthy lifestyles.

“Self-regulation is making a meaningful difference in the foods advertised to children,” says CFBAI director Elaine Kolish. “As this self-regulation initiative has matured it has undergone many changes. This could encourage other food (or media) companies in the U.S. to use the criteria to guide their child-directed advertising practices, and make it easier for consumers and interested third-party organizations to check products.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Business self-regulation will produce positive ‘vaping’ results

  1. Mark Burrows

    What they have done in Canada has made it simple. You just can’t purchase tobacco online from outside of the province in which you reside. Now, although all Canadian brands are the same, there are identifying stamps on the packaging that indicate the province from which they came. Because each province has different tax structures, the price of cigarettes vary, and actually quite dramatically.
    For example, the price of cigarettes and tobacco in British Columbia are much higher than that of it’s neighbor province of Alberta. There is no law to prevent a person traveling from BC to Alberta and purchasing a few packages or even a carton of cigarettes, but if you make a bulk purchase, you better hang on to that receipt and make sure it is for personal use only because if a pack shows in the hands of street peddlers and under the counter of convenient stores, you are in major trouble.
    Canadians can purchase American tobacco, but again, not in individual amounts, they have to set up an import account and purchase as a registered wholesaler. Basically, all bases are covered. There is just not enough profit nor an easy way for a Canadian youth to purchase tobacco products online.
    Strict laws and regulations being in place are the key to controlling something that is detrimental to health and well being. If minors are determined to smoke, they will have to do it the old fashioned way and slink around and try to get older people to make their purchase for them, to which most if smart enough will exploit these youth with outrageous fees for service and what is so common in the world of economical society.
    Smoking is simply becoming less popular, and young people who do smoke stand out as anti social low life criminal types. Yes, it is wrong to judge and to put labels on views, but this is exactly what the fight against tobacco wishes to project. You are wasting your life by smoking. If you wish to waste your life, then what part of society do you belong?

    Mark Burrows
    Oh, just so you know, I smoke and have done so for most of my life. I do not have any health issues that have been related to my smoking. I freely admit that for me it is an addiction, but is is also and addiction that I am fully aware of, admit that I have, and therefore accepted it as a vice rather than an illness. Ironically, I am from an age that smoking was at the height of social acceptance and popularity, and those of us who are left for the most part are truly a dying breed.

    • Hello Mark Burrows. We are talking about e-cigs here. Did you read the article?

      • Mark Burrows

        You are correct, and in my most humble way, I do apologize for my over sight regarding electronic cigarettes going back to a time when actually ecigs were a slang for underground users for ordering tobacco products through the email. I did overlook the hyphen, and it truly was a mistake.
        As response to your comment allow me to amend myself by stating that electronic cigarettes, non tobacco cigarettes, or even wooden props should all be eliminated from the market. First, they have an extremely small percentage in positive results in causing anyone to quit smoking. Psychologically they are just props to cover their cravings, and under the surface the addiction is still there as well as the frustration and the angst.
        Second, for non smokers who think these props and devices make them look cool as if they are heroically attempting to kick the habit, is simply subconsciously pushing them toward it.
        Here is the fact, nicotine is one of the highest addictive drug out there, oddly enough it is the least dangerous, the danger in cigarettes is the other chemicals. The only real nasty side effect to nicotine is discoloration of skin and teeth. Caffeine is another highly addictive drug that is even more wide spread and can cause all sorts of medical disorders when over consumed. Yet, there is no campaign to stomp all over coffee drinkers and chocolate eaters.
        These e-cigs come in two types, with nicotine and without nicotine. Of course the nicotine ones are more popular and there are many claims that they are much healthier than regular cigarettes, which is lost on me because healthier is not a word I would choose. They still contain an addictive drug, and some products have been found to also contain tobacco-specific nitrosamines which are considered the cancer causing agents, otherwise the other chemicals found in regular cigarettes to provide flavor, enhance the nicotine sensation, and preserve the tobacco from turning to dust within 24 hours of you opening the pack. So, these e-cigs are not so healthier. Yes, they do release less toxins into the air, but less does not mean none. So, again the word healthier is undermined. Of course there are no conclusive studies, yet here we are, agencies world wide are spending trillions of dollars to come up with conclusive answers, while those of us who are professional in psychological studies have already explained, they are wasting valuable money and resources where simple logic prevails. These devices are products of capitalistic powers to either maintain an addiction or to gateway to an addiction.
        The more the collective moral conscious tries to stop a train of destruction, the faster someone will build a parallel track with a faster more powerful train. We have lost faith in old fashioned will power. The inner strength to kick a habit and face an addiction.
        Truth is, once you are an addict, you always will be an addict. There will always be a small part of your brain that you are confident is locked away, but when you find yourself in dire straits and failed to put a support team in place for your addiction, that part of your brain will unlock and tell you there is comfort in your old addiction.
        E-cigs are not a compromise in any case. Use them, and you are only lying to yourself, and you become a marketing tool when you try to tell everyone how amazing they are. Unfortunate in this case tool rhymes with fool.

        Mark Burrows

        p.s. Thank you castello2 for pointing out the error of my earlier letter, for which I deeply apologize but I am neither embarrassed nor regretful. As you can see they coincide in a round about way. As I had mentioned I am a nicotine addict, abet the fact I have been trained and educated about the perils of addictions, we all have our vices and crosses to bare and I do so freely with admission and without guilt.

  2. Mark – I’m curious if you have taken as much time to review the hundreds of studies performed on electronic cigarettes as you have to draft up your 2 very long responses to this article? To save myself some typing, please take a look at these that I’ve helped you research:

    “”Recently, a new study of the ingredients of e-cig vapor has been reported by Prof. Igor Burstyn of the School of Public Health of Drexel University’s Dept. of Environmental and Occupational Health.
    The study revealed that “the levels of contaminants e-cig users are exposed to are insignificant, far below levels that would pose any health risk. Additionally, there is no health risk to bystanders.

    A second study performed this year by Greek researcher Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos from the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens, revealed that e-cigs do not appear to pose a threat to the heart. He was invited to present the findings at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology.
    Farsalinos and his team examined the heart function of 20 young smokers before and after smoking one tobacco cigarette against that of 22 e-cigarette users before and after using the device for seven minutes. The tobacco smokers suffered significant heart dysfunction, including raised blood pressure and heart rate, while the e-cig users only had a slight elevation in blood pressure.

    Another small study, also in Greece, reported earlier this year the devices had little impact on lung function.””

    So I have to ask you Mark – you claim there are no studies but my website has around 100 with many peer reviewed and validated; did you read even one? You may claim there is insufficient evidence to make the claims of healthier yet medical professionals including the FDAs center for tobacco has stated that they are but you wouldn’t (or may can’t) provide just how much evidence is needed?

    E-cigs have been on the market just as long as Chantix with the only difference being that the FDA has approved Chantix and is committing willful medical negligence by keeping it on the market. E-cigs have never killed anyone, caused anyone to kill, sent anyone into deep depression, etc… (http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight/america-tonight-blog/2013/11/21/fda-anti-smokingdrugchantixlinkedtomorethan500suicides.html)

    A couple other points to clarify that are vitally important:
    1. TSNAs – The level found in e-cigs are due to the nicotine extracted from the tobacco plant and are at nearly the exact level of that found in NRT products.
    2. “Extremely small percentage in positive results in causing anyone to quit smoking”. This is actually quite false. There are an estimated 5 million users who have successfully quit tobacco thanks to this product. I can list names of over 100 that I regularly communicate with that are in this list. I myself gave up a 24 year addiction and am smoke-free for 3 years.
    3. “Side effect to nicotine is discoloration of skin and teeth”. Actually again Mark you are incorrect here. The discoloration comes from the tar and smoke found in lighting tobacco on fire and inhaling it. Since I’ve quit, I have zero discoloration and my teeth are actually quite good considering my age and prior smoking habit.
    4. “Spending trillions of dollars to come up with conclusive answers”. I WISH we could have a million dollars to do further research. Right now nearly all funding for research on the product is crowd or industry sourced by the retailers and manufacturers (note I did not say big tobacco).

    It appears you are a medical professional of some sort. I would ask that you as said professional ensure sufficient time is given to research and study on the product and data before passing simple judgement and referring to 5 million people as fools.

    • Mark Burrows

      Yes, Aaron, I am somewhat of a medical professional, but I have a doctorate of Psychology (Ph.D) Therefore my take is formed on the logistics of the human psyche and human behavior.
      As much as I appreciate your opinion and your research. Might I remind you of a few things.
      The first electronic cigarette showed up around 1963, so, less than a century ago. Yet it really didn’t kick into gear until recently, Whereas sales were around 50,000 in 2008 then in a matter of four years jumped to 3.5 million.
      Now, let’s see tobacco has been around for, well longer than we have honestly documented because it was used by indigenous peoples of the Americas, and since they weren’t too keen on writing stuff down and a good many of them were either slaughtered or wiped out with diseased imported by the European explorers come invaders, we do not have any exact data of how far back the tobacco leaf was used. It was noticed and brought back by the Columbus expeditions and was used with little commercial distribution in Spain and France. The Spanish took to the cigars, and the French at the time lost interest.
      Then of course the colonization of the Americas started, and the influence from friendlier sources of indigenous peoples got the colonies hooked. Plantations started to grow as tobacco became an American tradition.
      It was in 1565 when Sir Walter Raliegh brought the leaf back to Britain and turned it into a popular commodity which gave a big boost for trade in the colonies, which of course good old Walter had a nice investment in.
      First prototype of the cigarette were poor Spanish folk that would pick up the butts of cigars and roll them into a cigarillo.
      Then the French took more to smoking just prior to the Napoleonic Wars and created the modern day name cigarette.
      Now, the first hint of tobacco being a health issue was by King James the First who, was the first anti smoking campaigner to state is was a smelly and disgusting habit, or something to that effect, sorry don’t recall the exact words verbatim. He is also the guy who set the standard for taxes and levies against tobacco. Which of course later alcohol fell sweetly into that category. King James was circa late 1500 early 1600. Yet, he was ignored because he wasn’t anyone just a monarch with an opinion.
      The next one that came up was a weird one. It was from the Words of Wisdom presented by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1833 where they said tobacco is not meant for the human body or consumption, it is a medicine to treat cattle and other livestock.
      Also ignored, as everyone figured that it only applied to Mormon doctrine. It was not until 1912 before it was even suggested that smoking might be related to cancer by American doctor Isaac Edler. Seventeen years later Fritz Lickint of Germany published a study to show that it was possible that some of those suffering lung cancer were smokers and it was related.
      From there studies started but did not really take off until the 1950s.
      I will not get to my point. We are dealing with an addiction, that has been around who knows how long, has been mainstream for in the neighborhood of 500 years, considered a high and genuine health risk, and has been a high priority medical and scientific on going study that has consumed trillions of dollars and a hundred years of research and stack it up against what is part fad as in the subculture of the vaping community, and part as a substitute or a prop for an addiction?
      Are you making claims against my judgement as a professional as having to deal with people with various levels of addictions and their pattern denials, which include trying to justify excuses for their denial?
      What are 5 million people in a world of over 7 billion?
      I never said the health risks of e-cigarettes are high. I am just saying they are a crutch. There are nothing but. Otherwise, if people just want something to stick in their mouth, go to a confectionery store and purchase some candy Popeye cigarettes.
      Okay, sure for the subculture, go ahead be one of the gang, pull out your e-cigarette. Enjoy. The day will come when you step outside of that dance club or bar for a breath of fresh air, pull that out, and some one will remove from between your lips, crush it under the heel of his boot, and say, “Now, smoke a real cigarette.”
      Do not even suggest that no one would dare do that. One lesson I will impart on you. It does not matter how good at something, how tough you might be, there is always some one better and tougher.
      So yes, from a social stand point, I would have to say a good share of those 5 million enjoy their e-cigs in the privacy of their own home or with in the confines of a few close friends, because in the previously mentioned scenario, they would look pretty foolish getting their butt kicked. I’ve witnessed it too many times to count.

      Mark Burrows

  3. Geoff

    Mark Burrows is clearly someone who loves to her himself talk !

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