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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Links to Vaporscloud.com...

Now that www.vaporscloud.com is up its possible to create and post reviews.

For example, here is a simple review I added to the Topic Atlantis.

What's interesting you are re-post via Twitter and Facebook and get "vape points."

Ultimately shops will be able create groups and topics and customers of the shops will be able to get marketing credit for publicly supporting the shop.

More on this topic to come...

Right now vaporscloud.com is looking for:

- Reviewers

- Product posts

- General Vapers



Monday, December 29, 2014

A Little Slice of Dogma...

I got into a argument discussion with some bone-head on the WSJ site over the article "Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God."

Interestingly the article generated more than two thousand comments (normal articles generate perhaps a few dozen - popular ones perhaps several hundred).

I postulated: "Divide 4 billion years into 10,000 year segments - there are 400,000 of them - how much "evolution" is documented scientifically with the recent 10,000 year span? I would postulate far more species have died off than evolved in the most recent span and I think science would be hard pressed to demonstrate any new anatomical features in higher life forms that have evolved spontaneously (yes bacteria swap DNA).  400,000 is a lot but not enough to account for the claims of the "science of evolution" given its recent though meager evolutionary output.

Of course there's not just the creation of new complex body parts but they also have to be dominant genetically and compatible (unlike a mule) with further reproduction.

Seems to me divine intervention would be just as likely as any "scientific" reasons for us being here.  But, then again, modern science is mostly a belief system, just like religion...
"


So some guy says "blue eyes" evolved over my first 10,000 year span - and as far as science can tell this is in fact true (there is a lot of genetic mapping going on right now which claims to show this).

Another guy claims some book (well, actually the Wikipedia article associated with the book) called "The 10,000 Year Explosion" proves that civilization is rapidly advancing the process of evolution. 

The article makes claims like "The authors [ of the book ]speculate that the scientific and Industrial Revolutions came about in part due to genetic changes in Europe over the past millennium, the absence of which had limited the progress of science in Ancient Greece" and lack of evolution in less civilized cultures "... may explain why Indigenous Australians and many native Americans have characteristic health problems when exposed to modern Western diets."

Imagine - the effects of evolution outweigh things like the plagues, violent hoards, bad weather, and the collapse of civilizations in defining the progress of human society.   It would be interesting if any proof of these claims could be offered but since there isn't any means to do other than speculate on this I won't hold my breath.

As to the second comment see my posts linked here and this one about the "Hispanic epidemiological paradox" that describes how western diets kill otherwise healthy people because western diets are inherently unhealthy.

Sure, I posted, imagine a world where the pressure of evolution outweighs factors like I mention in these posts.  Pure fantasy.

As for the "blue eye" guy - eye color is not a new body part - its a pigmentation change to an existing body part.  Not hard to imagine a rogue cosmic ray zapping some chromosome and causing this (though he probably didn't read this link at wired about how all the "junk" DNA is not junk and just having a list of proteins from DNA is insufficient to make differentiated cells which makes the old "random chance" evolution nonsense even less tenable).

I certainly believe that things change, eye color, finch's beaks, and so forth in response to environment.  And I think few would disagree event with the strongest of religious convictions.

But these two guys are quite troubling.

Why?

They miss the larger picture.  The appear to believe, as many of us do when young or when we are without critical thinking skills to sort things out on our own, in dogma.  In this case the dogma of evolution - not the "things change" evolution but evolution now, as in the case of the "10,000," the evolution is powered by civilization and making fantastic changes to things more powerful than standard biological environmental pressures.

No analysis of whether a western diet is in fact bad - which it is.

No analysis of anything - just regurgitated dogma.

Much of the rest of the scree was related to how power and mighty science is.  My counter there is simple - science is a belief system just like religion.  One of my replies in this context was:

"Mathematics is the ONLY non-belief-based system humans use and this is so because those who use mathematics created the axioms (though one has to believe the axioms which Godel showed were not necessarily sufficient). 

All science is based on the belief that A) mathematics accurately and reliably maps onto the physical world and B) when ever A does not apply some form of statistical substitute is used.  Hence "science" must believe in mathematics which believes in only itself.


Hardly a concrete endorsement.


In the past casting chicken bones was sufficient to predict rain.  Today an arbitrary mathematical models takes their place.  We no longer believe in the chicken bones.  Some day we will no longer believe in today's mathematical model for weather. 

If science where "sufficient" the model wouldn't keep changing - unlike mathematics.
"

That's right - mathematics - at least not the kind that's far removed from day-to-day function - depends on human create axioms.  Unlike, say a climatological "model" that changes constantly during the process of dogma creation and validation, mathematics doesn't change.  We have outstanding questions, say the Goldbach Conjecture, and eventually someone solves them - but not by re-writing the axioms.

True, many do re-write the axioms, but then they expect the consequences to change across the board, i.e., 1 + 1 =/= 2 any more.

But we don't keep trying new axiom combinations so that we can solve some particular problem in a way to suit modern dogma.

The more interesting aspect of this is how narrowly focused everybody is.  They only think about their slice of the dogma and its no matter if their slice contradicts somebody else's slice.

While commenting I wondered (and posted) the following question:

Since these posts were on the Wall Street Journal's site I wondered which was more accurate - a current dogma-based climate model or a random become a millionaire stock trading model?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Vaporscloud.com

So for a long time we have been working on http://www.vaporscloud.com.

This site allows people to record information about what they vape (coil data, flavors, mod, etc.) and interact in a social Facebook-type way.

What's more important is that through use of certain mods (such as the PrimusZ or Evik) its possible to track vaping usage.

It's possible to track marketing at the shop level.

Visit vaporscloud.com for more info...

Saturday, December 6, 2014

PrimusZ Videos

Watch this video first.  Though it covers Android it contains a complete set of info about all PrimusZ mods, how they work and how to set them up.

App for Android: www.vaporscloud.com/primusz/android.apk

iOS is available in the App Store.

iOS setup is here.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Domesticating Ourselves...

So here in the WSJ we have direct evidence that people, such as pilots, who allow automation (such as autopilot) to take over for their skills, lose their skills very quickly.

The article reasonably concludes this is dangerous because pilots come to accept what automation does and react to the operation of the automation instead of acting proactively taking control of the plan and allow the automation to "help."

So what does this say about cars, for example, and the automation that is increasingly taking over their operation?

One is reminded of the novel "The Humanoids" by Jack Williamson where, under the guise of "To Serve and Obey, And Guard Men From Harm" take away everything man does for himself (such as driving a car, reading, doing everyday tasks) because they might be dangerous.  Man is left to sit in a padded room where everything is done for him by Humanoids.

Basically we are becoming stupid through use of our own machines that 'help' us each day.

I have written on this blog elsewhere where even the ability of young males in today's society to have normal sexual relations is thwarted by the plentiful pornography the wireless devices bring (I can't find the link here or in my other blogs but it was some TED video - perhaps lost by google when deleting my old posts).

I have also written how modern feminism has stripped away from young me the ability to be men (see this old post).

Here (and there are more related thoughts being published if you google "domestication neural crest") we see that science thinks domestication is a process of creating less-than-fully-capable animals.

So does our own automation do this?

One would have to agree that it does.

I wonder if things like "government aid" accomplishes the same?

Certainly there are scenarios where aid is appropriate but as a lifestyle when one is fully able to work the consequences of "helpful intervention" in the long term would seem to diminish the capacity of those who receive it.

More "self driving" cars will simply make people as drivers less able, just as with pilots.

One imagines government programs dispensing food will there also make those receiving it less able to acquire it on their own.  Ditto for jobs, and so forth as well.

Oh well at least people will be having fun while getting dumber...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fedex Robo Call Security Fail

I'm driving in my car.

The phone rings.

It's a robo call from Fedex informing me of a pending delivery the next day requiring a signature.

Sometimes this is a problem...

The robot reads out the tracking number digit by digit.

But I'm driving so I can't write it down.

No worries, I think, I have an online account and Fedex will send me an email with the tracking info.

I check email at home - nothing from Fedex.

So I call... (pick "Other options" twice from the idiot robot that answers to find a human).

"I got a call but I was driving and I have no email," I explain.

"I want to go online and set the option of pre-signing so if I am out my package will still arrive."

"I can't help you," is the reply, "we aren't allowed to sign for packages for you."

I see...

"Okay, can I have the tracking number then - I will go online and handle this..." I retort.

"No, we can't give out the tracking number on phone..."

FAIL.

The robot can give me the tracking number but a person can't...

Hmmm, should I call the robot back?

How dumb is this.

You can't have your people give me my own info because they can't be trusted.

Fortunately I was able to weedle the shipper from the agent and I was able to track it that way.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Tyranny of “Sanitary Euphemisms”

Gotta love this turn of phrase The Tyranny of “Sanitary Euphemisms.”  See this

Today's little kiddies spending Mommy and Daddy's money at college are so afraid of the "trauma" of "feeling uncomfortable" that anything potentially troubling or merely controversial must support a warning in case the little kiddies don't have the stomach for it.

So some woman (as described in the link above) shows up at a so called "college" and gives a speech on the importance of the First Amendment (a part of the United States the place where you live) Constitution (for those with a modern liberal arts degree the "Constitution" is a document written on paper obtained through the destruction and desecration of wilderness and trees by old racist, bigoted, misogynistic homophobes to hold down and repress all minorities and women) and uses Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn as an example.

The topic (including the use, as Wikipedia call it, of "local color regionalism") is so horrifying that someone who posts the audio of the speech places the following warning at the front of it:

“Trigger/Content Warnings: Racism/racial slurs, abelist slurs, anti-Semitic language, anti-Muslim/Islamophobic language, anti-immigrant language, sexist/misogynistic slurs, references to race-based violence.”

So I guess little Johnny and Suzy are unable to function if they hear such horrors.

What will happen when little Johnny or Suzy are an adults and forced to live in a world without the Tyranny of Sanitary Euphemisms?

Like someone in a quick-mart says a bad word?

Or their boss calls them stupid?

Or the barbarians crash through the gates?

I guess they'll just sit down and cry...

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Tyranny of "Consensus" - Why the Supreme Court Needs to Enforce API Copyrights

I have been very busy with a number of things which I shall write about at some point in the future.

However, this PDF link (created by the Electronic Freedom Foundation) caught my eye: It's from a link from ArsTechnica describing how copyrights on API's are a "thread" to the tech industry.

It basically says that without public access to software API's the tech world is doomed.

The PDF is written by "concerned scientists" as an amicus brief to the SCOTUS explaining why things like the UNIX system API's are all "public domain" and hence copyright should not be enforced.

In particular on page #9 of the PDF describes how the UNIX APIs, originally owned by AT&T, suddenly and magically became public domain as part of Linus Torvalds gift to humanity via Linux.

As someone who has used UNIX since 1975 and in person purchased a copy from Bell Labs on behalf of my employer in 1977 I can tell you that this software was owned by ATT and that there restriction on commercial use.  Certainly anyone could use UNIX but commercialization of any part of the original Bell Labs UNIX was a different story.

See, for example, this link regarding SCO and IBM.

It seems clear that anyone who creates an API and has ownership thereof can freely make such an API "public."

There is clear controversy about both the ownership and value of the UNIX APIs.

As for the APIs themselves?

There are several issues here.  For example, the original UNIX documentation had various sections accessible via man, a program to display documentation via print.  Section #1 was based on program, e.g., ls, cd, and so on.  Section #3 was based on the C API (also described in the EFF PDF) and defined things like read, open and close.

All of the original code we received was under copyright - there were no exceptions for APIs.  APIs were a "new thing" in the 1970's.

So the first question I would ask is why are the magical rights bestowed on others relative to Section #3 different than any other part of the documentation?

After all the C API is an API into kernal calls just like the shell command line.

It's taken thirty-some years of litigation to establish what can be freely used by something like Linux and what cannot.

Our EFF friends would like to hand-wave away this history and have you believe that the original APIs and associated copyrights are now simply public "rights" of anyone.

Our EFF PDF also does not clarify exactly what an "API" is.  Is it merely for compilers or does it include humans or other types of automata?  Does an API even require a computer? Today an API can be created for anything form submitting taxes to the IRS to communicating with satellites to controlling electronic cigarettes.

For example, patent claims often create an API for a process of some sort - does making any "API" open apply there?

I think not.

The entire concept of "openness" used in software APIs today to a large degree discards the rights of the authors who created them.  Richie and Thompson create UNIX for AT&T - not themselves as AT&T Bell Labs paid their salaries and hence owned their work product - and the "openness" of these APIs was ultimately decided by thirty years of litigation.

Much of what is open today is donated by the actual owners directly or indirectly.  And in my book this is as it should be.  If Microsoft chooses not to pursue the creator of something like Samba so be it - this is implicitly granting public license.

But what about Monsanto?  One could argue that DNA is simply an API - it has, like UNIX, a well understood set of operations, sequences, codes, and so on that create subroutines, e.g., glyphosate tolerance, which can be manipulated just like software subroutines and moved from one organism to another.  So why aren't Monsanto's "RoundUp Ready" products open?

As a programmer I believe that I own what I create - especially if I pay my own salary.  And any API I create is my own. 

I decide whether or not to cast it into the public domain.

Not the great community of developers who wish to usurp my rights and property for "the greater good."

No, today's programmers want to share everything - there is no responsibility of authorship or ownership - everything is owned by everyone.

I disagree - the same thinking is being forced onto music and soon, I am sure, the authoring of books.

After all, why should anyone own anything?

Why not make it all owned by the collective - the State?

Oh wait - humanity has tried that and tens of millions gave their lives.

Good thing no one teaches history any more so we can stumble down this well-worn path with our eyes wide open...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Letter to the FDA

Submitted as comment: 1jy-8dns-o8i6 here.

So it's time to write comments for the US FDA regarding e-cigarettes.

Here's the high-level view:

First, on the economic side and from what I see there are probably 14,000 US vape shops.  I estimate (based on various sources) that each shop (very conservatively) stops 100 people a year to permanently stop smoking "combustion tobacco."

So this will probably account for between 1 and 1.4 million new non-smokers in 2015 - and that's just shops and does not count those that vape without the benefit of a shop.

I think this will double each year for the next couple of years until a substantial percentage of new non-smokers exist.

Many people have already become permanent non-smokers because of vaping - my wife among them who went from 40 years of a pack a day of "combustion tobacco" to zero.

Nicotine not withstanding, as I will discuss below, this is possibly the biggest single positive change to public health in decades.

Second, there is the issue of flavors and current technology.  My wife owns a vape shop and many days I spend time in the shop helping her.

I observe most people who come in want to stop smoking and fall roughly into two categories: young adults (18 and over to thirty or forty) who think smoking is something they should not be doing and are eager for a variety of reasons to try vaping and older smokers (forty and over) who have unsuccessfully tried most or all of the traditional FDA-approved methods.

In the first group many are able to simply select a vaping technology (developed after 2007 - often new technology less than a year old) and a flavored non-tobacco-tasting juice and just stop smoking.  Very few are interested the dual use model of "smoking and vaping" or "chewing and vaping."  Females often urge male husbands and boyfriends to vape.  Of course a certain number are unsuccessful or use both but in virtually all cases where there is even modest motivation vaping stops young people from smoking "combustion tobacco."

The second group tend to be between thirty five to forty and over.  I think more women than men - often health conscious and very concerned about the consequences of smoking on their health and the health of their families - some or all of whom smoke.  This second group tends to like to start vaping with tobacco-tasting flavors mostly for what I will call "security" reasons.

They have smoked twenty years or more and feel literally "frightened" about depending on something new as compared to "combustion tobacco" - there is concern about "running out of vaping supplies, "what do I do if you are closed," and so on.  However, once they start vaping they quickly covert (I think in the majority if they are ready) to non-combustion tobacco smokers.

The second group tends to want to "convert" other family members - children, spouses, friends.  We hear stories of how whole families, groups of friends or neighborhood blocks stop smoking combustion products.

Third is the concept that nicotine is "derived from tobacco" is required by law.  This is nonsense as I will point out below.  The same argument applies to many, many natural compounds used daily by billions of people, e.g., vitamin B12.   Science defines compounds based on molecular structure and not on what a thing is "derived from."  The molecular structured is what uniquely defines a chemical and not its source.

Thus B12 "derived from tobacco" is the same compound as B12 derived from any other source.  The notion of a designation such as "USP" identifies how pure such derivations are.  "USP" is a government designation indicating a compound is safe for use in food and drugs.  So "USP"-grade vitamin B12 is B12 independent of whether it was "derived from tobacco" or acquired from any other source.  This is how modern science works.

Designating nicotine as "derived from tobacco" is simply dishonest as it implies that dietary nicotine (from many plants) is somehow "different" than the tobacco found in tobacco plants.  Nicotine is nicotine regardless of its source.

Fourth is the concept that nicotine is both addictive and dangerous.  There are studies referenced below that show that nicotine alone and outside the context of "combustion tobacco" is not addictive and most likely a "necessary nutrient" from some perhaps genetically identifiable class of people.  I imagine designating nicotine as "addictive" to many people as equivalent to saying vitamin B12 or C are "addictive" because people naturally gravitate toward consuming them.

Little study has been done about nicotine alone and outside of the mechanism of "delivery by tobacco combustion" and, what has been done, seems to indicate that nicotine is something many people need to "feel normal."  There seems little evidence that any true science is dedicated to nicotine study and, objectively, nicotine as delivered by vaping has only positive scientific and health results.

In a rational world nicotine alone or as part of vaping would be classified like any other natural substance such as a vitamin and would be used, outside of smoking, as such where those consuming it regulate how much they need.

Fifth, to my knowledge no one has been harmed by vaping, i.e., there is no objective evidence that to any degree people have been A) harmed by or B) killed by vaping.  Hence more people die from choking on food or riding in a car than vaping.  There are no known vaping deaths.  There are no known negative side effects of any significant public health consequence.  People can die from too much vitamin D or A so, in the same context, vaping might kill people via "misuse" but that would be only from willful ignorance or outright stupidity - just like everything else in the world.

Sixth, modern science is studying vaping as are vapers themselves.  No one wants, in general, to harm themselves.  So far vaping appears to be a dramatic improvement over smoking cigarettes.  Vapers would stop if there were some objective scientific reason to do so.  However, none exists today.  And, unfortunately, there are many macro-economic reasons for industries (such as tobacco, government including smoking-funded science and tobacco bonds) to need smokers in order to function.

Public health requires that conflicts of interest - such as the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products - that rely on smoking revenues (directly or indirectly) not be put in a position of "the fox monitoring the hen house" - be addressed and eliminated from both the science and public policy.

Vaping is the consequence of fifty years of anti-smoking policy and now that a dramatic change has appeared its appears that its not the smokers who are resisting but instead those that are supposedly fighting smoking.

Seventh, the "danger" of nicotine supposedly requires "childproof caps" for vaping supplies.  I wrote on my blog about how the number one cause of poison center calls in Washington, D.C. was for makeup.   Yet there is no interest in creating "childproof" makeup.  Nicotine e-juice is perhaps one of the most disgusting tastes available so mostly the "childproofing" is about political control and not based on science or evidence of any real, objective danger.

Eighth is the fact that doctors and other health professionals send patients to vape shops.

Ninth is the moral dilemma you encounter when an under age tobacco smoker wants to switch to vaping.  Is it morally acceptable to tell a young person who sees vaping as a means to stop their smoking - say the child of a parent who now no longer smokes combustion tobacco and vapes - to instead continue because, by some confused logic, they are "not old enough" to use a so far safer alternative?

And finally impeding vaping regulations will cause vapers to return to smoking.  What kind of twisted thinking is this?  My wife no longer smokes after 40 years of a pack a day.  Not one cigarette in nearly four years.  By what "public health logic" would the FDA do anything to change this?  Turning back vaping to 2007 will kill people - this we know because they will return to smoking.  Will vaping kill people?  So far it has not and until there is some significant evidence pointing to true objective danger that vaping is at least as harmful as combustion tobacco why would you or anyone stop vaping?

Below are the low-level details:

I. Economics.

My wife and a partner owns one of the 14,000 vape shops I mention (this number is based on estimates available on the Electronic Cigarette Forum http://www.e-cigarette-forum.com).  But there is more than just her and her partner employed or partially employed because of this one shop.  There are all the people who work at her suppliers: bottlers, label printing, shipping such as UPS, USPS, DHL, Fedex.  There are those that sell fixture (display cases, shleves, etc.) and equipment (lab equipment, paper towels, etc.).  There are utilities such power and internet.  There is the landlord.

I would estimate that for each active vape shop (and three have sprung up withing a 10 mile radius of my wife's shop within the last six months) there are at least as many people as work at the shop who are employed in supporting industries.

This, of course, does not count actual employees.

Then there all the people involved in the importation of vaping equipment and supplies: pilots, truck drivers, customs inspectors, and so on.  A typical active shop probably spends eight to ten thousand dollars on inventory each month and does business across the face of the planet.

Then there are US vaping equipment manufacturers.

There are also those that call on vape shops to sell traditional products such as insurance and advertising.

There is, of course, the "negative" economic impact to those that make a "living" from the deaths of smokers who will now lose revenue: gas stations and convenience stores selling cigarettes, government tax collectors, and so on.

Arguing that this negative impact is important would be, however, like arguing we should still use horse-drawn carriages because automobiles kill people.  This is a flawed argument because many more people are helped by the existence of automobiles and many of those employed by, for example, the buggy whip industry, simply move on and find new jobs in new industries.  Bringing up the "negative impact" is simply an argument against progress and for "status quo" and hence a continuation of 430,000 smoking related deaths a year.

The number of shops will, in my estimation, double next year.  The vaping industry in the US alone will employ probably a hundred thousand people.

II. Flavorings and post-2007 Vaping Technology

On flavoring: the notion that smokers want to vape "tobacco flavors" is nonsense.  "Tobacco flavors" in vaping is actually a "gateway" to becoming a non-smoker.  Smokers are fearful of vaping because they derive comfort from smoking.   They don't want to smoke but are fearful that relying on a strawberry vape flavor instead of cigarettes - there are fewer vape stores than convenience markets - vape stores are not open at 3:00 AM, etc.

So they start with tobacco-like flavors.  This makes the transition to the process of vaping easier and more comfortable.

In many cases, particularly with older smokers, the habitual aspects of smoking require months or years to over come once vaping starts.  After they become familiar with vaping they tend to switch to non-tobacco flavors.

Flavors are also attractive to children who smoke combustion tobacco.   Most children smoke because of being raised in a smoking environment and many do not like it.  They do not like the taste of cigarettes.  They do not like the taste of tobacco.

But if you consider that smoking is perhaps the only way to consume nicotine as a nutritional need then they feel compelled as there is no alternative.  (Imagine if the only way to get enough vitamin C was to "smoke" it...)

Young smokers typically don't want to smoke and are not yet "addicted" to cigarettes.  They are also not stupid and know smoking is bad.

Flavors do attract them - to stop smoking combustion products.

Once on flavors we see smokers able to reduce nicotine levels very effectively on their own.  I personally believe that smoking forces users into fixed nicotine consumption patterns set by tobacco companies.

Established vapers rely on non-tobacco flavors to keep from using combustion tobacco and elimination of flavors will literally send them back to tobacco.

There are many sources for this information and the study of "gateway" vaping is very active and, at least at the time of me writing this, points to the fact vaping is a "gateway" for children to smoke is nonsense.

As with flavors the vaping technology of 2014 is vastly superior to helping people stop combustion tobacco as compared with what was available in 2007.

The technology available in 2014 allows smokers to immediately stop combustion tobacco if that's their desire (from my wife's shop many people - typically younger people - walk out the door and stop smoking permanently).  The new technology supplies an adequate "throat hit" and sufficient vapor to completely simulate smoking a cigarette.  In 2007 the technology was barely usable and those vaping the longest appear to have started in 2009.

Technology continues to advance, particularly on the battery front.  New mods and eGo devices support bluetooth and will allow direct data collection on usage.

These devices, like most modern technology, will advance rapidly both in terms of power and capability.

These advances will allow even more smokers to adopt them and abandon "combustion technology."

And realistically as long as the total number of youths taking up smoking and vaping remains stable public health is advanced by reductions in "combustion tobacco" usage.

III. Nicotine "derived from tobacco"

I have been studying this for some time.  The gist of why nicotine is handled specially in the 2009 Family Tobacco act is that the FDA says it should be, or rather, wants it to be.

The reading is somehow that "nicotine" falls under some or all of what is a "drug" and is therefore the target of regulation.

However, a careful reading shows, I believe, that the FDA has created a new category of substance called "nicotine" which is magically different from anything else on the planet and defies the scientific process.

The issue arises when you consider how the FDCA defines a drug:

(g)
(1) The term “drug” means

(A) articles recognized in the official United States Pharmacopoeia, official Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States, or official National Formulary, or any supplement to any of them; and

(B) articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man or other animals; and

(C) articles (other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals; and

(D) articles intended for use as a component of any article specified in clause (A), (B), or (C). A food or dietary supplement for which a claim, subject to sections 343 (r)(1)(B) and 343 (r)(3) of this title or sections 343 (r)(1)(B) and 343 (r)(5)(D) of this title, is made in accordance with the requirements of section 343 (r) of this title is not a drug solely because the label or the labeling contains such a claim. A food, dietary ingredient, or dietary supplement for which a truthful and not misleading statement is made in accordance with section 343 (r)(6) of this title is not a drug under clause (C) solely because the label or the labeling contains such a statement.


And then there is the DSHEA which says:

DSHEA for the first time defines dietary supplements by law. According to Section 3 of the Act, the term "dietary supplement":

(1) means a product (other than tobacco) intended to supplement the diet that bears or contains one or more of the following dietary ingredients:
(A) a vitamin;
(B) a mineral;
(C) an herb or other botanical;
(D) an amino acid;
(E) a dietary supplement used by man to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake; or
(F) a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or combination of any ingredient described in clause (A), (B), (C), (D), or (E).

Note the DSHEA defines "tobacco" as an exclusion but not "nicotine."  Water, starch, various sugars, vitamins, amino acids, minerals, etc. all occur in tobacco as well nicotine - yet they are not subject to special regulations by the FDA.

Note that nicotine occurs in many other foods, e.g., tomatoes, egg plant, etc. and several CDC studies indicate that "dietary nicotine" is present in virtually all humans.

Now if one considers, say, vitamin B12, which occurs in both tobacco and other plants and compares this to nicotine you get a conflict between the FDCA and the DSHEA.

I can derive B12 from tobacco or tomatoes.

Since B12 is chemical compound its source is irrelevant.

The FDCA implication via the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act and the deeming regulations is that nicotine is a compound that is somehow different than B12, i.e., special to tobacco.

Even though from a scientific position their properties with respect to tobacco (and the DSHEA) are the same (I believe nicotine actually falls under DSHEA (F)).

This is a hand wave by the FDA to gain control of e-cigarettes.

Clearly B12 is important in health and affects the treatment of vitamin deficiencies (anemia) and also affects the structure of the human body (promotes healthy growth of nerve and brain tissue).

Under the FDCA and FSPTCA it is clearly a "drug" in (g) above.

But its not a drug -- its a necessary nutrient.

I suspect that once the science becomes settled nicotine will be considered a necessary nutrient as well.  In terms of its properties its really no different than B12 other than it turns up in tobacco sold in cigarettes (and for all I know its in snuff) - which does not change it scientifically

Further, when you consider that USP "nicotine" is basically pure nicotine devoid (by government definition) of adulterating tobacco components in terms of purity you are left with the conclusion that the FDA wants nicotine regulated as tobacco for purposes other than science and health.

The FDA will argue that nicotine is addictive - and it may be in conjunction with other tobacco alkaloids when smoked or chewed.  But other science shows that nicotine alone is not.

Today no one knows if a vaper who starts with nicotine vaping, i.e., never smoked, will actually even become addicted.  Yet the FDA wants us all to pretend it is in order for them to control it.

IV. Nicotine is Dangerous and Addictive.

This is another falsehood promoted by many who wish to see vaping stopped.

Too much vitamin D is also dangerous - but no one is concerned about vitamin D.

Children can eat vitamin D 50,000 unit capsules and become ill.

Ditto for nicotine.

Ditto for bleach.

Its danger is simply a red herring to scare people.

Its addictiveness (which I myself am apparently immune from) is probably a side effect of the fact that it provides necessary nutrition.

Clearly once might consider English sailors "addicted" to citrus fruit - but are they "addicted" or are their bodies simply "craving" necessary nutrition.

No scientific study I have seen can tell you the role of nicotine in nutrition (yet dietary nicotine is present everywhere).

There are many studies which show nicotine alone is not addictive.

Yet most substitute tobacco studies and pretend nicotine is what is being studied.

Far more real research is required before anyone can say for sure what is going on.

In addition, I have witnessed vapers involuntarily reduce their nicotine consumption over time - if it were so addictive this would not be possible (witness opiate users).

V. Death by Vaping.

Save for the lone suicide by injection of e-liquid I believe there have been zero deaths attributed to vaping.

So the objective danger of vaping makes it far safer than eating (many people die choking each year in the US)  or driving (which kills around 40,000).

Zero objective danger.

VI. Vaping Studies

Nothing more needs to be said.  True science will determine the safety of vaping.

Science is interested and should be allowed to take its course.

Today there are no alarm bells except by those with a vested interest in controlling vaping.

Let science decide - not money or politics.

VII.  Childproof Caps

No one will drink e-juice.  It tastes horrible.

Its no worse than bleach or other household chemicals that DO NOT have safety caps.

Safety caps may deter older vapers from stopping smoking.

VIII.  Doctors and Vaping

Doctors send people to my wife's vape shop.

Why?

Apparently the FDA knows this is a bad idea without actual knowledge of the persons medical condition.

How do they know this?

IX. The Morality of Promoting Smoking over Vaping

Imagine the following scenario: A 17 year old walks into a vape shop smelling of cigarettes and asks to purchase vaping supplies.  Carding the youth results in him/her being told they may not purchase said products.

Isn't this promoting smoking?

Obviously the youth already has access to cigarettes and is using them despite all laws and government program to the contrary.

The youth most likely wants to stop smoking because since birth they have been told its bad.

But apparently this doesn't apply if you're a kid.

So your age causes you to be discriminated against and forced to continue smoking.

Is this wise public health policy?

Summary

Vaping is a disruptive technology (like the automobile, the cell phone, the telegraph and telephone, etc.) that is changing smokers into non-smokers at a rate which the established status quo cannot accept (too quickly).

It negatively impacts tobacco bonds, promotes people to live healthier (so far), and terminates smoking of combustion tobacco products.

It involves simple technology which people can set up and use from home.

It does not require government intervention to use or do effectively to quit smoking.

Yet for some reason the FDA considers it a regulation target - like laser pointers that idiots point at aircraft.

Don't send vapers back to smoking by altering what the market has created.

Allow vaping to flourish unless there is some real objective (scientific) danger.

Accept that combustion tobacco and the government agencies, regulations, and money spring from will go away - and that if they do you at the FDA CTP have been successful.

Allow those who vape to live free.

Don't condem them to combustion tobacco with controlling regulations related to money and politics.

No one wants to vape unsafe products so promote industry-based self regulation, science and knowledge sharing.

Become a partner with vaping and help steer it in the healthiest directions possible.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

In the Consideration of "The Children" with Regard to Vaping...

“The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”


― Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

"USP" Nicotine

There is yet more to this story.

The term "USP" has meaning in and of itself. There is a scale from seven (7) to one (1) for purity. One (1) being the most pure, seven (7) the least.

USP is number three (3): "A chemical grade of sufficient purity to meet or exceed requirements of the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP); acceptable for food, drug, or medicinal use; may be used for most laboratory purposes."

Hence any nicotine that is of "USP" purity would be considered by established science to be a product usable in any context for which that chemical is appropriate. By this I mean that it is considered "pure nicotine" and not some FDA-defined mish-mash of tobacco alkaloids.

These are scientific standards that apply to all manner of chemicals covered by the US Formulary, not just nicotine. (Look up the USP formulary web sites.)

Now if one inspects a site such as nicSelect we see this claim "NicSelect doesn’t just meet – it exceeds U.S. Pharmacopeia standards."  Below you'll see a list of chemicals, the maximum specific level of impurity required by the standard, and how nicSelect exceeds them (has fewer impurities).

I will argue that while the FDA could attempt to argue that, for example, nicSelect nicotine is "derived from tobacco" such an interpretation would imply that any USP-grade chemical that was sufficiently pure for a USP designation would not be what it was but in fact what it was derived from.

More absolute nonsense as I originally postulated.

So while one can argue nano- and micro-gram amounts of nicotine in second hand smoke or vapor, for example, these standards are simply not applicable here.

Effectively the FDA would have to single out nicotine as somehow "magical" in the sense that only it remained a tobacco product once it was sufficiently pure to receive a "USP" designation.

More importantly bypassing the intent of the legislature which specifically identifies the formularly.

I find it hard to imagine, and in fact in the legislation linked above it is not present, there would be any special meaning for nicotine outside the actual statutes.

So while the FDA and Mr. Zeller can say whatever they like they would have to undo a lot of established science to create the fiction that USP nicotine was somehow a tobacco product.

So, as they say, stick that in your pipe and smoke it...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act/Food Drug and Cosmetic Act can not Regulate Nictone

As it turns out, upon reading the various acts you see the following:

See:

U.S. Code › Title 21 › Chapter 9 › Subchapter II › § 321
21 U.S. Code § 321 - section (g)1 -
(g)
(1) The term “drug” means
(A) articles recognized in the official United States Pharmacopoeia, official Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States, or official National Formulary, or any supplement to any of them; and
[nicotine is listed in the National Formulary]

and

(rr)
(1) The term “tobacco product” means any product made or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption, including any component, part, or accessory of a tobacco product (except for raw materials other than tobacco used in manufacturing a component, part, or accessory of a tobacco product).

(2) The term “tobacco product” does not mean
[ my underline ] an article that is a drug under subsection (g)(1), a device under subsection (h), or a combination product described in section 353 (g) of this title.

The Family Act amends (1) and (2) as

TITLE I—AUTHORITY OF THE FOOD
AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION
SEC. 101. AMENDMENT OF FEDERAL FOOD, DRUG, AND COSMETIC ACT.
(a) DEFINITION OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS
.—Section 201 of the
Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 321) is amended
by adding at the end the following:
‘‘(rr)(1) The term ‘tobacco product’ means any product made
or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption,
including any component, part, or accessory of a tobacco product
(except for raw materials other than tobacco used in manufacturing
a component, part, or accessory of a tobacco product).
‘‘(2) The term ‘tobacco product’ does not mean an article that
is a drug under subsection (g)(1), a device under subsection (h),
or a combination product described in section 503(g).


So, as I originally postulated and as is confirmed here the "Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act" would not seem to include the regulation of nicotine "derived" from tobacco because nicotine is something that already exists outside of the tobacco plant, i.e., just like water or chloropyll.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Reductio ad absurdum - Nictone cannot be "derived" from Tobacco

So in the context of proposed FDA regulation of electronic cigarettes we see that bad old nicotine is probably a significant target.  After all, it, in a legal sense under, say the "The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009" (FSPTCA), is "... any product made or derived from tobacco that is intended for ..."

And, in the context of vaping, the intention of "deeming" regulations is to include nicotine.

So let's think carefully about this.

Tobacco is a plant to so by definition it contains chlorophyll and water as well as many other things, like alkaloids, amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, starches, and pigments.   There are many lists and discussions of this (for example here and here) - this is not rocket science and the understanding of what constitutes of plant is hopefully not in question.

So if I were to "grind up" a tobacco leaf what might I find?

Things like water, chlorophyll, dextrose, ammonia, and pectin (from the second link).

Are these things addictive?

No.

Are these things unique to tobacco in the sense that they can be derived from no other source?

No.

I can derive these things (water, chlorophyll, dextrose, ammonia, and pectin), as well as many others, from tobacco.

I can also buy them at Walmart.

So I think we can also agree that the authors of the FSPTCA did not intend the FDA nor anyone else to "regulate" these items.

It would be absurd.

Now there are many alkaloids such as anabasine which are present only in tobacco.

Hence to obtain this alkaloid I would be required to derive it specifically from a tobacco plant.

This chemical is a pyridine (cyclical organic compound) and is relatively poisonous.

But this chemical, derived from tobacco, is unregulated by the FDA though I think it is clear that, by "derived," the authors of the FSPTCA would intend the FDA to regulate this chemical.

But they do not.

So if we divide up what we find in tobacco we have three classes of constituent: the first I will call a common constituent, something like water, which occurs naturally outside tobacco.  The second I will call a "derivative" which is something which is a constituent but, unlike the first class, can only be derived from tobacco.

And then there is nicotine, alone in its own class.

Nicotine as I have written previously in this blog is available from many sources besides tobacco such as peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes.

Like water and chlorophyll nicotine can be derived from tobacco.

Unlike anabasine it can also derived from peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes.

Nicotine's sin regarding regulation, then, must be its addictive properties?

Well, the FDA does not believe that nicotine is addictive (see their own web site),  where they say "although any nicotine-containing product is potentially addictive, decades of research and use have shown that NRT products sold OTC do not appear to have significant potential for abuse or dependence. [underline mine]"

Dextrose, which is sugar, is potentially addicting too (at least WebMD thinks so).

So under what logic, or specifically how from the perspective of the FSPTCA, can nicotine be singled out for regulation.

It is both logically and legal inconsistent.

The only reason would appear to be that historically nicotine was "thought" to be addictive.

The FDA's new "deeming" apparently fails to reflect the FDAs own thinking - more or less analogous to keeping laws regarding slavery on the books because your thinking on slavery hasn't changed since the passing of the 14th amendment.

If we look at copyright law, for example, its clear what a derivative work is, i.e., what it means to derive.  Congress passed both copyright law and the FSPTCA.

Basically a clear link between an original work and the derivative - something that retains the unique aspects of the original, analogous to anabasine being only found in tobacco.

Tobacco is the "original work" and "anabasine" is the derivative - it is in some sense a subset of tobacco and uniquely derivable from it.

Nicotine, water and chlorophyll are not derivatives in this sense.  They can be derived from anything that contains them, e.g., potatoes.

They are effectively constituents of tobacco but not derivatives.

So we are now faced with an absurdity:

Since I can derive water and pectin from tobacco they must be, by definition because they can be derived from tobacco, regulated under the FSPTCA.

After all pectin is found in jams and jellies - and "intended for human consumption."

So is water.

And finally: Is the water derived from tobacco somehow different that water from other sources?

Yet another absurdity.

Of course not.

Water is water - regardless of the source.

Water squeezed out of a tobacco plant is just like water from any other source.

If we believe that the FSPTCA is intended to regulate the constituents of tobacco then by definition virtually the entire planet would be regulated by this law.

But that's not what the law says.

It says "tobacco" and clearly there exists a class of things which are uniquely derivable from tobacco.

Since tobacco contains virtually all amino acids did the FSPTCA intend to include those as well?

The animals we eat all contain the same amino acids, hence the FDA would be required to regulate all animals that humans might consume as well.

But in fact there are other laws, such as laws related to supplements, to address those constituents.

So if the FSPTCA did not intend to regulate water or chlorophyll how can it regulate nicotine, a chemical with the same properties as water or chlorophyll?

The Congress clearly differentiates between "derivatives" and "constituents" in many areas.

The FDA is taking the law into their own hands and creating a magical new class of tobacco "constituent" - nicotine.
 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Discriminating Against Smokers/Vapers is in fact Racism...


From this.

From my read of the linked article what's going on with smoking and electronic cigarettes is very simple.

Nicotine metabolizes into cotinine - available, by the way, from Santa Cruz Biotechnology.

The process is basically applying either UV light or hydrogen peroxide to nicotine.

Cotinine was once supposed to be marketed as an antidepressant called "Scotine." (See this link - image from link at the right.)

So Cotinine is

  - a cognitive enhancer;

  - something that reduces anxiety and fear in at least the mouse model of PTSD;

  - something that extinguishes fear; and

  - positively affects mental illness such as depression or schizophrenia.

More here.

Basically it does much of what cigarette smokers claim cigarettes in fact do.

Your reaction to cotinine is very likely genetic and can be influenced by ethnicity.

There are specific genes and variations of those genes that determine your reaction to cotinine (see the linked article at the top of the page).

Which makes smoking or vaping, at least in my book, a genetic disorder, i.e., people with certain genes are predisposed to become smokers.

Would you discriminate against a woman with the breast cancer gene BRCA?
Hence singling out smoker is an act of racism.

So the FDA singles out smokers as an ethnic group - a group with specific genes - an discriminates against them.

How is this different than any other form of racism?

I have posted more detail here on the ECF.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Nicotine - Not Addictive

So I have been vaping nicotine professionally for sometime (over six months, in fact).

I haven't had a single issue of addiction - no desire to vape compulsively, no urges to pick up the vape, nothing.

So I started to wonder why I was not falling victim to the "great satan nicotine."  After all, at least according to the NY Times (see this) and Wikipedia, nicotine is more addictive than cocaine or heroin.

I've seen the consequences of these other drugs - not much fun.

But no addiction - no withdrawal when I leave the vape home, even for days.

Nothing...

So what's up with this?

First off I found this link at Discover Magazine. (EDIT: I have contacted the author for specific references to these studies.)

Its kind of an interesting article where you find things like this "In 2005, for instance, researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that animals self-administer a combination of nicotine and acetaldehyde, an organic chemical found in tobacco, significantly more often than either chemical alone. In 2009, a French team found that combining nicotine with a cocktail of five other chemicals found in tobacco — anabasine, nornicotine, anatabine, cotinine and myosmine — significantly increased rats’ hyperactivity and self-administration of the mix compared with nicotine alone. "

And "...it’s almost impossible to get laboratory animals hooked on pure nicotine..."

So alone (and its alone in your vape because anabasine and friends are not present there) the nicotine your vape probably produces no addictive effect unless mixed with other chemicals.

This is not the only article.

Another, here,  which says “Studies have shown that none of the nicotine replacement therapies — chewing gum, inhalers, patches — none of those are addictive.”

What?  No addiction?

In fact, the professor who the article was about “I presented this position to 20 of the world’s experts,” he said. “And though some were shocked and insulted, no one could argue that my case was untrue.”

How interesting is this?  Sounds like the same crap the discoverers of H. Pylori (the bacetria the create stomach uclers) when through.  No one believed that the bacteria could live in the stomach of a human, much less cause ulcers.

As I recall and perhaps have written about in one of my posts, they had to resort to infecting themselves with H. Pylori to cause themselves to get ulcers and then curing themselves because no one would believe them.

Ultimately, in 2005, they won the Nobel Prize for their discovery.

Sounds like the same bogus science model - start with a forgone conclusion, e.g., nicotine is addictive, and conduct a study that shows you are correct.

ADDITIONAL STUDIES:  Here is a Nation Institute of Health document with many detailed references to studies showing that its not nicotine alone (as found in vaping relative to other whole tobacco alkaloids) that is addictive.

Another study from Israel (Dr. Reuven Dar) showing that smoking is a habit and not a nicotine-related addiction (Reference here.).

An earlier study from 2005 by Dr. Dar showing similar results.

Another study from New Zealand implicating whole tobacco alkaloids as an important element when combined with nicotine: "The conclusions were that non-nicotinic components have a role in tobacco dependence and that some tobacco products could have higher abuse liability, irrespective of nicotine levels."

UPDATE: The FDA says here, regarding its approved patches and gums, that "although any nicotine-containing product is potentially addictive, decades of research and use have shown that NRT products sold OTC do not appear to have significant potential for abuse or dependence."

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Diacetyl - What's the Real, Objective Danger?

This post posits that diacetyl alone may not be the killer that popular culture suggests.  Certainly I am not any sort of official "health" scientist but I think there are a lot of very, very "loose" ends which need a better explanation.

The question I want to ask is simple: is diacetyl really dangerous?  And what about someone vaping something that might contain minute traces of diacytel, i.e., from a flavor provider that might not label their ingredients properly.

In researching this post I discovered a DuPont 1936 patent on the details of an industrial process to create diacetyl (or butane-2,3-dione).

Diacetyl has been used in the food industry since, as best I can tell, at least the 1930's and probably well before.  Its used in brewing beer (see this and this as examples) and is naturally created by fermentation.  In 1983 the FDA deemed diacetyl as GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe).

From this web site (defendingscience.org) we find a rough timeline of how Bronchiolitis obliterans (popcorn worker's disease) was discovered (after roughly five decades of diacetyl used commercially):

Timeline:
 
March 12, 1985: NIOSH investigators visit an Indiana facility that produces flavors for bakeries, where two young, previously health, nonsmoking employees have been diagnosed with severe fixed obstructive pulmonary disease (consistent with bronchiolitis obliterans). Diacetyl is one of the chemicals commonly used at the facility.

February 16, 1993: Researchers for the German company BASF finish conducting a study in rats underwent a single 4-hour exposure to diacetyl vapors; all of them died at diacetyl concentrations > 23.9 mg/l.

May 19, 2000: Missouri Department of Health notifies OSHA that ten workers from one popcorn plant have bronchiolitis obliterans and asks OSHA to inspect the facility.

May 23, 2000: OSHA inspector visits the plant, but samples cannot be analyzed by OSHA’s laboratory.

August – November 2000: NIOSH investigates Missouri microwave popcorn facility; findings indicate that workers exposed to flavorings at the microwave popcorn plant are at risk for developing fixed obstructive lung disease.

December 2000: NIOSH issues interim recommendations to the Missouri microwave popcorn plant on ways to control workers’ exposure to the artificial butter flavoring

September 2001: NIOSH investigators return to the Missouri factory they studied to distribute materials describing investigation results, ongoing activities, and worker precautions.

September and December 2001: Attorney representing sick workers files complaints with OSHA, noting that worker health continued to decline after plant took measures recommended by NIOSH.

April 26, 2002: Scientists from NIOSH and the Missouri Department of Health publish an article in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report describing their investigation; the article notes that "recent reports to CDC document bronchiolitis obliterans cases in the settings of flavoring manufacture" and that "preliminary animal studies at CDC suggest severe damage to airway epithelium after inhalation exposure to high air concentrations of a butter flavoring."

...

Fast forward to December of 2007.  Here we find this very interesting article in the Seattle-PI: "Flavor additive puts professional cooks at risk."

Now what's interesting is the assertions about the danger levels of diacetyl.

Let's look first at the EPA (see in the "The Pump Handle Blog" on diacetyl).

Here we see a fellow who eats two bags of microwave popcorn a day acquiring a case of bronchiolitis obliterans.  About six paragraphs down we see this "The exposure levels in his home were 0.5-3 parts per million after he popped the bags. This is comparable to levels in popcorn factories and evidently enough to damage his lungs."

0.5 to 3 ppm - So let's remember that.

(BTW - 1 ppm is roughly 1 drop in 13 gallons, 1 ppb (billion) is 1 drop in 13,000 gallons.)

Going back to our Seattle-PI article we find the following analyzing 22 of "the more popular cooking products. LabCor, a Seattle-based certified analytical laboratory frequently used by the Environmental Protection Agency."  (Note this is the level of "diacetyl in air samples captured from a heated skillet in which the products were tested.")
  • Two real butters were analyzed and diacetyl was found in a range of 7 ppm to almost 16 ppm.

  • In all the margarine and shortening products, levels of 7 ppm to almost 180 ppm were present.
  • A butter-flavored cooking spray released more than 164 ppm of diacetyl.
  • Butter-flavored cooking oils used by professional cooks ranged from 23 ppm to 234 ppm.
  • Two brands of oil for popping corn came in at 1,062 ppm and 1,125 ppm.
So these number vastly exceed the 0.5-3 ppm found in the home popcorn case.  (You can google others who have done similar studies - I found this detailed FDA report.)

Its fairly easy to find any number of sites that talk about the range (in ppm) of diacetyl in various popcorn and flavoring preparation plants (see this and this and this as an examples).  All relate values similar to the 0.5 to say 98ppm.  The last link (this) claiming "exposure of mice to 200 and 400 ppm diacetyl via inhalation for 6 hours per day over 5 days caused death."

Note this "200 to 400 ppm" is in line with the exposure level in the kitchen for butter flavored cooking oils and oils for popping corn indicated with Seatle-PI.

So why aren't the cooks and theater workers dying?

Well, for one thing a human male, on average, might weigh around 50kg (from this), or 50,000g as compared to a mouse at maybe 15g (see this).

Thus a human weighs about 3,333 times more than a mouse.

Since there are no vast die-offs in the kitchens (with perhaps 3.5 million cooks) and untold numbers of teenagers working in movie houses selling popcorn one has to believe that this difference in scale means much more diacetyl is probably necessary to kill humans.

So 3,333 x 3 ppm would be 10,000 parts per million or a 1% atmosphere of diacetyl.  Makes perfect sense (in the case of pop corn workers) you could inhale this much if you are bent over a large heated tank.

At least that's one explanation.

Another issue is if, according to the FDA report above, the Ridgeway plant, which started making microwave popcorn in 1986 apparently never had any evidence of health issues until 2002 (when the investigation was conducted). 

Now maybe there were issues and no one noticed - though there were no mysterious deaths or other activities to draw attention.

Or maybe something else changed in the plant (remember diacetyl has been in use since at least the 1930s) that in concert with diacytel began causing problems.

So the more interesting question is this: what is the objective danger of diacetyl?

Subjectively everyone can scream in panic that "diacetyl is killing us..." - but what is the real danger?

Clearly from 1986 to 2002 when the problems began there were no reported issues.

As best I can tell diacetyl has killed "a few scores of people" - some in the Netherlands and others in the US (see this OSHA publication).  Interestingly all around the same period of time.

Perhaps something changed in the industry relating to how microwave popcorn was made?  A sort of "new best practice?"

But back to diacetyl.

Automobiles kill about 100 a day (based on the best research I could do).

The CDC says 443,000 a year (or about 1,200 a day) die from smoking.

Objectively, at least compared other causes of death, diacetyl kills in the range of a rounding error on automobile deaths.

So what about vaping?

It gets more interesting here.

The other day I spoke with someone who mentioned that rigorous testing for diacetyl was a requirement in the new, proposed FDA vaping regulations.

There are two ways to look at this.

One, millions of people exposed to relatively large (objective ppm values) diacetyl every day do not get sick or die and have not for decades.

If vaping provides diacetyl at or below the levels seen in normal, everyday cooking then it seems unlikely, excluding other issues which I will mention below, that diacetyl is an issue.

If, on the other hand, vaping provides diacetyl at a rate above these cooking levels this it seems that it should be a concern.

Another concern is less is known about diacetyl substitutes (which are derived from, what else, diacetyl).  What would be used if no diacetyl is present?  A substitute of course.

Diacetyl is also present in cigarettes at high levels.  Is less diacytel better than more? (Yes, its burnt there so perhaps its not related - though no one has suggested its related to, say, cancer of the lungs...)

Other compounds such as acetoin can convert into diacetyl, i.e., there are compounds that may contain compounds that convert into diacetyl.

Another interesting issue is that much of this seems tied to very little initial work at the popcorn plants other than simply collecting data.

Much of diacetyl has supposedly been removed from various cooking products as a result of this investigation.  

Though potentially contradicting this is this link suggests biochemists are busily genetically engineering microbes to produce diacetyl.

(The BASF study isn't necessarily meaning full - many things breathed in a 1% atmosphere will kill you.)

My guess is that in the panic to find the "witch" for trial the real culprit escaped notice:  something to do with diacetyl, e.g., an interaction with another chemical, heating, a process change, etc.  Certainly problems were detected in other diacytel-using plants.  But there doesn't appear to be a uniform distribution of problems - both over time and location.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Phil Busardo Interview on the PrimusZ...

Good coverage of the PrimusZ... (starts around 5:30...)


Thanks Phil!!!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

PrimusZ in the Clouds...


Sony 30A - Wherefore Art Thou...??

Over the last few weeks there has been much discussion between myself and Mrs. Wolf regarding the issues of battery safety with respect to mechanical mods, cloud chasing, and so on has occurred at the vape shop (K & D Vape Shop).

First some background.  Vaping involves either "regulated" power or "unregulated power" for the most part.

Unregulated power is basically a battery connected to a coil of wire such that when the battery is connected to the circuit the wire heats up.  In the case of vaping this generates the "vapor."

There are several vaping-related issues with this.

For one, batteries do not emit a fixed, continuous voltage (and hence power level).  When you charge a 3.7V battery fully the voltage is actually 4.2V.  As its used it "runs down" to about 3.6V at which point its completely discharged (you can run it down to 0V but it won't recharge).  So your vaping experience changes over the charge of the battery charge, i.e.,  it might be too much at the start of the charge or it might be too little at the end - in any case there is zero likelihood it will be "just right" for long.

The charge level affects the flavor - more charge means more "throat hit"and nicotine.  Similarly more charge means more vapor which implies more nicotine absorption.  (Imagine the volume of a single huge "cloud" versus twenty tiny clouds.) So your battery level impacts your overall vaping experience.

Regulated power means that there is a control that sets your voltage and as long as the control can maintain that exact voltage it does.  So your vaping, nicotine and so on are "controlled" accurately until the battery dies.

The downside is that the regulation consumes power, i.e., adds overhead, so your battery life overall (as well as your maximum possible power level) is reduced.

Mechanical mods are, for the most part, unregulated (though there is no reason you couldn't build a mechanical regulator).  Instead, they are manually "regulated" by turning them on and off (which is actually what regulation does in the mod world anyway).

So the issue with respect to battery safety becomes this:  What happens when I run a Lithium Ion (or LI variant) through what appears to the battery as a near short, i.e., low ohms or sub ohms?

And what batteries should a shop own offer to people using these types of mods?

The most popular battery today for mechanicals, at least in our neighborhood,  is a "30A Sony" battery.

So, Mrs. Wolf asks, should we sell these 30A Sony batteries?  Are they Safe?

The easiest way to answer this question, I reply, is to "check the specs."

"Specs" are data sheets published by people who build electronic or other devices that outline what the device is and is not capable of doing.  How it should be or should not be used, what happens when you abuse it, how you shouldn't abuse it, etc.

So, after this question, as well as some discussions with other vapers who have stopped into the shop, I set about looking for "specs" on the "30A Sony" battery.

What I would expect to find is an offical Sony Energy Devices (a unit of Sony that actually makes batteries) document that describes this battery - its spec sheet.  The idea is to check these specs and see if the battery is designed to adequately work within the context of a mechanical mod.

But I didn't find this kind of spec sheet.

Instead I found variations of what looks like some kind of PowerPoint (there are several different ones) that look like this.

So it would seem that the "30A Sony" battery is what this chart (taken from the link above) describes.

(If anyone finds a more detailed or specific Sony Energy Devices document I'd like to see it.)

But let's look at this in a little more detail.

First off, remember that batteries are basically "dead" at 3.5V.  So if we inspect this chart we see that at heavy discharge loads (here greater than 20A) the battery comes "out of the gate" dead more or less.  (Note too that the discharge test terminates at 2.5V so no battery goes below this threshold.)

In my experiences designing the GRX 1.0 board for the PrimusZ a battery is pretty useless at 3.5V.

But this is where the 30A seems to start (more or less).

So my thinking is that this battery isn't designed any different than any other in its class and the 30A is coming from this chart.

So what do batteries actually do in a situation like this?

This video (thanks, Erik) gives a pretty good idea:



Basically this guy is comparing the voltage drop across two different mods.  But he is also showing how batteries actually work in a mod.

The first mod emits 3.92V into a .58 ohm load during the test, thus the battery is producing 3.92V/.58 ohms or about 6.7 amps of current.  This works out (using 3.92 x 6.7) to about 26.5 watts.

No where near the "30A" stamped on the battery.

So what are we as a shop looking for in a battery?

Several things:

1) Safety - how does the battery perform when shorted out, i.e., does it catch fire or explode.

2) Reasonable discharge performance into a typical "sub ohm" load.

3) Documentation - does the battery come from a place where we can have some understanding that we know where it came from and how it will work, e.g., reliable, manufacturer-written specifications?

4) Sourcability - can we get this battery more than one time from more than one source? (Batteries are upgraded all the time as the chemistry improves so we really want a reliable battery family...)

So here is a review of a similar battery to what we might use (we actually chose the 15Q).

What's important is probably this chart (from the link above):


This tells us how long the batter will last when churning out 6.7 Amps - about 6-7 minutes before the level falls below about 3.7V.

(And see, this battery is also a "30A" battery if you look at the chart closely enough...)

So what's the bottom line?

We ended up with the SAMSUNG INR18650-15Q.

First, because the spec sheet tells us the battery can handle a dead short without exploding or catching fire.

Second, from research these batteries seem to be used commercially in a lot of tools like drills, etc. and Samsung SDI seems to be a supplier in this market.

Three, we can get them (or newer version) from commercial suppliers.

Fourth, the would appear to have the appropriate amount of power required for a mechanical.

And, with apologies to the guy who made the video above:

The .08V difference between the two modes represents a 1 in 100 (or 1%) accuracy.  I highly doubt the meters used (ohm and power) are that accurate so though one mod "beats" the other you'd have to do a more scientific experiment.

First, you'd have to sample a lot of batteries to see how much they vary (probably more than 1% in my experience).

Second, you'd have to check that the coil ohms value doesn't change as it gets hot or is heated (it does but I don't know how much in this case).

Third, you'd have to know how accurate and reliable your meter's are (.01 matters in these cases and the measurements in the video clearly bounce around).

The bottom line on the video: its probably showing a mostly normal "variance" between all the pieces and parts.

Presuming both mods are made of similarly conductive material I would not expect too much variation.

For those that are interested - stop down and we can discuss this in more detail if you like...

And yes, you can go far below the .58 ohms used in the video.

Yes, the "amps" to the coil goes up.

But this means also means the "voltage drop" worsens as the battery tries to compensate for what amounts to a direct short and your battery life of 6 minutes will decrease proportionally as well.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

PrimusZ "Black Mamba"




We will be attending Vapebash in Chicago this weekend (April 11/12).

Though we don't have a booth just be on the lookout for these mods.

We are looking for a few more folks to be involved in testing the first release so if you are interested let us know by stopping by www.elementvapors.com...


Monday, April 7, 2014

Mods and "Vaping" - Some Pre-History...

US Patent 3,200,819 from 1965
For most the notion of a e-cigarette you find in a convenience store is a modern idea.  Most "early adopter" vapers I know started out around 2008 or 2009.

But did you know that there is a "pre-history" of vaping?

At the left is an image from a 1965 patent application for an e-cigarette (full information here).   Invented by Herbert A. Gilbert (who is still alive today - I found this because he did an interview somewhere) this e-cigarette patent is one of the reasons that modern "big tobacco" doesn't own the "vaping" market (nor can the Chinese inventors of the modern vape).

To patent something today related to e-cigarettes you have to show that there is no "prior art."  Prior art meaning that no one has either already invented or sold your idea commercially.

Since this patent covers the basic modern notion of a e-cigarette quite well so there isn't much room for new invention in terms of new patents.  Of course, you can always invent new details or mechanisms (a sharper razor) to accomplish some part of the vaping process better, but you can't claim "invention" (and hence control over) the basic concept.

The patent description says: "The present invention relates to a smokeless nontobacco cigarette and has for an object to provide a safe and harmless means for and method of smoking by replacing burning tobacco and paper with heated, moist, flavored air; or by inhaling warm medication into the lungs in case of a respiratory ailment under direction of a physician. Another object of the invention is to provide an article of manufacture resembling a cigarette by which air may be drawn through a porous substance of a cartridge which has been moistened with a chemically harmless flavoring preparation, combining moisture and taste following which the moist and flavored air passes through a section of the device heated by a suitable heating element so that warm, moist and flavored air is drawn into the mouth and if desired into the lungs of the user."

But pre-history doesn't end there.

There is a peer-reviewed scientific journal called "Tobacco Control" (from the main page Tobacco Control describes itself as "Tobacco Control is an international peer review journal covering the nature and consequences of tobacco use worldwide; tobacco's effects on population health, the economy, the environment, and society; efforts to prevent and control the global tobacco epidemic through population level education and policy changes; the ethical dimensions of tobacco control policies; and the activities of the tobacco industry and its allies").

From 2003 you'll find an article titled "Estimating the health consequences of replacing cigarettes with nicotine inhalers."

The Background section of the paper describes: "A fast acting, clean nicotine delivery system [ed. note Vaping] might substantially displace cigarettes. Public health consequences would depend on the subsequent prevalence of nicotine use, hazards of delivery systems, and intrinsic hazards of nicotine."

And the conclusions?

"Clean nicotine inhalers [ed. note Vaping?] might improve public health as much as any feasible tobacco control effort. Although the relevant risk estimates are somewhat uncertain, partial nicotine deregulation deserves consideration as part of a broad tobacco control policy."

Though they don't describe what a "clean nicotine inhaler" is in any detail - they really did not exist in 2003 - the conclusion here is, in my opinion, that is what is called "Vaping" today will "improve public health" as much as any tobacco policy.

What does this mean?

Rather than trying to strangle out cigarettes you might be at least as well off providing the public something like "vaping..." to do the same job.

Some food for though.