Friday, 27 June 2014

Vaping in Norway: Legal if you're quitting, illegal if you enjoy it

Careful now! Someone might suspect you enjoy
Norwegian laws and rules can be quite weird some times. Our regulatory authorities love their precautionary principle and new inventions are considered dangerous as hell until proven otherwise. Segways for instance, was banned until July 1st this year. From 1978 until 1989 skateboards were forbidden. Nope, I'm not joking, google it if you don't believe me. The reasoning behind the ban was that they had seen a lot of accidents in other countries and they wanted to protect the children (yeah... sounds familiar right?). So of course e-cigarettes are banned here as well. Or are they?

The answer, it turns out, is both yes and no. I came across this article on a Norwegian web-magazine a while ago, trying to explain the rules: It investigates the rules on e-cigarettes in Norway, and it seems like the conclusion is this: It's legal, as long as you don't enjoy it. 

Today e-cigarettes and e-liquid containing nicotine is illegal to sell in Norway, but it is legal to buy and use. But not for everyone. The thing is, we have a law forbidding any new nicotine product, including e-cigarettes. However new nicotine products like gum and patches turn up all the time, and this is legal because they are used as medicines to quit smoking. And even though e-cigarettes are not legal to sell here, they are actually regulated as pharmaceutical products, and pharmaceutical products can be imported from countries in the European Economic Area for personal and medicinal use. This means you have to use it to quit smoking, and Norwegian customs can therefore stop your packages at the border and ask for documentation that you are actually using it to quit smoking. So you'll have to find a doctor willing to give you this documentation... and from what I've seen in forums, most doctors will do this without hesitation. I haven't asked my doctor for such documentation, but I wonder what he would say. I'm not vaping to quit smoking any more, I quit 2 years ago. But I am using them to avoid relapsing... does that count? I'd have to lie to say I don't enjoy it as well. And, according to the law, e-cigarettes used for enjoyment are regulated as a new nicotine product (instead of a pharmaceutical product it would be if I didn't enjoy it), and therefore illegal. So in Norway one product can be both legal and illegal at the same time, depending on if you're using it for enjoyment or not. Why didn't the guys who banned skateboarding think of that? It could have been legal if as long as you only used it as a means of transport (making sure you didn't have fun on the way).

The author has asked Norwegian customs about this and they say that due to the increase of packages containing e-cigarettes and e-liquid they can't ask for this documentation in every case. They say that they now just assume that people are using it to quit smoking, so in practice you really don't need to ask your doctor anyway.

Now, e-cigarettes and e-liquids without nicotine on the other hand, are legal to sell in Norway. Not without some restrictions though: advertising is banned, there is an 18 year age limit, and you can't claim that zero nicotine e-liquid and e-cigarettes are healthier than smoking. Cause if you do, the e-cigarette is defined as an unapproved pharmaceutical product.

Any of this make any sense to you? Nah... not to me either.

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Monday, 23 June 2014

Juice review: Steam Sauce - Chrononaut by ePipeMods

Tested on: Hellfire Mega (around 1.3 ohms)

Chrononaut was one of the Steam Sauce juices I was most excited to try out. Some of the juices in the ranger you pretty much know what to expect from, like watermelon (Zephyr), grape (Transdimensional) or pear and berries (Snozzle), but the combination of coconut, ginger and pepper is something that I've never tasted before. Now this might be a common taste combination in other parts of the world, but for me this was something completely new. 

I have tried some Coconut juices before, but I've always found them to be a bit to sweet for my taste. Ginger and pepper on the other hand I had never tried as an e-liquid before (but I love to use both in cooking). To be honest, before I tried the juice I was very unsure what to expect. 

Opening the bottle, the smell of sweet coconut is dominant, but you can smell there is ginger there as well. The pepper you need to wait until you vape before you notice, or at least I had to. So how does this taste combination work? Well, honestly... it works bloody great. Why haven't I tried this combination of tastes before? The spicy ginger compliments the sweet coconut in a fantastic way, giving the juice quite a "bite" and the pepper gives it even more punch and the strongest throat-hit of the Steam Sauce juices that I've tried so far. Combining such different tastes requires perfect balance, or you'll probably end up with something totally unvapable, but the guys at ePipeMods has really nailed this one. In my opinion these guys are really the masters of balancing tastes to perfection.

So if you want to try out a really unique juice, Chrononaut is one to consider. I was really surprised how well these tastes work together, making this juice one of my favourites (I'd say on par with Airship) in the Steam Sauce range so far. Currently I can only find Chrononaut availible on the epipemods website, but feel free to leave a comment if you know any other places that sell it.


Friday, 20 June 2014

Juice sample subscription services - A good idea?

Last week I was contacted by Kevin from presenting their service. Luckily for them (and me?) they didn't use the word subscription at all. That might have put the email straight in the trash cause the idea of subscribing to any kind of vaping stuff sounds like a bad idea to me. There is so many good juices out there, and so much different equipment to try out that it sounds like a waste of money to me. I've not exactly heard much good about it either, the most common response when I read about it on Facebook or forums has been that it's bloody expensive. But anyway, since they avoided that word I read through the whole thing and it kind of got me interested and I did some google searches on the subject.

The idea is that they send you a box of premium juice samples every month, at very a reasonable price (at Zamplebox they have 2 options: $25 or $45 depending on how much juice you want), along with some coupons giving you some discounts if you find a juice you really like. My google searches reveals that there are actually quite a few of these services now. A couple of them based in Europe as well (mySizzleBox, Drippa and maybe more), and some of them even have options with hardware included every month (although it mostly looks like cheap clones). Actually as I'm starting to like the idea. The price isn't bad, and according to users it looks like you get $50+ worth of juice for half that price. Not only is this a good idea for vapers like me, who are always on the search for a new favourite juice, but the vendors that deliver the juices to zamplebox and other similar services get their product out to a lot of vapers that might never have heard of them.

I agreed to do a review of zamplebox's service, so as soon as the box arrives I'll let you guys know if this is as good as it looks on paper. Can they live up to this statement?: "As you can imagine, many of your readers are also vapers who have dived head first into vaping, asking the questions: Where do I find premium E-liquid? What are the best premium devices to vape with? What can help me quit smoking? Zamplebox is the solution." 

Zamplebox also offered to throw a competition where my readers can win a month subscription and try this out themselves. So stay tuned if you want a chance to win some free juice. Kevin said he'll send the box this week so hopefully the review and competition will be up next week. If anyone has tried some of these services please don't be afraid to leave a comment.

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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Tobacco harm elimination: An experiment with human life and health

I was reading an article published on Norwegian TV channel NRK's website (, in Norwegian) some days ago. It's written by cancer researchers Dr. Tom K. Grimsrud (from the Norwegian Cancer Registry) Professor Tore Sanner (from the University in Oslo I think). The headline:
"An experiment with life and health"
I'm not going to go through all the details here (don't bother trying google translate, it changes the meaning of a lot of stuff in there) but the heading says a lot about the content I think. This is how they choose to start their article:
"For long we believed that nicotine was relatively harmless, and that the harm in tobacco use came from other substances in smoke and tobacco. This understanding characterizes the debate on e-cigarettes, but it is obsolete"
Basically it's a collection of vague references to studies that the don't even provide links to. Dr. Grimsrud and Professor Sanner are, if not deliberately lying to scare people, and I'm not saying they are not, guilty of just plowing through summaries and conclusions and without any further investigation cherry picking the ones that fits well into their scaremongering tactics. And there is a lot of "reason to maybe believe that nicotine is dangerous" and "we can't rule out that nicotine causes some harm". They go public with a headline that will scare a lot smokers enough to keep them smoking and eventually die because of it, followed by an article based on some vague study that can't rule out that nicotine may have caused some Swedish mice that already had cancer to die a faster and a gateway argument that has been proved wrong by a bunch of studies lately. The ASH study for example: The numbers they use for supporting their gateway argument seem to come from the CDC study published last year ( that actually shows nothing of the sort but is rather a study in how to twist your irrelevant numbers to fit your pre-written conclusion. If anything is obsolete here it's their gateway argument and the so called science they use to back it up.

I'm convinced that Grimsrud and Sanner are fully aware of these studies, as they are fully aware of the studies of Dr. Farsalinos (, but these does not support their case, and they have not been able to find any good arguments against them so they just refrain from mentioning them. If you're going to put Dr. or Professor in front of your name you should know better.

I am also convinced that if Grimsrud or Sanner had to choose either e-cigarettes or cigarettes for themselves or their children, they would go for the e-cigarette. Well, actually they would probably try to choose neither. And this seems to be their biggest problem, and the biggest problem with the whole anti-e-cig movement: They seem completely unable to understand that for a lot of people there is no third option, which is kind of dangerous actually, considering the influence their statement may have on smokers. They simply refuse to accept the fact that a lot of smokers are unable to get rid of their nicotine addiction. So they cling to their harm elimination strategy.

One of the problems with only going for harm elimination is that it is only successful if a user manages to completely manages to quit whatever he is addicted to. If it fails, you're back to square one. Another problem is that the barrier an addict has to cross to succeed is much more intimidating, making a lot of users reluctant to even try. Harm reduction on the other hand, is more user friendly and more motivating for the user, and you're not back to square one if you fail. If you want to quit smoking and your strategy is to quit cold turkey, and you fail, you're back on the cigarettes (unless a harm reducing option is available). If your strategy is to switch to e-cigarettes and then gradually reduce the nicotine content, failing to do the latter means you're just standing still or in the worst case you've just taken a step back. But the biggest problem is that a lot of users are simply unable to succeed at harm elimination. This leaves them with no other option than to stick with the cigarettes.

Harm reduction can also be a gateway to harm elimination. The steps to cut down your nicotine content from say 18mg/ml, via 12 and 6 (just examples) are much easier and less intimidating to users than having to take one giant leap and quit cold turkey. In addition to this harm reduction can act as a safety net for people failing in harm elimination. I've read several forum posts and blog posts from former smokers that tried to cut cold turkey and "failed", but instead of reverting to cigarettes, they've started vaping. I think even Grimsrud and Sanner would agree that this is better. As I said, if they were left with two options, cigarettes or e-cigarettes, they'd both go for e-cigarettes. (If any of you two are reading this, feel free to comment if you disagree.) And why is that? Well, it lets the user get rid of thousands of known carcinogens, and leaves them with just one potential one, reducing the chances of a premature death dramatically.

So do Sanner and Grimsrud really understand the concept of harm reduction and why it's the solution to the worlds tobacco problem. I think they do, but they still chose to publish that article, with no mention of nicotine gum or patches I may add. In fact they end their article with this: "The marketing of e-cigarettes is a gigantic experiment with human lives and health". Which is a bit strange as they're main argument is that nicotine itself is dangerous. Their motives for doing so? I don't really know, but the options I can think of scares me a bit. Whatever their motives are, I say the the real experiment with human lives and health here lies within their harm elimination only strategy and their choice to publish this article.

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Friday, 13 June 2014

Cig-alikes, do they have a future?

There is a lot of different opinions about cig-alikes in the vaping community. Some say their performance is so bad that they will disappear from the market as people discover better performing devices, some use them as an "out-and-about-device" in combination with other, bigger devices or mods, while others again find them good enough and use them exclusively. When I ask experienced vapers what they recommend to smokers that wants to try vaping, the most common answer is that they wouldn't recommend a cig-alike, but rather an eGo and some kind of clearomizer. Some even get at bit angry if I mention a cig-alike. However if I ask smokers what they think would enable them to make the switch, I usually get the impression that the closer they get to a real cigarette, the better.

Personally I don't use cig-alikes. I have some high end mods and genesis atomizers that I use most of the time, and an Aspire Mini BDC (read my review here: that I use when I'm out doing stuff where I need a light weight leak-proof system. I must admit it's been a while since I tried a cig-alike, but I'm so happy with the performance of the equipment I use that I think I would be very disappointed if I tried one now. But when I started out, I was also one of those people who wanted something that felt and tasted as close to a real cigarette as possible. I wanted the device to look like a cigarette, and I wanted it to taste like a cigarette, but I quickly discovered that if I wanted the taste, I had to go to bigger devices that looked nothing like a cigarette. It was almost like the less the device looked like a cigarette, the better it tasted. Today, 2 and a half year later, I only have one of my atties filled with some kind of tobacco flavour. So do I think the cig-alikes will die and disappear from the market, outperformed by 2nd generation devices and mods?

The short answer to that question is no. I started my vaping career with a cig-alike, and I do believe a lot of smokers will do the same in the future. I've written earlier about what I think makes vaping so successful, and one of the things is that it lets you keep the ritual of smoking. For some people, the look, feel and the way they use their device is a very important part of this ritual and they don't feel that it's the same if they have to push a button to fire their big-ass mod. So they continue with the cig-alikes for quite a while. Others, like myself, are happy to replace this part of the ritual, chasing after the best taste and biggest clouds of vapour. People are different. And that the main reasons I think cig-alikes will live on, and co-exist with more advanced devices.

Big tobacco seems to have a lot of faith in the cig-alikes and are investing heavily in them, and of course it is in their interest that vapers continue to use the them for as long as possible. To do this they can play on the advantages that the cig-alike has over the other devices, mainly size, price and the fact that they let their users keep a ritual that is very close to their beloved smoking ritual. However, as I indicated above, for a lot of vapers (I'd say most) the superior taste and performance of bigger devices eventually will become more important and they will move on. I'm not sure it's possible to get a cig-alike to perform nearly as well as some of the mods out there today, at least not without loosing the price advantage. However I do think there is a lot of potential for innovation in the cig-alike segment as well. And hopefully we will see a lot of exiting stuff in the years to come, if regulations don't kill the competition. Imagine a variable voltage/watt cig-alike connected to your phone with bluetooth and a fancy app monitoring health and economic benefits compared to smoking. It's definitely possible, and we're already seeing some devices that can connect to your phone.

To sum up, I think the cig-alikes are here to stay and I think they will evolve and get better, but I also think the pace of innovation in the segment depends a lot on how vaping end up being regulated. If innovation is stimulated through competition I think quite a few vapers will be happy with the cig-alikes as their main device in the future. And I think we will be both surprised and amazed by what they come up with. What do you think? Please leave a comment to let us all know.

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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Juice review: Steam Sauce - Snozzle by ePipeMods

Tested on: Hellfire Dripper (around 1.4 ohms)

EPipeMods has started selling samples of their Steam Sauce range. For $4 each you get to compose your own sample pack, choosing from no less than 15 creatively named juices. This is good news indeed, so of course I ordered 5 of them with my last order. And of course EPipeMods sent me a bonus sample as well. Guess they felt I was in need of some rum and coke, so they added a small bottle of Coquette. I'll probably review that later, but today, Snozzle is up.

"A smooth concoction of luscious pear and berries - put that in your Snozzle and vape it!" - This is ePipeMods' own description of the juice. As usual, pretty creative, and pretty spot on to describe the flavour, and the smell when you open the bottle. And as usual, even thought the pear is quite clear, ePipeMods has managed to create something extra. I'm not sure what kind of berries that is in there but it adds something extra and in some weird way it kind of pronounces the pear. Epipemods once again proves they are masters of combining flavours and balancing them to perfection. A bit difficult to describe correctly thought, so I guess you'll just have to try it yourself.

Vapor production is of course great as usual. As for throat-hit, it's there, not huge but better than I actually expect from a 100% VG juice (as all the juices from EpipeMods are). 

  • All my reviews are my honest opinion even if I am affiliated with the company manufacturing or selling the product. 
  • This review was NOT sponsored by the manufacturer.
  • This review does NOT contains affiliate links. 
  • I'm NOT affiliated with the manufacturer in any way at this time.

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Tuesday, 10 June 2014

"First vape" stories on the Ashtray Blog

Yesterday the Ashtray Blog published an article where 10 vapers tell the story of their first vape, and readers are encouraged to tell their own stories in the comments. James asked me a couple of weeks if I wanted to contribute to this and of course I said yes. For those of you that has read some of my previous posts you'll know that I'm a big fan of vapers telling their stories and I think these stories are extremely important to educate and make sure that people don't base their attitude towards vaping based solely on the propaganda that the anti-vaping movement feeds the media.

I must say I'm honoured to be asked to contribute alongside the other bloggers in the article. Some of these bloggers have managed to reach millions of readers every week and their work is really important to the future of vaping. Thanks James, for letting me tell my story. Read the whole story here: I encourage all of you to tell your own story in the comments. There is even nice prices to win if you do.

PS. Dimitris, I totally agree with you on the stick batteries. The cig-alikes don't taste and perform as good as our 2nd generation devices and mods, but they play an important role in introducing smokers to vaping.

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Friday, 6 June 2014

Don't underestimate the value of the pleasure of vaping

Happy vaping
I once knew a man who lived until he was 104 years old. He was my fathers boss for several years, I think until he was almost 90. But he was around the office where my dad worked for even longer, keeping an eye at the business he had used his life building. I remember one day my father came home from work and told us that he had observed his old boss coming up the stairs. He was 94 at that time and using a walking stick, probably because some doctor or his family had told him he should so he wouldn't loose his balance, fall and break something. When he got to the top of the stairs, he looked around to see if someone could see him, and when he thought no-one did (he could barely see, but that didn't stop him from driving a car), he put his walking stick under his arm, and started jogging down the corridor to the office where he was heading.

When my father asked this man why he thought he had reached the age of 100, his answer was crystal clear: A minimum of 1 glass of red wine and some chewing tobacco every single day since he was 20 years old. Now, one could argue that the anti-oxidants in the wine had something to do with it. However, I think, and I'm sure he is nodding his head at me from whatever better place he is in now, that the fact that he really had allowed himself to enjoy life was the real reason he had lived this long. When he was 104 his body started getting weaker and it was difficult to live alone, so his family decided he should be in a retirement home. Probably against his will. Mentally he was still 110%, and he could tell stories both from yesterday and 90 years back. At his 100th birthday he even recognized me and my sister, only having seen us once or twice (we were like 10 and 13 years old at the time). After he moved to the retirement home however, my dad said he didn't look happy any more. He said the home was ok, but he couldn't always manage to smuggle in his wine and tobacco, and complained about all the old people there. He died a few months after he moved to the home.

So what is the point of me telling this story? Well, I started thinking about this man again now when I read about the FDA putting a value on the lost pleasure consumers may suffer from a ban on e-cigarettes ( and Dick Puddlecote's blogpost on the subject: The story above is a real life (and maybe extreme) example of what science also has shown: Happy people, that allows themselves to enjoy life, tend to live longer. (Loads of info on this on the internet, for example here: This leads me to think that switching to e-cigarettes has an advantage over other NRT products, and maybe oven over quitting without help, that is easily overlooked: It lets you keep the pleasure that you find in smoking. Of course when smoking cigarettes, the effect of this pleasure on your life span is negated by all the smoking related diseases you'll probably catch... and then some, but with e-cigarettes this is not the case. To quit smoking actually also has some side-effects that could make you unhappy. Weight gain is one common example (, which may make you unhappy but is also not good for your health by itself. I don't have any science confirming this, but from my own experience, switching to e-cigarettes gave me no problems with increased hunger or weight gain. In fact when my lungs started healing I was able to loose 25 kilos, as I was able to run again.

The fact that we, as ex-smokers, take pleasure in vaping is largely responsible for the success of the e-cigarettes. It minimizes the chance of reverting to cigarettes, but maybe it also prolongs our lives compared to quitting by other means? I'm not saying one can't enjoy life without nicotine, but one of the reasons we were smokers once was that we enjoyed it. My dads old boss enjoyed a glass of wine, and it looks like this outweighed the negative effects that a little alcohol every day will have on your body. People take pleasure in different things and enjoy life in different ways. But whatever makes you happy (as long as it doesn't contain poisons that will negate this effect) might make you live longer, and most certainly it will make you live better. The FDA put a price on this, I'd say happiness is priceless. In fact, I might as well go ahead and admit it: I have no current plans on cutting down on my vaping... it's a pleasure I'll allow myself to enjoy, for the sake of my mental and physical health. Tonight I'm going to re-build my Hellfire dripper, whoop out some of my favourite e-liquid and just enjoy. I highly recommend you do the same. Have a nice weekend :)

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Sunday, 1 June 2014

E-juice review: Smokers Angel UK Premium Banoffee Pie, American Red and Mango

So I finally got around to trying out some of the juices in The Smokers Angels UK Premium range. This range is developed, tested and manufactured in the UK. The juices are batch steeped before they are sold, so they can be used straight away. However on their site they do say that although the juices are ready to use when they arrive, extra steeping might bring out some extra subtle flavours. I did not give the juices here any extra steeping. All the juices were 18 mg/ml

Banoffee Pie 
Tested on: Hellfire Mega (around 1.3 ohms)

I've got to be completely honest... I have never eaten Banoffee pie, ever. So I can't really say if this tastes like authentic banoffee pie. I remember watching Jamie Oliver make one on a youtube video and it sounded delicious so that is kind of why I wanted to try this one out. That said, I do believe this one could be pretty spot on when it comes to real banoffee pie... the first 3 words that pop into my head when I tried it was banana, toffee and pastry. This is not a juice I think I can use as an all day vape, but then again I usually have around 4 different atties set up at all times so I ended up running the whole 10 ml bottle through the Mega. At first I was thinking that this was a bit to sweet for my liking, but I kind of got used to it after a while (as I tend to do with these dessert flavours). In conclusion I'd say this is not the juice I'd choose if I was to bring one device with me for something, but definitely one I'd keep a small bottle of for vaping like once in a while. Worth a try. And I think I'll have to try real banoffee pie soon.

American Red
Tested on: Mini Aspire BDC (read my review of this here)

One of my first favourite juices when I had just started vaping was the American Red from Decadent Vapours. So I thought that this would taste something like that one... but instead it reminds me more of another one of my all time favourites, the El-toro Cigarillos from House of liquid. Not quite as strong, but the same tobacco tastes are there. After vaping it for a while I also get some of the flavours from the Decadent Vapours version, although very subtle. A good all day vape in my opinion and also an authentic tobacco vape that I'd recommend for new vapers trying to quit smoking. Usually I recommend El-Toros for people asking for something that actually tastes tobacco, but now I can also recommend this one. I have to be honest and say that the El-Toros are in fact better tasting. But this one really gives you a lot for the money, and it does not gunk up your atties, at least not as fast as the El-Toros.

Tested on: Hellfire Hybrid (around 1.3 ohms)

Last one this time is a fruit flavour I've never tried as an e-juice before. To be totally honest I'm not sure why I ordered this, as I'm actually not that found of mango. I think I read somewhere that someone loved the mango, so I decided to go for it. It's got a very nice smell once you open the bottle and the taste is pretty well balanced when it comes to sweetness. As I've mentioned before, a lot of these fruit liquids tend to taste more like a fruit salad, but this one has a distinct taste of mango and that's a good thing. As I said, mango is not my personal favourite fruit, so this won't be my favourite liquid either, but if you're a mango lover I recommend you try this one out.

For all of the juices I get a decent throat hit and good vapour production. I didn't have more than 10 ml of each to test with but they all seem to be pretty nice to my coils as well, no gunk build-up so far. Looking forward to trying out more of the juices in this range.

  • All my reviews are my honest opinion even if I am affiliated with the company manufacturing or selling the product. 
  • This review was not sponsored by the manufacturer.
  • This review contains affiliate links.

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