I smell smoke!

I’ve been blogging about the smoke and ash created by the California wildfires and how they have affected the air quality across the country. Today we are getting a first hand experience with a huge wildfire burning in Utah not very far from where we live in Park City.

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The Utah County Commission stated that it planed to submit a "Crisis Declaration" as the Pole Creek and Bald Mountain fires continue to grow.

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The Pole Creek and Bald Mountain fires have grown rapidly this week and appear to have merged into one large blaze, and as of Friday morning the combined acreage is estimated at 68,500 acres.

The Pole Creek Fire is estimated at 54,000 acres with 2 percent containment, and the Bald Mountain Fire at 14,5000 acres with no containment.

Strong winds have fueled the tremendous growth of the fire,

"We're expecting the wind to just blow," said Chief Seth Waite of the Elk Ridge Fire Department. "It's been blowing now for the past couple of days really hard. That's what pulled the fire down is the wind."

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The Pole Creek Fire ignited September 6 and was determined to be lightning caused.

The Bald Mountain Fire is also believed to be lightning caused and has been burning since the end of August.

 

The air quality here in Park City has been greatly affected by this fire.  You can see the smoke behind the Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley moving towards the Uinta in a thick band. It looks like the smog that lays over Salt Lake City on a bad inversion day or Los Angeles when the Santa Ana winds are not blowing.  It smells like a campfire all day long. I have had headaches and sinus issues off and on and have been taking allergy meds to combat the irritation. I love the outdoors and mountain biking and hiking have been doable but the air quality definitely has put a damper on how long you want to be outside. I noticed yesterday after riding that I had (sorry this is gross) lots of nasal blockage….also known as boogers! We have been keeping the windows mostly closed and running the furnace blowers with no heat on to circulate the air with VentMask filters on the registers to assist the main filters in trapping the particulate from the fires. I hope they get this fire under control soon so our air quality clears up some. I have much more empathy for other people living close to a wildfire and having to deal with the effects of the smoke and ash, its quite uncomfortable to say the least! If it was a continual condition that I had to live with for weeks or months on end, till the fires either burned out or firefighters gained control of the blaze, I could see it being not only bothersome but a health concern breathing all that in day after day after day.

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I can truly say if you live near a fire use VentMask to help keep the air inside your home cleaner and lessen the effects from smoke and ash, and remember these particulates travel hundreds of miles on the wind and can get to you even if the fire isn’t in your backyard.  

 

Wildfire smoke drifts from Cali to NYC!

California is in the middle of yet another record-breaking fire season with 820,000 acres across the state already burned — more than twice the area that burned by this point last year. Are you being negatively affected by the smoke and ash created by these huge wildfires? Remember the smoke and particulate can travel very far from the burning areas carried by wind. Heres a link to an article showing California's wildfire smoke is reaching all the way across the nation to the East Coast!

http://time.com/5364151/california-wildfire-smoke-east-coast/

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In recent years, authorities have moved toward working with the natural fire cycle rather than fighting it at any cost. In 2010, California became one of the few states in the country to adopt a mandatory statewide building code to help reduce fire risk in wildfire-prone areas.

In neighboring Arizona, cities are taking the lead. Flagstaff, which sits in the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest, was an early adopter of policies addressing the city’s high wildfire risk head on through fire education, controlled fires and tree thinning.

Paul Summerfelt, the city’s wildfire management officer, has seen how the perception of fire among Flagstaff residents has shifted from “scary” to “necessary.” “People had to work through the idea that cutting trees was O.K., that we could have controlled burns, that the right kind of fire at the right times and in the right place was necessary,” he said.

Today, in the forest surrounding Flagstaff, a different kind of fire is actively burning. The city works with the United States Forest Service to allow some lightning-caused fires to burn and to set low-intensity, controlled fires that follow historical fire behavior. These fires benefit the forest ecosystem, Mr. Summerfelt said, while simultaneously reducing the risk of catastrophic fires like those seen in California.

“These treatment efforts combined with requirements for homes and businesses make a huge difference, and they work,” he added. “Solutions do exist. They are not instantaneous, they take time, but they work. It takes a combined commitment from every party.”

In the northern part of the state, the Mendocino Complex Fire has grown to more than 300,000 acres, becoming the largest fire ever recorded in California. In fact, three of the largest California fires since 2000 are burning right now.

In addition to the Mendocino Fire, firefighters are battling two more massive blazes in other rural parts of the state. The Carr Fire, near Mount Shasta, has burned more than a thousand homes and caused eight deaths, according to CalFire. And the Ferguson Fire, near Yosemite National Park, is the largest fire in Sierra National Forest history.

“The trends are pretty astounding in terms of the number of acres burned, the length of the wildfire season, the numbers of structures lost,” said Kelly Pohl, a research analyst with Headwaters Economics, a nonprofit research group that helps communities develop wildfire plans. “If you look at the trends over several decades, they’ve all gone up.”

In California, 15 of the 20 largest fires in state history have burned since 2000. The state is “a bit like a canary in a coal mine,” Ms. Pohl said. “We are also going to see the same trend across other states in the country in the future.”

The rising intensity of wildfires seen over the past few decades is the result of several overlapping trends, said Stephen Pyne, a professor at Arizona State University who studies the history of United States wildfire management. Climate change has lengthened the fire season, housing sprawl is creeping into fire-prone wildland, and fire agencies are struggling to coordinate holistic fire and land management, Dr. Pyne said.

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Those trends all converge in California. The state is especially vulnerable — with its high population density, recent prolonged drought, and abundant fire-prone forests and shrubland.

Fires in California account for about 10 percent of all acres burned in the United States since 2000, according to figures from the National Interagency Fire Center. Only Alaska, which is four times larger than California, has seen more acres burn since 2000.

This fire season is poised to be one of California’s worst ever, and it comes on the heels of 2017, which itself had several record-breaking fires. California’s worst year for fire was 2008, when 1.6 million acres burned, in large part because of a series of severe, dry thunderstorms over two days in June.

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Fires are getting worse in California and nationwide because of the human impact on the natural fire cycle, experts say. A study last year from the University of Colorado Boulder found that people were indirectly or directly responsible for 84 percent of wildfires and 44 percent of land unintentionally burned from 1992 to 2012. These fires are often caused by sparked power lines, debris burning, campfires, and arson. The Carr Fire, for example, was caused by a flat tire.

The problem, though, is not only that people start most fires. It’s also that longstanding strategies — to not use planned fires and tree thinning to clear built-up vegetation — have increased the risk of serious uncontrolled fires.

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“We have too much bad fire, and it’s burning houses, killing people, doing all kinds of nasty stuff,” Dr. Pyne said, “but we could probably have 10 times, 20 times more good fire before we got back to what it should be.”

In recent years, authorities have moved toward working with the natural fire cycle rather than fighting it at any cost. In 2010, California became one of the few states in the country to adopt a mandatory statewide building code to help reduce fire risk in wildfire-prone areas.

In neighboring Arizona, cities are taking the lead. Flagstaff, which sits in the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest, was an early adopter of policies addressing the city’s high wildfire risk head on through fire education, controlled fires and tree thinning.

Paul Summerfelt, the city’s wildfire management officer, has seen how the perception of fire among Flagstaff residents has shifted from “scary” to “necessary.” “People had to work through the idea that cutting trees was O.K., that we could have controlled burns, that the right kind of fire at the right times and in the right place was necessary,” he said.

Today, in the forest surrounding Flagstaff, a different kind of fire is actively burning. The city works with the United States Forest Service to allow some lightning-caused fires to burn and to set low-intensity, controlled fires that follow historical fire behavior. These fires benefit the forest ecosystem, Mr. Summerfelt said, while simultaneously reducing the risk of catastrophic fires like those seen in California.

“These treatment efforts combined with requirements for homes and businesses make a huge difference, and they work,” he added. “Solutions do exist. They are not instantaneous, they take time, but they work. It takes a combined commitment from every party.”

Are you being negatively affected by the smoke and ash from these huge wildfires? What can you do to stay healthy with all the smoke drifting across the entire US from these record breaking fires? Keep indoor air as clean as possible. Keep windows and doors closed. Run an air conditioner, but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. 

Using an additional filter like VentMask will trap and remove more of the ash that finds its way into your home or hotel.

If you do not have an air conditioner and it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed, seek shelter in a designated evacuation center or away from the affected area.

You can stay safe and healthy thru this wildfire season! 

Wildfire....no not the song!

Hello! Before we get into the nitty gritty TheVentMaskTeam hopes you take 3 minutes to enjoy the music.....then read on to see just what real wildfires are causing across the US.

August is peak wildfire season in the western United States, and unfortunately for those who like to enjoy the summer weather, that means staying indoors whenever a new wildfire starts burning. 

Aside from wreaking havoc on wildlife habitats, displacing people from their homes, and even killing people, wildfires can also be a major health risk even for people who live hundreds of miles away from the burning. 

There are an average of 72,000 wildfires a year, and smoke from all wildfires affected an estimated two-thirds of all Americans in 2011, according to estimates from the environmental advocacy group Natural Resources Defense Council.  

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Fine particles in wildfire smoke can cause burning eyes, coughing, sore throat, irritated sinuses, headaches, a runny nose and bronchitis. In people with pre-existing conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure and chest pain, fine particles can also exacerbate these diseases and cause even more serious symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue and heart palpitations, notes the Environmental Protection Agency.

Older people are also at greater risk of harm from inhaling wildfire smoke because of their increased risk of heart and lung disease in general, as are children whose respiratory systems are still developing. 

The smoke from wildfires contains both gases and then fine particles from the burning trees/plants and structures. The smoke is very irritating to both our respiratory system, with worsening of heart and lung conditions - and to our eyes - producing irritation and watery eyes.

 

Have you ever heard of a “smoke wave” or know that there is a area of the US called the Smoke Belt?

 

A wild fire blazes create smoke waves — pulses of pollution containing everything from charred plastic residue to soot to other small particles that lodge deep in the lungs. For example, the effect of the fires in Northern California’s wine country, which destroyed thousands of homes and killed 43 people, went well beyond the burn zone. The smoke choked the San Francisco Bay Area, home to 7 million people in nine counties, for days.

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Colette Hatch, 75, of Santa Rosa, who suffers from lung disease and uses a nebulizer daily, evacuated to her daughter’s home in Sunnyvale, in Silicon Valley, when the fires came. But even nearly 100 miles away, Hatch said she struggled to breathe, coughing so hard she couldn’t sleep. Known collectively as the Central Valley, it stretches for hundreds of miles roughly north to south, bracketed by mountain ranges that trap some of the dirtiest air in America. Increasingly, wildfires like the ones in Northern California’s wine country funnel smoke into the chute, significantly raising the pollution levels in places as far away as Fresno.

 

Elva Hernandez, 51, has lived in the San Joaquin Valley most of her life. She’s suffered from asthma since she was 10. This summer she was stuck inside her house for several weeks as smoke waves suffocated her neighborhood in the small town of Kerman, Calif., near Fresno.

“The smell, all the dust, the smoke, the smog, everything, it’s just — you can’t breathe,” said Hernandez, a stay-at-home mom whose husband analyzes lab samples at a hospital. “You can’t live your life normally.”

The San Joaquin Valley is home to 4 million people, many of them poor. One in six children suffers from asthma. Poor people often are most affected by air pollution, partly because they tend to live in more drafty housing in more polluted neighborhoods.

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But enforcement of federal regulations dating to the Nixon administration has been reducing air pollution from fossil fuels and fertilizers in the valley, requiring cleaner engines for trucks and the replacement of outdated equipment on farms.

“We’ve been seeing a lot of positive trends,” said Jon Klassen, manager of the air monitoring team at the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. At the same time, “there’s a lot more emissions coming from these fires. They’re uncontrollable. They’re very difficult to deal with.”

“As the climate continues to change, we’re going to see much more smoke, at higher intensities in the future,” says Jia Coco Liu, an environmental health researcher at Johns Hopkins. Based on air pollution from past and projected future wildfires in the American West, Liu and a team of scientists at Yale estimated that by mid-century more than 82 million people will experience smoke waves—more than two consecutive days with high levels of wildfire-related air pollution. People in the new Smoke Belt—Northern California, Western Oregon, and the Great Plains—are likely to suffer the highest exposure.

And there’s one more bit of bad news: Just as fire behaves differently in a city than it does out in the wild, so does smoke. Urban areas, with their concrete roads and walls of glass and steel, tend to stop a fire in its tracks. All those buildings and alleyways prevent wind from blowing fresh embers around. But those same aerodynamics mean that smoke gets trapped in cities. Liu’s latest research, which will appear in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that metropolitan areas, even ones very far away from any actual wildfires, had much higher levels of particulate matter in the air than rural areas. An urban smoke island effect, if you will.

 

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It is highly apparent that wild fires contribute to worsening allergy and asthma symptoms to people who live near or far from the burning grounds.

 

Again the words of Jon Klassen, manager of the air monitoring team at the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, “there’s a lot more emissions coming from these fires. They’re uncontrollable. They’re very difficult to deal with.” His words make me wonder… What can I control while these wildfires burn across our country?  Here’s what I can control….the amount of smoke particulate in my home! As you read how to limit the effects of wildfire smoke notice #3 & #4….that’s what I can control!

 

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How can you limit the effects to you and your family?

Take these steps to decrease your risk from wildfire smoke.

1.    Check local air quality reports. Listen and watch for news or health warnings about smoke. Find out if your community provides reports about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index (AQI) or check the report on AirNow.gov. In addition, pay attention to public health messages about safety measures.

2.    Consult local visibility guides. Some communities have monitors that measure the amount of particles in the air. In the western United States, some states and communities have guidelines to help people determine if there are high levels of particulates in the air by how far they can see.

3.    Keep indoor air as clean as possible if you are advised to stay indoors. Keep windows and doors closed. Run an air conditioner, but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. If you do not have an air conditioner and it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed, seek shelter in a designated evacuation center or away from the affected area.

4.    Use extra filtration in your home like VentMask Vent Register Air Filters. Trap and removing more of the particulate found in wildfire smoke that is missed by you main filtration system that can build up in your ducting and be introduced into your home even after the wildfires have stopped burning.

5.    Avoid activities that increase indoor pollution. Burning candles, fireplaces, or gas stoves can increase indoor pollution. Vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home, contributing to indoor pollution. Smoking also puts even more pollution into the air.

6.    Prevent wildfires from starting. Prepare, build, maintain and extinguish campfires safely. Follow local regulations if you burn trash or debris. Check with your local fire department to be sure the weather is safe enough for burning.

7.    Follow the advice of your doctor or other healthcare provider about medicines and about your respiratory management plan if you have asthma or another lung disease. Consider evacuating if you are having trouble breathing. Call your doctor for  advice if your symptoms worsen.

8.    Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper “comfort” or “dust” masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from the small particles found in wildfire smoke.

9.    Evacuate from the path of wildfires. Listen to the news to learn about current evacuation orders. Follow the instructions of local officials about when and where to evacuate. Take only essential items with you. Follow designated evacuation routes–others may be blocked–and plan for heavy traffic.

TheVentMaskTeam wants you to be safe and healthy thru this wildfire season. If you’re in doubt as to your preparedness for a wildfire, consult The US Wildfire Administrations web page and be ready! 

https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/wildfire.html

 

 

We lava Madame Pele!

I want to say there are a LOT of very hard to pronounce Hawaiian names in our blog…but stick with it it’s a real good one!

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We are going to start with a basic lesson exactly who Tutu Pele as I have always called her is and her place in Hawaiian mythology.  In the Hawaiian religion, Pele is the goddess of fire, lightning, wind and volcanoes and is the creator of the Hawaiian Islands.   Often referred to as "Madame Pele" or "Tūtū Pele" as a sign of respect, she is a well-known deity within Hawaiian mythology, and is notable for her contemporary presence and cultural influence as an enduring figure from ancient Hawaii.  Epithets of the goddess include Pele-honua-mea ("Pele of the sacred land") and Ka wahine ʻai honua ("The earth-eating woman").

 

In different stories talking about the goddess Pele, she was born from the female spirit named Haumea. This spirit is important when talking about Hawaii's gods due to how she is a descendant from Papa, or Sky Father, who is a supreme being. Due to Pele being born, she has become a notable deity known to the Hawaiian culture. She is also known as "She who shapes the sacred land", known to be said in ancient Hawaiian chants.

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 Kilauea is a currently active volcano that is located on the island of Hawaiʻi and is still being extensively studied. Many Hawaiians believe Kilauea to be inhabited by a "family of fire gods", one of the sisters being Pele, who is believed to govern Kilauea and is responsible for controlling its lava flows.

There are several traditional legends associated with Pele in Hawaiian mythology. In addition to being recognized as the goddess of volcanoes, Pele is also known for her power, passion, jealousy, and capriciousness. She has numerous siblings, including Kane Milohai, Kamohoalii, Namaka and numerous sisters named Hiiaka, the most famous being Hiʻiakaikapoliopele (Hiʻiaka in the bosom of Pele). They are usually considered to be the offspring of Haumea. Pele's siblings include deities of various types of wind, rain, fire, ocean wave forms, and cloud forms. Her home is believed to be the fire pit called Halemaumau crater, at the summit caldera of Kilauea, one of the Earth's most active volcanoes; but her domain encompasses all volcanic activity on the Big Island.

Pele shares features similar to other malignant deities inhabiting volcanoes, as in the case of the devil Guayota, of Guanche Mythology in Canary Islands(Spain), living on the volcano Teide and was considered by the aboriginal Guanches as responsible for the eruptions of the volcano.

Legend told that Pele herself, journeyed on her canoe from the island of Tahiti to Hawaii. When going through with her journeys, it was said that she tried to create her fires on different islands, but her sister, Namaka, was chasing her wanting to put an end to her. In the end, the two sisters fought each other and Pele in the end was killed. With this happening, her body was destroyed but her spirit lives in the Halemaumau crater on Kilauea. They say, "Her body is the lava and steam that comes from the volcano. She can also change form, appearing as a white dog, old woman, or beautiful young woman".

Pele is often said to be seen walking the Halemaumau crater road looking for rides into town.

Here is a story told many times and by many different people….. Hi, my name is marissa and this happened on the Big island of Hawai'i. My parents and I were looking for our hotel late at night and were getting frustrated. Then, we saw this old lady sticking her thumb out on the side of the road. She looked innocent with her long, gray hair and wrinkled face so we picked her up. We asked her where she was going and she said "Kona", which is a city on the island. Now you have to imagine this: We were in Hilo which is about 100 miles from the Kona coast. I secretly knew that my parents were hesitating about taking her to her destination because it was so far and it was about 9:00 at night. Kona can be pretty dangerous at night. So I looked at her and she was just gazing out the window, although the way to Kona was pitch black because the city doesn't have much streetlights. She asked my parents for a cigarette and they didn't smoke so they offered to drive her to get some. She said "mahalo" and patiently waited. About 5 minutes later when I checked on the old woman, SHE WAS GONE! She couldn't have got out of the car so fast! We had a van with locked doors and she simply dissapeared! I asked my mom and dad if they had let her get out and they said they didn't. What do you think? I think it was Pele* in her old woman form.

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In addition to her role as goddess of fire and her strong association with volcanoes, Pele is also regarded as the "goddess of the hula".  She is a significant figure in the history of hula because of her sister Hiʻiaka who is believed to be the first person to dance hula.  As a result of Pele's significance in hula, there have been many hula dances and chants that are dedicated to her and her family. The hula being dedicated to Pele is often performed in a way that represents her intense personality and the movement of volcanoes.

 

 

 

This is one legend of Hawaii’s origins that are used to explain actual physical island caharacteristics. In the story Pele,  the daughter of Kanehoalani and Haumea in the mystical land of Kuaihelani, a floating free land like Fata Morgana.  Kuaihelani was in the region of Kahiki (Kukulu o Kahiki). She stays close to her mother's fireplace with the fire-keeper Lono-makua. Her older sister Na-maka-o-Kahai, a sea goddess, fears that Pele's ambition would smother the home-land and drives Pele away. Kamohoali'i drives Pele south in a canoe called Honua-i-a-kea with her younger sister Hiiaka and with her brothers Kamohoaliʻi, Kanemilohai, Kaneapua, and arrives at the islets above Hawaii. There Kane-milo-hai is left on Mokupapapa, just a reef, to build it up in fitness for human residence. On Nihoa, 800 feet above the ocean she leaves Kane-apua after her visit to Lehua and crowning a wreath of kau-no'a. Pele feels sorry for her younger brother and picks him up again. Pele used the divining rod, Pa‘oa to pick a new home. A group of chants tells of a pursuit by Namakaokaha'i and Pele is torn apart. Her bones, KaiwioPele form a hill on Kahikinui, while her spirit escaped to the island of Hawaiʻi.

 

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Pele is considered to be a rival of the Hawaiian goddess of snow, Poliahu. Their opposition to each other make up legend and lore explaining land formations and why Mauna Kea is sometimes capped with snow.

 

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The  legend tells that Poliʻahu had come from Mauna Kea with her friends to attend sled races down the grassy hills south of Hamakua. Pele came disguised as a beautiful stranger and was greeted by Poliʻahu. However, Pele became jealously enraged at the goddess of Mauna Kea. She opened the subterranean caverns of Mauna Kea and threw fire from them towards Poliʻahu, with the snow goddess fleeing towards the summit. Poliʻahu was finally able to grab her now-burning snow mantle and throw it over the mountain. Earthquakes shook the island as the snow mantle unfolded until it reached the fire fountains, chilling and hardening the lava. The rivers of lava were driven back to Mauna Loa and Kīlauea. Later battles also led to the defeat of Pele and confirmed the supremacy of the snow goddesses in the northern portion of the island and of Pele in the southern portion.

 

Belief in Pele continued after the old religion was officially abolished in 1819. In the summer of 1823 English missionary William Ellis toured the island to determine locations for mission stations. After a long journey to the volcano Kilauea  with little food, Ellis eagerly ate the wild berries he found growing there. The berries of the ʻōhelo plant were considered sacred to Pele. Traditionally prayers and offerings to Pele were always made before eating the berries. The volcano crater was an active lava lake, which the natives feared was a sign that Pele was not pleased with the violation.  Although wood carvings and thatched temples were easily destroyed, the volcano was a natural monument to the goddess.

 

There’s a lot of mana (spiritual power) at Kilauea and it’s clear people can feel Pele’s presence when they visit. Occasionally, visitors who make the pilgrimage to Pele’s domain even claim to have seen her unmistakable likeness. Take a look at this amazing photo.

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In the spewing magma, the form of a woman appears to take shape between the newly formed land and sea.

Oahu photographer Matt Forney took a last-minute trek in November 2016 to Kamokuna, where lava is currently flowing into the ocean. Calling it an impromptu trip to visit a friend who was moving away, Forney felt a weird sensation as soon as he stepped off the plane like he was supposed to be on the Big Island. “I could feel the atoms in my body bouncing around faster,” he recalls, like, “I was supposed to be exactly where I was in that moment.”

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The tiny strands of volcanic glass found around Hawaii Island’s active craters are often referred to as “Pele’s hair.”

The “hair” is created when molten lava spatter is stretched into very thin filaments by wind.

Mauna Iki Trail, in particular, is known for its abundance of Pele’s hair. In the Kau Desert, there are piles and piles of these beautiful and ethereal creations.

 

 

 

Even when not literally seen, Pele’s power and presence is undeniable everywhere on Hawaii Island. Kilauea, Hawaii’s most active volcano, is a constant reminder that the Islands are living and breathing entities.

 

Here’s another retelling of Tutu Pele’s mystical powers….imagine yourself sitting on the lanai with a young Hawaiian girl as she recounts this to you.

 

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“My hula sisters and I went on a hula retreat a few years ago up at Kilaueaon the Big Island where, of course, Pele lives. We were walking around the Volcano park one night when something started following us; we could hear footsteps. So my friend was like, "Hey, you guys hear that?" My other friend said, "It's probably a weasel or something," so we just kept on walking. Then we heard barking and we were all scared and didn't know what to do. We walked a little faster, and then it started to get warm. Very, very warm. As we got closer to one of the look outs, we could hear chanting and all of us were freakin' out like crazy.

My friend and I were the ones who were most afraid and we decided to stay in one place, but we could sense something right behind us. We all looked behind us and we didn't see anything, but it was really warm, and the chants kept on getting louder and louder.

Then we heard the footsteps again.

I felt something by my feet and when we ran under the light we saw that it was white dog. When we looked out into the dark, we could see another white thing coming right at us and the chant was getting louder and louder. We ran back to our cabin as the chants kept on getting louder. When we finally got inside our cabin we looked out and the dog was right there at our door step. Our kumu said "It's madame Pele" & when i looked out of my window, that white ghost person thing was still there.

I decided to go to sleep, but I couldn't so I went back outside. I noticed that dog was still there and since I'm such an idiot, I decided to go play with it. It was very cold that night so I had to put on a jacket, pants, socks and shoes. I called the dog by me and as I looked at the dog and played with its ears, I noticed it was very hot, like hot water kine. Then the lady came up to me and asked if that was my dog (this was around 6 a.m. and the sun started to rise). I looked at her and I said "No, sorry." I looked down to play with the dog again and then looked up to ask that lady a question, but she was gone.

I kept on playing with the dog and I started to hear chanting again. I looked out where the woods were and I saw that old lady again, and as I looked at her, I looked into her eyes and they were red. I mean, RED, RED, RED! Then she called the dog and it went running to her, and I looked away for a second and turned back and they were both gone. My kumu told me, "You just witnessed something that no one has really ever witnessed." I asked him, "What is that?" and he said, "You saw Pele."

So, I get back into my bed and noticed there was a rock on it. It was a medium sized rock and it was real, real, HOT! I looked out the window and saw the dog go running and vanish. I never saw that dog ever again, neither did I see that lady.

But that rock followed me.

I put it outside, but it would always find its way back inside. When I left to Oahu, it found it's way next to my bed there. My Kumu told me to keep that rock with me no matter what. If that rock keeps on coming back to me then that means its my rock and it's a rock that only I can have an no one else can.

To this very day, I still have that rock.”

Thats what Hawaiian locals call a chicken skin story because it raises goosebumps on your skin when its told to you!

Even the residents of Leilani Gardens, who were evacuated after lava fountains erupted from several fissures there, have placed offerings of flowers and ti leaves, used to make Leis, on the oozing lava flows, showing how much they respect Madame Pele and accept her taking back the land they live on for herself.  They are allowed back into the neighborhood to check on their homes for a period each day. For some, it’s also a chance to watch the pyrotechnic eruptions.  “This is my second experience of an amazing display of Pele’s power,” says Hannique Ruder, 65, “It’s devastating and beautiful at the same time. We’re all in fear of her power, and yet you have to see the creative force at work here as well.”  Glenn Canon, 61, a retired respiratory therapist, and his wife were also among those evacuated from Leilani Gardens. He’s now planning to move to a rental home in Hilo, far from the volcano.  “We don’t want to leave. We settled in for our retirement and planned to stay right there. It looks like Madame Pele has other plans for us. This is her land and when she wants it back, she’ll take it from us.”

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If you’re visiting the Big Isle keep your eyes open for the old woman with flowing gray hair looking for a ride into town. If you see her, respectfully offer her a ride so as not to offend Tutu Pele and have a wonderful “chicken skin” story of your own!

Remember VentMask Air filters are made for travel in your hotel room as well as in your home and can help reduce ash and particles that  trigger allergy and asthma symptoms while you enjoy the beautiful Hawaiian Islands!

 

I Lava Hawaii!

Do your summer travel plans take you to Hawaii this year? Many tourist travel to the Big Isle to see Kilauea erupting on the Big Island of Hawaii. Usually the Volcano National Park is a huge draw to tourist and locals alike and affords a safe venue for viewing and exploring the volcano. Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983 and till just recently the opportunity to view an active volcano was a unique opportunity in the park. However on May 3rd,  2018 Madame Pele the Hawaiian goddess of fire showed the world her fury when Kilauea erupted violently launching molten lava 100 ft. into the air.  A plume of volcanic ash has been launched 30,000 feet into the air, making this eruption visible from outer space!

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After a second explosive eruption at Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, active fissures in surrounding neighborhoods have been spewing lava into the air. Lava, ash, and fumes are reported to be continuing to fill the areas surrounding Kilauea.  As many as 22 fissures have opened up in the latest volcanic activity, causing scientists to fear further eruptions. Steve Brantley, of the USGS, said the large cracks, which have torn roads apart in some places or created gaps of 1 yard or wider, are an indication that magma is continuing to enter the rift zone.  "The rift zone is being forced apart," he said. "I think clearly it points to the potential for additional eruptive activity" in lower Puna.   The developments underscore the scope of the disaster in the area, which has upended lives, destroyed homes and shows no signs of stopping.

All of these fissures are still active and spitting lava, as the eruptions continue to push toxic gases up to the surface.  In a statement, the Civil Defense said:

Due to the continued volcanic activity the following policies are in effect:

·       Do continue to be on the alert for volcanic fumes of SO2.

·       Volcanic gas such as SO2, is especially dangerous for elderly, children/babies and people with respiratory problems.

·       People in areas downwind of rifts may intermittently experience higher levels of fumes. People with breathing problems should avoid being outdoors and leave the area if deemed necessary.

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Air quality levels continue to be a problem in Puna, after a second large eruption sent a giant ash cloud spiraling more than 6 miles into the air.  Toxic gases have escaped the Kilauea summit, spreading on strong trade winds throughout the northeast of Big Island.   State Sen. Josh Green, an ER doctor whose district includes Kona and Ka'u, said those with respiratory problems should limit their exposure to ash. Extended exposure to high levels of sulfur dioxide, meanwhile, could increase the risk of bronchitis or upper respiratory infections.

Steam-driven blasts in Kilauea's crater could send a 20,000-foot ash plumes out of the crater while hurling 10-12 ton boulders up to half a mile.

An explosive eruption could also scatter pebble-sized rocks over 12 miles, the USGS has said.

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This type of eruption has the potential to carpet the Big Island in much thicker ash than current dustings and possibly spread the powder and volcanic smog across the Hawaiian islands and farther afield if it enters the stratosphere.

"This morning dense ballistic blocks up to 60 cm (2 feet) across were found in the parking lot a few hundred yards (meters) from Halemaumau (Kilauea's crater)," the USGS said in a statement.

"These reflect the most energetic explosions yet observed and could reflect the onset of steam-driven explosive activity.

 

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Experts have warned the eruption could be the start of the biggest explosion on the island since 1924 because many of the precursors are similar.

Matt Gutman, the Senior National Correspondent of ABC News reported that ash from the volcano was “mixing with rain clouds producing acid rain”.

He said: “Roads were impassible and cracked open from thermal vents.

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“The plants haven’t been burnt, it is some of the fumes that have killed them over the past 10 days of continuous exposure to this hazardous gas.

“It is important to note that 2000 people have been ordered to flee their homes and 40 structures have been destroyed but no one has actually been hurt by this volcanic activity.

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What does this mean to anyone traveling to Hawaii? In actuality most of the neighbor islands are little affected by this huge eruption, except got the Vog, the term for the haze created by the volcanic ash being spread across the island chain.  If you’re planning a visit to any of the islands soon here  some tips for lessening the respiratory effects of volcanic ash.

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·  Vog reduces the bodies’ natural abilities to expel toxins.  Don't overload your system. 
Reduce your work toxic exposure including cleaning supplies, paint fumes, smoke.  Consult your doctor, or for more severe symptoms, a toxicologist or an industrial hygienist. Take extra precautions if you should wear a proper fitting mask or respirator on the job. Change filters often. Reduce the exposure to other pollution sources such as burning rubbish, cigarette smoke, and cane burning and avoid over exertion during periods of exposure to Vog. 

·  To prevent a cough or sore throat, use a Neti pot or saline nasal wash to keep breathing passages open and flushed of vog areosol particles that can irritate mucus lining. To prevent dry and itchy or red eyes, use saline eye drops and flush your eyes often.  If you wear contact lens, be sure and keep them clean and wet, or choose to use glasses for now. Take a break from staring at computer screens and rest your eyes more frequently. Splash water on your face. If you drive, wear sunglasses to protect from glare. 

·  As Vog seems to worsen during the day, it is best to do yard work or exercise earlier in the day. If practical, avoid high VOG areas during times of thick VOG.

·  Take time off from training for a marathon, roofing a house at noon,  hauling rocks with a bad heart, or playing too hard at recess if you are prone to asthma. Practice meditation and relaxing.  Dust off that club membership to work-out in an air conditioned gym, or take the kids to swim in the ocean where the air quality is better. 

·  Go find sanctuary in Air Conditioning. A stroll in the mall or cool cafe or grocery store can be a vog respite. Use your car AC.  Close the house windows, and run an air purifier or air conditioner. Place a wet towel or cheese cloth over a fan. Indoor plants (especially spider plants) have been touted to help clean the air. Don't forget to clean your air filters, including your computer fan, keep your work area cool and dust free. 

·  Consult your doctor about your state of health, and consult an industrial hygienist about respirators. VentMask Air filters can be applied in your hotel or rental unit.

·  Stop smoking, even if it’s just for a week. Have your doctor keep records of both your lung function and approximate VOG levels. Take the tests after breathing "clean" air one week or more), then get retested if/when breathing becomes more difficult during high VOG episodes.

 

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Kilauea has posed a large and potential disastrous situation for many residents of the Big Island, however your vacation travel plans will most likely not be interrupted very much from this fiery display. Go and enjoy the wonderful beaches and majestic mountain ranges of the islands just be sure to be ready if the Vog starts to trigger your allergy or asthma symptoms and take proper actions.

 

 

 

The fight against rising advertising.

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Our last blogs on vaping had such an impact that we decided to do one last up date to clarify how the vape industry is targeting our youth as an audience, and why.

 

 

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The last of the last four blogs about vaping I think best affirmed view points that showed equally pro and con the effects of this new activity.

 

The fact that vaping has less health concerns to the users makes it a wonderful tool in stopping the use of tobacco products. In that end many professionals are optimistically looking to vaping as a healthier option to adults who have a tobacco addiction, and for that we can see a progressive reasoning to encourage the positive change for smokers.

 

What I cannot wrap my head around is the fact that this industry has to greedily focus much of its advertising toward groups of kids who currently do not use any kind of inhalable products in their daily lives.

 

Lets once again just break down what e-juice or e-liquid is…. E-liquid is man-made juice used to cause the vaporizer to produce vapor. Most e-juices are made of Propylene Glycol (PG), Vegetable Glycerin (VG), Distilled Water, added flavoring, and Nicotine. PG is an organic compound that causes the vape smoke to appear. We use it in smoke machines for effects. VG is also a base compound for e-liquids and is made up of vegetable oils. Using only Proplylen Glycol would cause the throat to hurt. Vegetable Glycerin is thicker than Proplylen Glycol and helps the vaporizer have a smoother inhale. Distilled water also helps as an active ingredient to smooth the harshness of the vaporizer. Lastly, most juices have added flavoring made of artificial and or organic food flavorings.

 

Here’s what I believe is one of the least known facts, at least by those unfamiliar with e-cigs and vaping, about this activity.   You can purchase e-juices with different strengths of nicotine, and most but not all juices contain nicotine like cigarettes. Nicotine being the physically addictive ingredient.  Many people do this to help quit their addiction to nicotine completely by using less and less as they progress over the course of time. Now what makes this a concern is most kids don’t care or don’t check wether the liquid they use has nicotine or not, which is why I think a little more regulation and research into these products is needed.

 

Ok …so I don’t want to get too deep into that, but it a good fact to know as you keep reading, because now you know that its up to the user what they put into their vape pen or mod.

 

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E-cigarette makers are pouring tens of millions of dollars into advertising their wares — and teenagers are getting the message loud and clear, federal health officials reported Tuesday.

As advertising skyrockets, so do the number of teens seeing it. They’re vaping by the millions now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. The CDC says that trend threatens to derail decades of progress in helping prevent kids from taking up smoking.

“The same advertising tactics the tobacco industry used years ago to get kids addicted to nicotine are now being used to entice a new generation of young people to use e-cigarettes,” said CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden.

 “What’s happening is widespread marketing of e-cigarettes that kids are seeing,” Frieden told reporters in a telephone briefing.

 “Kids should not be using e-cigarettes and yet 2/3 of kids in this country are seeing e-cigarette ads.”

CDC researchers used a 2014 survey of 22,000 children and teens to find that 68.9 percent of middle and high school students — more than 18 million kids — see e-cigarette ads. More than half see them advertised in stores, 40 percent online and 36 percent on TV or in movies.

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“During 2011 to 2014, current e-cigarette use among high school students soared from 1.5 percent to 13.4 percent, and among middle school students from 0.6 percent to 3.9 percent,” the CDC said in a statement. "At the same time, spending on e-cigarette ads rose from $6.4 million to $115 million.”

Advocates said the industry must be stopped from advertising to children.

“The irresponsible and indiscriminate marketing by the e-cigarette industry, coupled with a complete lack of government oversight, is putting the health of our nation’s kids at risk,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

“It shouldn’t be a surprise that youth use of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed when kids are being inundated with marketing for these products.”

Frieden said the tactics are effective, and include online “viral” marketing that cannot even be measured.

“E-cigarette ads use many of the same themes — independence, rebellion, and sex — used to sell cigarettes and other conventional tobacco products,” the CDC report said.

Public health experts have been clamoring for FDA to extend its authority as e-cigarettes have exploded in popularity. Former FDA commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg called the industry the “wild, wild West.”

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The American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network and the American Lung Association both urged the White House to speed authority for FDA to regulate e-cigarettes.

"Once the FDA has authority, the American Lung Association urges it to act swiftly to crack down and end marketing practices aimed at youth," the group said in a statement.

"It is also incumbent on states to enact and enforce laws to stop retailers from selling these products to children."

CDC says studies have shown that tobacco ads work. “Tobacco product advertising can entice youth to start using tobacco,” the report says.

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And limits on that advertising, as well as taxes, restrictions on retail sales, ads promoting tobacco abstinence and other measures have been shown to work.

But states are not using money they were awarded from tobacco companies to fight tobacco use, the CDC said.

“However, in 2015, states appropriated only 1.9 percent ($490.4 million) of combined revenues of $25.6 billion from settlement payments and tobacco taxes for all states on comprehensive tobacco control programs, representing less than 15 percent of the CDC-recommended level of funding ($3.3 billion) for all states combined,” it said.

“Only two states (Alaska and North Dakota) currently fund tobacco control programs at CDC-recommended levels.” *1

 

 

So if this advertising is not enough the vape industry has come up with a neat little way for our kids to hide the vaporizer needed to use these products.   “Teenagers embrace JUUL saying it is discreet enough to light up during class” is the headline that caugh my eye. Here is the entirety of that article….

 

“Mil Schooley, an 18-year-old student in Denver says most of her friends have a JUUL — an e-cigarette that can vanish into a closed fist. When asked roughly how many, she stumbles a bit. "I wanna say like 50 or 60 percent? I don't know. Maybe it's just the people I know. All my friends in college have one," she says. "It just blew up over the summer."

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Schooley doesn't have one herself — at least at the moment. Hers broke due to an unfortunate mishap involving her JUUL and soda water. But the trend to own a vape pen is real, with students bragging on Twitter about using them in class, and researchers saying they're seeing a big spike in use among teens and young adults.

"We're seeing it across college campuses and high schools. I have a friend who teaches high school, and they contacted me last week because they are having a major problem with e-cigs," says Meghan Morean, a substance addiction researcher at Oberlin College.

Devices like these might be introducing a new generation of teenagers to nicotine addiction and leading some vapers to take up smoking tobacco cigarettes, a study out in Pediatrics on Monday suggests. That would buck a national trend of teens drifting away from certain risky behaviors like drugs, alcohol and unprotected sex.

The Pediatrics study asked 808 students in three Connecticut high schools each year between 2013 and 2015 if they used e-cigarettes or tobacco cigarettes in the last month. The first year, 8.9 percent of students used a vape pen and 4.8 percent of students smoked cigarettes in the last month. "[People] who used e-cigarettes were 7 times more likely to smoke cigarettes by the second survey, and almost 4 times more likely by the third survey," says Krysten Bold, an associate research scientist at Yale School of Medicine and lead author on the study. The third year of the study, 14.5 students had used a vape pen in the previous month, and 8.5 student smoked cigarettes. (JUUL didn't enter the market until 2015.)

 

 

The long term effects of vaping e-liquids — a solution of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavors and nicotine or hash oils – are still not known, says Morean, who is an author on the study. But researchers are skeptical that the vapor is harmless. "You're still breathing in like hot chemicals into your body," she says.

Researchers say the most worrying aspect is nicotine, which is damaging to brain development, and is addictive. E-cigarettes can deliver a very high concentration of the drug, and experts worry that the popularity of vape pens is putting a new generation at risk of nicotine dependence.

"This excellent and important work demonstrates that electronic cigarettes are a path of nicotine addiction for youth," says Dr. Harold Farber, a pediatrician at Texas Children's Hospital and chair of the Tobacco Action Committee for the American Thoracic Society, who was not involved with the study. "It's a short jump from there to combustible cigarettes [which] delivers a better hit."

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One reason JUUL and vape pens are so popular among teens currently might be that they can be used indoors without attracting unwanted attention or creating a stench, Morean says. On Twitter, teens post about their usage in school. The most brazen of them fire up their e-cigarettes while their teachers' backs are turned.

"y'all this kid came into my 7th period to get a juul and we all started laughing when he left so the teacher was really confused and we go "that's drug paraphernalia" and he RAN OUT THE DOOR AFTER THE KID," @hyphyybriannaa tweeted.

"Never knew inanimate objects could play hide n seek till I bought a #juul," @jakeraccioppi writes.

Vapers also have a nigh-infinite range of flavors to sample with amusing names like "I Love Blue Raspberry Candy" or unappetizing but intriguing ones like "Beard Vape." Those flavors might be another reason why vaping has struck such a mania among teenagers. "This is really appealing to adolescents," Morean says.

 

The Food and Drug Administration has banned most flavored cigarettes and tobacco products for this reason, but the agency hasn't banned flavored vapes.

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The FDA does have the authority to regulate e-cigarette products as of 2016, says Matthew Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "However, the FDA delayed key provisions for an additional four years. That means highly flavored e-cigarettes will go unregulated essentially for years to come," he says. The postponed regulations would require all e-cigarette products, including flavors, to have FDA approval before going on the market.

The potential for e-cigarettes to help get adult smokers off tobacco is one reason why the FDA has been slow to act on e-cigarettes, says Dr. Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, a psychiatrist at Yale University and the senior author on the Pediatrics study. "I think the FDA wants more evidence and more data. I certainly don't blame them, you want to make the right decision," she says. "The FDA is starting to implement some prevention policies [for youth vaping]." But for now, she says, there is a public health gap where teens are concerned.

 

The JUUL device, with its sleek design that resembles a flash drive, is a special hit with teens. "It's definitely more discreet," Schooley says. "JUULs are so simple [too]. I think that's why they do so well, because they're so simple and easy." The JUUL also has multiple flavors available – mint, tobacco, mango, crème brulee and fruit.

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JUUL has also managed to capture a more mainstream audience than vape pens.

"People who JUUL can be normal people, but people who vape are like a certain crowd," Schooley says. Using the device isn't called vaping, a verb reserved for more complex or modified contraptions, but JUULing. The words give the device a less ominous atmosphere than e-cigarette or vaping. "I know it's an e-cigarette, but I don't like to call it that because you can JUUL and not be addicted to nicotine," Schooley says. "I don't smoke cigarettes, and I don't think I ever will."

A spokesperson for JUUL Labs, the manufacturer for the JUUL device, said that the company wants to "eliminate cigarettes by offering existing adult smokers with a better alternative to combustible cigarettes. No minor should be in possession of a JUUL." Both the design and the flavors offered were intended to make the device more inviting to adult cigarette smokers, not children, the spokesperson said in a statement in an email response. "We are committed to introducing new flavors carefully and responsibly."

While college student Schooley doesn't have strong concerns about nicotine addiction, JUUL cartridges have a high concentration of nicotine. A single pod, which Schooley says would last her a week, has roughly the same amount of nicotine as one pack of cigarettes. Schooley says she didn't realize this.

"I am feeling a little more apprehensive about it," she says. "That makes me sad. I think I'm going to consult people before I decide to buy another JUUL. But it's hard because even if I didn't buy one, I'm still gonna be surrounded by JUULs." *2

 

Is there not enough of a market in the 1.1 billion smokers who could be convinced this is a viable alternative to smoking?   Why do these companies need to target young people who have not started using any kind of smoking or vaping device? 

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In the end its up to us to keep our kids minds from being influenced by these advertising moguls and without some regulation to their advertising  and retailing techniques it will become an up hill battle we as parents are going to have to fight.

 

 

Wishing you the best health- Guy R. VentMask Team Member

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*1(https://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/e-cigarette-ads-target-millions-kids-cdc-says-n490601)

*2(https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/12/04/568273801/teenagers-embrace-juul-saying-its-discreet-enough-to-vape-in-class)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another side to the story...

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I hope you got a chance to read the last three blogs on vaping. My last blog got an interesting conversation going on FaceBook.  It went like this…..oh and by the way we contacted Jacob and got his permission to use his name in this blog.

 

VENTMASK posted a GIF “Mind Blown” on FaceBook….

 

The VentMask: Ok it may not blow your mind...but it is good information!😁-TheVentMaskTeam

 

JacobH: There's no such thing as "vape smoke". Let that blow your mind for awhile.

 

Guy Rawson Your right! One question often asked by smokers and non-smokers alike is, “what is the difference between vaporising and smoking?” Although they look similar, they‘re quite different things.
Before looking at how they are different, it‘s good to look first at how they are each produced. Smoke is created through an open flame; through burning or combustion. When a herb such as cannabis or tobacco is smoked, it is quite literally being destroyed by the high temperature of the fire.
Vaporising, on the other hand, is not such a brutal process. As opposed to burning, vaporizing doesn‘t involve an open flame, which greatly reduces the temperature the herb is exposed to. When cannabis is vaporised, it is heated up exactly to the point where the cannabinoids change their state from solid resin to gaseous particles. 
In the case of an E-Cigarette, only the carrier liquid (PG or VG) is vaporised, which then carries with it the nicotine, flavours and other ingredients.

 

JacobH: yeah, I agree. Take a gander at the article, full of "facts" to make you lol.

 

Guy Rawson But too bad they’re both no good for ya.

 

JacobH:  Too bad smokers have an alternative to completely killing themselves. Also Guy, check out the real studies showing vaping is 95% safer than smoking. Vaping also provides an opportunity to ween from nicotine, oral fixations, and eventually complete sobriety of smoking/vaping. You know, unlike cigarettes. Vaping easily saved my life from many ailments brought on from tobacco addiction. Needless to say, too bad almost nothing is good for you these days.

 

Guy Rawson: that’s awesome! Yet if kids don’t vape it’s much healthier not to start. Glad that you are in better health and wish you a long happy life!

 

JacobH: Agreed on the kids.

 

So this got me to thinking….I had written this blog from the perspective of a non-smoker/vaper with the intent of showing one thing, vaping is dangerous to your health. Now what was stated in the blog was indeed fact, big advertising IS targeting  youth as a huge audience for this product. There IS medical proof that vaping is harmful to your health and the common sense portion of inhaling a chemical vapor into your lungs is going to be unhealthy for you, even though there hasn’t been enough long term clinical studies because vaping hasn’t been around that long.  Children have and do get into the vape liquid if it hasn’t been put out of reach and left about and get sick from ingesting it. All those facts that can be researched, BUT WAIT KEEP READING BECAUSE JACOB SHED SOME LIGHT ON A DIFFERENT FACET OF VAPING THAT I WRONGFULLY IGNORED!! (I hope my wife isn’t reading this blog today… I’ll never hear the end of me admitting I was wrong on some point)

 

What I did not write about was the facts that were brought out by the comments from this reader. There are always other opinions and I believe this has merit to be included in this blog series. Lets explore the other side of the vaping coin.

 

This from an online article[1] :


Search for the term ‘vaping’ online and you’d be forgiven for thinking that it is an activity fraught with risks. The top stories relate to health problems, explosions and that vaping leads to smoking in teenagers. For the average smoker seeking information on vaping, a quick internet search offers little reassurance. Might as well continue smoking, the headlines imply, if these products are so dangerous.

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But the reality is that they are not. In the past year, more than any other, the evidence that using an e-cigarette is far safer than smoking has continued to accumulate. 2017 saw the publication of the first longer term “study” of vaping, comparing toxicant exposure between people who’d stopped smoking and used the products for an average of 16 months, compared with those who continued to smoke. Funded by Cancer Research UK, the study found large reductions in carcinogens and other toxic compounds in vapers compared with smokers, but only if the user had stopped smoking completely. A further recent study compared toxicants in vapour and smoke that can cause cancer, and estimated excess cancer risk over a lifetime from smoking cigarettes or vaping. Most of the available data on e-cigarettes in this study suggested a cancer risk from vaping around 1% of that from smoking.

E-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking because they don’t contain tobacco. Inhaling burnt tobacco - but also chewing it - is hugely damaging to human health. Remove the tobacco and the combustion and it is hardly surprising that risk is reduced. That doesn’t mean e-cigarettes are harmless. But it does mean that we can be relatively confident that switching from smoking to vaping will have health benefits.

These new studies and others have influenced policy, at least in the UK. In England, a broad consensus endorsed by many health organizations has existed since 2016 encouraging smokers to try vaping. This year additional organizations, like the Royal College of General Practitioners and the British Medical Association issued new reports also pointing to e-cigarettes as a positive choice for smokers trying to quit. And for the first time, Public Health England included e-cigarettes in its advertising for ‘Stoptober’ an annual stop smoking campaign. In Scotland, a large number of organizations led by Health Scotland issued a statement making clear that vaping is definitely safer than smoking that was also supported by Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer.

Overseas, many countries still ban e-cigarettes and using them can result in fines or even imprisonment for vapers or vendors. Yet gradually this is changing. 2017 saw a complete reversal of New Zealand’s position on these devices and their new policies look very similar to those in place in the UK. Canada is also legalizing e-cigarettes, although details of the regulatory framework are still being ironed out. These countries are following the research evidence and in time others may follow.

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A primary reason for caution in many countries is the fear that vaping will lead to smoking, particularly in young people. This year we did see research suggesting that some teenagers experimenting with vaping go on to smoke when followed up a year later, and this included studies from the UK. There seems little doubt that there are groups of young people susceptible to both. Yet these studies can’t prove that it was the act of trying an e-cigarette that lead to subsequent smoking - many other factors could explain this, including the simple fact that tobacco is still widely available. 2017 saw the publication of the world’s largest study to date of young people and vaping, including over 60,000 teenagers. It found that while experimentation with these products was occurring, regular use by teens who had never smoked remains very low, at less than 1%. Meanwhile in the UK and many other countries like the USA, youth smoking rates continue to decline at an encouraging pace. If vaping was causing smoking, these trends would reverse.

So, what is the average smoker to make of the continued controversy, and seemingly insatiable press interest around e-cigarettes? Who should they believe? Good sources of information do exist but they are not prominent enough. We need clear public information, from reputable sources, to shout above the noise and deliver the facts. And these are the facts. If you are a smoker, the best thing you can do for your health and the health of those around you is to stop smoking. If you choose to vape to stop smoking, that’s great, and no one should criticize you for that choice. I think we may well see a public information campaign along those lines in the near future. And from my perspective, it can’t come soon enough.

Linda Bauld is Professor of Health Policy at the University of Stirling and Deputy Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies. She also holds a Chair in Behavioural Research for Cancer Prevention at Cancer Research UK, and is the current President of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco Europe. Her research is funded by government and charitable sources and she has never conducted research or consultancy for tobacco or e-cigarette companies.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/science/sifting-the-evidence/2017/dec/29/e-cigarettes-vaping-safer-than-smoking

Take note of that last paragraph….specifically…. “Her research is funded by government and charitable sources and she has never conducted research or consultancy for tobacco or e-cigarette companies.” To me that is a clear indication of accurate and truthful information, no big money company paying her.

The best evidence to date shows that using e-cigarettes is very dramatically less dangerous than cigarette smoking. Death from all causes within the ages of 25 to 79 is three times higher for smokers than never smokers. Compared to smoking, long-term health effects of e-cigarettes have been judged as likely “much less, if at all, harmful to users or bystanders.”

The 2014 Surgeon-General Report concluded that “The burden of death and disease from tobacco use in the United States is overwhelmingly caused by cigarettes and other burned tobacco products; rapid elimination of their use will dramatically reduce this burden.”

Recent reports suggest that vapers should be cautioned about how they use high-voltage devices because they can produce high levels of the carcinogen formaldehyde. But that, however, is not one of the common ways people use e-cigarettes. High voltage devices and long puffs can produce a bad taste that is avoided.

Burned cigarettes contain many carcinogens: the FDA lists 79 “harmful or potentially harmful” carcinogens in tobacco products and tobacco smoke.

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Keep in mind that reports of a product being “not safe” in some way does not necessarily mean that it cannot overall be much safer than another product.

As is evidenced by our conversation with Jacob, the use of a vape mod has enabled him to ween his addiction to tabacco and lead a healthier life, and this was a facet of vaping I excluded. (Please lord don’t let my wife read this…tho I know she will.)

So I extend a heartfelt “Thank You!” to Jacob for giving me his point of view, and expanding my point of view.

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Last words…if you smoke or chew tobacco products, quit by whatever means it takes. If you don’t smoke or vape don’t start.  Make informed decisions based on what will help you lead a healthier, longer and satisfying life style.

Thanks again Jacob!

-TheVentMaskTeam member Guy R.

 

 

A review and what do do to keep your child vape free.

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Lets review what we know about the vaping industry. The tobacco industry has been forced to fess up about the dangers of smoking by slapping grisly warnings on cigarette packs, but it hasn’t yet been cornered into giving such disclaimers on e-cigarettes and other vaping products. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), our kids are now more likely to use e-cig or vape mods than any other form of tobacco.  In 2016, more than 2,000,000 middle and high school students used e-cigarettes each month.

We’ve already discussed in the last two blogs that there’s a perception that e-cigarettes are harmless. And while vaping is less harmful than smoking regular cigarettes, these products don’t come without risks. E-cigarettes are fairly new and we’re still learning about their long-term effects, but some of science is clear, and some of it is emerging over time. 

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We know Nicotine has proven damaging effects. It’s addictive, toxic to developing fetuses and can harm brain development in children and young adults up to the age of 20, and it is found in many vape liquids. The substance that e-cigarette users breathe in and exhale can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances like nicotine, but also chemicals and heavy metals. Because these products aren’t regulated, it’s impossible to know what’s in the e-cigarette or vape liquid your kids may be using.

 

A recent study by UNC School of Medicine published in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, found that not only do e-cigarettes trigger the same immune responses that normal cigarettes do; they spur unique immune responses, too. It comes down to how our bodies process foreign substances.

Dr, Pushan Jani, a pulmonologist at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and UTHealth, explains that when our lungs sense something not quite right is going on, our immune system rushes in to attack.

“Common sense would tell you [that vaping] leads to inflammation within the lung,” says Dr. Cedric Rutland,  a pulmonary and critical care physician and assistant clinical professor at University of California at Riverside School of Medicine. This reaction can happen “even if you’re smoking just pure water vapor with no nicotine,” says Jani.

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The lure for youth to use e-cigs and vape is the flavoring. “The flavoring industry is huge and these are chemicals that are known to have reasonable safety when eaten and exposed to the GI tract, but the lungs are very different,” says Dr. Robert Jackler, chair of otolaryngology and a professor of otorhinolaryngology at Stanford. “We know in certain industrial settings where people are producing them, they’re quite dangerous to breathe in.”

But unknown health risks aren’t the only reason Dr. Jackler takes issue with the flavoring of e-cigarettes, he’s also troubled because he understands that part of the tobacco industry’s purpose in advertising fun flavors is to draw in young people.

E-cigarette usage has been increasing among teens over the past five years, and flavoring is a huge appeal, with a 2016 study finding that some adolescents perceive the fruit flavored e-cigarettes to be less harmful than those that are tobacco-flavored. “The tobacco industry wants people to start young and knows that what really attracts them are sweet and fruity flavors,” says Jackler. “If all that were available was bitter tobacco that could be revolting.”

The American Lung Association (ALA) has been keeping a close eye on the teenage attraction to vaping and is campaigning for the same federal regulations for e-cigarettes that exist for other tobacco products. “We're trying hard to encourage the FDA to promulgate regulations of vaping,” says Norman Edelman senior scientific advisor at the ALA. “Right now it’s all local jurisdiction.”

If you or your partner smokes e-cigarettes at home with young kids, know that e-cigarettes pose some of the same risks as regular tobacco cigarettes, including:

·       Secondhand exposure: There’s not much research yet looking specifically at how secondhand nicotine exposure from e-cigarettes affects kids — no researcher would willingly put a child in harm’s way in the name of science. That said, there is plenty of data showing that secondhand exposure to nicotine and regular cigarettes can harm a child’s health: Kids exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to be sick more often with ear infections, colds, bronchitis, pneumonia asthma and breathing problems.

·       Accidental ingestion: Another danger that parents may overlook is accidental exposure from improper e-cigarette storage. In 2011, poison control centers across the country received 271 exposure calls attributed to liquid nicotine and e-cigarettes. By the end of November 2015, the number had jumped to 2,890.

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Children exposed to e-cigarettes were 5.2 times more likely to be admitted to the hospital and 2.6 times more likely to have a severe health outcome than kids exposed to regular cigarettes.

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While it may be impossible to protect your kids from all exposure to e-cigarettes, there are a number of steps you can take right now to protect your kids’ health:

Get the help you need to quit

If you smoke or vape, one of the best steps that you and your partner can take is to quit for good. Hoping that e-cigarettes could help? No studies have proven that they can help smokers stop using nicotine. In fact, some research has shown that e-cigarettes make smokers significantly less likely to quit.

There’s no doubt that for many people, kicking a nicotine habit can be incredibly hard — but it is possible. Remember: Smoking and vaping not only expose your child to secondhand smoke, they increase the odds your child will smoke himself later in life.

The good news is you’re not alone. In addition to getting help from your practitioner, family and friends, a number of other resources can support your efforts:  

·       A “quit plan”: Create one that includes your reasons for quitting, smoking triggers to avoid and strategies to deal with cravings (check out the National Cancer Institute’s Smokefree.gov for more info)

·       1-800-QUIT-NOW hotline: Get free counseling, advice to create a quit plan and information on local cessation resources

·       The Smokefree Women website: Offers judgement-free information and resources to help mothers quit all nicotine products, including e-cigarettes

·       Support groups: Nicotine Anonymous, online support groups and local smoking cessation programs can help

·       One-on-one or group counseling: Studies have found that moms who get counseling are 80 percent more likely to quit and less likely to start smoking again later

You can also talk to your doctor about other aids to help you quit, including:

·       Nicotine replacement therapy: Over-the-counter gums, patches and lozenges, as well as prescription nasal sprays and inhalers 

·       Prescription medications: The nicotine-free medications Zyban and Chantix (just keep in mind these aren’t safe to use if you’re pregnant)

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Adopt a smoke-free home and car policy

Make smoking off-limits in your home and vehicle — that means no smoking in the house or car by anyone, even when kids aren’t present.

Keep smoking gear stored safely

If you or someone else in your home vapes, always keep the e-cigarettes and liquids locked up and out of reach of children, and be sure to follow the label’s disposal instructions.

Look for “no smoking” signs

Skip restaurants and other facilities that allow smoking or have smoking sections. Even if you and your children in the “non-smoking” section, secondhand smoke is still in the air.

Stick with smoke-free childcare

Choose a babysitter or nanny who doesn’t smoke — and if that’s not possible, make sure your childcare provider doesn’t smoke in the house, car or around your child.

Tell your kids to stay away from smoke

If your child is old enough, tell her to avoid being around someone who is smoking whenever possible.

 

If you live in an apartment or condo that shares a HVAC heating or cooling system VentMask filters are a economical way to keep the air in your unit clean and breathable. We want you to have healthy and happy homes and are honored to be able to help you provide a clean indoor air environment for your family. Don’t start vaping or quit if you do, the evidence shows you will lead a healthier and longer life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are your kids a target?

E-cigarettes and other vaping products are on track to out-sell cigarettes by the end of 2023. And more and more young people are trying e-cigarettes. So what do you need to know about them? Are they less harmful than using cigarettes or other burned tobacco products? Are the retailers of these products marketing to our kids?!

Vape mods and e-cigs do not burn tobacco products. Most often, they contain nicotine solutions that are heated to make a vapor (hence the terms vape or vaping), and they’re usually battery powered. Some look like cigarettes and others can resemble flashlights. The big cigarette companies did not make the earliest e-cigs, but the cigarette companies have gotten into the new lucrative business. E-cigarette and vaping products are available in specialty stores and convenience stores around the US with varying restrictions on purchase by youth under 18.

E-cigarettes don’t necessarily contain nicotine. Some popular products contain little or no nicotine and levels can vary from brand to brand. And nicotine isn’t always the reason someone might try e-cigarettes!

What is the big draw to these new vaping devices? A 2014 national high school survey finds more monthly “vapers”  than monthly smokers: 17% of US 12th-grade students report using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days compared to 14% for tobacco cigarettes. We also know that patterns of infrequent, non-daily use of various tobacco and nicotine products may be increasing among young people. But trying e-cigarettes does not automatically lead to daily use.

Young people might also be influenced to try e-cigarettes because of how they are priced and promoted. They can be cheaper than traditional cigarettes and may be perceived as safer. Other features, like flavors can also support use in all age groups.

As e-cigarettes become more popular and more visible young people will start trying and using these products. And because products keep changing, they will often try different kinds of e-cigarettes.

Youth is a time when individuals experiment with and get into trouble with psychoactive substances, including nicotine-containing e-cigarettes. In 2014, 44.4% of 12th-graders had ever used marijuana/hashish, and 35.1% had used in the past year; 41.4% reported being drunk in the past year. Users of one type of psychoactive substance are more likely to use others, like caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, THC or prescription drugs.

The 2016 Surgeon General report stated that, “E-cigarettes are marketed by promoting flavors and using a wide variety of media channels and approaches that have been used in the past for marketing conventional tobacco products to youth and young adults.

Researchers had identified more than 7,700 unique e-cigarette flavors available online, with an average of more than 240 new flavors being added per month. Among more than 400 available brands, 84 percent offered fruit flavors and 80 percent offered candy and dessert flavors. Research shows that flavored products may play a role in initiation and uptake of tobacco products. Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) survey found that 81 percent of youth aged 12-17 who had ever used e-cigarettes had used a flavored e-cigarette the first time they tried the product, and that 85.3 percent of current youth e-cigarette users had used a flavored e-cigarette in the past month. Moreover, 81.5 percent of current youth e-cigarette users said they used e-cigarettes “because they come in flavors I like.” The Surgeon General concluded that, “Themes in e-cigarette marketing, including sexual content and customer satisfaction, are parallel to themes and techniques that have been found to be appealing to youth and young adults in conventional cigarette advertising and promotion. So just like big tobacco these new companies are targeting our youth, and because there’s not enough research to present solid evidence of the effects of vaping there’s less regulation to safeguard kids who are targeted.

 

Unlike cigarette and smokeless tobacco companies, e-cigarette companies are not currently required to report their marketing and promotional expenditures to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), so the exact amount spent to advertise and promote these products is uncertain. However, e-cigarette marketing expenditures are estimated to have increased dramatically in recent years, from $12 million in 2011 to $125 million in 2014.  24 Other studies have also documented this significant increase in spending.25 These figures likely underestimate the true extent of e-cigarette advertising, as the available marketing data is not comprehensive (e.g., social media and sponsored events—strategies widely used by numerous e-cigarette companies—are not included).

 

So what measures can you take against vaping? If you are faced with committed teenage smokers, perhaps the best you can do is foster switching to e-cigarettes. Of course, do explore their interest in getting help with quitting smoking. For less-involved users of e-cigarettes who do not smoke regular cigarettes, encourage that regular use be avoided and that nicotine use be limited as much as possible.

Telling a teenager that vaping is just as bad for you as smoking or that e-cigs are worse than tobacco cigarettes could push them toward cigarettes and is not justified. Why? Because your child will find reports that there are benefits of vaping over smoking if they go searching for it.  It seems it’s a conundrum when is comes to vaping….yeah it may help you stop smoking but it runs other health risks.

If you have teenagers who already both smoke and vape, encourage that they work to avoid cigarettes and vaping completely.

 Sex sells!

Sex sells!

I think that a good example is one great way to reduce the risk of your child picking up the vape habit.  It wasn’t that long ago that people thought smoking tobacco was safe even beneficial.  Here are a few classic ads that made smoking out to be good for you.

 

 REALLY!? CURES ASTHMA...C'MON!

REALLY!? CURES ASTHMA...C'MON!

It seems to be simple logic that if you heat a chemical substance and inhale the byproduct (smoke or vapor) it will be bad for you’re your health.  The big money tobacco companies and other companies that produce or retail vape products want you to believe it’s a healthy choice. It may not be as unhealthy as tobacco, but that has yet to be determined.

 We dont even know what to say about this.

We dont even know what to say about this.

 UHHMMM...Doctor recommended?

UHHMMM...Doctor recommended?

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The VentMaskTeam thinks that refraining from using vape products is the healthiest choice you can make. If you have people vaping in or around your home or hotel use VentMask filters to remove more of the active particulate in the “vapor” from the air.

Till next time....we wish you the best of health-TheVentMaskTeam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Superman has a cape...but would he vape?

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You see them all over, kids at the mall to business people hanging around outside business buildings to hipsters in coffee houses, people inhaling vapor thru units that can be very complicated looking to simple pen like apparatuses. Just what is a vape mod…as the kids call them these days? An electronic cigarette or e-cigarette is a handheld electronic device that tries to create the feeling of tobacco smoking. It works by heating a liquid to generate an aerosol, commonly called a "vapor", that the user inhales.

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Just a few short years ago, e-cigarette shops didn’t even exist, and now they fill the strip malls of towns all over America even here in Utah, with names like Draper Vapor, VIP Vapors, The Vapor Pit or others playing on “vape,” the name given to the practice of inhaling the nicotine-laced fog.

Where you find smokers, you’ll find demand for e-cigarettes or “vaping” products, and Utah is not an exception. E-cigarettes first emerged online in the mid-2000s, and the business has since grown to become $6 billion industry worldwide, eclipsing the total sales for all nicotine replacement therapy products. Today, it’s estimated that the industry is growing at an estimated rate of 42% per year, in part due to spending by big tobacco companies as they buff up their versions of e-cigs.

There are now hundreds of different devices and thousands of different flavors for those devices. But the hazy, lazy days at the vape shop may be numbered. This may, the FDA ruled that e-cigarettes products would be subject to the same regulation applied to cigarettes. In addition to prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to those under 18, this means that manufacturers and retailers of vapor “juices” will have to register ingredients with the FDA, a process that could be onerous and expensive for small operators. After August 8, vapor retailers will have three years to comply with the rules by registering and labeling their product ingredients.

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The reason for the confusion among health researchers and retailers is that an e-cigarette is not just one single device or chemical, making it hard to track and regulate. E-cigarettes can work in a couple of different ways. The most common are pen-shaped rechargeable devices that have a refillable tank that holds a nicotine-laced liquid flavor compound. The liquid is then vaporized but not burned by a heating element to produce an aerosol that delivers nicotine to the user.

Many people assume that e-cigarettes are less toxic than standard cigarettes, but there is little data to back that up.

But if someone is trying to switch to e-cigarettes from cigarettes, are they ultimately doing themselves a favor? “The short answer, is no,” says Dr. Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

Glantz analyzed a number of different studies that examined the use of e-cigarettes in quitting smoking. He found that use of e-cigarettes in fact lowered a person’s chance of successfully quitting cigarettes by 28%. This aligns with another recent study that found the most successful way to quit smoking is to go cold turkey instead of slowly weaning off cigarettes.

“The evidence is quite consistent that, for most people, they make it harder to quit,” Glantz says. “That doesn’t mean that some people don’t use some to quit. They do, but that’s a small fraction.”

Not everyone has come to the same conclusion, though. Muhannad Malas, a researcher at the University of Toronto, says that the lack of long-term randomized placebo-controlled studies has been problematic. In lieu of those, reviews of observational studies, like Glantz’s, are the next best thing. Malas’s own review of more 60 studies comparing e-cigs with smoking cessation aids found that they may be helpful for some smokers in quitting or reducing their cigarette smoking but, “the evidence was definitely inconclusive.”

The more scientists learn about e-cigarettes and their impact on human health, the more complicated the picture becomes. For one, no one knows exactly how toxic these products are because the use varies from person to person. And, contrary to what marketing materials may say, e-cigarettes produce a lot more than just “harmless” water vapor.

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We all know a cigarette is dried tobacco rolled in paper with a filter which may be made from cellulose acetate fibre, paper or activated charcoal Macroporous phenol-formaldehyde resins and asbestos. Sounds like pretty healthy stuff to draw your breath thru doesn’t it! NOT.

Now E-cigarette juice contains a mix of propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, and flavoring agents approved by the FDA as “Generally Recognized As Safe” (GRAS) for consumption. When this mix is heated, a group of compounds known as carbonyls are produced. This includes compounds such formaldehyde and acrolein. While cigarettes generally produce a thousand times more carbonyls because of the combustion process, e-cigarettes produce a varying amount depending on the ratio of glycol to glycerin in the vaping fluid and how much of it is heated.

No matter who manufactures or sells e-cigarettes, the end result is the same. “You’re inhaling hot aerosol ultra-fine particles, aldehyde and nicotine,” Glantz says, “and that’s not so good.” So again sounds like not  good stuff to be inhaling into your lungs.

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So while vaping is considered to be somewhat healthier than smoking regular cigarettes because you’re not coating your lungs in carcinogenic tar—it’s still not a “healthy” practice by any means. As the Surgeon General explains, the aerosol you breathe in when you use an e-cigarette contains harmful chemicals and ultrafine particles you can inhale deep into your lungs. Diacetyle, benzene, nickel, tin, and lead are just some of the things found in e-cigarette vapors. And scientists are still trying to determine the health effects of other potentially harmful chemicals in e-cigarette fluid, as well as how they react when turned into aerosol via intense heat. Plus, e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is still highly addictive no matter how you intake it.

Now, if you want to use an e-cigarette, that’s completely up to you. It’s your health and you can use or abuse it however you like. What’s problematic is e-cigarette and vape users don’t seem to realize those vapors are still breathable after they’re exhaled. Much like secondhand smoke, secondhand vapors are a concern for everyone around a user, even if it the vapor is less visible than traditional cigarette smoke. A recent report conducted by the CDC suggests one-third of adults who use e-cigarettes don’t think secondhand vapors are harmful, and another 40% said exposure only caused “little” or “some” harm to children. But make no mistake, just because it’s not a real cigarette, there’s still real danger.

In addition to the harmful chemicals already mentioned, the risks for kids exposed to these secondhand aerosol vapors include accidental nicotine addiction, mood disorders, and a lowering of impulse control. Nicotine can also affect brain development in young people by changing the way the synapses in their brains are formed. Dr. Brian King, the deputy director for research translation at the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, says lack of regulation, the “newness” of the products, and the way the industry promotes e-cigarettes as “healthier alternatives” contributes to the confusion. But don’t fall for it; e-cigarettes and vapes aren’t that different than regular old cigarettes, so take precautions when you use them.

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 I am sure that “vaping” is just as harmful to my health either directly or indirectly via second hand vapor and choose to “Just say NO!”. How do you protect yourself from vape especially if you live in an apartment or have shared HVAC? VentMask air filters protect you room by room removing those types of particulate found in vape vapor.

Coming next week in our second installment about vaping. Can I have an allergic reaction to the vapor or to the “vape juice” used for vaping?