Another side to the story...


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.



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.



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 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)


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.




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?


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?


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


 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?








Still relevent 2018

From November 2016... Odor! Odor! Odor in the court! I just shared a 3 hour bus ride to Whistler BC with some very friendly yet interestingly odored folks and decided to re-post this from a couple years ago as it STILL seems to be relevant to 2018! LOL.....

Ok well not really in the court...but in this instance on a airplane.

We were traveling from Copenhagen, Denmark to JFK recently and had the unique opportunity to find ourselves seated smack dab in the center of a group of European visitors headed to the United States.  I am very open to new cultural experiences, that’s why we were traveling in the first place, but I am amiss as to why some people are so avidly against the use of deodorant.  To say that the odors that were impressed upon our oral nasal factories was intense is an understatement. If you have ever had the chance to be around what my wife calls “the granola” crowd you will notice a pungent body odor just under the scent of patchouli oil. (An oil worn as perfume by hippies in lieu of showering or bathing in any way.) 

Is this a personal effort to avoid the health dangers of wearing deodorant? Is it an effort to keep people away and lead a solitary lifestyle? I am sure that each individual will have different reasons for not using a little right guard, from health to cultural reasons, but there are indeed people who may suffer from allergies to deodorant.  

This rather inopportune allergy usually comes rooted alongside a corresponding sensitivity to perfumes or other ingredients in the deodorant or antiperspirant itself. Those who play host to sensitivity towards the substances typically suffer from itchy redness and peeling skin, with hives, pustules, painful pimples, and broken, oozing lesions in more severe instances. All of these issues may be treated in the same manner as other allergies. Obviously, a physical resistance to deodorant poses a threat to basic personal hygiene, as the victim cannot be expected to continue using a product that causes discomfort and damage. However, it is never a good idea to traipse about moistly reeking of the inside of a sneaker, either. Some prescription deodorants may prove valuable, though more serious cases ought to consider viable alternatives such as talcum or baby powder. It is advisable for those finding themselves in the latter situation to carry a small bottle or bag of the stuff to re-apply throughout the day as necessary. There are also "all natural" deodorants you can find by searching on line.

Wishing you the best health and for us all to smell like roses…TheVentMaskTeam.

Such a TURKEY!...bird allergies that is.


Ahhh yes! Thanksgiving dinner will soon be on your table. A beautiful roasted turkey with all the trimmings and pumpkin pie ala mode for desert.  A nap on the couch and then round two! Stuffing and turkey with gravy all over and another helping of pie and ice cream to top it all off, then sitting around with your family watching football or a few good movies.

Yes… it sounds like a wonderful way to spend a day. But where do you keep that tom if you’re allergic to bird feathers? WHAT you don’t keep a live turkey in your home for Thanksgiving? Ok not very many of us urbanites do, but I am sure there are some rural-lites that still have a designated bird for their Thanksgiving meal, like say poultry farmers.

Even if you buy your turkey from your local grocery or butcher shop there is a small chance of being allergic to our fine feathered friends.

Bird allergy is a normal reaction of your body's immune system to the feather dander, or more popularly known as feather dust, and droppings or fecal matter coming out of birds.



People who work closely with birds like farm workers and zookeepers and those who take care of birds as pets like bird fanciers are the most at risk to develop bird allergy.  If you look into it medical statistics identify that the number of people allergic to birds are far lower compared to those allergic to other animals like dogs and cats.



Bird allergies work just like pollen or other allergies. When bird dander or dust from bird droppings enter the air and you breathe them in your body fights back against the allergens causing allergy symptoms.  If you have bird allergies the symptoms are sometimes similar to those for hay fever or allergic rhinitis.  Symptoms for bird allergies can be divided into two groups.

1. Average:Those symptoms that are considered less severe, including watery eyes, sneezing, postnatal drips, sore throat, stuffy nose, coughing, hives itchy eyes and allergic shiners or the presence of black circles in the area below the eyes.


2.  Severe:The serious form of bird allergies symptoms include prolonged coughing, extended periods of breathing difficulty, occasional fever and chills, weight loss and dry cough which can persist for extended periods. Triggers that cause severe bird allergy can reduce your lung's capacity,  and may potentially pose a detriment not just to your health but also to your life. Sever allergies are caused by regular or constant exposure to allergy causing birds. So if you are a bird keeper or just around avian pets and have experienced such symptoms over a long period of time but cant figure out what is causing your symptoms, allergies may be the culprit.

What to do if you think you have bird allergies. First and foremost see your allergist to confirm your suspicions.  Physicians often prescribe antihistamines, decongestants and corticosteroids to relieve the symptoms associated with bird allergy. Antihistamines block symptoms to allergic reactions, not just to birds, but also to all forms of allergies. Allergy shots, of course may block the onset of bird allergy, but I hate shots!

Avoiding exposure to allergens, in this case the birds and their feathers, will absolutely reduce or even end allergy symptoms, and is probably the most effective measure to use. However, hygiene also an effective defense against any form of diseases and will also be effective in fighting attacks of bird allergy. Wash your hands!

If you have birds in your home the ultimate solutions would be to find them a new home, but our pets are like family and if that’s not an option good air filtration in your home is.  HEPA quality main filtration for your HVAC system and VentMask vent register filters make a good combo to stop allergens in your air and trapped in your air ducts.


See ya soon… we must go pardon a turkey! Happy Thanksgiving all!!!


WAIT!....speaking of turkey pardoning why not have some fun and learn a little about this tradition.

It is often stated that Presidents Lincoln's clemency to a turkey recorded in an 1865 report by White House reporter Noah Brooks was the origin for the pardoning ceremony. Reports of turkeys as gifts to American presidents can be traced to the 1870s, when Rhode Island poultry dealer Horace Vose began sending well fed birds to the White House. 

By 1914, the opportunity to give a turkey to a President was open to everyone, and poultry gifts were frequently touched with patriotism, partisanship, and glee. In 1921, an American Legion post furnished bunting for the crate of a gobbler en route from Mississippi to Washington, while a Harding Girls Club in Chicago outfitted a turkey as a flying ace, complete with goggles. First Lady Grace Coolidge accepted a turkey from a Vermont Girl Scout in 1925. The turkey gifts had become established as a national symbol of good cheer.



In November 1947, announcements of the government encouraging "poultryless Thursdays" grabbed national headlines. Outrage from homemakers, restaurant owners, and the poultry industry was palpable in Washington. This came to a head when the poultry industry pointed out that the upcoming Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, the three big turkey holidays, happened to fall on Thursday.. The effort was deflated in time for Thanksgiving, but not before poultry growers had sent crates of live chickens— "Hens for Harry"— to the White House in protest. The turkey they presented to President Truman that December promoted the poultry industry and established an annual news niche that endures today.


While 1947 was the beginning of the official turkey presentation from the poultry industry, the turkey pardon remained a sporadic tradition.



In December 1948, Truman accepted two turkeys and remarked that they would "come in handy" for Christmas dinner. There was clearly no plan for these birds to receive a presidential pardon. The Washington Post used both "pardon" and "reprieve" in a 1963 article in which President Kennedy said of the turkey, "Let's keep him going." During the latter years of the Nixon presidency, Patricia Nixon accepted the turkeys on behalf of the President and in 1973 sent the bird to the Oxon Hill Children’s Farm. The 1978 turkey, presented to Rosalynn Carter, met a similar fate when it was sent to Evans Farm Inn to live in a mini zoo. 



After 1981 the practice of sending the presentation turkey to a farm became the norm under Ronald Reagan. The turkey ceremony also became a source of satire and humor for reporters. The formalities of pardoning a turkey gelled by 1989, when George H. W. Bush, with animal rights activists picketing nearby, quipped, "But let me assure you, and this fine tom turkey, that he will not end up on anyone's dinner table, not this guy -- he's granted a Presidential pardon as of right now -- and allow him to live out his days on a children's farm not far from here.”


Thanks for joining us for our Turkey day blog we hope you enjoyed it! So lets enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday and remember the things we have to be thankful for… health, family, our freedoms and FOOD!





My allergies made me do it!



MY ALLERGIES MADE ME DO IT! Crimes committed because of your allergies…sounds pretty far fetched doesn’t it?  I thought so too, so I did some poking around and the following may surprise you!

This is and article from……

“Crime and violence are increasing, especially among young people. Yes despite the best intentions of rehabilitation workers, counseling and attempts at reform are often futile. Some people seem destined to say in trouble with the law all their lives.

A few doctors and scientists now take the view that much crime, particularly violent crime, is caused by some biological malfunction of the criminal’s brain – sometimes triggered by food allergies and chemical exposure. Not that sociological factors do not play a role.

But biological factors such as allergy have been ignored too long, say the researchers. In a speech to the California Commission on the Prevention of Crime and Violence, Bernard Rimland, Ph.D., said that because traditional approach to rehabilitation of criminals haven’t been very successful, it's time to examine the influence and correction of other factors, specially:

  • Food allergies,

  • Food additives,

  • Excess sugar intake,

  • Pesticides and herbicides inadvertently added to food and water,

  • Fumes from industrial and other environmental sources and

  • Alcohol use.

Interestingly enough, many of those same factors have been found to be responsible for allergy induced hyperactivity, learning problems and aggression, which are often directly related to criminal behavior. Dr. Rimland described the brain as a ”soggy computer” – a compact information and control center that’s 85 percent water by weight.

 You distract her....I'll get the goods!

You distract her....I'll get the goods!

Doctors already know that if an individual takes in too much of a toxic metal like lead, or too little of an essential nutrient like thiamine, something will go wrong. By the same token, if the person eats a food or breathes a substance which is basically harmless but to which he or she happens to be allergic – wheat, POLLEN, aspirin or whatever – the brain will act up.

The result can be distortions of judgment and control that can easily lead to antisocial and criminal behavior. ”It's well known that allergies may cause such symptoms as hay fever, asthma and hives,” says Dr. Rimland.

”Since it is so widely recognized that the nasal membranes, the lungs and the skin can be affected by a food or other substances to which some individuals are intolerant, (it's not surprising that) the brain, the most intricate and biochemically complicated organ in body, could also be effected by allergies.”

”Individuals who have cerebral (brain) allergies to wheat, beef, milk, corn and other common foods are likely to experience chronic problems such as headaches, feelings in violence or, surprisingly, specific compulsions such as to steal or commit arson,” says Dr. Rimbaland.

”Individuals who are allergic to or who cannot tolerate substances (which they eat or encounter less frequently) such as oysters, walnuts or formaldehyde, may experience unexpected and uncontrolled episodes of aberrant behavior with intervening periods of trouble free behavior. ”The ’brain allergy’ concept has important implication for correcting criminal behavior through diet,” says Dr. Rimland.

As it happens, many of the dietary changes designed to improve criminal behavior have involved the elimination of nonnutritive items such as sugar and foods additives. Alexander Schauss, a noted criminologist, reports the following sequence of events as a military prison in Seattle. On November 1, 1978, white flour was replaced with whole wheat.

On February 3, 1979, sugar was eliminated – including all pastries, cakes, ice cream, soft drinks and Kool-Aid. Records subsequently showed that after the menu changes, discipline problems among the inmates were down 12 percent from the same period a year before (Diet, Crime and Delinquency, Parker House, 1980).

But removing any incriminated allergens can correct criminal behavior. Doris J. Rapp, M.D., an allergist in Buffalo, New York, tells of one uncooperative young man who had a history of stealing. During the nine months that Dr. Rapp treated his allergies, the stealing stopped.

When therapy was discontinued (at his mother’s request), stealing resumed. Three other patients in Dr. Rapp’s care had a recurrence of stealing when allergy treatment was discontinued (Journal of Learning Disabilities, November, 1979). ”One wonders how many children and adults have been drugged and placed in institutions because of violent behavior related to adverse food reactions,” says Schauss.

Because 90 percent of delinquents have reading difficulties and other learning problems, we suggest that parents of troublesome children also read the entry on Learning Disorders. The entries on Aggression and Hyperactivity may also be helpful.



Ok that was mostly directed at food allergies, so I did a little more exploring and found this in the LA Times.

“A 46-year-old college professor who complained of life-threatening allergies was arrested Tuesday after being forcibly removed from a SouthWest Airlines flight that was bound for Los Angeles and carried dogs in the cabin.

The incident, which was captured in jumpy cellphone video, occurred at Baltimore airport, after a passenger asked that two dogs be removed from the aircraft, according to a witness. Instead, the flight crew asked the woman to leave, and she refused.

Anila Daulatzai of Baltimore was taken into custody and charged with disorderly conduct, failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order, disturbing the peace, obstructing and hindering a police officer and resisting arrest, said Lt. Kevin Ayd of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police.

 This isn't really Ms.'s just some pic we got off Google! ;-)

This isn't really Ms.'s just some pic we got off Google! ;-)

Daulatzai was transported to the Anne Arundel County District Court, where she was released on her own recognizance, Ayd said. She had been removed from the plane at the request of its captain.”

Now Ms. Daulatzai allergies didn’t cause her to commit any violent acts, but nowadays disturbing flight crew and disrupting behavior on a flight can get you into serious trouble. But how about serious crimes, crimes of passion, greed, you know A&E channel kinda stuff?


Looking a little deeper I found this from a book called, Advances in Hypersensitivity Research and Treatment: 2011 Edition.


“ In 2003-2005, the Chicago Initiative to Raise Asthma Health Equity conducted an asthma screening survey of children in grades K to 8 attending Chicago public schools and Catholic schools. Crime data was obtained from the Chicago Police Department. In addition to simple regression analysis, multi level logistic regression analysis was performed to estimate the effect of criminal activity on neighborhood asthma variances. Of the surveys returned, 45,371 (93%) were geocoded into 247 neighborhoods. Neighborhoods were divided into quartile groups by mean asthma prevalence (9%, 12%, 17% and 22%). Criminal activity (annual incidence per 100,00 people) was significantly higher (p<.001) in neighborhoods with a high asthma prevalence, especially drug abuse violations, which increased more than six fold (461 vs. 2921) and violent crimes, which increased more than three fold (448 vs. 1566). After adjusting for community race/ethnicity, only violent crime continued to be significantly associated with the neighborhood asthma prevalence (odds ratio, 1.27; 95% confidence interval, 1.04-1.55, p<.05). When considered along side the sociodemographic and individual characteristics, violence continued to contribute significantly (p<.05), explaining 15% of neighborhood variations in childhood asthma. Evidence suggests an association between violent crime and childhood asthma prevalence in Chicago, wrote R.S. Gupta and colleagues, School of Medicine.


The researchers concluded: “ A deeper understanding of the mechanisms that underlie these association may lend insight to potential interventions to address urban asthma”.


If you don’t believe me you can read this for yourself here…


So links to bad behavior have been made to asthma.  Would you sensibly say that since asthma and allergies have common symptoms that allergies could also play a role in criminal behavior?


It’s an interesting concept and since I have teenage boys at home I will continue to use good filters to lessen all the asthma and allergy inducing contaminates and VentMask filters to trap everything in our ducts that builds up over time.

Maybe it’ll keep them both on the straight and narrow…I use every tool at my disposal! LOL! I'm hoping maybe it'll straighten out the dog too!







Puppy Love and Real Love

When love is in the air, you want to breathe it in. But what if that air is also filled with pet dander or pollen? Take these steps to avoid symptoms that get in the way of Cupid's work.

Sniffling, sneezing, and leaving a trail of wet tissues everywhere you go is hardly a recipe for romance.

Want to sail through the pollens of allergy season with less hassle? The No. 1 rule of thumb: "Be proactive," says Clifford Bassett, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center.

See an allergist before the season starts for a treatment plan that may include a nasal steroid spray. These sprays can take a few weeks of regular use to reach full effect.

Don't rely on over-the-counter antihistamines alone. They may not be enough -- and they may help you less as the season wears on.


What about my pets? They’re like my kids, I think of them as members of my family. If you've been allergic to cats or dogs (or bunnies or guinea pigs) your whole life, your heart may sink when you learn the love of your life comes with one or vise versa. But before you run the other way, try these steps, says allergist Janna Tuck, MD:

Set ground rules. Find out what your partner is willing to do to help. Talk about where you'll spend time together -- preferably, your place.

Clear the air. Have your partner:

  • Use air purifiers (one in every room, if possible).
  • Clean often.
  • Keep the pet outside as much as possible, or at least out of the rooms where you spend the most time.
  • Use extra filtration on your vent registers to remove more pet dander

Get medicated. If over-the-counter allergy pills and eye drops don't do the trick, see an allergist for prescription meds. Allergy shots (ouch) may be an option for you, but they require at least 3 to 5 years of regular doctor visits.

Plan your pet future. Agree that if the relationship continues, when the dog or cat goes to pet heaven, you won't get another.

If your allergies are still a problem, find out where you stand. "It's a relationship gauge," Tuck says. "If your significant other isn't willing to consider your health as more important than the pet, then you might want to reconsider the relationship."

No one wants to give away a beloved pet, but human health comes first, she says.

We asked our friends at what to do if Rover's ruining your game. They walked us through six common dating-with-dog (or cat) dilemmas and how to keep your cool when the claws come out. 




When man and man's best friend have similar needs (back scratches, ample praise and a spot next to you in the bed at night), you're bound to feel like a tug-of-war chew toy. And if you cancel a date to take your pup to the dog park, your guy might start to feel left out. 

Ask yourself whether you really are putting pet before person or if he's just looking for an excuse to fight. A quarrel over your furry friend could be a cover-up for another issue that needs attention. Talk it out instead of using the dog to distract from what's really going on. 



If you and your man have agreed to split the responsibility of caring for a pet, but he's not holding up his end of the bargain, it's time to bust out the old school chore chart. Divide and conquer is the name of the game. Rotate duties, like walking, feeding and cleaning, to ward off resentment. Or find ways to make pet care fun. Chances are giving the dog a bath could lead to some scandalous sudsing of your own. 



If your pet's plotting a Parent Trap-like scheme to cramp your style, set some boundaries ASAP. When he's yapping while you're macking, show your pup that you're in charge by issuing strong commands like "stop!" and "down!" When it comes to PDA, your pet may be feeling jealous or trying to protect you. Spend plenty of QT with him alone. 

If your dog's humping your guy's leg (awkward), it could be a sign of dominant behavior. Stop the distasteful habit in its tracks by neutering by six months of age. 



If you're butting heads over a pet in the bed,  let your guy or girl win this battle. While you may tolerate dog drool on your pillow or cat hair on the comforter, your critters can also carry fleas, worms and other treasures into the sack. Plus, puppies may wet the bed and tiny kittens make easy targets for human steamrollers. The floor's a safer spot. Or meet half way by letting your pup sleep in his own bed at the foot of yours. Let kitty curl up on one of your sweaters (your scent will comfort her). 



If your guy's got severe or life-threatening allergies, you keeping a pet could be a deal breaker. Even if you spend hours vacuuming up pet hair, you'll be welcoming him with more than that bottle of wine when he pops over for movie night. That's because the real allergy culprit isn't fur, it's dander--tiny, sticky pieces of protein from your pet's skin and saliva. 

Reduce the risk of an allergy attack by frequently bathing your pet and scouring all surfaces in your home. Certain breeds like poodles and Chihuahuas may also leave behind fewer flakes. 




If you and your guy go in on a pet together, have a plan in case things don't work out. Don't put your kitty or pup's health and safety in jeopardy. Decide in advance whether you or your partner is better suited to care for the pet if your relationship hits the rocks. If neither one of you is willing or able, ask friends and family members to take your pet in instead of dropping him off at the shelter.



I have been fighting with thick pine pollen for the last month and am not sure but I think it’s winning the battle! 

I wash it off my car, hose it off my drive, pull my screens off and clear them of the yellow dust clinging to them.

With all of that pollen I know my VentMask filters were working overtime to keep it outta my home, but guess what….that’s probably not what’s clogging your airways, making your nose run and causing your eyes to itch. The belief that pine pollen can trigger allergic reactions in people is disputed by some experts, they argue pine pollen is too big to permeate the nasal membrane. However, researchers have shown that key proteins from pine pollen can penetrate the nasal membrane to trigger a reaction.

BUT that grainy yellow dust is a “marker” — its presence on your vehicle signals the arrival of other pollens filling the air which are WORSE triggers for your allergies!

Here in Utah and probably any other pollen drenched state you may be able to avoid a particular plant that is proliferus, but odds are your body will find some other plant, mold or pet dander to react to wherever you go. So knowing that allergies are impossible to avoid completely, being informed is the next best thing for alleviating your suffering! It is most likely that not one but several allergens are the culprits causing your misery. Trees pollinate between February and May. These pollens ease off just in time for grasses to start spreading their pollen. Grass allergies are the worst between May and July. Just when those pollen counts start to decrease, weeds take over. Weeds can aggravate allergy symptoms from July until, as previously mentioned, the first hard frost. This is generally sometime in late October or November. Added to this problem may be dust allergies, mold allergies and allergies to pet dander.

The trees most notorious for causing allergy problems in the Western United States, including Utah, are the Ash, Cottonwood, Birch, Walnut, Juniper, Acacia, Mesquite, Alder, Box Elder, Mulberry, Sycamore, Elm, Cypress, Oak and Maple. According to a report in, Cedar is the most potent tree allergy in Utah. As a general rule, the brighter the plant, the less likely it is to be causing your allergy.

 Utah's worse allergy offender...The Cedar!

Utah's worse allergy offender...The Cedar!

 CottonWood tree trying to make another CottonWood Tree!

CottonWood tree trying to make another CottonWood Tree!

 Ash...lovely to behold, not so lovely for my nose!

Ash...lovely to behold, not so lovely for my nose!

If you are lucky enough to be unaffected by the trees, you may need to try avoiding grasses instead. The top allergy causing grasses in Utah are Bermuda grass, Meadow fescue, Brome, Orchard grass, Wild oat, Timothy, Red top, Johnson and Rye. Fortunately, according to, Kentucky Bluegrass is the most common type of lawn grass in Utah and is not on the list of the most highly allergenic.

 Meadow Fescue grass

Meadow Fescue grass

 Bermuda grass

Bermuda grass

After surviving the tree season and the grass season, you still have to endure weed season, which as mentioned, will last until about the end of October or first of November. The most problematic weeds in Utah are Ragweed, False Ragweed, Pigweed, Careless weed, Sagebrush, Tumbleweed, Cocklebur, Yellow dock, Marsh elder and Lambs quarter.

 Sage Brush

Sage Brush

 Rag Weed

Rag Weed

Pollen counts, the average number of pollen grains per cubic meter of air, are generally given on the news, often during the weather reports. As a general rule, pollen counts are higher on warm, dry, breezy mornings. They are lower during cool or rainy days. Knowing the pollen count may be somewhat beneficial in avoiding allergy symptoms. A high pollen count indicates that most people with plant allergies are at risk of symptoms. A medium pollen count would indicate that in general most people with sensitivity would be affected. A low pollen count means that only those who are the most sensitive will have a problem.

Utah is a beautiful state and enjoys a wide variety of greenery. We are fortunate to have such variety. However this variety leads to a variety of allergen producing pollens.

Don’t let the trees and grass “getting busy” slow you down!

Take advantage of the great outdoors like I do by using antihistamines butalso be very proactive in keeping those allergens out of your home with good HVAC filters and VentMask filters to stop what the main filters miss. VentMask filters also catch what may be built up in the ducting that the main filtration unit cannot.

Puerto Rico and beyond!

This international travel blog starts in Puerto Rico join us as we make our way about the Western Caribbean! 

We started our adventure by heading out from Salt Lake City to JFK in New York and then hopping a flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico's attractions range from the adventurous…like the underground caves ofRio Camuy … to the historic, like the 500-year old walls of the El Morro Fort. And there are plenty of options between the two extremes. Beach lovers must visit the western beaches of Rincón for sunbathing and surfing; snorkelers are bound to enjoy Vieques' bioluminescent Mosquito Bay.  If you're the kind of traveler who enjoys the after dark scene you'll discover a varied but vibrant nightlife in San Juan.

Our stay of two days here was spent at the Caribe Hilton Condado.  It's a nice hotel with good amenities and an awesome pool area right near all the Condado area nightlife and restaurants. It was real easy to not leave the hotel area but I suggest you absolutely do….at least for part of the day and go exploring….then come back and flop down and have a mojito poolside.

We enjoyed heading into Old San Juan to wander around the shops and see the historical sites. Outlet shoppers should come to Old San Juan prepared to let go of a few dollars. The city's Calle del Cristo is a haven of restaurants, art galleries and boutiques. In addition to popular stores, those walking the cobblestone street can discover local crafts and artisan shops. If you're looking to skip shopping altogether, Calle del Cristo is still a worthwhile spot to get a feel for the beauty of Old San Juan. Trees, cobblestones, shops, restaurants, small squares, people, traffic, birds, locals playing guitar and serenading in Spanish all adds to the vibe of this small town.

We did visit the El Morro Fort while we were here. El Morro juts out of San Juan harbor beckoning to cruise ships just as it used to deter sea attacks. The structure is a hulking six-story fortress built between 1539 and 1589, withstanding the two World Wars and several other scrimmages. Now, El Fuerto San Felipe del Morro is Puerto Rico's go-to tourist attraction, both for its extensive history and its outstanding vistas of the Atlantic Ocean. You can also walk though the fortress' depths, which include a maze of tunnels, barracks and prison cells.

You'll enjoy exploring more if you wear comfortable walking shoes, as the site is quite big and there are lots of stairs to navigate. Bring water and allow yourself at least three hours to explore this fort and learn about its history.

One thing I was a bit put off by, there seems to be a dispute between the cab drivers and Uber drivers and soon to come Lyft drivers. If you are an Uber user, like I am be aware you may have to endure some dirty looks and find agreeable pick up spots. However with the news of Puerto Rico financial troubles the drivers may find that cooperation will make for a better living for all of them very quickly. It’s not a big issue but one that can effect your getting around.

OK the FOOD is amazing! Although Puerto Rican cooking is somewhat similar to Spanish, Cuban and Mexican cuisine, it is a unique tasty blend of Spanish, African, Taíno, and American influences, using such indigenous seasonings and ingredients as coriander, papaya, cacao, nispero, apio, plantains, and yampee. Locals call their cuisine "cocina criolla". When Ponce de León arrived with Columbus in 1493, the Spanish added beef, pork, rice, wheat, and olive oil to the island's foodstuffs. Soon after, the Spanish began planting sugarcane and importing slaves from Africa, who brought with them okra and taro (known in Puerto Rico as yautia). The mingling of flavors and ingredients passed from generation to generation among the different ethnic groups that settled on the island, resulting in the exotic blend of today's Puerto Rican cuisine.


Lunch and dinner generally begin with sizzling-hot appetizers such as bacalaitos, crunchy cod fritters; surullitos, sweet plump cornmeal fingers; and empanadillas, crescent-shaped turnovers filled with lobster, crab, conch, or beef.


 Carne frita con cebella

Carne frita con cebella

Typical main dishes include fried beefsteak with onions (carne frita con cebolla), veal (ternera) a la parmesana, and roast leg of pork, fresh ham, lamb, or veal, a la criolla. These roasted meats are cooked in the Créole style, flavored with adobo.

Puerto Ricans also like such dishes as breaded calves brains (sesos empanados), calves kidney (riñones guisados), and stuffed beef tongue (lengua rellena). I didn’t get a chance to try any of these…if I had the chance I would just to say I did!

 Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con Pollo

Puerto Ricans adore chicken, which they flower various spices and seasoning. Arroz con pollo (chicken with rice) is the most popular chicken dish on the island, and it was brought long ago to the U.S mainland. Other favorite preparations include chicken in sherry (pollo al jerez), pollo agridulce (sweet and sour chicken), and pollitos asados a la parrilla (broiled chickens).


  Mojo Isleño

Mojo Isleño

A popular fried fish with Puerto Rican sauce (mojo isleño). The sauce is made with olives and olive oil, onions, pimientos, capers, tomato sauce, vinegar, and a flavoring of garlic and bay leaves. Fresh fish is often grilled, and perhaps flavored with garlic and an overlay of freshly squeezed lime juice -a very tasty dinner indeed. Caribbean lobster is usually the most expensive item on any menu, followed by shrimp. Puerto Ricans often cook shrimp in beer (camarones en cerveza). Another delectable shellfish dish is boiled crab (jueyes hervidos).

 Jueyes Hervidos

Jueyes Hervidos

 Camarones en Cerveza

Camarones en Cerveza



And last but not least desserts…Desserts usually include some form offlan (custard) or perhaps nisperos de batata (sweet-potato balls with coconut, cloves and cinnamon). Equally traditional would be a portion of guava jelly with queso blanco (white cheese). Chefs take the bountiful harvest of Puerto Rican fruits and create any number of desserts, including orange layer cake, banana cupcakes, and guava cake. The most delicious dessert may be a freshly prepared fruit cocktail. The pumpkin, which grows in abundance on Puerto Rico, is used not only to flavor soups and as a side vegetable, but also to make the succulent base of a traditional Puerto Rican cake. Similarly, the sweet potato is used both as a side vegetable and in making a regional sweet-potato cake.

  Nisperos de Batata

Nisperos de Batata

Coconut is probably the most common dessert ingredient. Many delectable desserts are made with its milk (leche de coco), including coconut flan, coconut cream desserts, crunchy coconut squares, coconut with meringue, and candied coconut rice. Another classic preparation is coconut bread pudding (boudin de pasas con coco).  Polvo de amor ("love powder") is prepared with grated coconut meat after the milk has been extracted. The coconut is mixed with a lot of sugar and placed in a kettle to cook rapidly, then served crisp and golden brown.

I did some research into Puerto Rican traditional medicines and found “Alcoholado” to be very interesting. The basic concept of Alcoholado is that it is a rubbing alcohol that has been infused with natural plants and other essential oils, primarily bay rum, eucalyptus, piper marginatum, pathchouli (see my blog Nov. 28, 2016), ginger, limpia stoechadifolia, yellow sage, sweet scent, peppermint, and camphor.

It has a very strong smell to it, of which one thinks is very pleasant or very overpowering.  We love it though!  It has a wide-ranging list of uses, primarily as a rubbing alcohol for the use in massages to relieve symptoms associated with poor blood circulation, fever, arthritis, headache, muscular pain, fungus, insect bites, rheumatism, respiratory problems and neuralgia. It is a natural expectorant for congestion and eliminates mucus – perfect to combat colds, flus, bronchitis, and asthma. It is applied as a rubbing alcohol on the skin in the affected region.

Amazingly enough the air quality in Puerto Rico can be a risk. Exposure to air pollutants from large ships includes nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and particulate matter and can cause respiratory illnesses, such as lung disease, asthma, and heart disease. The Port of San Juan in Puerto Rico moves approximately 11 million metric tons of goods on nearly 3,800 vessel trips annually. It is also a major destination for over one million cruise ship passengers. It was reported in the States News Service (December 7, 2010) that because of the pollution caused by cruise lines and container vessels there is a proposal for these vessels in “emission control areas” to use much cleaner fuel or install better pollution control technology. So even though the air appears to be clear I would suggest VentMask for your hotel vent registers.

Next week we hop on over to Barbados and work our way down the island chain back to Puerto Rico……check back and get the low down on Barbados!

Guy Rawson-VentMaskTeam Member