Something fruity this way comes – Steepd e-liquid

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Something fruity this way comes – Steepd e-liquid

I get lazy when it comes to e-liquid. I usually mix my own, and it’s easy to just knock up a couple of big bottles of my all-day vape – Inawera’s Vanilla for Pipe, in case anyone cares – and stick with that. I do like to try new flavours though, so it’s always very welcome when somebody sends me a few to try.

A couple of weeks ago, thanks to the nice people at Electronic Cigarette Co I became the lucky owner of some Steepd liquids. I’ve been happily vaping them since then, because while they’re different to what I usually use – and a lot fruitier – they’re very tasty indeed.

Steepd liquids are produced by UFA Vape, a Liverpool-based company,

I do have to start this review with a bit of a gripe. Like a lot of premium liquids now, Steepd is only available as a low-nicotine option. The strongest you can get is just 6mg/ml, which is well below what I prefer. I can get around that by using a dripper but frankly I’d rather not have to. Companies who only offer weak liquids are cutting their potential market by at least half, and this is one trend that I’d really like to see going into reverse.

Anyway, on to more positive things. The liquid arrived in standard 30ml glass dripper bottles, with distinctive light blue caps and subtle, attractive labels. The branding is simple and clearly adult-oriented – no tacky cartoon characters here. In short the bottles looked good, so the next step was to see how they tasted.

Electronic Cigarette Co sent me the entire Steepd range to try, consisting of five flavours. These are all max VG liquids – the mix is 80/20 – which makes them ideal for drippers or sub-ohm tanks, so I rebuilt my usual setup for low nicotine juices. That’s a Wotofo Ice3 sitting on top of a Wismec RX200, coiled to around 0.4Ω with Clapton wire and wicked with some generic cotton. I started off at around 50 watts (which was bumped up to around 70 by the time I’d finished). Then I started dripping, and here’s what I found.

Walter White Xtra

Diving in at the deep end, I went with Walter White Xtra because it’s a real sweet shop flavour. According to Steepd it’s a blend of blue raspberry bubblegum and aniseed, with “a cold, fresh kick”. So menthol, then.

But before you get to the menthol there’s a glorious inhale loaded with sweet, synthetic fruitiness, and a subtle undertone of aniseed that adds loads of depth to the experience. It has all the guilty fun of a chewy thing with too many E numbers in it, but without the sticky aftertaste; as you exhale a chill starts to creep in round the edges as the menthol makes its presence felt. This prevents sweetness overload, so you’ll never find yourself thinking you’ve had enough.

Coaster

Coaster is a citrus liquid – a sweetened blend of lemon and lime. According to Steepd it’s a frozen ice cream vape, but I didn’t really pick up much of that. On the other hand it’s a very good citrus – tangy, but without an unpleasant degree of bite, and just sweet enough to balance the tartness.

One of the first things I noticed about Coaster is that as well as being citrus it’s also green. It isn’t a very vivid green, but there’s definitely a verdant aspect to it. I don’t know if this is an effect of the flavourings they use, or if some colouring has been added. I suspect – and hope – it’s the former; adding colouring to liquid is not something that should be happening. Coaster tastes great; it doesn’t need any gimmicks.

Forest Mist

This is a very interesting vape. The base is “red berries” and black grapes, with a few little tweaks thrown in to create a pretty unique taste. The inhale is very cool and fruity; the red berries – they taste like raspberries to me – add a touch of tartness to the smooth, sweet grapes, and there’s a bracing hit of Eucalyptus. Not enough to make it taste like those old Tunes cough sweets (can you still get those, I wonder?) but just the right amount to add some bite.

What lifts this above the other fruit liquids out there are the extra elements Steepd have added; as well as the eucalyptus there are also subtle notes of aniseed and menthol. The end result is a distinctly fruity vape that also manages to be extremely refreshing. My bottle will be long gone by the time summer arrives, so I’ll be buying more – I think this is going to be a warm-weather favourite.

Sparkle

Sparkle is a classic lemonade, made with plenty of sweet lemons and enhanced with a bold, fresh raspberry. This is a very refreshing vape, and like the Forest Mist I think it would be a fantastic option for summer. Sparkle is probably the simplest of the Steepd liquids, but it’s one of my favourites. It’s been mixed to perfection, with just the right balance of the two flavour elements.

Pink Fizz

And finally there’s Pink Fizz. This sounds like it should be another lemonade, but in fact it’s another candy liquid. It’s a bit more traditional than the Walter White Extra, though. The flavour is obviously inspired by something like Fruit Pastilles – Steepd just say “chewy sweets” – and it has a mix of fruits in it. I think I can pick out strawberries and blackcurrant, but it’s not easy to be sure exactly what they are.

This certainly isn’t a complaint, because they all blend into an extremely pleasant wave of fruitiness. As a finishing touch there’s a hint of sugary fizz. The overall effect is both tasty and nostalgic, like buying a bag of retro sweets from a classy sweet shop then scoffing the lot. Along with Sparkle this is probably the one I like the most.

 

So, what’s the verdict? In my opinion, pretty good. Any of the Steepd liquids should be a winner for anybody who likes sweet vapes. If I’m honest I’m not usually that keen on them, but I was very pleasantly surprised by these and I suspect I’ll be keeping at least one bottle in my vaping armoury from now on.

Again, I’d like to thank Electronic Cigarette Co for sending me these liquids. I’d recommend you check out the rest of their range – especially if you’re a fan of Vapemate juices. I live in Germany and they’re not that easy to get here, but Electronic Cigarette Co have a fast and reliable delivery service, so that’s another problem solved!

 


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So irony it’s rusting

I read lots of stuff. From academic papers to the sort of shiny thriller that airport bookstalls specialise in, if it contains words I’m usually willing to give it a shot. Sometimes I read to gain knowledge, sometimes for pleasure and sometimes because it’s a reliable way to pass the time on long journeys. Usually I find reading to be extremely enjoyable and relaxing. Just occasionally, however, I read something that’s so stunningly, balls-out stupid that the words reach out into my head and flip the big red switch marked “Rage”. So, with that, let’s meet Jacqueline Lee of the University of California, Riverside.

Apart from the fact that she likes to write opinion pieces for The Highlander, UC Riverside’s student journal, I know very little about Jacqueline Lee. That doesn’t matter though, because there’s one thing I do know which made me instantly lose any interest in finding out more – she’s a fucking moron.

That may sound harsh, but I think I can justify it pretty easily. All the evidence you need is in a piece Lee wrote for today’s edition of The Highlander, in which she amply demonstrates her ignorance, arrogance and utter lack of reading comprehension. The topic of the article – I use the term loosely – is vaping and marijuana, and while I’m no expert on the weed side of things her pronouncements on vaping are among the most stupid things I’ve ever read.

Even her initial description of vaping is about as wrong as it’s possible to be. Apparently it’s a way “to get their nicotine fix instead of from cigarettes via nicotine-infused oils like peanut oil.” What? Yes, the ignorant – and many linguistically-challenged Chinese vendors – often call e-liquid oil. But peanut oil? She’s just made that up, hasn’t she? Pulled it, warm and steaming, straight out of her arse. She has invented it. She has lied, simply because she was too stupid, lazy or both to do any proper research.

And it just gets worse from there. Thermal degradation – which, according to Lee, is “the ability to alter the temperature of the heated natural oil” – apparently causes coil malfunctions, which then lead to explosions. Again this is complete invention. We all know why e-cigarettes occasionally explode, and it has bugger all to do with the tank being full of hot peanut oil. Lee is inventing hazards out of nowhere, then trying to pass it off as fact by mentioning papers which she doesn’t bother to link (probably because they don’t say what she claims they do).

Because she hasn’t made the effort to find out that e-liquid is not oil, Lee then starts wittering about how the “suggested oil temperature” is similar to what’s considered a dangerous smoke point when cooking. It’s very true that if you overheat oil when cooking you can end up inhaling dangerous breakdown products. Lee says the same can happen when you’re vaping, which of course isn’t true because it’s not oil, you fucking moron.

Finally, and unforgivably, she says this:

This demonstrates that vaping could potentially be just as bad for lungs as cigarettes are — especially considering that cigarettes are not as likely to randomly explode.

With this bollocks, Lee crosses the line between pathetic imbecile and malignant piece of shit. She’s basically encouraging people to keep smoking. I have no idea what UC Riverside will think of this, seeing as their reputation is built on being a research university; surely they won’t be too happy that their student magazine is printing dishonest shite that’s completely untouched by research of any kind. Expecially given the massive irony of the piece’s title:

On the lack of medical research for e-cigarettes and marijuana

Anyway, I have no idea if Jacqueline Lee will ever see this post, but if you are reading it, Jacqueline, you’re a despicable piece of shit. Stop writing; the internet doesn’t need your useless, misleading bollocks.


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ecigs

And more nice liquids

I’ve been writing some stuff today about switching to vaping at New Year, instead of making yet another resolution to quit smoking that you just know will be broken by the second of January. Along the way I got to thinking about my own switch, which seems like quite a while ago now. In fact it was quite a while ago – just short of four years. When I bought my first e-cigarette I knew almost nothing about them except that they were safer than smoking (and it’s amazing how many people still won’t accept that little fact), and I had absolutely no idea about the variety of equipment and flavours that existed even then.

Anyway, I walked away from my local vape shop with an eGo-C kit and a bottle of liquid that claimed to be Marlboro flavoured. It wasn’t, of course – cigarette flavours never taste anything like the originals – but it did the job. It  didn’t do it spectacularly, though, so pretty soon I looked at upgrading. That’s when I got my first mod and started experimenting with flavours. I now have a small collection of box mods with various things to sit on top of them . At the moment I’m mostly using a pair of Limitless tank atties – an original RDTA and a Classic Edition, which is a larger version of the new Gold – but I have assorted conventional tanks and a couple of drippers as well. I also have a reasonable assortment of liquid to feed it all with. My all-day vape is a DIY vanilla pipe tobacco, because I’m a penniless freelance writer and DIY liquid is cheap. However I do get my hands on some classier juice sometimes, and that’s what I reach for when I want to sit back and really enjoy myself.

Well, that was a slightly long-winded introduction. What I planned to say is that someone gave me a tankful of liquid the other day, and it’s really rather nice. It’s Cola & Gummy, by Cosmic Fog, so you’ll probably be able to guess that it’s a sweet flavour. Specifically, it’s those chewy cola bottles with the fizzy sugary sprinkles on them. Not only is the flavour spot on – Cosmic Fog have even captured the fizzy sensation, too. I have no idea how they do that, but it’s definitely there. Cosmic Fog are a California-based mixer and that’s usually a good sign; the state’s government might be anti-vaping, but its citizens have embraced the hobby with enthusiasm and it has a world-class industry making high end liquids. This is one of the nicest I’ve tried, and the branding is classy too.

I’d never tried Cosmic Fog liquids before, and I have to say I was really impressed with this. So much so that I’ve splashed out and ordered a couple of bottles as an end of year present to myself. It’ll probably be a few days before they arrive, because thanks to the current exchange rate it was cheaper to order them from a UK shop than a German one, but never mind. There are quite a few Cosmic Fog UK dealers, but in the end I settled on Vapelux, because I’ve heard good things about them. They also sell the Limitless tanks, which is a big plus as far as I’m concerned.

So for now I’m going to enjoy the rest of my Cola & Gummy, while I wait for a fresh supply to turn up. My postman better be ready for another week of stalking.


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Steam Potion – What e-liquid SHOULD be like

Not that long ago I had a bit of a rant about some of the dumb branding that’s prevalent in the e-liquid industry. I’m sick of seeing bottles that violate intellectual property law, or feature the sort of cartoon characters that play into the hands of nanny statists and their incessant bleats about targeting children. E-liquid is an adult product and should be branded as one. Which is why I was so pleased when a full set of Steam Potion liquids landed in my letter box a few weeks ago.

Steam Potion is a new liquid company, specialising in fruity dessert juices. They have five flavours so far, but I’ll come back to that. First, I’d just like to compliment them on their branding. Their labels are understated, almost retro, and in my opinion extremely classy. As the name suggests they’ve gone for a steam train motif, which carries over into the names of their liquids. I think that gives them a very nice up-market touch; steam locomotives symbolise a golden age of rail travel, when a train was a sophisticated and elegant way to get around.

Anyway, here are what their bottles look like:

steam potion e-liquid

You’ll notice that I’ve put a pretty heavy dent in four of them, but not the fifth. I’ll explain in a minute, I promise. Anyway, these are low-nicotine dessert liquids, and those who know me will be aware that I usually go with high-nicotine pipe tobacco flavours. So why am I vaping what’s almost the polar opposite of what I normally prefer? Well, that’s simple – they’re awesome.

In the interests of full disclosure and all that boring stuff, I was sent these liquids as thanks for writing some product descriptions. That led to quite an amusing conversation in itself, when the boss at Steam Potion asked me what nicotine strength I usually use. “24mg,” I replied, “But 18mg is fine if that’s your strongest.”

For a moment, all was silence.

“Uh, what sort of gear do you use?” he asked, obviously wondering why he’d had the bad luck to track down the only maniac in the world who’s still using an eGo-C.

I picked up my trusty mod from the desk and lovingly stroked its battered steel flanks. “A Uwell Crown on an RX200,” I said.

The silence came back. It hung around a bit longer this time.

“I can send you some 6mg,” he said finally. “By the way, is your throat made of asbestos or something?”

Anyway, the liquids were a gift, for which I’d like to say a big thank you to Steam Potion, but I did offer to write something about them. “If you do, be honest,” I was told. “Say what you really think.” So I will, probably to nobody’s great surprise, and the first thing I’m going to say is that I wish these were available in a higher strength – even a TPD-friendly 18mg/ml would be great. Alternatively, if Steam Potion sold flavour concentrates I’d happily buy those and mix my own, because the contents of my freezer are definitely not TPD-friendly.

rx200 wotofo ice cubed

I like these flavours so much I bought a dripper just to use with them

Still, I’m a realist. We have to take life as it is, not as it would be in a world with more nicotine, so 6mg it was. To give the liquids a fair chance I decided to try them in a dripper, which would compensate for the low strength by cranking the vapour production up. They’re all high-VG liquids, too, which is ideal for dripping. Unfortunately the only drippers I actually owned were an elderly Tobh and a positively ancient Igo-L, so I splashed out on a Wotofo Ice³, which seemed like it should be cloudy enough to do the job. In due course that arrived – not too quickly, because I got it from FastTech – and I set it up with a pair of Clapton coils and some fluffy stuff. Resistance came in at 0.4Ω, and I started with the power set to 50W (but went up a bit from there). Then I tried all the liquids, so I should probably stop waffling and tell you how that worked out.

Puffing Billy

The original Puffing Billy is in London’s Science Museum, because it’s the world’s oldest surviving steam locomotive and therefore pretty historical. Steam Potion, appropriately, picked the name as their first (and flagship) liquid, which is a blend of assorted berries with a vanilla background note. I’m not sure exactly what berries are in there, but I strongly suspect one of them is raspberry. In any case they’re sweet and  deliciously cool, which contrasts nicely with the warm vanilla. My bottle of Puffing Billy is among the emptiest of the set, because quite often I’ve made it to dinner time then realised I’ve been vaping this all day. It’s very, very nice.

Stephenson’s Rocket

Robert Stephenson’s famous 1829 locomotive was painted yellow. Steam Potion’s version is banana flavoured. Bananas are yellow. That seems fair enough to me.

Actually there’s a bit more going on than just bananas. The main flavour is a banana cream, which is always going to be a hard act to follow. This one has strawberries in it. There isn’t a lot left of the Rocket either.

Trans-Siberian

This is a cereal flavour, with loads of milk and a dollop of cream on top. I have to say, up front, that I don’t like it much. This isn’t the liquid’s fault, though – it’s mine. Trans-Siberian has a really good malty cereal base and the milk is done perfectly. The problem is that I can’t stand milk, which is unhygienic and comes out a cow’s bottom. If you do like milk I suspect you’ll really enjoy this one.

North Star

With North Star, named after one of Stephenson’s later engines, Steam Potion race right back into my flavour comfort zone. North Star is a strawberry ripple blend and it’s truly awesome. The strawberry syrup is rich and sweet, and the vanilla ice cream sets it off perfectly. Like the Puffing Billy, this one is a really delicious all day vape.

Midnight Express

It’s a toss-up whether this one or Puffing Billy is my favourite from the range. Midnight Express is probably the most decadent Steam Potion liquid – an ice cream sundae, crammed with bananas then topped with rich, dark chocolate sauce. It’s perfectly balanced, avoiding the trap of being too sweet to vape all day, and it really is pretty spectacular. I’ll be buying more of this when I run out, which is likely to be quite soon.

So there we have it – five dessert, or at least sweet, liquids, with a strong bias towards vanilla and fruit flavours. If dessert vapes are your thing I would definitely recommend you try Steam Potion. They’re the sort of responsible company that deserves our support, but more importantly than that, they really are good. Good enough that I’m enjoying vaping them at a quarter of my usual nic strength.

Steam Potion are a new company, so to get things moving they’re offering a rather nice discount now. Visit their website and use code xm30 to get 30% off. Buy another two bottles and they’ll throw in free UK postage. That’s not a great help to me, because I live in Germany, but I know the bulk of my readers are UK-based.

Once again, thanks to Shahid at Steam Potion for sending me these liquids. I’m thoroughly enjoying them.

These bottles are nice enough to hang on your tree. So I did.

These bottles are nice enough to hang on your tree. So I did.


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Black Note liquids gain TPD approval in 15 EU nation

Black Note is proud of our position as a responsible and forward-thinking company, and we constantly work to deliver the best products and most professional service to our customers. We want our liquids to be available for as long as you want them, and to give the best possible vaping experience. That means we seek to comply with all applicable laws and standards, both in the USA and internationally.

As the next step in our journey we are pleased to announce that Black Note liquids are now officially notified under the Tobacco Products Directive (Directive 2014/40/EU) in the following 15 countries:

  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Netherlands
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom

Our full range is now available in a 10ml bottle size that fully complies with TPD regulations, and we have completed all the necessary steps to gain approval under the new rules. The TPD is a challenging piece of legislation that makes it difficult and expensive to gain approval; sadly that’s likely to reduce the choices available to vapers in the EU as manufacturers trim their ranges or leave the industry altogether. The good news is that Black Note will still be here, supplying the finest naturally extracted tobacco flavours.”


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Grotty Crotty

One from the archives.

I like California. I really, really do. But the constant flow of anti-vaping propaganda that vomits from its university system sometimes makes me wish the San Andreas Fault would just dump the whole damn state on the bed of the Pacific.

We have yet another study from San Diego, revisiting the old nonsense about e-cigarette vapour creating superbugs. It’s nothing special, just another bunch of gassed mice and some not very important stuff about – shock, horror! – lung cells in a petri dish dying if you pickle them in e-liquid. By this point I’m pretty much numb to this sort of research – it’s tentative science at best, adds little to what we understand about vaping, and I don’t think it’s even having the media impact it used to.

What interests me about the latest study isn’t the study itself; it’s the lead author. The senior researcher on the paper was Laura E Crotty Alexander, an assistant professor at the University of California, San Diego who also works in a Veteran’s Administration hospital. Dr Crotty Alexander, at first glance, seems like an amiable enough sort – a serious and idealistic young researcher who’s genuinely concerned about health – and when she popped up on Twitter a couple of days ago I felt she deserved sympathetic treatment. Even if some of her claims were, you, know, a bit wild.

Well, okay. She’s young, and probably doesn’t get out of her ivory tower much. Maybe she isn’t really clued up enough to know the difference between owning 30% of companies and accounting for 30% of sales through American convenience stores.* So we can let that one slide, probably. She’s wrong, but no big deal.

Oh look, what’s this?

Right, this isn’t so good. Looks like she’s bought into the myth about “high voltage” e-cigs producing formaldehyde, and thinks power should be restricted for our own good. Again this is totally wrong, but maybe she was too busy with her own research to know that Peyton and Pankow’s pharma-funded formaldehyde hatchet job has been ruthlessly dismantled by real scientists.

Or maybe not. Maybe she’s an anti-vaping activist with an agenda to push.

And then someone kindly posted a link to a video she made a couple of years ago. It’s basically an anti-vaping propaganda video by the University of California, with Crotty Alexander presented as an expert on electronic cigarettes. The interviewer lobs her a series of highly loaded questions, all calculated to let her trot out the standard lines. “Targeted at children”, that sort of thing. She massively misrepresents propylene glycol as “something you’d find in a laboratory” rather than something you’d find in, you know, cakes and toothpaste. It’s a smear piece from start to finish.

So no, this is not an idealistic young researcher who’s uncovered something shocking. This is another anti-nicotine crusader whose first research project just coincidentally happened to back up her own prejudices. In other words it’s biased junk. And as it’s from California and about e-cigs, who’s surprised?

* – From the tobacco companies’ point of view a 30% market share is actually nothing short of a disaster. This figure only covers convenience stores, because that’s the only sales of e-cigs that are tracked in detail. So we’re talking about corner shops and petrol stations that have a case full of cigalikes beside the cigarette display, and maybe a few bottles of liquid – and they still get less than a third of sales. But where do most vapers buy their stuff? From a vape shop or online. And what percentage of those sales do Big Tobacco have? I’d be surprised if it was 5%.

This post was originally published on E-Cigs Plaza in January 2016, and is reposted here for historical interest.


  • 6
Stupid vaping products sold by stupid vendors

Let’s call time on stupid vendors

A few weeks ago I expressed some annoyance at vendors who were, in my opinion, being stupid. In this particular case it was a rash of morons selling “Pokéjuice”, a trademark-busting product that’s also an absolute gift to those who claim the industry is targeting children. I made some comments on Facebook and reported a couple of vendors to Trading Standards, but mostly what I did was annoy stupid people. I’m not exactly a stranger to annoying people, and it’s not like upsetting the stupid ones troubles my conscience, but it is pretty frustrating to raise problems like this and be met with a wall of baffled, stupid annoyance.

I don’t believe for a minute that any of the mainstream vapour product makers, or even the dreaded tobacco companies, are “marketing to children”, but it’s getting increasingly difficult to say the same about some of the more stupid independents. By all means make ice cream flavoured e-liquid. In fact I’m trying out a very nice strawberry vanilla ripple as I write this. Adults like ice cream too. But seriously, what the fuck is the justification for this?

icecream

Whether the industry is targeting children or not, people who want it shut down are claiming that it is. This is reality. Ignoring reality is not brave or clever; it’s stupid. When people accuse you of making products that appeal to children there is nothing smart about disguising your fairly pedestrian-looking small glass dripper bottle as a tub of ice cream. You are not being edgy, witty or ironic. You are being a dick.

Here’s something else about disguising your products as food: It’s against the law. If you’re tempted to sell something that’s packaged to look like a Cornetto, you might want to read this first. You’ve read it and you don’t agree with the law? Well, that’s just tough. Brexit has given the UK vaping industry a potential lifeline. If we play this the clever way we could get the EU’s idiotic TPD removed, and replaced with a set of sensible laws that ensure safety without banning whole categories of products. But if we want sensible laws the industry has to demonstrate that it can obey the law. If you don’t act like adults you won’t be treated like adults. You’ll get spanked – and frankly, if you’re selling Pokéjuice or the products pictured in this post, you deserve it.

A story about stupid vendors selling stupid products is now on BBC News. That’s a global news outlet. Do we really need negative stories, that seem to confirm everything the public health lobby has been saying, on global news right now? No, we do not. In a few weeks the WHO’s COP 7 conference will be taking place in New Delhi, and the prohibitionist maniacs who run that will be looking for any excuse to clamp down on vaping. Five stupid vape shop owners on Merseyside just handed them another one.

If you make products like the ones featured here, you are stupid. If you sell those products, you are stupid. If you continue to buy from a vape shop that sells those products, you are stupid. There are powerful people out there who want to shut down every vape shop and force you to buy medicalised cigalikes from a pharmacy. Guess what? They’re going to get their way, unless the people making, selling and buying this fucking rubbish stop being stupid.


  • 12

Human stupidity

“Only two things are infinite,” said Albert Einstein, “The universe and human stupidity. But I’m not sure about the universe.” Happily, I can confirm that while the universe now seems likely to be finite, human stupidity is as boundless as Einstein always believed.

I’ve just reported a vape shop to Trading Standards.

This is not something that makes me particularly happy, but I believe it needed to be done. If we can’t act responsibly as a community we will make ourselves easy targets for any public health nutter with some spare time and a grudge.

Last night the vape shop in question announced, on their Facebook page, that they were now selling “Pokéjuice” at £15 for a 60ml bottle. This is wrong on so many levels I could write about it all week, but here’s the short version:

  • Pokémon characters are the intellectual property of Nintendo, a huge Japanese company. Branding a product with Pokémon characters is intellectual property theft (which incidentally, as a writer, I absolutely hate). It’s likely to get you in a lot of trouble with some very expensive lawyers.
  • Thanks to the TPD vendors can no longer just start selling a new product. They have until next May to sell off stocks of existing products, but any new one has to get approval. As this one comes in a non-compliant 60ml bottle I can safely say it hasn’t been approved. Yes, the TPD is something else I absolutely hate; nevertheless it’s the law, and if vendors flout the law they hand ammunition to those who want the industry shut down.
  • It is very easy to argue that Pokémon-branded liquids are being marketed at children. Personally I don’t buy that; plenty adults like Pokémon, too, and I have no reason to suspect that this vendor would sell to children anyway. However, in the current climate, this is a spectacularly stupid piece of marketing. If you’re under the spotlight you don’t get your dong out and start playing with it.

I made clear on the vendor’s Facebook page last night that these products needed to be gone by this morning. Today, I asked if they were gone. I got no reply, but several other people commented that they had bought them. So a few minutes ago I called Trading Standards, then sent them an email with some screenshots as evidence. I made sure they knew that I was doing this as a vaping advocate who believed we could – and should – police ourselves. Will they take action? Who knows? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

So I realise that this is going to be pretty controversial. Some of you are going to hate me for it. That’s fine; I’ve been hated by much worse people than you, and I lived to tell the tale. I’ll survive your dislike – and, if I see another vendor doing something as stupid as this, I’ll report them too. If we want to be treated as adults we need to act like adults. And if we don’t want the likes of ASH running things for us, we need to show that we can run them ourselves.