Smoking And The Environment

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GreenGlobeHow many times have you discussed with friends or family the reasons they should quit smoking? Most smokers will tell you they want to quit or have even tried repeatedly with many smoking cessation products like NRT or Smokeless Cigarettes and failed. In fact, according to a Gallup poll, 81% of all smokers believe cigarettes to be very harmful and 76% want to quit but cannot.

But what about the 24% who don't want to quit? They will cite many reasons why but the response most often used is "Why should I quit? I'm not hurting anyone but myself." Now on the surface, this may sound like a reasonable answer. But after a little research, we find cigarette smoking is harmful not only to the smoker but has an extreme effect on the environment as well.

Would it surprise you to know that the main environmental issue associated with smoking is deforestation? Most people don't know that to produce the 15 billion cigarettes smoked daily worldwide, unimaginable numbers of trees are cut down. Paper and cardboard are used throughout the manufacturing process from picking the tobacco to packaging the cigarettes. In production facilities, a single cigarette machine can make 14,000 cigarettes each minute using 4 miles of paper per hour. Another way to look at it is every 1.5 cartons of cigarettes consumes 1 tree.

And if deforestation isn't enough, wait till you hear about the butts. Worldwide, after discarding those 15 million cigarettes each year, almost 2 billion pounds of them end up in lakes, streams and oceans. These butts are extremely difficult to biodegrade and each one takes almost 15 years to completely disintegrate. To make matters worse, there is the non-stop leaching of the toxic chemicals contained in the butts directly into the waters. In fact, the butt problem accounts for approximately 1/2 of all trash in most western countries

So when you get down to it, smoking is far from harmless whether you are a smoker or not. Even if we ignore 2nd hand smoke and the added healthcare costs associated with cigarettes, the environmental impact is truly astounding. So the next time someone tells you smoking only hurts the smoker, remind them we all have to live in this world, not just those who smoke.

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Smokeless Cigarette Fact VS Fiction

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ecigaretteuser.jpgAlthough smokeless cigarettes have been around since 2008, there are still misconceptions concerning their safety, legality, target market etc. Let's take a few minutes to examine the most common myths associated with electronic cigarettes.

1) What's in e-cigarettes? Are they unhealthy?

Ecigs use a solution known as e-liquid to produce the nicotine containing vapor. E liquid is pure glycol and nicotine both of which are considered safe when used as directed. The only thing added is a flavor if you choose one. The important thing to remember is that all eliquid is not the same. Make sure the liquid you buy is composed of pharmaceutical grade glycol and nicotine.

2) Some E-Cigs contain anti-freeze.

This misconception began when the FDA tested the liquid from 2 companies. In short, 1 sample of the many tested contained a minute amount of DEG (diethylene glycol) a component found in some antifreeze brands. DEG is toxic and should not be consumed by humans. Pharmaceutical grade e-liquid contains no impurities and its components (glycol & nicotine) are considered safe for human consumption. Again, it is good advice to buy your eliquid from a reputable seller.

3) The FDA tried to ban ecigs because they are dangerous.

There are many theories as to why the FDA tried to ban electronic cigarettes. Pressure from the tobacco lobby, influence from various tax authorities and pharmaceutical companies have all been presented as possible reasons the FDA attempted to halt the sales of electric cigarettes. Whatever the reason, their attempt to ban sales of e-smokes failed and they are now legal in the USA and many other countries.

4) Smoke Free E-Cigarettes are marketed to minors.

This in fact is against the law. Just like alcohol, there is a minimum age required to purchase e-cigs, liquid and accessories. We can assume some under age individuals will find ways to acquire e smokes but all legitimate vendors make every effort to assure no products are sold to anyone under 18 years of age.

5) Ecig vendors are introducing nicotine to non-smokers.

There are no studies to suggest that non-smokers are using the e-cigarette as a source of nicotine. On the contrary, vendors report they sell large volumes of nicotine free e-liquid to this user group.

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Now that you've decided to try the newest generation of electronic cigarettes, your next choice will be whether you need a PCC kit or a Starter kit. Which ever you choose will depend mostly on how much you smoke and where you plan to use your e-cig. Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of both types of kits.

electronic cigarette starter kit75.jpgA starter kit is exactly what it sounds like. A kit designed with everything you need to get started "vaping". It will include an atomizer, battery, cartridge and a small supply of e-liquid

The important thing to consider is that all starter kits are not the same. Some include extra atomizers, batteries, cartridges or liquid. Some kits even include different types of chargers and adapters. When shopping for a starter kit, keep this in mind and be careful about price shopping. The lower priced kits will always contain the fewest extras and accessories. It's generally less expensive to buy the extras you want in a kit form as opposed to buying individual parts. Most reputable vendors of smokeless cigarettes will even put together a kit that contains the extras you want for a discounted price.

PCC Kit 7511.jpg PCC (Personal Charging Case) kits are designed for smokers who are away from a charging outlet for extended periods of time. This type of kit looks exactly like a pack of cigarettes. Inside the case, you can store everything for your personal vaping needs. The kit also acts as a battery charger. Typically, you charge the case once weekly and then recharge your batteries directly from your PCC. These are great for smokers who spend time traveling, outdoors or anywhere an outlet is hard to find. Newer PCC kits even have a battery meter on them to show how many charges are left in the unit.

Which ever unit you choose, keep in mind that you will always want with you a fresh battery and extra e-liquid.

If you go with a standard starter kit, as opposed to a PCC kit, there are small cases available to hold and carry your extra supplies. And remember to always keep you battery stored properly as it can short out if it touches metal objects like keys etc.

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How To Buy An Electronic Cigarette

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Girl e cig smoker.jpgThere are many important aspects of the electronic cigarette when comparing them to tobacco cigarettes. There is no 2nd hand smoke, they work on a nicotine containing liquid (e-liquid) that is available in many different strengths and flavors and by using one, you will no longer be inhaling toxins and dangerous chemicals.

Smokeless cigarettes look exactly like a normal cigarette and consist of 3 main components. The cartridge which which acts as the e-liquid reservoir, the atomizer which heats and vaporizes the e liquid for inhalation and the battery which powers the unit. All parts easily disassemble and are replaceable for just a few dollars. The life span of each part depends on the smoker but you can expect to get about 1-2 days per cartridge (replacement cost $1), 6 months to a year for an atomizer (replacement cost $8) and 6 months to a year for a rechargeable battery (replacement cost $10). I also want to mention that replacing cartridges is the easiest way to refill your ecig but you will save the most money by purchasing e-liquid re-filling your cartridge.

Smoke free cigarettes are either automatic or manually operated. With automatic models, when the user takes a draw through the ecig, the atomizer automatically senses the air flow and heats a small amount of e-liquid for inhalation. Manually operated models require the push of a button to activate the atomizer. Most users prefer the auto operated type as the manual style can be accidentally operated while carrying. Both models are made to shut off the unit if temperatures become too high so there is no danger of burning or fire. Inadvertently turning on the manual model will simply wear out the battery prematurely.

There are literally hundreds of sellers of electronic cigarettes on the internet. The problem is that only a small fraction of them sell authentic products designed to last a lifetime. The rest sell cheaply made knock-offs that have a life expectancy of 1-3 months. The cheapies look exactly like the originals but you can usually tell the fakes by their unusually low price.

Another thing potential buyers need to watch out for are the electric cigarette vendors who give away free e-cigs. These vendors will want to enroll you in their auto-ship program where they re-ship you over priced e-juice every month. You should NEVER sign up for any type of auto-refill program. Find a reputable seller and stick with them. This is the safest way to purchase your first starter kit and all of your replacement parts.

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FDA Backs Down In E-Cig Battle

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Girl Smoking Electronic Cigarette.jpgIn a move that surprised everyone, the FDA on Monday announced they would stop trying to regulate the e-cig as drug delivery devices. They will instead be considered Tobacco products and fall under the jurisdiction of the "Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act". Enacted in 2009, this act gave the FDA power to regulate several aspects of the tobacco industry such as how they market and sell their products.

Until now, smokeless cigarettes were in a sort of grey-area of the law. The FDA originally tried to classify them as drug delivery devices and require them to pass extensive clinical trials and an application process just like prescription medications. The electronic cigarette companies fought back and won an appellate court decision in December of 2010 blocking the FDA from categorizing them as drug delivery devices. Many thought the FDA's attempt to control e-cigs was motivated by pressure from big tobacco.

Monday was the deadline for the FDA to decide whether to appeal last December's decision to the U.S. Supreme Court and classify ecigs as a drug. Knowing they would likely lose another court battle, they decided to go with the tobacco classification. Electric cigarette manufacturers and vendors world wide applaud the new decision.

I spoke with the owner of the USA's largest E-Cig/E-Liquid supplier Jeffrey Eaton. He said "We are all ecstatic over here at We have worked so hard to put our brand on top of the others and now we no longer have to worry about the FDA putting unnecessary restrictions on us." He also believes this will put pressure on the many sellers of counterfeit products to either step up their act or get out of the business. His sentiments are likely shared among all ecig suppliers.

For now it looks like e-cigarettes are here to stay. The FDA say's on their website that as long as smoke-free cigarettes are not marketed as having any type of therapeutic value, such as a nicotine replacement or smoking cessation device, they will treated as a tobacco product. I think we should all give a big thumbs up to the many users, sellers and manufacturers of electric cigarettes that fought for this ground breaking decision!

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Laser Hair Removal Units.jpgBikini season is just around the corner so it's time to get serious about some landscaping down under we've been neglecting over the past few months. We all dread this ritual but fortunately I can offer a little advice to make it easier, faster and painless.

It's 2011 so I'm not going to talk about waxing, shaving or creams. These methods are outdated and today's technology offers 3 new tools you can use at home for a fraction of the cost of a set of visits to a laser clinic. Let's take a look.

First is the No No hair remover. It is a neat little unit about the size of a really small electric shaver. It is cordless and rechargeable. The No No works using their patented Thermicon technology. The Thermicon tip is an ultra fine wire that heats and removes the hair upon contact. The heat then transfers down the hair shaft to kill the follicle. You move the unit over your skin and it painlessly removes the hair instantly. It is also great for your upper lip due to it's light weight and easy maneuverability. The only down side users report is the smell of burning hair. if you are sensitive to this odor, don't try no no hair removal. You can find them for about $250 at amazon.

Next is the Silk'n Sensepil. It works just like a laser but uses IPL or Intense Pulsed Light technology. IPL employs a high intensity xenon flash tube to supply the light bursts that will kill the hair follicles. Just like lasers, it is not recommended for dark skin or light hair. The Silkn is a corded handheld unit about the size of a cell phone. What makes the Silk n stand out is the huge treatment area that is about 1 inch by 1 & 1/4. The only complaint users have is the inconveinance of the power cord. You can find a Sensepil for about $500 at Amazon.

Lastly is the Tria hair remover. The Tria is an actual laser just like those used in a beauty salon. It is a hand held, cordless, rechargeable unit about the size of small hair dryer. Like a salon laser, it works best on dark hair and light skin and is not recommended for grey or blond hair or very dark skin. This is because it works by passing a burst of laser light through the skin that kills the hair follicle. The best feature about the Tria is it actually tests your skin before it "unlocks" to allow use. If your hair is too light or your skin too dark, the Tria will not unlock and you will not be able to use it. Tria laser reviews criticize the size of the treatment area which is approximately a 1/4 circle. You can find the Tria on Amazon for about $400.

One final note is the maintenance cost for each unit. The flash tubes for the silkn last approximately 750 flashes which is enough to do both legs for most women. The replacement cost is about $45. The no no's thermicon tips last a really long time and will do both legs upwards of 20 times and you can purchase 3 replacement tips for about $30. The Tria is a true diode type laser with an estimated life of approximately 300 to 400 charge cycles with each cycle being between 30 and 45 minutes.

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Ebay Puts Another Nail In Their Own Coffin

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Ebay Auction.jpegFirst off, this is not going to be a whine fest about ebay, or feebay as some call it. I want to tell you about their newest, and most covert yet, attempt to increase their revenue while repeating their mantra "The change is to benefit the ebay users." Here is an exact quote from the ebay spring newsletter:

We know that online buyers pay attention to the total cost of an item--including shipping--when deciding what and where to buy. That's why, to encourage low-cost shipping, starting July 6 Final Value Fee rates for Store sellers--Fixed Price and Auction-style--will be reduced and then applied to the total amount of the sale--including shipping.

Read More Here: eBay Fee Changes Hit Auction Sellers Hard

What will happen now is that the fee you pay ebay when you sell an item will also be applied to the shipping cost as well. For example, if you sell an item for $20 and shipping is $10 you will now pay an additional $1 (10% of the shipping) for having the extreme privilege of selling on ebay. Ebay claims they are trying to get sellers to lower or even eliminate the shipping charged for each item they sell. If you're a buyer, this sounds like a awesome idea. What's better than free shipping right? Well, it's not going to be that simple.

So now, ebay sellers have 2 choices. Leave their shipping cost the same and pay an additional 10% or sell their items with "Free Shipping". If they don't sell their items with free shipping, their listings will be pushed to the bottom of the page as ebay gives preference to listings that have free shipping. They will sell less due to decreased visibility and when they do sell it will cost them more -- ebay Profits and Sellers lose money. And if sellers absorb the cost of shipping and list their items with free shipping -- ebay Profits (free shipping sells more items) and Sellers lose money.

But I think something else will happen. I sell on ebay and I will certainly not be absorbing any shipping costs. So after much consideration, the only solution I can come up with is to raise the price of my items the amount of the shipping cost and sell the item as "Free Shipping". But here's the problem. Shipping cost varies depending on the distance an item is shipped. So an item shipped from the West Coast to the East Coast would cost more than an item shipped from the West Coast to the middle of the U.S.

So what I have to do is add the highest possible shipping charge to all of my items. The net cost will rise for all buyers with those who would normally pay the least for shipping (those closest to me) will now be paying the highest shipping rate. Now add to this the fact that I can't use this method on international sales. The shipping cost for international orders is to high to add into the price of the item. So for international shipping, I have to add an additional handling charge to make up for the extra fees I will be paying on the shipping.

Now I'm not saying I have decided upon the best way to deal with ebay's newest fees but after 3 years of increasing fees, I can't come up with an alternative that will make selling on ebay worth the trouble. So what happens when all sellers on ebay either leave because they can't make a profit or raise their prices so high that it's cheaper to shop on Amazon? Ironically, shoppers will flock to Amazon.... the exact company ebay is trying emulate.

Quitting Smoking Better Second Time Around

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If you are among the millions of Americans who have tried to quit smoking and failed, The Stop Smoking.jpgAmerican Lung Association (ALA) has released a study indicating your failure may actually be a sign of future success. According to the ALA, smokers that have failed to quit in the past have a higher success rate on future attempts. They believe there may be several reasons for these findings but their study focused on these specific reasons.

Analysis of data shows that 60% to 70% of smokers fail and require multiple attempts to successfully quit their unhealthy habit. The failure can leave the smoker feeling frustrated and discouraged. But in most cases, even those who are feeling frustrated and discouraged also fell a stronger sense of determination. Smokers having this increased sense of determination have only a 40% to 60% chance of failure and these figures fall even lower as the number of attempts increases.

The ALA believes that each time you try to quit smoking, you learn more about what it will take and how attempting to quit effects you personally. Increasing your knowledge about your specific situation allows you to make better informed decisions about your personal quitting plan. It also appears that your level of determination will increase with each attempt to quit.

It is also interesting to note that when attempting to quit smoking, using multiple methods at one time greatly increase your chance of success. In other words, combining cold turkey with NRT (nicotine replacement therapy), counseling, prescriptions medications or the E-Cigarette can increase your chances of success by 20% to 30%. Most importantly, before you begin any smoking cessation program, you should always consult your physician.

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Smoking Cessation Injection

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Welplex Injection.jpgMost cigarette smokers have attempted at least once to quit their habit. Nicotine gum, e-cigarette, lasers and hypnosis are just a few of the many smoking cessation tools available. If you've tried one or more of these and failed, you may want to take a look at a new product called Welplex. It is a program based on an FDA approved injection and claims to be the best stop smoking method yet.

Welplex is actually a 3 step process that begins with a visit to the administration clinic. Here, the patient must complete a medical questionnaire receive a physical exam focusing on heart and lung function. If the patient passes the exam, the next step is the injection.

The injection itself is composed of 2-3 anticholinergic drugs often adjusted to the patients smoking history. The most common medications found in the injection are atropine, scopolamine, atarax and promethazine. Side effects of the injection can include drowsiness, agitation and unusual behavior or hallucinations. A prescription sleep aid is often prescribed for the first night after the injection in case of insomnia.

Following the shot, the patient is counseled on the psychological aspects of nicotine addiction and prescribed two weeks of anticholinergic medication to prevent nicotine withdrawal symptoms. The complete process takes about 2 hours.

The cost of the program varies but is about $500 and most clinics offer re-treatments for little to no cost should you relapse and restart smoking. Success rates vary with the history and determination of the patient and are reported to be between 50% and 90%.

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Ecig Smoker.jpgThe Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) has completed a study concluding the electronic cigarette is safer than tobacco cigarettes when used properly. They also concluded the new smoking replacement device could be of major importance in reducing morbidity and mortality related to cigarette smoking and tobacco use.

The BUSPH study, published in the Journal of Public Health Policy, is the first comprehensive scientific analysis of the health effects associated with the e-cig said Dr. Michael Siegel Associate Chairman Community Health Services. The personal vaporizer is intended to give the user a dose of inhaled nicotine without the toxins and carcinogens associated with tobacco.

The report completed by BUSPH concluded the level of chemicals found in the e-cig do not pose any health concerns for the user. The report also states that further clinical study is warranted to completely assess how the nicotine only vapor effects the user in the long term. The BUSPH article examined a compilation of clinical studies identifying the components within the nicotine fluid (e-liquid) used in the electronic cigarette and found the level of toxins to be 1000 times less than traditional cigarettes.

The smokeless cigarette has been in a constant battle with the FDA since its introduction in 2005. The FDA asserts they are a drug delivery device and should be regulated as such calling for their immediate withdrawal from the consumer market. Opponents say that removing the ecig form the public market would only push its users back to traditional cigarettes and tobacco and this would only benefit the big tobacco companies.

Last December, the Federal Court of Appeals struck down the FDA's attempt to regulate ecigs. The court said e-cigarettes should be considered nicotine replacement therapy, like nicotine gum or patches, and not labeled as drug delivery devices. Currently, the FDA is appealing this verdict.

Whatever the final outcome, it is clear we currently know more about the ingredients contained in the electronic cigarette that we do about those in tobacco. We also know that ecigs are very successful at suppressing nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Until proven otherwise, it only makes sense to allow use of the ecig as all evidence points to a reduction in adverse health effects.

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