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Frogs should not vape?

Frogs shouldn’t vape

If you like vaping (and, I suppose, if you like frogs) the latest so-called research from Virginia Commonwealth University is going to leave you hopping mad. Even by the low standards of public health science this one really is shockingly bad – and the way it’s been done suggests that the aim is not to do science, but just to create negative publicity.

So what exactly has happened? It seems to have started off with the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. According to the press release Virginia Commonwealth released, the institute has been handing out grants for researchers to “look into the potential health impacts of e-cigarettes on parts of the head, face and oral cavity.”

You can look at this as sensible research into possible issues with a new technology, but it’s also possible to see it as fishing for scandals, and as we’ll see that might be closer to the truth. In any case, whatever the Institute wanted the researchers seem to have had an agenda of their own:

“VCU researchers aim to educate the public about the dangers of e-cigarettes and produce results that would compel tighter government regulation.”

The first thing to note here is that this is not scientific research; it’s activism. You can argue about whether or not it’s justified activism – obviously, I think it isn’t – but it certainly isn’t science. The aim of scientific research is not to “produce results” that support a particular government policy. It’s to answer questions by testing a hypothesis, whereas lead VCU researcher René Olivares-Navarette complained, “We’re not going to be able to stop everyone from using e-cigarettes.”

He’s certainly had a damn good shot though. The team decided to look for potential dangers caused by vaping while pregnant. Or, to quote researcher Amanda Dickinson,

“There’s no real study showing why vaping during pregnancy isn’t safe, or when it’s most dangerous during development.”

Science or fiction?

At this point the story loses any remaining contact with science. A real scientist would have said, “There’s no real study investigating whether or not vaping during pregnancy is safe.” And, of course, there still isn’t, because this team don’t seem to have been interested in conducting one. Instead they just decided that vaping during pregnancy isn’t safe, and set out to prove it by any means necessary.

Obviously this posed some problems, because there’s nothing to even suggest that vaping during pregnancy might be unsafe. Smoking during pregnancy is, of course, and the team made sure to stress that vapers and smokers are exposed to many of the same chemicals. What they weren’t so keen to mention was that the quantities are far lower, and that there’s one chemical found in cigarette smoke that vapers aren’t exposed to at all.

That chemical is carbon monoxide, and for all the alarmism about benzene, cyanide and nitrosamines it’s by far the most dangerous component of smoke. Carbon monoxide binds to the hemoglobin in our blood that normally carries oxygen, but it binds a lot more firmly. If you inhale carbon monoxide your blood’s ability to carry oxygen is steadily reduced. The effects can last for hours, and because it mimics oxygen you don’t even realize that you’re being slowly asphyxiated.

A large dose of carbon monoxide is rapidly lethal, but you won’t get anywhere near that dose from a cigarette. Instead, a couple of hundred times a day, you get small doses. Your blood can’t carry as much oxygen, your heart has to pump harder and your whole circulatory system gets put under constant stress. That’s why smokers are more prone to heart disease. And, if you’re pregnant, that stress is applied to your baby too. This – not nicotine– is the real reason smoking when pregnant is harmful.

But e-cigarette vapor doesn’t contain any carbon monoxide at all, so making it look harmful was always going to be a struggle. Luckily, Olivares-Navarrete and his fearless sidekicks make up in imagination what they lack in scientific integrity.

Creating the illusion

To show that vaping while pregnant is dangerous, the team decided to do an experiment: They got some animal embryos and exposed them to e-liquid. Now, animal testing isn’t perfect. It sometimes gives very misleading results. But, often, how a chemical affects animals can tell us a lot about how it might affect humans. After all rats and mice – especially the varieties used in labs – are genetically pretty similar to us. Unlike, say, frogs.

Frogs are not that similar to us. In particular, the way they develop is completely different. Human babies develop in their mother’s womb, in an environment that’s carefully fed with nutrients and kept at a constant temperature and chemical balance by the mother’s body. Frog spawn is laid in a pond and abandoned; it then hatches into tadpoles, which become pollywogs and finally adult frogs – all while coping with different temperatures, moisture levels and chemical effects.

The result of this is that frogs have much more complicated DNA than we do, because they need to be able to respond to a wide range of conditions as they develop. That means their DNA contains a lot of genetic “switches” that we don’t have, which can be triggered by outside conditions to make sure they develop normally. Unfortunately for frogs these switches can also be fooled into triggering by chemicals, so the frog develops abnormally.

So guess what animals the VCU researchers used for their study. Did they get some nice lab rats, specially bred to react as much like humans as possible?

No. They experimented on a bunch of frog embryos.

A leap in the dark

Imagine my surprise when I read that the frog embryos, after being regularly doused in a mix of vape flavorings in saline solution as they developed, turned out to show facial mutations. The researchers are implying that this could also happen to human babies, but this is not science.

Allyson Kennedy, another of the team, “theorizes” that the mutations were caused by diacetyl in the e-liquids. Has diacetyl in any form ever been associated with birth defects? No, it hasn’t. Not even once. There is no reason to believe it could cause facial mutations in a human, a frog or any other species. But it sounds kind of scary and it gives people an excuse to mention popcorn lung (which, of course, they did). Kennedy isn’t “theorizing” anything here; she’s just making stuff up.

In fact it’s unlikely that e-liquid flavorings – which most pregnant women consume anyway, because they’re all used in food – had anything to do with the abnormal frogs. Most likely the cause was the saline solution the liquids were mixed with. Most frogs are freshwater animals and they’re very sensitive to salt. In fact biologists get quite excited when they find a species of frog that doesn’t develop abnormally if it’s exposed to salt as a tadpole.

Luckily I know just enough about science to deconstruct this story, but how many people will read it and be put off vaping? Some might even think that, okay, smoking while pregnant isn’t healthy, but it has to be better than vape chemicals that cause mutations. The thought of that happening makes me angry. What makes me even angrier is that, apparently, this is exactly what the researchers were trying to do.

Usually scientists put out a press release when they publish their work. Olivares-Navarrete hasn’t published this research yet, and frankly, it’s so bad that I doubt any journal will accept it. But he put out the press release anyway, and openly admits that his aim is to stop people vaping. This is a clear case of research funding being used to push an anti-vaping agenda, and unfortunately, because it comes from people in white coats with letters after their name, it’s probably going to be effective.



A former soldier in the British Army, Fergus Mason is now a freelance writer with a special interest in e-cigarettes and travel. When he’s not writing Fergus enjoys sailing, archery and fishing. He’s been vaping since early 2013 and doesn’t ever plan to stop.

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What is Naturally Extracted Tobacco E-Liquid?

E-juice, also known as e-liquid or vaping liquid, is the liquid that’s placed in the vaping device and subsequently atomized into vapor. When you go to buy e-juice, you’ll notice it contains a mix of several ingredients. These typically include vegetable glycerin (VG), propylene glycol (PG), some type of flavoring, and nicotine.

VG and PG form the base of the e-liquid. VG is a component used in food and personal care products; its role in e-liquid is to create a thick, dense vapor. PG is another popular solvent used in a variety of everyday items. It carries the e-liquid flavor, provides the “throat hit,” and enhances the vaping liquid’s ability to soak into wicks or cartomizer materials.

Nicotine is an optional ingredient, often available in different levels. E-juice also contains some type of flavoring.

Black Note leads the pack of tobacco vaping liquid by using only natural flavoring – extract from real tobacco leaves to produce real tobacco taste. When you go to buy e-juice from other companies, you may find any number of chemicals used to create synthetic flavors that include fake strawberry, manufactured vanilla, and even man-made tobacco flavors.

If your aim when you buy e-liquid is to experience the subtle nuances, genuine flair and authentic taste of real tobacco, then you’ll be on the mark if you buy e-juice from the Black Note lineup.

Best E-Juice

When you’re going to buy e-liquid, it’s only natural you’ll want the best e-liquid. But what, exactly, does it “best e-juice” mean? We’ll tell you.

For starters, you’ll want an e-juice that doesn’t contain all kinds of strange chemicals and concoctions that you can’t even pronounce. True, even the best e-liquid will contain vegetable glycerin (VG) and proplene glycol (PG), which serve as the base of e-juice, but you don’t necessarily need a host of other chemical compounds.

The best e-juice will stick to natural ingredients, like real tobacco extract, rather than rely on synthetic flavorings, colorings and other additives. Diacetyl is one of those synthetic ingredients that has gotten a pretty bad rap, although its use is not all that uncommon for producing sweet e juice flavors.

Definitely read the ingredient list before you buy e-juice to ensure you recognize what’s on it. Better yet, see if the e-juice company offers a lab report to confirm what’s actually inside the e-liquid.

In addition to having as few chemical ingredients as possible, the best e-juice will have an amazing taste. For those who enjoy authenticity over imitation, the most amazing taste is the most natural taste, especially when it comes to tobacco. Since Black Note uses real extract from tobacco leaves, we not only avoid all those weird chemical flavorings, but we also produce the most authentic experience: tobacco vaping liquid that actually tastes like tobacco.

Best E-Liquid on the Market

Anyone looking for the best e-liquid on the market need look no further than Black Note. Black Note tobacco vaping liquid ranks as the best e-juice across the board in every category, starting with the taste.

Black Note’s main claim to fame is producing a tobacco vaping liquid that actually tastes like real tobacco. That because we use real tobacco extract, not chemicals, to create the best e-juice tobacco flavor. Using extract from real tobacco leaves retains tobacco’s nuances and flavor notes, giving you the most authentic and multi-faceted tobacco experience.

In addition to being the best e-juice for tobacco taste, Black Note also has the best e-liquid manufacturing process. We spent years researching and testing various production methods, and finally landed on one that we believe is absolutely perfect.

It starts with growing carefully selected tobacco seeds, followed by an equally precise of steps that include an extensive natural extraction process. Even our bottling and packaging is done with the utmost care, using recycled and recyclable packaging materials to ensure our products are as earth-friendly as they are vapor-friendly.

One more category where Black Note ranks as the best e-liquid is with the value. Every order comes with free domestic shipping, one-to-three day domestic shipping guarantee, and a 90-day, money-back satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not happy for any reason, or don’t agree we’re the best e-juice on the market, send it back on us and we’ll refund your money.

Vape Juice Ingredients

Vape juice ingredients can be pretty straightforward – or not. At the very least, most vape juice contains propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), and some type of flavoring. Nicotine has largely become an optional ingredient that can be included at varying levels or left out altogether.

Vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG) are usually the two main ingredients that make up the base of most vape juice.

VG is a plant-based substance with the ability to produce a dense, thick vapor. PG is an additive found in many food items and certain medicines. It carries the flavoring, provides the “throat hit” and enhances the vape juice’s ability to soak into the wicking materials.

Nicotine levels can vary, as can ingredients that make up the flavorings. The components that make up vape juice flavoring are where ingredients can get rather complicated.

Vape juice that relies on artificial flavorings can contain any number of extraneous chemicals and other additives, whatever it takes to recreate the flavor the ecig juice is going for.

Black Note uses only natural flavorings: extract from real tobacco leaves. That keeps our ingredient list incredibly simple, backed by a lab report to prove it. You won’t find any strange chemical concoctions used to produce our tobacco flavor, just real tobacco extract that delivers a real tobacco experience.

What is the Best Flavor for Ecig Juice?

From strawberry shortcake to banana rum, ecig juice comes in tons of flavors. While folks can debate and discuss all the fruity, sweet or food-like flavors all day long, the best flavor for e-cig liquid is straight-up tobacco.

Why? Vaping was originally created as an alternative for traditional cigarettes, mainly for those who enjoy the taste of tobacco. And when you can find an e-cig liquid that is able to recreate tobacco’s full-bodied yet delicate flavor notes and nuances, but without the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes, then you’ve found the best ecig juice.

Recreating tobacco’s complex flavor isn’t easy, especially when it’s attempted with artificial ingredients. That’s why Black Note sticks to the real thing, extracting the essence of real tobacco leaves to flavor our vaping liquid. Not only does this avoid the harmful chemicals in cigarettes, but it also eliminates the flavoring chemicals found in many ecig juices. The end result is real tobacco taste, an authentic tobacco experience and the best flavor for ecig juice you can find.

Notice also we said the best e-cig flavor was straight-up tobacco, not plain old tobacco. Black Note’s real tobacco vaping liquid happens to come in a variety of different blends, from the light and airy to the peppery and robust. Not all tobacco is created equal, and different blends capture the specialized subtleties that make each tobacco unique.

Best Sweet Tobacco E-Juice

When it comes to sweet tobacco e-juice, your options can be broken down into two categories.

The first category contains tobacco e-juice that overlays the tobacco flavor with artificial chocolate, caramel, vanilla, fruity or other dessert-like flavorings. We wouldn’t classify any such flavors as the best tobacco e liquid, simply because they typically use chemicals and other artificial ingredients to create the tobacco taste, the sweet taste, or both.

The second category of sweet tobacco e-juice is where you’ll find the best tobacco e-liquid, sweet or otherwise. This category contains vaping liquid created using only natural flavorings, which is exactly where Black Note fits in. Instead of concocting flavors using synthetic ingredients, Black Note uses an extensive extraction process that slowly and deliberately extracts the tobacco essence from real tobacco leaves.

The result is the best tobacco e-juice: tobacco vaping liquid that actually tastes like real tobacco. And if you’re going for the best sweet tobacco e liquid, we have a few tobacco blends that offer varying levels of sweetness.

Prelude is our sweetest tobacco e-liquid, containing golden Virginia tobacco. Made from fire-cured dark Virginia tobacco, Sonata is our Cavendish blend with a mildly sweet and nutty flavor. Solo is our menthol blend, giving you a semi-sweet minty taste created from natural menthol crystals extract from dried mint leaves.

For the best tobacco e-liquid that’s naturally sweet and remarkably delicious, Black Note is at your service.

WARNING: Black Note products are not smoking cessation products and have not been tested as such. Black Note products are intended for use by adults of legal smoking age (21 or older in California), and not by children or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Black Note products contain nicotine, a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. Ingestion of the non-vaporized concentrated ingredients can be poisonous. Keep out of reach of children and pets.

WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.