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Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Use your voice. Anyone can do this! 

Maria Papaioannoy-Duic: It’s remarkable that groups trying to end smoking were all unavailable when invited to debate e-cigarettes with a panel of…

Friday, 24 November 2017

Ontario “health measure” has the potential for deadly consequences

Ontario’s Liberal government is attempting to sneak through legislation that will lead to death and disease, destroy small businesses, ignore the rights of consumers and protect the cigarette business. It is time to put complacency aside, and scream.

I proudly own a vape shop. I get called a lot of things as a strong minded woman willing to speak my mind in a misunderstood industry. But one thing that I hate being called is VAPING ENTHUSIAST.  Seriously folks? It’s no longer a fad. It’s a growing industry that contributes to economic growth in our communities through an estimated 1,000 small businesses. These small businesses support more than 900,000 Ontarians who current use vapour products – all over the age of 19 – as a means to quit smoking cigarettes.

When is the last time you saw this headline “Methadone Enthusiasts Fight to have Access to Clinics”.  You’ve never seen it because as a society we empathize with the addiction of drug addicts. It’s a mental illness, right? We empathize with those who are addicted to hard drugs, or prescription pills. We accept that what they are trying to overcome is often bigger than them, and we respect, and (in the case of most governments) we supply and pay for their choice of harm reduction.  Before someone rants about nicotine use being somehow different, consider that experts find smoking to be at least as addictive as heroin or cocaine. The goal is reducing risk for anyone; regardless of the cause or nature of their risks. Vaping has more in common with methodone, or seatbelts, or sanitary food manufacturing, than it does with smoking. And it’s time our government and society as a whole understood that.

This is not about whether people should be vaping.  It is a matter of empowering people to choose a less harmful way of satisfying their addiction and reduce the health. I am here to defend that position that that Vaping is not smoking, and should no more be treated like cigarettes than a vaccine should be treated like the disease it seeks to protect against. Since I opened my vape shop, every letter I write, every protest I organize, every interview I give, the message is the same. Regulate vaping as a far less hazardous alternative to cigarettes, rather than as if it was on par with smoking cigarettes. Trying to force fit a new industry and painting it with the same brush as deadly cigarette smoking means we will take away choice for a healthier alternative.

I hate to break this news to the folks that judge smokers as sinners needing to repent, but the truth is quitting smoking is hard. Impossible for many even.  For many people an abstinence-only doctrine on nicotine is a death sentence, and I know because I meet these people every day. Indeed, I was one of them.  Nicotine dependence is not something that you should be flippant about and make remarks like “why don’t you just quit?”.  Would you say that to someone suffering from any other addiction that kills 100 Canadians a day?

Currently, our Ontario politicians are scrambling to figure what to do with “the vapers”.  Their only solution, embodied in Bill 174, is to try to rush an abstinence-only agenda through the legislature without any significant public hearings, or a review of the science or human rights issues that should inform policy making. They are protecting the cigarette trade, and their resulting tax revenue, rather than the health of the people they are elected to serve.

As a group, vapers can make a lot of noise. Protests have been held outside of MPP’s offices. Over nie thousand letters have been sent to our provincial politicians. But Liberal MPP’s across this province have been given scripting that says, just as we have long heard from other abstinence-only campaigners, “we are doing it to save the children” and using a biased selection of science, while ignoring the recommendations of experts such as the UK’s prestigious Royal College of Physicians.


Please! How little they think of us; assuming we haven’t read the science when it is our lives that are on the line. And we have also followed Dr. David Hammond of the University of Waterloo in discussing research on vaping and teenagers. In a recent Global Television story he was quoted as saying “A lot of what we’re seeing in our study and a lot of other studies out there is a simple fact, and that is the kids who do risky things, the ones that are more likely to try e-cigarettes are also more likely to try smoking, and guess what? They’re also more likely to try alcohol and marijuana. It’s all to do with the fact that kids who are susceptible are going to try different things.” Now as a parent, which would you rather your child try? Vaping, which is shown to be 95 per cent less harmful than cigarettes and is available without nicotine, or smoking?

We all care about young people. But feigned concern about them should not give governments the right to enact policies that will almost certainly lead to the premature deaths of so many of their parents and grandparents.

The Government of Ontario should look to the history of dealing with AIDS and of auto and workplace safety and of alcohol prohibition. Policy should be based on facts, not moralism, and should seek to empower rather than punish. The same ‘nothing about us without us’ that was so important in the change in government policies with respect to those at risk of AIDS should be adopted when dealing with policies aimed at dealing with the carnage caused by cigarettes.

It’s time. It’s Ontario. We can do better.

for more information go to

Monday, 13 November 2017

These are crazy times in the vaping world! Federally we are being legislated by the Senate introduced Bill-S5, and most recently the Ontario government has decided to launch draconian type of legislation that would be detrimental to the Ontario vaping industry.

MPP Randy Hillier wrote a great email explaining everything, so we are sharing it so you can inform yourselves as well.

We want to encourage everyone to reach out to their MPP and let them know that Schedule 3 of Bill 174 should be removed.

Please take a moment to review MPP Hillier's email message.

With the introduction of the Ontario Liberal government’s marijuana retail legislation, this government has triggered a heavy crackdown on the vaping community and introduced further prohibitions on tobacco harm reduction products.
I need help from you and the vape community in demanding that the government separate these new prohibitions from Bill 174 so that they can be debated and voted on honestly.

Under schedule 3 of Bill 174 - Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2017, vape shops will be prohibited from displaying vape devices, components or juices, allowing their customers to handle vape products, or test flavours before purchase.This bill places further restrictions on areas of use, and where exemptions are made, those using vape products are forced to share spaces with those using traditional tobacco products.

Schedule 3 of this bill also introduces a mechanism for the government to prohibit the sale of certain flavours of vape products through regulation. Regulations do not come before the Legislature for debate and may be made at will by the government. Given this governments penchant to ban flavoured tobacco products I would not be surprised to see flavours described as “kid friendly”, such as Cotton Candy, Rice Crispies and Gummi Bears as well as other ordinary flavours such as vanilla, chocolate, grape or other fruit flavours, be swiftly prohibited shortly after this bill is passed.

It is unacceptable to me that they would incorporate further prohibitions on tobacco harm reduction products in the same piece of legislation meant to enact the legal retail and distribution of cannabis. 

It is imperative that Schedule 3 of the act be separated from the bill and the merits of the additional prohibition and restrictions on vape products be debated and voted on separate from those enacting the legal sale and distribution of cannabis. 

As you may be aware, the framework for the legal sale and distribution of cannabis must be in place by July 1st meaning that this bill is most likely to be adopted. Therefore it is up to us to speak out and make sure schedule 3 is separated from the bill.

The vape community needs to come together and tell the government we want Schedule 3 of Bill 174 separated!

I encourage everyone to write to the Premier, Attorney General, Minister of Health, Minister of Transport and the House Leaders of each party, whose contact information you can find below, voicing your support for the separation of Schedule 3 from the bill so that it can be debated and voted on independently.
Share this email with your friends, families and local vape shops so that we can have the greatest sum of our voices heard!

MPP Randy Hillier

Premier - Kathleen Wynne 416-325-1941
Room 281, Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A1
Attorney General - Yasir Naqvi 
Office of the Government House Leader
Room 223, Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A2
Minister of Health and Long-Term Care - Eric
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
10th Floor, Hepburn Block
80 Grosvenor Street
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2C4
Minister of Transportation – Steven Del Duca
Ministry of Transportation
3rd Floor, Ferguson Block
77 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1Z8
PC House Leader – Jim 
Room 241, North Wing, Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A8

Third Party House Leader – Giles
Room 112, Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A5

Randy Hillier

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Good Moms Don’t Smoke!: Confessions of a ‘Bad Mom’

By Guest Blogger Aimee Whitefoot

Everyone knows that good moms don’t smoke, only the bad moms do! With growing number of smokers switching to e-cigarette use (vaping) in Canada, what how does the public perceive Moms who vape?

The overgeneralized perception that “good moms don’t smoke” is reflective of the patriarchal, judgmental, fast-paced, capitalistic, social media-oriented culture that characterizes mainstream North American society today.

The hardest part about being a mother in today’s world is the constant self-doubt mothers experience as they do their best to negotiate the labyrinth of challenges that comes with raising children. While we all know objectively that “there is no one right way to raise a child,” we so often feel like we’re getting it all wrong.

From the moment we bring a baby into the world – literally, the moment – we feel insecure about using pain medications during labour and so often feel like failures if our labours require medical intervention. Shortly after, we have to figure out how to feed these tiny humans, and if breastfeeding doesn’t go perfectly or doesn’t work at all for whatever reason, again we feel like total failures. When our babies don’t have the top of the line (read: EXPENSIVE) all terrain stroller, convertible crib or car seat, we feel like we are doing our children a disservice. When our toddlers freak out in public because they wanted McNuggets, not a hamburger, or because they don’t want to leave the indoor playland after 3 hours, and it’s already well past naptime, we are embarrassed by their behavior and feel the burning stares of onlookers (real or imaginary) judging our (lack of) parenting skills. When our school-aged children use curse words, we quickly collect the offending child and retreat for fear of anyone finding out that our kids swear. When our tweens and teens spend the entire weekend online playing video games, we are always cautious not to let anyone know that we allowed so much screen time.

As mothers, it feels like our every action is under critical surveillance, and failure to comply with the overzealous mainstream images of perfect moms who are always well groomed and well dressed, have successful careers, marriages, and children, leaves most of us feeling pretty lousy at least some of the time.

In truth, mothers are just ordinary people. Some of us are young, some of us are old. Some of us work, some of us stay at home. Some of us are married, some of us are single. Some of us enjoy the occasional alcoholic beverage to relax and unwind, and some of us even smoke!
The image of the smoking mother is one of the most poignant images of society’s preconceived notions of what a “bad mother” looks like. Everyone knows, good moms don’t smoke!

“Doesn’t she know how damaging second-hand smoke is for her children?”
“Doesn’t she care about her health?”
“Doesn’t she know who terrible of an example she is setting for her children?”
These statements are the kinds of things commonly uttered by judging onlookers when a mother is caught smoking.

I know because I am one of these “bad moms.” I was a smoker. I always tried to hide my smoking from anyone who might pass judgment. None of my kids’ school friends knew I smoked, and nor did their parents. But it got harder and harder to keep my dirty secret the older my children got, and finally I got sick of it and decided I was going to quit smoking once and for all (I had tried many times previously – I successfully quit during my pregnancies, but it never lasted).

A little over two years ago, I was finally able to successfully quit smoking through the use of an electronic cigarette – though vaping. My mother in law introduced me to vaping (she learned about it as an effective way to quit smoking through her hairstylist), and when I saw how easily she traded in her tobacco cigarettes for an e-cigarette, I knew I had to give it a try. After a few stumbles, I had made the transition and was finally smoke-free. Hooray! I could finally shed some of my “bad mom” shackles … or could I?

Turns out that the public has been vastly misinformed about the health risks associated with e-cigarette use, and I continue to receive judgmental glances from onlookers when I vape in public in the presence of my children. Even friends – who smoke – have been appalled at my vaping, and doubt my explanations that vaping is 97% healthier than smoking.
For me, as a reformed smoker and vaping mother, I have always kept my vaping discreet when in public with my children. I never consciously planned to be a “closet vaper” – although I was intentionally a closet smoker – it just sort of happened that way. I think the shame of being a smoking mother has conditioned me to keep it to myself. I don’t want to be labeled a “bad mom, ” and currently, e-cigarettes are still relatively new and misunderstood by the general public, so my status as a vaping mom is uncertain.

I am hopeful that as vaping goes through regulations at the federal level in Canada, that Canadian legislators follow the example set in the U.K. and vaping is embraced as a useful hard reduction tool that is vastly safer than smoking so that the public stigma that goes along with vaping begins to fade.

We are always looking for guest bloggers. If you have a story you would like us to share, please contact us at
As always, happy vaping! 

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

A Vapers Story

Every person that started vaping and quit smoking, has a story to tell.
Today we came across this from the heart testimonial that was share on social media! We were able to track down the writer and appreciative that Shannon from Nova Scotia, gave us permission to share it on our blog.  We think Shannon voice is a voice shared by many of us!

An urgent plea to all of you who hold the fate of my health in your hands,
I am a 43 year old mother, a personal support worker...and, a *former* pack-per-day cigarette smoker.
I had been smoking since the age of 15.
Over three years ago, I was a wheezing mess.
I was terribly ashamed of my habit, and would hide outside and puff.
I'd have to chew gum and change my top before giving my son a hug, or serving my clients.
My kids were (understandably) VERY concerned about my health, as, they are old enough to know the damage smoking does to the human body.
We *all* knew the truth: chances are, at the rate I was going, I would probably not have lived to see my future grandchildren grow, as, my children would (probably) have ended up losing their mum prematurely, due to a smoking related disease or condition.
Sadly, EVEN my love for my family was not enough for me to break my addiction.
- I could NOT quit.
Each night, after brushing the FOUL smokiness out of my oral cavity and scrubbing the cigarette odour off my hands, I'd lie down beside my (non smoking) partner and feel shame.
Breaking the silence, with that "wind in the willows" sound coming from my lungs, I was reminded, nightly, of the damage cigarettes were doing to my health.
My immune system was terribly weak, and when I caught a cold, the cough would last weeks after I'd recovered from the bug itself.
My lung capacity was terrible. I would get winded very easily.
I wanted to quit, but had tried EVERYTHING on the market, to no avail.
In October, 2013, I discovered THE ONLY smoking cessation product that ever worked for me.
On the 26th of October, 2013, I had my last cigarette, and, embarked on a new chapter of my life.
Since that day, a cigarette has not touched my lips.
I now use a vaporizer, and have lowered the nicotine level of my ejuice to 3 (-not to say that the nicotine is *the killer* in traditional "smokes").
Interesting things began to happen mere months after I quit smoking:
since I began vaping, I can go more than six months without a chest infection/head cold (-in the past, prior to quitting I had been very susceptible to colds, and would catch them almost monthly).
I had never attributed my weakened system to smoking, but to what else could I attribute my restored health? *Nothing else* in my lifestyle had changed. Also, since quitting,
that -previously ever-present- wheeze,
is GONE.
Today, I have better energy, and my lung capacity has improved significantly.
I'm not coughing up grey-brown mucous.
I can hit the "high notes" again, when I sing along to music.
I can safely vape indoors, without fear (-no more disappearing to chain-smoke outside while on the phone/ with my coffee for hours in the warm more bundling up like a dumb-dumb and suffering the bone chilling temperatures just to feed my addiction).
I never have to worry about exposing my family to thousands of toxic chemicals or the harmful products of combustion when they come outside on the deck to hang out with me.
I am shocked and bewildered to hear of the proposed changes (regulatory restrictions) being tossed about by our government, with regard to vaping.
I am a "researcher", by nature and follow all news and discoveries relating to vaping.
This is what I know:
1. The government of the U.K., after (rigorous enough) testing, has determined that Vaping should be considered a much healthier alternative to the degree that it is RECOMMENDED and PROMOTED by physicians, and, in some cases, is a practice ALLOWED on HOSPITAL PROPERTY
2. It is over 90% safer than smoking
3. In many cases, the toxins in vapour are equally as harmful as random indoor air samples taken office buildings and rooms in residential dwellings
4. Vaping has helped tens of thousands of Canadians successfully quit smoking and improve our health--like nothing before
Knowing this, I am EXTREMELY CONFUSED by the apparent cluelessness of our government.
At first, I thought, "they must not understand the benefits of vaping".
-after all, there is a lot of *mis*information on the subject; anti-vaping propaganda floating around...
But REALLY, people.
It has been a few years now, and more research has been done.
If the UK government has embraced vaping, why is your (collective) head still in the sand?
I am so frightened by the bizarre legislation on the horizon, it makes me question the TRUE motivation of the Canadian government.
Why on earth would our government want to discourage something that is, LITERALLY,
The ONLY answer to that is nothing short of chilling.
I surmise that it must come down to money.
After all, the government makes a killing (-pun intended) from the taxes it receives on the sale of cancer sticks.
In light of this hateful and dangerous (YES, DANGEROUS) decision to DISCOURAGE what is a LIFESAVING smoking cessation option, I no longer trust my government.
If selection, quality, and availability of supplies are limited, and, access to vape products is difficult;
if the flavours that help keep us away from smoking are eliminated,
if PROMOTION of these products is prohibited,
We will die an ugly death.
I URGE you to consider the implications of these new regulations/laws, and consider the message you are sending Canadians:
You would prefer to have us become ill and die, rather than take a financial hit.
The government is profiting from keeping us sick, and this is horrifying and, is, quite frankly, unacceptable.
My future (the future of my loved ones, and, the future of countless Canadians) hangs in the balance, here.
If I am wrong about the motives of the Canadian government, and, if misinformation and ignorance is actually to blame,
if there is doubt or confusion on your part, I beg you:
PLEASE take it upon yourselves to research the benefits associated with quitting smoking, in favour of vaping.
To the government, I say: If need be, tweak the regulations in less damaging ways to allay your fears (-about kids picking up the habit, etc).
There are other regulatory measures that can be taken to address the issues that concern you.
This hard-line approach is EXTREME and unnecessary.
What you are proposing will turn the industry on its ear, and we, the people, will suffer.
The statistics are there. The information is there. Real science supports vaping as a healthier alternative.
The Canadian government ought to be going out of its way to ENCOURAGE vaping.-certainly not making it more difficult to access.
---and banning the sharing of information?
Muzzling people within our communities, so they are no longer allowed to counsel people re: the benefits of quitting smoking via vaping?
In what country am I living?
I feel as though I am living in the Twilight Zone.
I implore you, reconsider this STRANGE direction you're taking.
My job is very stressful and intense, and I could not survive with my sanity intact if I did not have the option to vape.
I am an ADDICT.
My fear is that I will fall back into old habits.
My hands shake as I type these words,
as I think of my children without me.
My loved ones have been so supportive of my method of quitting. So relieved. -and to think that, with one swipe of the pen, all my progress could backslide, is absolutely devastating.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Open Letter to the Hounourable Jane Cordy

The Canadian Government is going after vaping with Bill S5! We have been down this road before, and we will continue to fight to ensure that Vaping is regulated fairly and not into prohibition.
Over the next few weeks, we will be posting open letters to all the politicians that we have reached out, in hopes that our words, opinions and stand on matters get heard.

If you want to do something, as a consumer, an amazing consumer focused advocay group has been started, The Official Vapour Advocates of Canada.  Also the group has created this incredible and growing data base full of information to help you if you would like to get involved.

Here is our first letter to Senator The Honourable Jane Cordy in regards to what she said during the March 1st 2017 debate on the bill.
Debate Transcript
Jane Cordy Bio

Dear Honourable Jane Cordy,

My name is Maria Papaioannoy-Duic; I am a Canadian citizen, former smoker, current vaper and a small business owner of vape shops in our beautiful country. Your debate on Bill S5 disheartened me. I decided that before I jump to conclusions about the “intent” your words had, I should ask a few follow-up questions. I hope you do not mind.

1. In debate you stated:

"Because of parallels of the tobacco industry and the emerging vaping industry, I believe it is appropriate to regulate vaping products under the Tobacco Act”

I was wondering, what are those parallels? I know that you mentioned that you were still learning about the industry, is it fair for me to assume you haven’t dug deep to find similarities with NRT products from the Pharmaceutical industry and perhaps even the food industry. I think someone with your background in Education would find the utmost importance in researching both arguments when developing a thesis for debate and be meticulous in keeping an open mind in allowing for research to present opposition to your initial argument.  I hope for the sake for the 30 thousand plus smokers that die each year in Canada; you do continue your research with an open mind and heart.

2. You also mentioned:

"As scientists and experts study the issue and as the science catches up with the industry, I am cautiously optimistic that vaping will be proven to be less harmful than smoking, but at this time, it is dangerous to assume that vaping possesses no health risk at all.” 

You were on the committee that wrote Out of the Shadows at Last which stated:

 "Harm reduction is intended to reduce the health and social impact of alcohol and drug use without asking that users abstain. Abstinence may be a long-term objective, but the short-term goal is to promote safe use”.

Has something changed with your viewpoints when it comes to addiction since the publication of this document? I can assure you that the beliefs surrounding harm reduction made by our constitution have not.

 3. Furthermore you shared

"According to Health Canada, in 2015, studies indicate that 26 per cent of Canadian youth aged 15 to 19 reported having tried an e-cigarette."

I would like some clarification on that statistic. Trying something once in a 30 day period does not constitute long-term use. What statics are you pulling your research from, that gives you the confidence to conclude that those one-time uses transform to current e-cig users? I have been searching and can’t seem to find it. I only found the Canadian funded study, from the University of Victoria. However I believe that many people sent you a copy, so I won’t add that to my email today.

4. Intent…. I don’t even know where to begin. After listening, and reading your debate remarks, I have realized, that I have to date spent more time properly researching you, then you researching vaping. Ask any eLiquid manufacturer and or shop owner, what their intent is, and they will tell you, to help smokers stop smoking, FULL STOP.  The liberties you took in drawing unfair parallels to an industry built by hard working Canadians to the multi-billion dollar giants of tobacco is insulting. I would highly encourage you to add additional Google searches to your research protocol on this subject; those would include "how vaping changed my life” and "how Vaping saved my life.”

I understand that you are human and that you can only see what you choose to open your eyes to. I can say that it is unfair that you have opted to brand me and the majority of vaping industry business with a paint brush that is tarnished by a few bad apples. That would be equal to me thinking that all Senators are part of The Canadian Senate expenses scandal.  I am wise not to; I would expect the same from you.

I look forward to continuing to follow your position on this debate and will believe that you are in the early stages of your research, and your background in Education will only implore you to investigate further, particularly as it can save not one, but countless lives in our country!

 And some people believe being a Senator in Canada is easy! I don't think so! Thank you for taking the time to read my opinion, as stated above, I look forward to hearing and reading further debate on Bill S5 in the Senate!

Thank you,
Maria Papaioannoy-Duic,
Co-Owner, The Ecig Flavourium

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

This past weekend the sun was shining, and the temperatures were soaring, and we at The Ecig Flavourium held our grand reopening of the Beaches locations!

So many Canadian eLiquid manufactures came out to the event and had the
The creators of Twelve Monkeys, MEO, 416Vapes,  Great Canadian Fog, Kloud Panda, Moshi and Let’s Get Tropical all took time out of their family day weekend to meet their amazing customers!

Check out the video below created by Michael Kelly and perfectly captures the fun that we had!

As always, thank you for trusting us, to help you to continue to live a smoke-free life!

Dave, Maria & The Ecig Flavourium Team