Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Interview : Cozzicon

                 ETA interviews Michael Cozzi - Vaper, CASAA board member and host of Vapelink.

 When did you begin vaping?

It was the middle of March 2010. The exact date eludes me. My last cigarette was June 5th 2010.

 What was your first device?

A “Smoking Stick”. Shortly followed by a nJoy nPro and an Eluma.

Tell us a little about what you do at CASAA

Given my personal style, I'm not much of an activist. In fact politics is pretty unsettling to me. So in my position with CASAA, I tend to stay out of activism, and focus more on relations with our community, management issues, and being a vote of conscience on the board. I also work with vaping networks to “get the word out” about activism related issues through video updates.

The real “stars” of the CASAA organization are it's members and the current board. Many of those folks are experienced at dealing with issues of activism, and communicating (or being unable to communicate) with unfriendly inside-the-belt-way government agencies. Having a couple of attorneys on the board helps as well.

What were your impressions of the FDA hearing last December?

My personal impressions were positive. This was a hearing relating to “Nicotine Replacement Therapy” and other “innovative” approaches.. While this may not have been our target audience, it was an excellent exercise which may have surprised the FDA. But more importantly it gave our activist community a good practice run at real FDA representatives.

Whether the December hearing will have any effect on the FDA remains to be seen.

The real battle is yet to come.

 Tell us something that our readers may be surprised to know about you.

27 years ago I could read ancient Greek. There was a short period of time where I was planning on attending seminary. During that time I self-taught myself Greek so I could read the Nestle-Aland text of the New Testament which is the Greek text used in most Protestant bible translations.

Obviously seminary never happened. Yes... actually reading the Greek text had a lot to do with not going.

Big tobacco has begun to acquire e cigarette companies, develop their own devices, and even advertise in magazines and television. The number of e cigarette users continue to grow. Would it be safe to say that the “Horse has left the barn” in regard to the integrity of electronic cigarettes?
If you mean the “integrity of the business” the answer is murky.

The big cigarette form factor/cartridge/cartomizer companies are of concern of course. Would FDA regulation push these businesses back into the barn? Probably not.

Of greater concern is the burgeoning industry based on non-traditional form factors, big battery mods, e-liquid manufacturers, and companies that integrate these products. This has become a large segment of the overall e-cigarette market. And from a tobacco harm reduction standpoint these more advanced devices/diverse e-liquids are sometimes the only things that work at getting smokers, to become vapors.

That being said. No one has a real answer. Unfortunately hyperbole seems to be thrown around quite readily in the community. Perhaps that is natural. But predicting the future is the most difficult of all endeavors.

No matter what the FDA tries to do at first, my prediction is that it will not go unchallenged. Remember Njoy and Smoking Everywhere Vs. the FDA?

 You are the creator of Vapelink. Among the many other vaping broadcasts that are out there, what would bring a vaper to Vapelink, and what would make them continue to watch?
Boy... that's a tough one. Because we really are not very calculating about how we do things.

I'm not really the creator though, I had created something else- then Basil and Sense came on-board. The only thing used from the original concept is some music and graphics. The current format has continued to verge closer to a discussion show/talk radio with pictures. So I can't take more than 33% of the credit.

We really don't think of ourselves in terms of what other networks or shows are doing. We try to remain really disciplined about this point. We develop the show based on what interests us that week. And since we are vapers- we attract vapers.

If the audience likes how we presented a topic- we have a pretty good chance of having them come back.

But for us, we're friends, and what you see on the show is pretty close to our face to face discussions.

Maybe it's because people like hanging out with us. I'll go with that.

Concerning devices, what would you like to see in them? What changes would you welcome in the creation of new devices?

Well there's two pieces to the puzzle here. The power supply and the method of atomization.

The power supply in the form of a mod (anything eGo or larger) is pretty much a finished technology. You can slap a screen on it, add indicators, but it's not going to change the quality of the vape for most vapers in a perceptible way.

The Janty MiD may be something new. But it's all hype at the moment.

Most interesting to me is how the liquid is atomized. Big capacity, long lasting, cleanable, re-buildable, and inexpensive means for atomization are properties I'm interested in.

At the same time, the market has gone through fluctuations where power source or atomizer/cartomizer were seemingly developed in an alternating fashion. So there may yet be “battery tube tricks” which will interest me.

At this point, we can also declare the “Year of the Provari” over. Great device... but unless is refreshed it will no longer be the benchmark. So I'm interested in seeing what device will do that.

Last year the FDA expressed the arrival of regulation to the e cig industry, but it didn’t come. What do you believe the FDA is preparing in terms of regulation, and what can vapers do to ensure that they can continue to use electronic cigarettes?
Predicting the future is a dangerous thing to do.

There's been no “privileged” information that has come across my desk which would give me the ability to predict. I think the European regulations have scared most of us.  Whatever happens, over-reacting to it would be a bad thing.

The only think I'd like to predict is lawsuits. I think if the FDA goes to far- lawyers will be marched out.

You are marooned on a desert island. Floating up to shore, you see a crate with the words “ Vaping supplies” stamped on it’s side. What do you hope is inside the crate?

A beautiful woman. If I'm going to be marooned for life on a desert island, I have to have the right priorities. I mean, no one wants to be alone, everyone wants to experience life with someone close to you and on your team. Someone you can be with forever. Someone you can care for.

A relationship where 5 years in you can still look into each others eyes and see God.


Alright forget that. I'll take a 26650 mod, thirty 26650 batteries, a solar charger, 20 liters each of PG/VG, 5 liters 100mg PG base, the full line of Flavourart tobacco flavorings, 5000 Smoke long barrel 3.0 ohm cartos, 10 DCTs (with spare O rings), mixing implements/bottles, the June 1976 Playboy issue, and an avacado.

Do you DIY? If so, what is your favorite flavor?

Absolutely. My favorite flavoring is Flavourart Dark Vapure.

In the time you have been vaping, what has disappointed you about it? What have you appreciated?
I've been disappointed by a lot of hardware. I suppose I've appreciated the fact that I no longer smoke. The social life that vaping creates is very appreciated by me- lost of fun and good times.

But really, vaping has given me something to do during a time in my life where I have a lot of downtime. That has been golden.

The manufacturer’s association AEMSA was created last year.  Do you think more associations like AEMSA need to be created?

It depends on what vendors think. That's the real answer. If AEMSA represents their members well, they will continue to exist. If enough vendors agree with what AEMSA is doing, they will grow.

If enough vendors dislike what AEMSA is doing, and they want to do the work, we may see another organization pop up. There currently also exists TVECA and SFATA.

After a long time considering things, I'd personally like to see an organization started by vapers which performs the function of a trade organization. Avoiding a conflict of interest or pecuniary interest is the best way to set standards. But funding an organization of this type is difficult without vendors putting up the money. And there- is the conflict.

 In a recent issue regarding a vendor, individuals condemned the vaping community, and you were quick to point out the contrary to their opinions. What is your opinion of the vaping community / culture today?
I think the community is essentially good, hardworking people who want an alternative to smoking. There's always going to be a “bad element”.

The only reason we see more of the “bad element” is that the community is larger than ever, and more bad actions happen.

The Jbox issue possibly put a number of people out of their hard earned money. What can individuals do to best protect themselves from possible vendor fraud?
In general, I only buy things face to face at vape meets or use vendors that have a long time tested reputation for providing quality products.

And please: never believe the hype. Get multiple opinions from varied places and people. There are four large forums, 100 reviewers, 30 blogs, and many other sources for information about a product or company.

 The Evic came and went with mixed opinions, but it seems that with the influx of devices from China, that they are getting closer on the heels of Provape. Do you think there will ever be a “Provari Killer”?
Yes: without a product refresh something (or everything) will take the place of the Provari. BUT Provari will remain the only VV/regulated PV than can be shot from a cannon during war, then vaped by the enemy.

 What advice would you give to a new vaper?

Find something that works. Then keep using it :)

Don't believe the hype.
Anything you would like to add?

Thanks. I've never been asked a lot of these questions. Had to think about it :)


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