Answering More Community Questions

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Many AEMSA members attended VaperCon2 in Virginia.  We congratulate and thank ALL who contributed to the VaperCon event; it was truly a wonderful success.  I suspect it may have been a record setter in terms of attendance and it certainly looked like all were having a wonderful time.

We spent a substantial portion of our time meeting with as many people as humanly possible. We hope we addressed concerns, clarified factual details and answered questions effectively.  We are just getting started and there is much work for us now and in the weeks and months ahead.  

On a personal note, I’d like you all to know I have read each and every post in the ECF thread.  Please note, AEMSA is not currently a member of ECF and we did not start any threads.  The thread announcing our Trade Association launch was posted by ECF.  As anyone can see, the thread (like many) can get carried away with baseless speculations, suppositions, fictitious interpretations/conclusions and more.  The Board of Directors for AEMSA are all unpaid, voluntary positions. No one works directly for AEMSA, or receives a salary and/or other compensation. We all have full time jobs and other obligations.

We cannot / Do not monitor ECF threads for questions/comments on a regular or consistent basis. As we all know quite well, these threads can move very quickly. Replying to questions/comments inline and in close to real time on this thread would be impossible for us to accomplish.

We welcome constructive feedback and general questions either submitted via the contact us page on our website or If you have specific questions, please email AEMSA at: info@aemsa.org

While we cannot spend the days answering each one at a time, we will occasionally post here (in our web site blog), updates and ongoing issues – until we have the structure in place to circulate a newsletter.  Your concerns ARE heard and considered.  As a Trade Association (of, by and for its members), any and all must go through proper channels – no decisions are made unilaterally.


WTAs:

We have been listening and giving this matter very careful attention and focus. 

AEMSA has chosen, from a policy standpoint, to postpone accepting them as an additive in our members’ products – at the very least until we have more detailed, accurate and scientific information.  AEMSA is structured around verifiability and as of this posting, we still have no more verifiable information than when we first launched.

 We met with one WTA manufacturer at VaperCon and received some preliminary contact from another. While any final decision MUST come from the General Membership – via vote (simply the structure of the By-Laws) – from a policy standpoint, it will be difficult to change AEMSA’s essential position; at least until such time as accurate, definitive and verifiable information becomes available. 

 After lengthy consideration and discussion, the membership has concluded the following:

 –          None of our members manufacture or use WTAs as an additive.

–          AEMSA does NOT test any non-member products.  Such non-member product testing is cost prohibitive and would be grossly unprofessional.

–          As we have already clarified, several times, for any discussion to even begin, the very first step is for a WTA manufacturer to submit a quantitative GCMS analysis (conducted by a Certified Lab – exactly as outlined for nicotine in our Standards) to our Chemistry SME for evaluation. 

–       For WTAs to be considered as an acceptable additive, as a nicotine product, they would be held to the EXACT same standards as nicotine (quality and content accuracies apply to nicotine products – these are the very first two “belief Statements” AEMSA was founded upon).  This means the same percentages as nicotine and would require a full quantitative GCMS test (from a Certified Lab) for each and every batch along with traceable batch ID numbers.  While we are NOT saying these are terms for WTAs – we are merely saying that IF they were to be reconsidered, these would be the bare minimum requirements as these are the current nicotine standards. As stated in the AEMSA Standards: AEMSA reserves the right to review, evaluate and deny/approve any potential substance used in the creation of members’ e-liquids at any given time.

–       AEMSA is a Trade Association for e-liquid Manufacturers with a foundation in verifiability, responsibility and transparency.  We are not an agency.  We do not cast judgment, or aspersions, on non-member products. Consumers are free, as they are with any category of products they buy and consume, to do as they wish – after purchase and taking possession.


Food coloring:

We hear and read all the comments and concerns. Some of the flavorings used in e-liquids already have food coloring in them.  This subject will remain on our agenda and continue to receive diligent ongoing evaluations.  

 The General members have now voted to amend the Standards.  Members agree to clearly identify, on their web pages, any and all products containing food coloring and or “Custard Notes”. This amendment will appear in the Standards page when we finalize the next version with any/all edits.


Nicotine content – 32mg vs. 36mg:

AEMSA is listening.  We have seen the expressed concerns in emails, threads and those expressed in person at VC2.  We have re-evaluated this Standard and the members decided to accept what appears to be a commonly recognized upper-end content level.  Therefore, after a lengthy discussion and vote of the General members (as the ONLY way the Standards can be amended) the AEMSA Standards will be amended to a max content of 36 mg.  Unflavored/DIY nicotine remains unchanged.

 AEMSA Standards are living documents and the launch version is just a starting place.  As membership grows, we will have additional experienced manufacturers to contribute to the process of evaluation and refinement of the Standards.


SME Voting

We have seen some posts wondering if Dr. Kurt Kistler could be more impactful if he had a vote.  Our By-Laws are the governing rules for how AEMSA is structured and operates. The By-Laws are very specific on voting matters.  General Membership voting (the only votes which CAN amend the Standards) is limited to the General (manufacturing) Members.  At the next Board election, all members (including Consumer Advocates and SMEs) are eligible for nomination and election to committees and the Board itself.  However, the By-Laws are very specific, while Board and Committee members vote on Board and committee issues, ONLY General (manufacturing) Members vote on any/all amendments to the Standards. 

 We all feel honored and privileged to have Kurt’s involvement and participation.  We hold his opinions and advice in the highest regard. Kurt’s input is always carefully listened to and considered with great respect. While Consumer Advocates and Subject Matter Experts CAN serve on committees and the Board, their function is more of a consultant type of capacity.  AEMSA is a Trade Association and, as appropriate for such an organization, the manufacturing members decide what and how best represents their collaborative interests.


Childproof bottle caps:

We understand some have dexterity issues with their hands.  This can certainly pose issues for these customers.  Our members always endeavor to be accommodating to their customers.  Consumers are welcome to ask venders if they have any non-childproof bottles for sale to transfer the liquids after receiving them.  Of course customers can re-use other bottles and/or purchase bottles directly from a variety of on-line suppliers.  We ARE sensitive to the frustrations of those who may have difficulty with these caps.  However, childproof caps are common and customary for pretty much any/all commercially manufactured/bottled over the counter consumables which have ingredients of concern.


Sliding Scale fees:

We do hear your thoughts, comments and concerns about the smaller e-liquid manufacturing venders.  This matter will continue to receive consideration and evaluation. AEMSA is, as has been clearly stated at each and every opportunity, constantly looking for ways to ever include more facets of the community.  Once again, because it bears repeating here, AEMSA – as a Trade Association – is focused on the Professional e-liquid manufacturer. As much as we would like to have fees within reach for any/all, at the present time we have not yet found a way to do it and also stay consistent with one of our most fundamental principles: “one member = one vote” (as provided in the By-Laws).

One has only to look at the sliding scale fees of the other two Trade Associations to see we have (by far) the lowest fees of the three.  The other two associations’ fees start where ours currently end.  Their sliding scales go well into the thousands of dollars each and every month.  As far as we can see, “one member = one vote” forces the fee to be the same for all.  We have clarified the fees are decided by the General Members as a function of the budget process.  The General Members create an annual budget, based on their goals for the year, and that budget dictates the fees.  Of course travel expenses for inspections; legal fees and other expenses are always included. The fees can change but only as a function of the General Membership budget and vote. More members “may” impact the fees but, again, the fees are dictated by the members’ decisions for themselves.


Hand Washing/ “Bathroom sink”:

As outlined in the Standards, for hand washing, was an obvious missed typographical error.  AEMSA never intended to suggest a bathroom sink is the only place for hand washing.  The intent was merely to clarify hands are not to be washed in the same sink as the designated sink for cleaning mixing supplies and equipment. 


ECF and products from AEMSA non-members:

There has been a recent discussion on ECF relating to caffeine as an e-liquid additive.  We wish to be VERY CLEAR on this and any parallel or corresponding issues that may arise. AEMSA has not discussed the caffeine issue with any vender or manufacturer outside of AEMSA membership.  Additionally, AEMSA has had no communication with ECF since sharing our Standards and press release information just prior to launch. Obviously, as the largest e-cigarette forum in the world, ECF is committed to bringing industry related news to its members.  ECF has its own rules and operational guidelines.

As for this most recent discussion relative to caffeine additives, while AEMSA applauds ECF for its focus on additives, we had no interaction with ECF on this or any other aspect of AEMSA.  AEMSA represents its members and ONLY its members. We are focused on enhancing consumer confidence in our members’ products, verifiability and transparency.  AEMSA does not represent ECF and ECF does not represent AEMSA. 


We would like to thank all of you for your comments and input – and especially thank all who approached us in person at Vapercon.  To those who have emailed and/or called us, we also thank you.  We continue to listen and respond.  Transparency is a major component of AEMSA.  As you can imagine, we have been flooded with contacts, suggestions and requests for additional information.  After VaperCon activities and travel, we have much to sort through.  We also have to fine-tune our email handling, sorting and assignments. We will consider all.  We may not be able to directly reply to each and every email/voice-mail but we do promise to review and consider all we receive.

We will continue to review all emails/messages and continue to try to be available for other media venues.  We look forward to establishing our newsletter and that will become our primary means of communicating with the community at large.  We invite any/all interested to sign up for our newsletter – for when we can create the structure to facilitate its circulation.  You can sign up on our website.

Thank you for your time, attention and comments,

Lou Ritter – AEMSA President