"E-cigs are an opportunity to reduce healthcare costs"
First up in Vejpkollen's mini-series "Swedish vejpers" is Karl-Åke Johansson - technical vejpguru and until recently admin for the Facebook page MTL Sweden (18+) - a forum for so-called mouth-to-lung vejpning. You know: low watts, tight airflow and 50/50 juicers.
If you ask a question about the technology behind your e-cigarette in one of our Swedish forums, one of the answers will probably come from Karl-Åke Johansson. In one way or another. If not directly from him, then by someone else asking him a few years ago and now passing on the answer. Because Karl-Åke Johansson has been around for a long time now, and to call him anything other than a Swedish vejpguruwould be an understatement.
But who is he really, this tech geek from Kinnarumma, who is in close contact with the very same Phil Busardo and who would not touch a SMOK product even with a pair of pliers.
How does he see the vejp in Sweden today?
What is your background? How do you know so much about the technology behind vejpning?
"I have spent my life in electronics/IT and when an opportunity arose to finally quit smoking with a method that also tickled my interest in technology, I went all-in. I had of course tried the other methods before, with little more benefit than the pharmacy staff getting their Christmas bonus."
When did you start vejpa?
"I started the vape journey in 2012 and I was pretty lost. Nothing was working and it was quite frustrating. After a while, I got in touch with Phil Busardo (classic YouTuber, ed. note) who finally explained things in a way that the technician in me could absorb. Many reviews were seen and poor Phil had to answer tonnes of support emails from me. Strangely enough, he did not duck! We still talk several times a week but now mostly about other things."
Tell us about MTL Sweden!
"I discovered Facebook groups quite late and most of them did not speak "my language", as it was mostly about how fat clouds could be. Had tried to become a DL'er myself, but failed. Gave me nothing at all! Then MTL-Sweden appeared and there it felt like coming "home".
What makes MTL Sweden different from other forums?
"MTL Sweden is a slightly different group, in Swedish terms. It is only about MTL weaponry but is also different in another way. We CARE! The Admin group works more actively in the group than most other groups and the group has become a place where people trust and help each other. Not uncommon for people to send things for free to help another member."
You are now also on YouTube. What is the channel about?
"The range in Swedish gun shops is a bit monotonous. Very mainstream, you could say, and very little MTL. Our goal with the Youtube channel, with the same name (MTL-Sweden), is to highlight good MTL equipment for the Swedish market but also to create some "content" for the group's members. Reviews in Swedish are not so plentiful and also focused on MTL, then we are quite alone. Unlike most reviewers, who sell what they get for their own profit, we do fun things with the pile that is left over. We have run charity collections, which we will continue to do."
The best thing that happened in 2019?
"Well, it's not so much not! The good news is that more stores are actually BEGINNING to bring in and invest in MTL, and that we have a lot of Swedish juice manufacturers in the MTL segment."
The worst thing that happened in 2019?
"Undoubtedly the erroneous confusion made by the media between E-cigarettes and the black-market cannabis capsules that have injured and killed so many in the US. E-cigarettes are defined by Swedish and EU law as tobacco products and the capsules in question have nothing to do with tobacco or nicotine. Should be called e-joint, but definitely not E-cigarettes.
What were the consequences?
"The confusion has damaged the reputation of E-cigarettes, made people go back to far more harmful cigarettes and worst of all, contributed to the number of deaths from cannabis capsules not stopping at the initial 9 but growing to over 50. Those who bought the drug capsules have understood that they bought drugs and therefore did not connect the warnings about e-cigs with what they themselves bought."
You will receive a Christmas present from the government in 2020 about vejpning. What do you get?
"A change in the politicians' view of e-cigs, similar to that of the British government. Smoking costs society enormous amounts, we are talking MANY billions a year and draws enormous resources from healthcare, health insurance systems and Swedish companies, which pay for the smokers' greater proportion of short-term sick leave. E-cigarettes are a unique opportunity to reduce and eventually eliminate these costs. Plus, think of all the human suffering!"