July 17, 2018

Troll the FDA with This Cool Smartphone App

A smartphone app designed for vape shop owners posting ads on social media is being repurposed by some vapers to troll the FDA. And whichever reason you use it for, it’s a cool app, and even better, it’s free!

The Warnizer app was created by Steve and Brandy Nair, owners of Mountain Oak Vapors, to allow their store managers to post advertisements on social media like Instagram with the required FDA nicotine content warning. They originally used an Android version in their eight MOV shops, and then decided to do an Apple version too.

The app will place an FDA-compliant nicotine warning above whatever image it’s applied to. You can choose black or white lettering. It fits perfectly on either 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio images, although it will stretch the warning to fit other ratios. The warning can extend above the top edge of the image, or be overlaid on it. Either way, it winds up occupying 20 percent of the space, just like the Deeming Rule demands for all “tobacco products” — a category that now includes all vapes, even devices that don’t contain nicotine.

troll fda with smartphone app

You can find the app on either the Google Play Store or Apple App Store by searching “MOV Warnizer.” Vape businesses can use it free of charge, thanks to the Nairs, who support all independent vape businesses, even their competitors. One of the oldest e-liquid manufacturers in the country, Mountain Oak Vapors is a founding member of the Tennessee Smoke Free Association. Brandy and Steve are active in the VTA too.

The app works perfectly as it’s intended. “Ultimately the goal was to trivialize at least this one requirement for business owners to continue to advertise their products’” Steve Nair told Vaping360. “Hopefully everyone will be able to take advantage of it and put it to good use.”

troll fda with smartphone app

But there’s more than one good use for the Warnizer! Fig Ramsey, owner of Oceanside, California-based e-liquid company Gonzo Vapors and vaping advocate supreme, stuck the warning over his head on Facebook, and others are following. Is this what tobacco controllers mean by “dual use”?

Steve Nair doesn’t mind the “off-label” use of his app. “I think the warning is one of the most ridiculous requirements on any commercial product in the entire United States,” he says, “so if we can kind of take that from them and embrace it and ‘own it’ so to speak, I think that’s a good thing too.”

“I like taking pictures of myself and adding one of those ridiculous warnings to it,” he added. “I think most people even non vapers see that warning and think, ‘Wow, that’s ridiculous.’ So either way we are kind of drawing attention to the ridiculous requirements of the Deeming Rule.”

Smokers created vaping without any help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and vapers have the right to keep innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I recently joined the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy

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