The Top 20 Most Influential Vapers in the US and the EUby Lindsay Fox Industry
Top 10 US Vapers
Like any community, vapers rally around some key influencers. Knowing who to turn to for advice, industry news and honest reviews is one of the biggest challenges for people getting into e-cigs, since overly positive, misleading information outnumber the genuine ones by a staggering margin. However, there are still hoards of vapor-loving bloggers, reviewers, movers and shakers who you can always turn to for the true story. In fact, there are so many that even whittling the options down into a top ten is a sizeable challenge; many valued voices will inevitably be left unmentioned. With that in mind, here is a top ten of the most influential vapers in the US:
10: Julia Barnes
Julia Barnes is an Assistant Editor for Spinfuel.com (page since removed), an online magazine for vapers. She has a knack for story-telling, with her thorough reviews targeted at those new to e-cigs. Spinfuel is much more than just a review site. It's an online vaping lifestyle magazine with company interviews, how-to guides and news stories. After working with founder John Manzione for over 10 years, Julia was a no-brainer choice to disseminate the good from the bad in a manner that appeals to beginning and veteran vapers alike. Follow her on Twitter @Spinfuel_Julia and stay up to date with Spinfuel.
9: Blake B.
Blake B. is the owner of Guide to Vaping, a pretty comprehensive e-cig site with an army of loyal readers. Blake covers everything from the basics right through to more high-end, advanced information about e-cigs, keeps on top of the latest legislation, studies and any industry news, as well as offering a thorough selection of reviews of both e-cigs and e-liquids. His writing style is consistently humorous and oozes passion about the technology, making his site a must-read for many in the vaping community. You can check him out on Google+ and keep up to date with the site through Facebook or Twitter.
8: Abby Olmstead
EcigAdvanced is one of the biggest vaping websites anywhere in the world, and Abby Olmstead is one of the most prolific members of their team. She got into vaping after her husband made the switch from analogue cigs. Being a social smoker and an undoubtedly supportive wife, she became increasingly involved in the community, before being asked to join the ECA team. She covers industry news, legislation, studies and community-related get-togethers in her passionate and inimitable style. You can stay up to date with EcigAdvanced on Facebook.
7: Kevin Burke
Kevin Burke is another influential voice over at EcigAdvanced, covering everything from looks at new mods, reviews, interviews and commentary on any recent news or developments in the industry. As you might expect, there is plenty of time to criticize the anti-THR propaganda, but Kevin also digs deeper, looking at things like the resentment surrounding e-cigs with a kind-natured objectivity. EcigAdvanced is a hub of activity and a key source of information for vapers all over the world, but without intelligent and entertaining voices like Kevin Burke it couldn't be the site it is today.
6: Gregory Conley
Gregory Conley is the Legislative Director for CASAA (the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association), and is also an attorney. CASAA do a lot of valuable work, and Greg Conley is often featured in media interviews or granted a place in discussions relating to legislation and tobacco harm reduction. As you may expect from his history, he focuses on the legislative issues, but also stands up to the anti-THR crowd with admirable enthusiasm. Greg Conley fights the battles that need to be fought, and regularly rallies the community in support of our cause. He’s pretty active on Twitter if you want to follow him.
5: Vaping Monkey
CJ – the “Vaping Monkey” – is one of the familiar faces from the VPLive Vape Team (where he’s the west coast correspondent), and he sells e-liquids at Vaper Venue. After receiving an e-cig as a gift, he was immediately impressed and started researching all things e-cigs. The more he learned, and the more videos he watched, the more he became sure he could do reviews himself. The thing that sets CJ apart is his irrepressible sense of humor, but his knowledge always comes through in his videos and the weekly VP live episodes. Check out his Twitter and YouTube to stay up to date with all things Vaping Monkey.
4: Steve K
Steve K’s Vaping World is the home of Steve K, a dedicated vaper who’s experimented with more than his fair share of e-cigs. The site is basically his place to share his thoughts on the different options, and as a result he’s primarily known as a reviewer – covering everything from entry-level starter kits to accessories and mods. His reviewing style is honest, natural and eminently likeable, and there’s plenty of informative content up on the site too. Steve also keeps his readers up to date on e-cig news, punctuated with his unique commentary. You can also follow him on Facebook or Twitter.
3: The VapinGreek
Dimitris Agrafiotis is the VapinGreek, an ex-smoker whose love of the technology inspired him to help others switch. He’s the key figure in the weekly informal e-cig talk show, the VPLive Vape Team, which features news, reviews and legislation updates relating to e-cigarettes. The show was conceived as a way to bring together members of the vaping community to provide an in-depth look at the industry, and is broadcast every Wednesday. Dimitris also has a video blog, which chronicles his individual vaping journey, with the aim of educating and informing those relatively new to e-cigs. You can check him out on Twitter.
2: Grimm Green
Grimm Green (or Nick, if you prefer) is a metal-head and vaper, posting news, reviews, links and resources related to e-cigs regularly on his site to his “GrimmArmy” of loyal followers. He started smoking at a young age, driven by peer pressure, but serendipitously Googled e-cigs (or “fake cigarette,” as he typed) before a trip to Las Vegas. Soon, he was following the reviews of Leaford and Igetcha69 religiously, delving into the world of e-cigs and starting his own reviews out of pure, unadulterated zeal for the technology. This comes through strongly in his reviews, which exude enthusiasm and thoroughly inform the community, while still being entertaining. His YouTube is the ultimate Grimm Green library, and he spends a lot of time on Facebook.
1: Phil Busardo
Phil Busardo owns Taste Your Juice.com, offering comedic and technologically-minded reviews, as well as plenty of tutorials and instructional content. He was once a pack a day smoker, but after discovering vaping in 2009 he was hooked. The cigarettes were gone, and his quest to find the ultimate vape had begun. After posting some reviews on the E-Cigarette Forum, he was inspired by reviewers such as Grimm Green to bring some entertainment into his style. He’s a dedicated, passionate vaper with the technical expertise to inform and instruct, the guts to dish out criticism where needed and a sense of humor which keeps you coming back for more. You can subscribe to his channel on YouTube or follow his Facebook page to stay up to date with his latest reviews and guides.
Top 10 UK (and EU) Vapers
10. Russell Ord
Teacher and former heavy smoker Russell V Ord loves e-cigarettes - and pubs. Dismayed at the demise of over 8000 pubs since the smoking ban came into place, he set up a campaign to get pubs using electronic cigarettes: CAMVIP or the Campaign for Vaping In Pubs. Since then, he has produced posters for pubs, set up an informative websites for both users and landlords and arranged meetings at pubs where smokers can try out electronic cigarettes for free while enjoying a pint of ale. He was heavily involved in World Vaping Day.
Check out our 2011 interview with Russell here.
9. Dick Puddlecote
A slightly honorary mention here, as libertarian Dick Puddlecote may use an electronic cigarette but he is also a heavy smoker and speaks out for smoker’s rights. Businessman Dick Puddlecote doesn’t mince his words, and has managed to insult most political parties and tobacco control individuals at one time or another. Whether you agree with him or not, his blog is always a fascinating and entertaining read, exposing many of the absurdities of modern Britain - including the attempts to ban electronic cigarettes while allowing tobacco cigarette to continue to be sold!
8. Kulr Me Stoopid
KulrMeStupid is a moderator at the very friendly UK Planet of the Vapes forum. But her activities are not limited to forums, as she is also active in a campaign against vape bans. In addition to setting up social networks on Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter and placing calls to action on Planet of the Vapes (page since removed), she also writes for the Vapers against the Ban website.
7. The UK Vapers Team
Phil A of the UK Vaper's team.Prof Beard, DaveK, Phil A, Foggy and OldEngineGuy were members of the original UK Vapers forum, which was sadly shut down last year. Determined to keep the forum alive, the team set up the new UK Vapers forum, aiming to provide a non-commercial forum which benefits the whole of the vaping community. Via the forum and the forum’s social network profiles the team is heavily involved with campaigning against vape bans.
6. Ghyslain Armand
Computer programmer, vaper and blogger Ghyslain Armand was so elated after ending 18 years of smoking 25 cigarettes a day that set up the blog macigarette.fr. On his website, Ghyslain shares vaper's testimonials, studies, articles, news and products reviews, and is welcoming on board new writers. Often working with Luc Dussart, who blogs at UnAirNeuf.org, Ghyslain has been active in campaigning against the EU vaping ban, writing articles, encouraging vapers to write to MEPs and spreading the word on social media.
You can follow Ghyslain on Google Plus here.
5. Dac Sprengel
Dac Sprengel is the founder of and spokesperson for ECAA (E-Cigarette Associations Alliance), an alliance of european vendors associations, which represents the interests of the european e-cigarette industry in the EU. He is also the co-founder and chairman of VdeH (german e-cigarette vendors association), is the European spokesperson for the tobacco vapor electronic cigarette association (TVECA), USA and In 2013 he spoke in defence of electronic cigarettes at a European Parliament committe meeting of MEPs. You can find him writing at German’s largest forum, ERF (e-rauchen-forum.de).
4. Chris Price
Ex-engineer Chris Price (aka Rolygate) ran the largest e-cigarette forum in the world, e-cigarette-forum, for three years, and remains a moderator with a special focus on e-cigarette technical, health and political issues. An experienced campaigner who was involved in defeating the government ban on CB radios, Chris Price attended the first industry meeting with UK MHRA and then worked with Sam Munro and other vapers to set up the Electronic Cigarette Consumers Association of the UK (ECCAUK). You can often find him blogging on the ECCAUK blog.
You can follow Chris on Twitter here.
3. Christopher Snowden
Christopher Snowdon is a freelance journalist, the author of Velvet Glove Iron Fist, A History of the Tobacco Control movement, and can be found at the blog of the same name. While he originally focussed on writing about the tobacco control movement, Christopher now often blogs about electronic cigarettes, and has been invited to radio shows where he has can be found exploding myths about vaping and defending our right to use electronic cigarettes. Chris also writes for the online magazine Spiked as well as other publications.
2. Katherine Devlin (ECITA)
When I first met Katherine Devlin, she was working as a consultant for an eliquid company. But with the formation of the Electronic Cigarette Trade Industry Association (ECITA) the bilingual former legal secretary and avid vaper took a greater role as President of ECITA. Along with Tom Pruen, and despite also battling leukemia, she has been instrumental in creating the Industry Standard of Excellence (praised by a Trading Standards Officer as …a Code any industry would be proud to have), setting up a strict twice yearly audit of member companies and in fighting government and EU attempts to ban the electronic cigarette.
Read our interview with Katherine Devlin here.
1. David Dorn
The former editor of a national computing magazine and an online editor at AOL, grandfather David Dorn founded Vapor Trails, a popular UK online show, along with Dave Kitson of The Happy Vaper, Andy Sutton, Cat Heseltine and others. Over 22,000 subscribers from over 100 countries worldwide tune in to listen to Dave’s biting wit, with another 1000 using YouTube to catch up with Vapor Trail’s backlog of 800+ shows. In addition to being heavily involved in the campaign the current EU Tobacco Products Directive, Dave tells me he is also involved with love meets (?), and is very busy vape-wise at the moment.
22,000 Website Subscribers
129,000 You Tube views
This has been a hard list to write. There are many, many vapers out there, some producing fantastic videos and blog posts, and getting it down to 20 vapers has been hard. Obviously, it’s subjective - (it’s a bit like the first world war veteran who writes his account of the war. It might be a totally accurate description of his 200 yards of trench warfare, but completely different from someone a mile down the front line!), so I’d love to hear your suggestions. (It would also be great to get some suggestions of Australian and Canadian vapers - and any other nationalities!)
Lindsay Fox is an up and coming blogger who writes for ECigReviewed.
More Influential Vapers
There was a careful little caveat added in the introduction to this article – because any list like this will inevitably miss some important figures. We've already had plenty of great responses to our call for suggestions, so we’re updating the list accordingly! An important point has been raised: “influential” has a somewhat vague meaning, which does ultimately cause problems for the list. However, this was always intended as a thank you to those who've informed, entertained and served the vaping community – as well as the important legislative voices who stand up for our rights – and we never intended to discount anyone’s valuable work. So, why limit the list at all? Here are some more entries, and we’d love to hear additional suggestions – especially for vapers from countries not currently represented!
Hon Lik is the man that started it all (or was he?). Over 65 percent of Chinese men smoke (according 2002 research), and he and his father were no different. Hon Lik was inspired to create e-cigarettes after a dream he had in 2000. His throat was clogged; he coughed and wheezed, feeling as though he was drowning. The water he found himself immersed in suddenly vaporized into a fog. He filed the patent in 2003, giving one of the first electronic cigarette prototypes to his dying father. Sadly, it was too late for him, but Hon was able to make the switch and hopefully spare himself the same fate. None of this would be possible without Hon Lik.
Scott Bonner (otherwise known as igetcha69) started reviewing in 2008, making him the first European e-cig reviewer on YouTube. His channel has plenty of video reviews in his characteristically straightforward and honest style, and he has amassed a huge following over his time as one of the cornerstones of the vaping community. Aside from his rapid-fire, perfectly-formed smoke rings and charming cockney accent – Scott really stands out because he’s an incredible nice guy. He only reviews e-cigs to help people find the perfect vape – and he responds to every message he receives asking for help and advice. You can check out his website and stay up to date with him via Twitter. You probably know that though, since he was suggested by a lot of people when this article went live – which is itself is testament to his influence.
Oliver Kershaw (Smokey Joe)
The E-Cigarette Forum is the online Mecca for anybody interested in vaping, and it’s all thanks to Oliver Kershaw (better known as Smokey Joe). He founded the forum and remains very active – always more than willing to help out any new users or new vapers and contributing to intelligent discussion across the site. Under his guidance, the forum has flourished from a small community of tech-savvy enthusiasts into the place to find out everything you need to know about e-cigarettes. His blog also offers plenty of in-depth discussions of the big issues in the world of vaping, packed with insight and passionate, evidence-based discussions of pressing legislative issues. You can like the forum on Facebook, if you’re that way inclined, but if you haven’t joined already, get involved with the discussions on the forum to keep up to date with all things Smokey Joe.
Joe Petner (Vapor Joe)
Vapor Joe saves you money. He’s a vaper fuelled by his love for the technology, and he regularly posts up deals (as well as info) on mods and APVs on his blog. You might also know Joe from the Mod Envy show –a pretty informal chat show with plenty of giveaways, discussion and useful tips – which you can catch on Nova Broadcasting every Saturday night. He gets at least a million hits a month (recently doing so in just 19 days), and is another key influencer in the vaping community. He also has an admirable plan in the event of an FDA crackdown on e-cigs: switch his site to an “underground” version and tell people where they can still get their vapes. Now that’s dedication. You can follow him on pretty much anything going, Twitter, Facebook, even through Pinterest or an Android app!
Todd is a Scottish e-cig reviewer, who offers video reviews alongside tutorials in his charming, honest style over at Todds Reviews. Todd has developed a large following thanks to his accessible reviews and tutorials, and is driven only by his love for vaping. After first making the switch in 2012, he soon stumbled across the UKVapers forum and really delved into the technology. He claims up-front that he is by no means an expert, and always states up front when he’s received an e-cig for free to review. The thing is: people listen to him because he’s such a dedicated hobbyist that he is an expert – a likeable and comical expert at that. Check out his YouTube or stay up to date with him on Facebook.
With almost 3,000 YouTube subscribers and a cool collection of APVs, JC West is a US-based reviewer chronicling his vaping journey in an honest and generally eccentric fashion. Immediately likeable, he also delves into tutorials and demonstrations, as well as hosting giveaways for his fans. He’s always looking for new techniques to get the most out of his gear – also doing things like experimenting and posting the results to help his viewers out. You can also keep up with JC West over Google+.
Field of Vapor/Sense Field
Field of Vapor/Sense Field (whichever you use) is a YouTube reviewer with over 4,000 subscribers, and one of the presenters of the vaping talk show Vapelink.com. He’s always completely up front and critical in his reviewing style, making him another important pillar of the vaping community. He’s full of enthusiasm, but his focus on critiquing where critique is necessary has firmly established his reputation as one of the most trusted voices on all things e-cigs. Follow him on Facebook for updates on new episodes of Vapelink and new reviews.
Basilray is another of the YouTube reviewers who vapers turn to for the truth regarding e-cigs, accessories and liquids. He’s consistently entertaining, always informative and a reliable source of information on up and coming products and e-liquids to try. He’s also another of the familiar faces from Vapelink – which you can also keep up with through his YouTube channel. He’s also pretty active on Facebook, as well as posting regularly on the ECF!
Although she’s less active after an unfortunate run-in with a troll – Steeljan is still posting reviews up on her YouTube page occasionally, to a still-loyal following of nearly 5,000 subscribers. She’s immediately likeable, delving into the practical and technical aspects of the APVs she reviews. You might not see too much of her these days, but she still periodically offers doses of accessible information – which she’ll link to on Twitter.