Global sales for vaping devices have been growing steadily over the last few years and the trend shows no sign of slowing. New projections show that sales for electronic cigarettes will hit £6bn in 2015, a £2.06bn increase on the year before.
Meanwhile, UK-based statistics suggest that smokers are turning to e-cigs rather than traditional nicotine replacement therapies to quit.
Given the fact that it has been continually under fire from numerous angles, primarily health and safety, for some time, the successes of the vaping industry seem quite remarkable. But will they last?
Electronic cigarettes are not officially recognised as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). The kind of NRT products endorsed by health officials include nicotine patches and gum.
These smoking cessation aids are far-removed from the physical actions associated with smoking, unlike e-cigarettes. The way that e-cigs are intended for use has undoubtedly played a major part in the vaping devices’ widespread adoption.
However, also important is the fact that electronic cigarettes have benefitted from technological innovation. For example, the immensely popular vaping device Innokin Cool Fire IV allows users to control the levels of voltage and wattage to personalise their vaping experience. Other vaping devices can connect to smartphone apps and record the number of puffs that have been taken.
As well as having exciting technical features, vaping devices have been designed for use with a vast range of accessories and e-liquid flavors.
These features, and extras that come with vaping may indeed have made it more appealing than other NRT methods. However, one of the key issues facing e-cigarettes is whether users actually see the devices as a way to stop smoking.
Help or hazard?
In recent weeks Hawaii became the first US state to raise the legal smoking age to 21. This move was made because of the perceived danger that vaping poses to teenagers. A similar law has been passed in New York City, and more are on the way for limiting the ways people can use e-cigarettes.
Statistics from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that smoking declined among middle and high school students from 2011 to 2014. At the same time, use of electronic cigarettes increased.
Although it’s generally understood that vaping is less-harmful than smoking, one of the main concerns is that young people are becoming hooked on nicotine all over again.
Of course, there are e-liquids available that don’t contain nicotine. But research suggests that vaping isn’t entirely without its dangers.
The next hurdle
From 2016, all companies selling e-cigarettes in European countries must detail the precise contents of their e-liquids.
Currently, many e-liquids are imported from China and the ingredients are neither thoroughly detailed nor exhaustive. Many e-liquid retailers are currently able to sell their imported products because they have approval from the Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association (ECITA) but time is running out.
As the Prague Post commented on the e-liquid regulation changes, a small number of UK-based e-cigarette companies have invested in e-liquid production. With the creation of e-liquid completely under their control they will have no problems meeting the forecasted EU directive on e-liquid traceability.
In fact, with e-cigarette companies competing to create unique, appealing flavours, we could begin to see a new avenue of the e-cigarette business. Just imagine an e-liquid trend that develops in a similar way to the craft beer craze.