What Does the Rise of Vaping Mean for the Industry?
The popularity of vaping has risen massively in the last few years, in part due to its use as a smoking cessation tool. As the market continues to thrive, there have been a number of advancements in the field of vaping, from the devices themselves to the e-liquids that go into them. Furthermore, these advancements continue to change as time goes on. The question is then, where will vaping go next, and what does this mean for the industry as a whole?
Read on to find out more.
The number of vapers in Britain has seen a steady increase to around 3.6 million people, although that is only around half compared to the number of people who smoke cigarettes. The size of the market and its growth potential has created lucrative opportunities for businesses across the UK. Although this growth is somewhat impeded by the marketing regulations as set out by the advertising standards agency. Which strictly police when, where and how vaping can be advertised to British citizens.
The Impact on the Tobacco Industry
While there are vapers out there who have no history of smoking, the vast majority of those who vape today are thought to be ex or current smokers. As more people begin to turn away from cigarettes in favour of vapes, this obviously affects the cigarette industry. The smoking ban came into effect for the majority of the UK in 2007, although Scotland saw it in the year previous in 2006. Since the ban, the number of smokers in Britain has dropped while the number of vapers has risen.
With the growth of the vaping market, it would then seem that the tobacco industry is in decline, but this is not necessarily the case. On the contrary, there are still over 7 million smokers in Britain and even more across seas in countries like China or India. More than this, a lot of leading tobacco companies are buying out e-cigarette companies that allow them to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Why are People Making the Switch?
For the most part, it is because vaping is thought to be a lot safer and healthier than smoking. Cigarettes burn tobacco which then produces tar and carbon monoxide. On the other hand, e-cigarettes have a small chamber of liquid that is heated to produce vapour. The vapour itself may or may not contain nicotine as it is down to the individual to decide, but it does not contain tar or carbon monoxide, which is, in part, what makes cigarettes so harmful.
Because e-cigarettes are seen as less harmful than smoking tobacco, public health agencies actually encourage the use of them for smokers looking to give up their dependency on cigarettes. This is because nicotine is addictive, which makes it extremely hard to quit abruptly. This is why a lot of people opt to replace that habit with another habit that is far less detrimental to their health. In fact, smoking has so many different effects internally that it can take years for the body to repair itself completely from the damage.
As vaping became more and more popular, it became clear that there needed to be some regulations around vaping to ensure that it is safe for vapers. The Tobacco Products Directive came to encompass vape products into their regulations in 2016. Their goal was and is to protect consumers. In terms of vaping in Britain, this meant that the amount of nicotine in e-liquids is limited, and the size of the e-liquid containers themselves are also limited, among other things. The sellers of e-cigarettes and e-cigarette related products are also required to notify the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. These laws have made it more difficult for businesses to operate, although that being said, it hasn’t impeded the popularity of vaping much.
The question is then, because the EU sets out the Tobacco Products Directive and as of January 2021, the UK is no longer a part of it, will these regulations change again? The answer is not very satisfactory; for now, no one really knows. There have been some promises for a reappraisal of the vaping regulations in the UK when it left the EU, but so far, there have been no developments on that front. Most people believe that the government will not seek any reform of the Tobacco Products Directive’s regulations.
As the UK is likely to keep the regulations, does this mean that British businesses will need to adhere to any further iterations of the EU’s tobacco control? This, again, is difficult to answer because it is not as simple as the House of Commons picking and choosing which EU rules to follow. For British Vape companies who trade with EU member states, there will have to be some alignment with the regulations. As selling outside of the UK will mean that these rules need to be adhered to. However, in any case, it is likely that the UK will find some common ground with the EU in terms of social care, health, and harm reduction.
When vape shops first began to emerge on the scene, they were seen as odd, although they quickly began to pop up everywhere. This is because they were relatively easy to start up, requiring only a small investment. However, the surge was so big that there were concerns over the market saturation because the competition was fierce.
When online retailers began to establish themselves online, the industry really began to boom and vaping became big business. As vaping went more mainstream, many shops wanted a slice of the action, and so any shop that sold cigarettes also began to sell vapes. It makes sense, they already have a steady supply of customers, and by stocking vapes, they were opening up a new stream of revenue.
However, because of the growth vaping has seen and the advancements within vaping itself, there is still room for specialist retailers. Although vaping may have started off as an alternative to smoking and originally it was a niche activity, it has since become a culture in and of itself. There are people who love vaping despite having no history of smoking. There is a global vaping community online, and there are even vaping competitions where winners can go home with huge cash prizes.
Vaping comes in many different iterations; there is a huge choice in types of e-cigarettes and in the flavours of e-liquids too. This has meant that the industry can also attract all different types of buyers, from casual to dedicated vapers. The rise of vaping has been remarkable, and as such, a lot of giants in both the tobacco and the vaping industries have had to evolve in order to keep up. That being said, in the grand scheme of things, vaping is still fairly new, which means that the industry is likely to continue to see changes – especially in regulatory terms.