It didn’t take e-cigs long to catch on once they reached the United States and Europe. The idea of electronic cigarettes was sci-fi though not new. There were many early attempts and patents. It wasn’t until 2003 when the first commercialized e-cig hit the markets.
By 2008, e-cigs were recognized as a smoking alternative. By the 2010s, the market hit its stride and formed into what we have today.
But, why have so many switched from tobacco to vaping? What were the pivotal developments in this growing industry? Let’s find out.
The Tobacco Industry takes a Loss
On June 22, 2009, President Obama signed into law the “Family Smoking Prevention and Control Act”. This gave the FDA complete control of the tobacco market which quickly led to bans on flavored tobacco products.
Around this same time, organizations, groups, and media portrayed a negative image of electronic cigarettes. In many ways, it was a similar playbook prompting hysteria consumers found with alcohol and marijuana prohibition.
This lead to several setbacks for the e-cig industry:
- Outright sale bans in certain markets
- Payment processing accounts were frozen
- Lawsuits and litigation aimed at sellers
Then, by 2010-2011, the tides were turning…
Several medical journals and studies found vaping an effective tool to quit smoking. E-cig organizations formed, major tobacco suppliers entered the alternative market, and lobbying grew.
Late 2016 saw a change in FDA regulations. The market had decided. And today? E-cigs have become $1 billion+ industry.
Though the legal battle continues…
The Consumer Shift in Awareness and Demand
Tobacco use in the United States has been on a slow decline since a high peak in the mid-2000s. Yet, worldwide tobacco use is reaching an all-time high.
Youth tobacco use in the United States follows a similar path. Usage has decreased. E-cig use has grown, though, along with hookah and smokeless tobacco product use.
What are some of the contributing factors?
- Quality — Early e-cigs replicated the look and feel of traditional cigarettes. Modern vaping equipment are robust and provide better “hits”. These items are also mod-able thus creating a sub-culture.
- Flavors — The ban on flavored cigarettes removed a large chunk of consumers. E-liquid manufacturers capitalized and refined their concoctions. Coincidentally, the best e-juice and vape juice flavors mimic those most sought after during the ban like berry flavors and mint.
- Choice — Consumers are finding it a convenient alternative to tobacco usage. There are fewer moments of “downtime” since vaping is an acceptable alternative in many locations.
- Aid — Studies continue with learning about the long-term effects of vaping. The variable levels of nicotine found in e-juice give consumers an alternative to traditional patches, gums, and medications for quitting.
- Sub-culture — Mods, apparel, vaping tournaments, and trades are commonplace with many e-cig users. This has created a new sub-culture of consumerism giving users an identity and network.
Many have found vaping a positive alternative to tobacco. They’ve used vaping as a means to quit by lowering their nicotine usage incrementally.
Likewise, youth users often avoid vaping beyond 0mg nicotine juice. These individuals may try vaping but they’re completely avoiding the addictive properties so many would experience if tobacco were their first introduction to the chemical.
It’s One or the Other
This access to e-cigs and e-liquids have helped many quit smoking. Yet, there are those “double dipping” with their nicotine consumption.
A smoker will continue their tobacco consumption and supplement gap time with e-cig usage.
This is detrimental.
Nicotine — even when chemicals from tobacco are removed — is a health risk. This includes increased blood pressure, irritation, and gastro disorders.
The ideal situation is to quit nicotine.
- Cold turkey
- Patches & gums
- E-cig “staging”
… all place users on the path to healthier lifestyles.
In the end, the choice is on the consumer. It’s great we have these options available.