The vaping industry moves quickly. It’s constantly evolving to meet the tastes and demands of its discerning fans, and to weather the ever shifting legal and regulatory stance of governments and health bodies. In this article, we’ll take a look at our predictions for what 2020 holds in store for vaping.
2019 was a challenging year for vapers and the vaping industry. Exaggerated and misleading news led to knee-jerk restrictions and junk science. Through it all, officials from the UK and the rest of Europe remained stoic on their stance that vaping is, and always has been, the most effective way to quit smoking for good. The majority of European vapers were undeterred by the happenings stateside and the market continued its trajectory of growth.
So, in 2020, we predict that there will be two very distinct sides to the vaping trends. One from a European perspective where innovation is very much based on ‘business as usual’, and one from an American angle where innovation will be required to comply with (and circumvent) impulsive restrictions and regulations. This second angle will be particularly important to help vapers stay off the cigarettes, or stay away from the black market.
With all that in mind, here are our predictions for the vaping industry in 2020.
Improvements to vape pods
Since vape pods first started to gain popularity in 2018, they’ve certainly come a long way. In 2020 we expect to see them continue to improve.
Once the sole domain of the mouth-to-lung (MtL) vaper, demand from the sub-ohm market means that pod kits will become more flexible. Adjustable power settings, longer battery life, more pod coil options, and better compatibility with nic salt e-liquids will become common across pod manufacturers.
More nic salt options
Last year we predicted that nic salts would
a) become more ubiquitous, and
b) would start to cater for sub-ohm vapers with lower nicotine strengths.
Well, we were pretty much spot on!
Our nic salt e-liquid ranges have gone through the roof in the past 12 months, with most of the major e-liquid manufacturers releasing their own range. Also, salt nic shots for short fill vape juice is rivalling freebase nic shots in popularity.
We’ve also seen manufacturers like Pod Salt and Just Juice releasing 11mg versions of their nic salt liquids, and many brands including KSTRD and Anarchist now have 10mg as an option. However, for most sub-ohmers, the lower nicotine strengths now available haven’t gone quite low enough - yet!
Therefore, we’re continuing our prediction from last year that e-liquid manufacturers will find a way to go to 6mg or even 3mg to capture more of the Direct Lung (DtL) market.
Changes to branding and messages
2019 was quite the rollercoaster for vaping across the pond. After the outbreak of EVALI in the latter part of the year, we were subjected to a few months of “will they, won’t they?” regarding actually banning e-cigarettes.
First people were advised not to vape at all; then POTUS Donald Trump announced that the FDA would ban every flavour of e-liquid instead of tobacco; next, President Trump changed his mind after his political advisers warned him not to alienate the passionate and vociferous vaping community. At the time of writing of this article, Trump is now looking to shift the authority for the regulation of tobacco and e-cigarettes away from the FDA altogether.
The White House's budget request for the upcoming fiscal year proposes making the Center for Tobacco Products independent of the FDA.
The approach of the FDA is to crack down on specific products (such as Juul) and flavours, which pushes smokers back to cigarettes (or onto the black market). With the proposed changes to the federal responsibility of vaping products, we will hopefully see them take a sensible regulatory approach such as the TPD regulations that govern products sold in the UK and the EU.
If this happens, expect to see branding of e-liquids become far more subtle as US manufacturers strive to avoid being seen as trying to attract children with colours and characters.
Caffeinated e-liquids and vaporisers
The jury is definitely out on whether this is a good idea or not; or whether it’s even safe. However, there is a definite shift towards caffeine vaporisers and caffeinated e-liquids becoming popular.
Instead of coffee beans, the caffeine is extracted from ingredients such as guarana, taurine, or ginseng. While a standard cup of coffee contains anything up to 200mg of caffeine, each caffeinated puff contains far less.
It is designed to attract people who want their caffeine fix, without the sugar and calories associated with caffeinated drinks. It also avoids the ‘crash’ that people experience within an hour of consuming these types of beverages.
The main issue with this innovation is the risk of people increasing their caffeine consumption to unsafe levels. Too much caffeine can cause increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, diarrhoea, and can even trigger anxiety. However, a moderate amount of caffeine has been linked to longer life expectancy.
There are already caffeine vaporisers available in the States. However, as we are governed by the TPD regulations which ban caffeine as an ingredient in vape products, you won’t find any on our shelves. That means that if you do see any UK retailers promoting caffeine vapes, they won’t be regulated and you should exercise extreme caution.
If/when the TPD is revised, we will reconsider our position as we will be confident that the products are safe and high quality.
2020 vaping trends takeaways
The trends for the vaping industry this year will definitely be a game of two halves - either half straddling the Atlantic Ocean. We will have to see what 2020 holds for vapers Stateside; however, we anticipate that we’ll start to see the truth emerging from the fictitious and panic stricken headlines, and sensible regulation overtaking senseless prohibition.
Once this happens, the vaping industry can get back to doing what it does best: innovating rather than fire-fighting. We’re quietly confident that 2020 will be less of a challenge than 2019 was. Fingers crossed!