Photo by John Caroro on Unsplash
With millions of people turning to e-cigarettes and vapes as a way to make the switch from smoking – or simply as a recreational activity – it’s important to examine the impact and growth of this industry on public health, the environment, and the economy.
The vaping industry in the UK began to gain traction around 2010 and, initially, e-cigarettes were met with scepticism, but as more and more people turned to vaping as a means to switch from smoking, the industry experienced rapid growth. As of 2021, it is estimated that there are around 3.2 million vapers in the UK, with the majority being former smokers who switched to vaping.
Why do people choose to vape?
People in the UK choose to vape for various reasons. Some of the most common include:
- Smoking cessation – vaping is often used as a way to quit, as it can provide a similar experience with fewer harmful chemicals
- Recreation and socialisation – vaping is often seen as a social activity, with people gathering to try new flavours and devices, whether in social groups or at vaping conferences and competitions
- Discreteness and convenience – vaping devices tend to produce less odour than traditional cigarettes, making them more discreet and socially acceptable in certain situations. Moreover, e-cigarettes are often more convenient to use and can be maintained, unlike cigarettes
- Cost savings – vaping can be more cost-effective than smoking, as the cost of e-liquids and coils is often lower than buying cigarettes regularly
- Is vaping better than smoking? Several studies have shown that vaping may be a less harmful alternative to smoking. Public Health England has stated that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than traditional tobacco cigarettes, as they contain fewer toxic chemicals and carcinogens. However, it’s important to note that vaping is not risk-free, and more research is needed to fully understand its long-term effects.
Despite the potential benefits of vaping, the public has expressed concerns, including:
● The health impacts of vape liquid
● Battery explosions and device malfunctions on cheaply made models
● Worry that the appeal of vaping, especially with flavoured e-liquids, may lead to nicotine addiction among youth
● Some argue that vaping could lead non-smokers, particularly young people, to eventually try traditional cigarettes
It is important to keep these concerns in mind when deciding whether or not to vape, but current studies have found the practice to be widely safe and a much better alternative to smoking in many ways.
The rise of disposable vapes.
Disposable vapes gained popularity around 2018 due to their convenience, affordability, and wide range of flavours and designs. Users can simply discard them once they’re empty, without needing to recharge or refill.
However, disposable vapes pose several concerns, such as:
● Environmental impact – the disposable nature of these devices contributes to waste and pollution, and they are often made cheaply
● Lack of regulation – many disposable vapes come from unregulated manufacturers, raising questions about the quality and safety of the products, as well as the contents of the vape liquid
● Potential health risks – as with any vaping product, there are potential health risks associated with disposable vapes, especially when used long-term
Reusable vape products from reliable retailers are designed to be safer, functional, and cost-effective. By purchasing vape liquid from a trusted supplier, you can be assured that the liquid you use complies with the UK’s health regulations.
The effects of COVID-19 lockdown and the cost-of-living crisis on the vaping industry
The COVID-19 lockdowns and the cost-of-living crisis have had a significant impact on the vaping industry. Changes in consumer behaviour, such as increased online shopping and reduced social gatherings, have altered the demand for vaping products. Additionally, supply chain disruptions have led to shortages and delays in the availability of devices and e-liquids.
On top of everything else, the financial strain caused by the cost-of-living crisis has affected both consumers and businesses within the industry, potentially leading some vapers to cut back on their purchases or seek cheaper alternatives.
And yet, the vaping industry in the UK has experienced remarkable growth and has become an integral part of many people’s lives. While there is evidence to suggest that vaping is a less harmful alternative to smoking, it is crucial to address public concerns and potential dangers associated with this activity.
The future of the vaping industry will likely depend on continued research, effective regulation, and responsible innovation to ensure the well-being of both the consumers and the environment.