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Vaping and a Crystal Ball

1st Feb 2017

From its early days to present day, the vaping industry has no so much grown as it has positively exploded! Becoming an overnight sensation around the world, vaping has gone from being relatively unknown to being commonly seen and widely accepted.

In the early days some were skeptical however that's to be expected given that vaping was very new and not many could differentiate between vaping and tobacco smoking.

These days we are well aware that tobacco smoking is bad. This we know with certainty as research proves it and legislation (such as Smoke Free England for example) backs this up. Given the fact that WHO (the World Health Organisation) has classified a number of the ingredients found in the common tobacco cigarette as being harmful to health, i.e. cancer causing, and that the effects of passive smoking have been proven without a doubt, there is little doubt that tobacco smoking is something that should be avoided.

Health professionals have been telling smokers for many years that they need to give up the weed, pack up their baccy and to live healthier lives. That's all very well and good in theory however being told to quit and wanting to quit, particularly when something 1) gives you pleasure and 2) is something that you are addicted to, is easier than it sounds. The introduction of vaping has given smokers an "out". It's no longer a case of all or nothing and not so surprising that some health organisations, as well as researchers are keen to advocate the use of e cigarettes as an alternative to smoking or as a cessation device to help people quit.

That's pretty much sums up where we are right now with regards to vaping. We have vaping cafes now, vaping is getting the nod from doctors and nurses (although hasn't been given the 100% perfect, recommended, better than sliced bread seal of approval yet) and while vaping in the media is still very much a sensationalist thing, as an industry we've come a long way.

So what's next? What does the future hold for vaping and what can we expect to see in the next twelve months or so? While some things are on the cards (as in we've already seen the beginning of these changes or whisperings as the very least), there are other "things" we, as a community of vapers would like to see happening.

For example:

• With the grey area that is Brexit the trade routes between the UK and the EU could remain open, they could close for a time, they may be limited and it could cost us more to import / export e cigarettes, e liquids and related items.
While this may be a blow to some there is solace in the knowledge that the UK does have manufacturing bases here at "home".

• If "we" leave the EU as has been proposed, the TPD regulations which are set to have a seriously detrimental effect on the vaping industry if enforced may not be the problem we once feared it would be. These tobacco related sanctions and regulations are EU regulations and at this point it is unclear what law and legislation formed as part of the EU will be transferred into British law and what will not. While it is likely that the TPD will still exist in some post-Brexit way there is some wiggle room for those unhappy with the current restrictions to have a say in the way forward. In theory.

That said, who knows what "new" regulations could then be put in place if the UK rejects the EU TPD legislation. It's a tricky one, and a topic to watch with interest as the coming year unfolds.

• 2017/2018 may see e cigarettes edging closer to becoming officially recognised by the NHS as a cessation device, perhaps even becoming something that could be available on prescription. While this is not something that would happen overnight, mainly because there are a huge number of hoops to jump through, a larger number of official stamps to be obtained and no doubt a boatload of money to be sourced in order to push through the necessary registrations and past the miles of red tape, many would like to see the beginning of this officially adoption within the next year.

• As research has shown, over the past year(s) the uptake of vaping has been attributed to the number of individuals choosing to give up smoking. Given this (very positive on the health front) trend, it would be prudent to expect that the numbers of individuals taking up tobacco smoking as new smokers and smokers in general to continue to drop as more and more turn to vaping to help them quit smoking altogether or to enjoy as a significantly healthier hobby!

• The media. If you have Facebook, watch the news, listen to the radio or read a newspaper there is a very good chance that you have seen sensationalist pieces about exploding e cigarettes. In 2017 we would like to see more responsible (honest) reporting, citing full facts in these cases, for example the cause of the majority of these mishaps being due to individuals deciding to go against manufacturer instructions and warnings and to try and modify their device using the wrong sort of battery (etc). Oh how we'd love to see the end of irresponsible reporting! Similarly we'd love our crystal ball to see the media referencing more pro-vaping research (of which there is much) rather than negativity, despite the fact that negativity and alarming deadlines sells better.

• There have been whispers (made louder by the fact that Apple put a patent application in for their own vaporizer last year) that Apple may be considering joining the industry as a front-runner. The information on this is sparse, indeed is little more than rumour-based conjecture based on a single patent at the moment however some would say where there's vapour there is vaping....

• It isn't beyond the realm of possibility to see tobacco companies moving towards vaping themselves in the near future. While tobacco smoking is still a very large and very well-established industry there is no escaping or denying the fact that vaping is on the rise and tobacco smoking is in decline. We expect to see more money from tobacco companies being funneled into vaping-related research and manufacturing over the next twelve months and beyond.

• Talking of research, our vaping crystal ball expects and continues to hope for as much research as possible into vaping as a whole and vaping vs tobacco smoking. The more research into vaping and reports which show the difference between these two (there's really no comparison), the easier and quicker official and public acceptance of vaping will come around. Parts of the US for example are locked down as far as vaping is concerned (much to the disgust of tobacco harm reduction groups over there) and so the more proven pro-vaping data out there, the less likely people/governing bodies are to keep up the anti-vaping tirades etc. In theory.

In truth, between the current uncertainty in the UK and the US especially it is hard to accurately foretell what will happen in the vaping industry over the next 12 months or so. That said, we can but hope, we can wonder and we can work to further the vaping cause in order to allow many more enjoy the benefits of vaping and escape the potential harm from tobacco smoking.

What would you like to see / do you expect to see happening with the vaping industry over the next year or so?

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