By now, unless you have been hiding away for about ten years, you are probably well aware of what vaping is, and whether you have tried it yourself or not, you most likely know some people who can often be seen pulling on their e-cig. Vaping still feels like a fairly new thing, but in reality, it has been around longer than smartphones, and at this point is no longer a cool new discovery for the people who take it up.
Why Vaping Is Still Growing in Popularity
It is probably safe to say it has moved beyond being a hipster trend, and is now a fairly mainstream lifestyle choice. However, it is still growing in popularity, with more products coming onto the market to target people who vape all the time.
So, what is helping vaping grow now that the initial novelty has worn off?
When vaping products like e-cigs and e-liquids first hit the market, they were seen only as an alternative to smoking cigarettes or using more established nicotine replacement therapies like nicotine patches, gums, inhalers and lozenges. However, where other forms of nicotine replacement were seen as purely medicinal, vaping actually started to develop a culture of its own. Now there are all kinds of websites and communities dedicated to vaping, something that was never really seen with things like patches, and people tend to want to enjoy vaping rather than just use it as a means to an end for giving up cigarettes.
Vaping culture now even includes people making their own recipes for e-liquids to achieve different tastes, and people who compete to make the biggest vapor clouds. Vaping aficionados know all about the different types of bases used for e-liquids, what their preferences are, and what changing the balances does to flavor and ‘throat hit’. There are entire communities offering up information on all of this that people who are interested in vaping can join to learn more about it, and the growth of the whole culture around using e-cigs is probably a big contributing factor to the way vaping continues to grow.
Effectively, it is the vaping culture that makes vaping feel more like a lifestyle than simply a choice of product or method of smoking cessation.
As you might expect, the fact a culture has developed around vaping means that there are far more products available to those who are into it. Just about every conceivable flavor of e-liquid is now available, and there are lots of choices in terms of what those e-liquids are made of, and how much nicotine they contain. Some e-liquids don’t contain any nicotine at all, and are designed to replace the habitual part of smoking once the nicotine addiction has been tapered off. There are specialist e-liquid manufacturers who offer e-liquids to specific markets, for instance e-liquids that are vegan or kosher.
As well as more choice in terms of what to vape, there are also lots of different devices available for vaping with different looks and features, including lights and other cosmetic details. The technology is always improving too, as with any other electronics, and so things like charge time and battery life are always getting better. In many ways, e-cigs have become like smartphones in that there is a huge range of choice from cheap, disposable options through to high-end premium products with exceptional battery life and stylish features. Just like smartphones, there is also the supplementary market for e-cig cases and accessories, adding even more consumer choice.
All of this makes vaping something people can do in their own way, with a lot of choice to match their own tastes. This is something that no nicotine replacement therapy previously offered, and even smoking tobacco never presented the same range of choice for gadgets, accessories and flavors.
New Ways of Using Vaping
An interesting growth area within the vaping sector is the use of cannabis oil e-liquids, rather than nicotine based ones. Cannabis oils are designed to contain the beneficial cannabis compounds that have been shown to help with a huge range of health issues, but not significant amounts of THC. It is the THC in cannabis that causes the psychoactive effects associated with using marijuana – including the high, the munchies, and other side effects like paranoia, a dry mouth and glazed eyes. Hemp oil, or CBD oil as it is also known, can therefore be used to help with things like stress, pain and insomnia, without the user feeling stoned. Using CBD oils also doesn’t have the legal issues associated with using medicinal or recreational marijuana, although the small amounts of THC present in them can cause you to fail a drug test, even though they aren’t enough to get you high.
With more and more people interested in getting the benefits of CBD oil, a market for e-liquids that allow you to take it by vaping, rather than taking the oil orally, has grown. A lot of people who do this don’t use vaping for nicotine replacement, but as an enjoyable way to use the oil for health benefits. It will be interesting to see whether similar markets spring up around using vaping as a way of taking other supplements or medicines.
Smoking Is Becoming Ever More Stigmatized
Another reason why vaping continues to be on the rise is that smoking cigarettes continues to become more and more stigmatized. As smoking becomes a more and more antisocial activity, those who smoke continue to look to vaping as an alternative.
While vaping has not yet been proven to be completely safe as it hasn’t been around long enough for any long term studies to conclude its effects, the general consensus is that it is less harmful to the user than smoking tobacco. This is a reason in itself for people to make the switch, but more prescient to this point is the fact that people generally don’t consider people vaping around them to be harmful, problematic or even especially annoying, unlike smoking cigarettes or cigars.
Vaping doesn’t give people the same concerns about secondhand smoke as none of the harmful compounds found in tobacco smoke are present in the vapor created by e-cigs and e-liquids. E-liquids are also designed to give off a pleasant smell, rather than the tobacco smell many non-smokers so dislike. It also doesn’t cause the same lingering smell on clothes and hair, or stain things.
Nevertheless, vaping isn’t permitted in a lot of places where smoking is not allowed. This is mainly because it is difficult to tell by looking if someone is vaping or breaking the smoking ban. However, if you are at a party or in another private social event, there is far less stigma associated with vaping there than smoking, so many people choose to vape rather than stepping outside to smoke. This means that some people start vaping purely for social reasons, whereas others continue to smoke cigarettes but get into vaping as well for the occasions where they don’t want to be seen with a cigarette in their hand or worry about offending anyone with their smoke.
Vaping Can Be Convenient
It isn’t just that it is possible to vape in some situations where you cannot smoke, either. Vaping can be a more convenient way for people who smoke to get their nicotine than cigarettes, as in general it takes far less time to take a few puffs on an e-cig than to smoke a cigarette, and it also doesn’t leave behind ash, butts and other waste that you have to worry about finding a proper place to dispose of. Keeping stocked up on e-liquids and keeping your e-cig charged can also (once you are used to doing it), be more convenient than having to buy packs of cigarettes. Many people are also not allowed to smoke in the rented properties they live in or choose not to smoke inside their homes to avoid smells or because they live with non-smokers or kids. Vaping gives them a far more convenient option than going outside.
As people are busy and prioritize convenience over almost anything else when it comes to their consumer decisions, it is clear that vaping has an edge over smoking on that front.
Vaping Can Cost Less
As vaping becomes more popular it also becomes cheaper due to the economics of supply and demand and the fact there is more competition in the market. This means that, for many smokers, switching to vape can actually save them money. Some people even learn how to make their own e-liquids so that they can save more money that way.
Whether you are a vaper or aren’t a big fan of it, the growth in vaping in recent years has shown that it is more than a passing fad, and is a market that is likely to continue to grow. Whether it will ever completely replace smoking remains to be seen, as will whether it turns out to be as safe as its proponents claim it to be in the long term, however it is certainly an interesting market to watch.