We as a nation have become increasingly health conscious over the last decade; with more of an emphasis being put upon living a healthy lifestyle, the relatively new e-cigarette industry has flourished quickly.
However, with the constant shifting of public opinion and introduction of new laws, rules and regulations, the future of the industry is difficult to predict.
Studies into the safety, benefits and potential pitfalls of e-cigarettes are being widely carried out by scientists, universities and more; many of these are finding that benefits of vaping far outweigh any negatives, and that e-cigs are certainly a healthier alternative to regular cigarettes.
Here at Vapourlites we conducted our own study whereby 5 smokers switched to vaping for 8 weeks and recorded alterations in lung capacity, general health and fitness, mood, cravings and lifestyle changes in general.
Our study found that the participants reported actual positive changes after making the switch from smoking to vaping, it a matter of 8 weeks. These changes included better ability to sleep and feeling more able to run long distances without stopping.
Our very own Charles Bloom – MD of Vapourlites and part owner of Vape Club – used his expertise in the field to give his take on what the future holds for the e-cigarette industry.
What was it that initially interested you in the e-cigarette industry?
We were actually running an online marketing agency when one of the big cig-a-like companies asked us to get them to the top spot on the search results. We managed this within 3 months but in doing so had we obviously had to get to know the products… we were smokers at the time. So it was through business that we discovered vaping and began to ditch the fags. As time progressed so did our love of vaping and the industry surrounding it – and we realised we had the potential to bring something to the market that nobody else had. So we bit the bullet and dived in. We haven’t looked back once!
It’s incredibly rare that you get an opportunity to join such a fast-growing industry that you are not only passionate about, but is also providing a genuine benefit to the customers. Despite all the day to day stresses, when you do stop for a minute to think about how many hundreds of thousands of people who’s lives won’t be ending so soon due to tobacco – well it’s a very good feeling!
What attracted me was really just how clever the device was, and of course the potential in saving many lives by getting people to switch from normal cigarettes to e-cigarettes.
How would you describe the current e-cigarette sales climate?
Constantly expanding, constantly changing, fluid and dynamic. The trends change almost as rapidly as the weather, but that’s part of the challenge and the excitement of being part of this young, innovative industry.
There are a lot of companies who are scared of the possible impact that the upcoming regulations will have, but from my perspective it will only help to increase the number of smokers who will give vaping a try. The regulations are far from perfect and do need some revisions as soon as possible, but they will give consumers confidence in the quality of the products they can buy and the efficacy of them. It should really lead to a rapid increase in the number of smokers taking that first step.
Our sales are increasing month on month, as more smokers are making the switch and after new TPD legislation comes in, we believe much more of the ‘fence sitters’ will move towards E-cigarettes and consequently a better future.
In your opinion, what percentages of your customers use e-cigarettes as a tobacco substitute?
Virtually 100%. There was a lot of conjecture about the ‘gateway’ effect, but it has never been substantiated with fact. In reality the facts show the opposite – there are an estimated 2.2 million vapers in the UK, but there are also 720,000 people who have switched from tobacco to vaping, and over time have also stopped vaping – so 720,000 people who now do not use nicotine in any form. The figures from ASH show just 0.2% of vapers were not formerly smokers – which would equate to about 4,400 at most. It doesn’t take a statistician to work out the trend here.
Speaking to some of the customers who visit our VAPE stores, I would say a very high percentage. Some have the crafty cigarette now and then, but once they see how well the device works, without that awful cigarette smell. There really is no turning back.
The BBC recently reported that e-cigarettes may become available on the NHS. How do you think this change will affect e-cigarette sales?
Introducing more smokers to vaping can only be a good thing – both in terms of public health, and in term of product sales. If more smokers make the switch then there is a larger customer base, so naturally sales will increase across the board.
IF e-cigs become available through the NHS it will not only increase sales for us, but also substantially affect the sales of tobacco in this country saving the NHS millions in the process.
Do you think there is any way in which this change could benefit e-cigarette businesses?
Of course! There are currently 2.2 million vapers in the UK, but there are still 8.8 million smokers. The more people that can be introduced to the benefits of switching and make the change then the bigger the pie becomes. Whether or not that pie gets shared into more slices or existing companies are able to get a bigger portion, it’s going to be fun finding out!!
It will help to normalise vaping and open up the vaping market to smokers who were potentially unsure of benefits.
Where do you see the e-cigarette industry in 5 years?
In the UK, five years from now I believe we will see the number of vapers equaling or even overtaking the number of smokers. With the turnaround from public health England and the overriding scientific support for vaping over smoking, coupled with increased consumer confidence due to regulation and positive media coverage it is simply a matter of time before smoking becomes the little fish in this pond. By this point you’ll see big tobacco buying up a lot more vaping companies than they already are!
In 5 years I would like to think the other 7-8million smokers – 50% of them will be using e cigarettes, especially with the industry being regulated.