Within the last year, the vaping phenomenon has been in the spotlight and is now seen as a viable alternative for smokers worldwide.
Smokers all over the world are starting to seriously consider the possibility of switching from smoking to vaping -- some because they want to go cold turkey, others because they want to avoid the flavour of cigarettes.
Whatever their reasons are, the number of vapers has certainly been spiking in the past year or two.
The Vape Climate
Since vaping is relatively new compared to cigarette smoking, there is a lot that may seem difficult to understand.
More than whether to vape or not, questions such as – is vaping safe? Is vaping bad for health? What are some of the vaping regulations? Has vaping reached its peak in Asia or certain markets? - have yet to be answered.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) remains skeptical about the potential of e-cigarettes and is currently in talks at the 7th Conference of Parties (COP7) in New Delhi, India with other smoking health officials and activists to figure out ways to stop the rise of cigarette smoking.
Statistics indicate that the global e-cigarette market is expected to grow over $50 billion by 2025, at an estimated CAGR of 22.36% from 2015 to 2025.
There will be an amazing amount of growth until 2017, which is when most of the regulatory and policy frameworks are expected to take effect. In APAC and Europe, there will also be a significant increase in revenue generated from this market.
What Is The Average Vape User Like?
Consider this: it has been 10 years since you have been smoking. You have tried the patch, the pill and the gum and none of them have worked. In a final attempt to quit cigarette smoking, you switch over to e-cigs.
Fast forward to the future where you don’t crave cigarettes anymore. Your sense of smell has improved, and with the thousands of available flavours, you manage to find one that works for you.
But with the uncertainties about the vape regulations and health reports, you are not sure what to expect and all you can do is hope the government will see the good side of it.
One out of 10 users could possibly relate to the above sentiments. During the transition period, the average vape user spends a lot of time learning about the safety of e-cigs or vape before they take the leap. Unsafe practices and the flip-flopping by the regulatory board remains a mystery to the average vape user.
So, Is Vaping Safe?
With countless news reports and highly sensationalised headlines stating that “E-cigarettes are no safer than smoking tobacco, scientists warn,” it can be hard to place a finger on what call you should take.
A detailed analysis on vaping by Public Health England concluded that e-cigarettes are about 95% less harmful than smoking. Even when they do contain nicotine, the liquids used in vaporisers do not have such high concentrations compared to cigarettes.
Further details in the report state that the residual 5% is the harm of nicotine addiction. Nicotine addiction, however, isn't a big cause for concern as it's comparable to caffeine addiction.
Rather than ask if vaping is safe, the right question would be whether it's safer than smoking.
The safety boils down to the way the "smoke" is produced. With smoking, tobacco and about 4,000 other chemicals are combusted and as they are lit, the myriad chemicals are inhaled by the user.
This presents unhealthy risks that creates a lot of carcinogens. With vaping, There are far fewer carcinogens.
The Dual Users – Vape and Smoke. Possible?
Vaping is sometimes not the end to smoking. There are still a small percentage of users who would prefer to alternate between the two, depending on their mood and what works for them. The concern lies with the fact that dual use is evidence that e-cigarettes do not help users quit smoking, but rather, gives one another reason to continue smoking.
In an industry where it is hard to please everyone, the choice to vape or not to vape, and to smoke or not to smoke requires understanding of a person’s motivation. The average user will choose the trial and error method to test what works for him or her.
If the public decides that vaping will be a viable method to quit smoking, or to use it as a hobby while still taking an occasional puff, there is no stopping in applying restraining forces to the dynamic vape and cigarette smoking market.
The Vaping Scenario in Europe and Asia
Vaping has boomed in popularity in several countries across Europe and Asia. Take a stroll through the streets in certain countries like France, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Philippines and London, and you will see hordes of people puffing nicotine vapour into the air.
Countries like France and Belgium have most recently become the latest country to come out in favour of e-cigarettes, agreeing that it is an effective tool for smokers who are looking to reduce or replace tobacco.
At the EU level, the debate on e-cigarettes is intensifying with British MEPs taking steps against what they have branded ‘restrictive’ new EU rules covering the sale of e-cigarettes.
A Google search result on the growing interest in vaping also shows that countries like United Kingdom, Ireland, Malaysia and Philippines have a growing interest. The rise of custom e-cigarettes and e-juice products are on the rise despite having unclear laws and restrictions in certain countries.
In the Philippines, the government does not impose a law on e-cigarettes because it is seen as art as compared to the rest of the world. The only known law is for people to use e-cigarettes in designated smoking areas. While in Malaysia, proactive action and vaping regulations are expected from the government by end of this year, which will determine the future of vaping business in the country.
So, What Does This Mean?
The vaping industry is a complex one, and it is only a matter of time before there are firm responses and updates from the government, as well as long-term studies to determine the future of it.
Vaping to fulfil cravings, or taking the leap from cigarette smoking is well underway. It is no surprise that people are taking actionable steps and informed decisions over one’s lifestyle choices to consider options like e-cigarettes, or vaping. The constant fuss over smoking vs vaping, tobacco vs e-cigarettes and so on would no longer be an issue and compel the average user to make an independent decision.
From smoking to vaping, or a newbie vape user, what made you switch to vaping? Tell us in the comments below.