As an activity, vaping and the e-cigarette devices that its devotees use, have been around and very much on the rise for at least the last decade. Nowadays, contrary to popular belief, perhaps, many vapers aren’t former smokers (although there are still millions of the latter, of course, turning to e-cigs to kick their nasty tobacco habit). So, why is this? Just why has vaping become so popular across the Western world, nay the entire planet…?
So much to choose from
Although it first hit the market around 15 years ago, the modern e-cigarette went through few developmental changes, at first. The original e-cigs failed to establish themselves successfully, perhaps because they were specifically designed, appearance- and function-wise, to resemble standard cigarettes as much as possible; thus, to smokers (and non-smokers) they came off as rather silly, even vaguely ridiculous.
Over the last few years, though, things have undoubtedly changed, to the point that the e-cig has enjoyed a rapid evolution this decade – today there’s a vast array of different products available, providing a dizzying amount of choice for vaping customers. There’s everything from pen kit parts to starter kits and box mods to pod mods; the latter one of the hottest vaping developments of last year, enabling as they do the chance to add a pod (a detachable cartridge) of e liquid to a device, removing the need and effort for time-consuming refilling.
Another problem with early e-cigs was that they attempted to ape the tobacco-like flavour of standard ciggies (presumably to help court smokers), but didn’t taste enough like their well-established competition. In time then, e-cig manufacturers realised instead that the taste of their products ought to focus on the opposite, a choice of multiple flavours so they could be different enough to distinguish from standard cigarettes. And so, alongside the technological development of e-cigs, the fully flavoursome e-juices were born – and quickly became a hit, so much that today they’re phenomenally popular and a defining factor in what makes e-cigs so attractive to smokers (and non-smokers).
We’re talking flavours that are fruity (maybe, say, cherry or citrus) or dessert/ pudding-like (perhaps chocolate or caramel) or so many more. In fact, as the market evolves, we’re seeing increasingly bolder and more dynamic e-liquids made up of several different, high-quality blended flavours. And let’s not overlook the fact that, in addition to and complementing this wide choice of juice flavour, comes the control over what users vape thanks to their ever-evolving e-cig devices. Today’s equipment enables them not just to load up a device with whichever flavour they desire, but also to control the nicotine level and ‘hit’ strength. Fundamentally then, the experience isn’t just about delivering a cigarette alternative, but about delivering a choice you can control yourself, to a greater or lesser extent.
From sub-culture to the mainstream
And with great devices, great e-juices and great choices comes a loyal following. One that’s growing every day of every year. The use of e-cig devices started out as something of a curiosity, an opportunity to try something as an alternative to cigarettes (something hopefully healthier), but as the e-cig has evolved and matured, so too have the flavours (thanks to premium e-liquid) and the market itself, ensuring that e-cigs and the activity of vaping has grown to become a hobby as much as an activity for the most dedicated of vapers.
No surprise then that today there are major conventions all over the world at which manufacturers showcase their latest creations – their latest vaping devices and e-juice flavours. Vaping then hasn’t just moved beyond being cool to a select few to becoming cool to millions, it’s moved from being at the centre of a sub-culture to getting increasingly closer to the centre of the mainstream.
And the future?
The future is never easy to predict; of course, it isn’t. And, although they’re on a stratospheric upward curve at present, it’s only fair to point out that e-cigarettes and vaping look like they’ll be facing some challenges – especially as they’re facing these challenges currently. For the rise of e-cigs has been something of a bumpy one owing to many campaigners claiming they’re harmful; arguably as hazardous (thanks to their necessary chemical ingredients, given off when e-juice is heated in the device and then vaped and breathed in by the user) as conventional cigarettes.
Is this true? Well, the majority of solid scientific and sensible academic institutions are, for the time being, not backing this claim. They instead state that vaping is far less harmful than smoking and, therefore, a desirable alternative to help get smokers to give up on the ciggies and prevent them from harming their bodies any further or even killing themselves. So, so long as these experts are behind e-cigs and e-juices, the future of vaping ought to be strong. It’s already established a solid base of support and loyalty, so even should its extraordinary rise slow over the coming years, it shouldn’t be going away any time soon.