What is behind the rapid growth of the 'vaping' industry?
E-cigarettes are on the rise, there’s no denying it. Just last year, e-cig use had grown by 24 per cent on the previous year, with 2.6 million adults using them in the UK alone. What’s behind this rapid growth? It could be the report that Public Health England released stating that e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes by up to 95 per cent, or it could have been the relaxed laws around the usage of them.
While we can speculate on this, the fact remains that sales continue to surge. In the UK, the e-cigarette industry has become one of the fastest-growing supermarket products by volume and value, with a 50 per cent year on year increase to around 17.3 million units last year as more and more people become aware and interested in the technology. Whether these users are turning to them as a quitting aid to regular tobacco cigarettes or as a healthier alternative is a source of debate but the figures speak for themselves, e-cigarettes are on the up.
While the online marketplace is at bursting point, more and more stores are showing up on the high street to cash in on the trend too. But is this rapid growth sustainable?
The 'Global E Cigarette & Vaporizer Market – Analysis & Forecast Through 2015 to 2025' report speculates that the industry will continue to grow globally at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of over 22 per cent from 2015 to 2025, witnessing a monumental growth until 2017 when it is forecast that regulatory and policy framework will be in place across the globe. In this ten-year period it is theorised that the industry will grow by $50 billion – a staggering amount of money.
But is regulation and policy the biggest stumbling block between e-cigarettes dominating the nicotine landscape and disappearing in a puff of its own vape?
In May, the Tobacco Products Directive will be reassessed by member states of the European Union to further regulate the production and sale of e-cigarettes across the continent. On the agenda includes new limitations on the size of e-liquid, a limit on the size of tanks/clearomisers, and nicotine strength being limited to 20mg to restrict potential nicotine poisoning. Perhaps the biggest regulation being tabled for the Tobacco Products Directive is prohibiting nicotine dosage, meaning that e-cigarettes will have to provide a consistent nicotine dose rather than dosage being dependant on the way the e-liquid is inhaled.
Though on paper these changes to regulation wouldn’t have any major impact on the overall e-cigarette industry, one cause for concern is a caveat that if a ‘competent authority’ such as a healthcare professional convinces three EU countries to ban an e-cigarette product – whether it’s a tank or a brand of e-liquid – on grounds of it being a potential health risk, then that product will have to be banned across the entire European Union. Scary stuff.
Be that as it may, several investment firms are closely monitoring the e-cigarette industry with the CAGR being an enticing prospect for them and projected income being a major temptation.
Edward Swain writes on behalf of Vape Superstore.
See also: Mis-selling: a growing problem