It’s prediction time again!
Last year we invited some of the top ten vaping bloggers to share their predictions for the future of vaping. This year we have got a mix of last’s years bloggers (interesting, as several look back at their predictions for 2013) as well as some new personalities to get some new points of view.
Let’s see what they think is going to happen in 2014… and don’t forget to share your own predictions in the comments!
1. A Crucial Year for ECigs
Dr JF Etter: Stop Tabac
2014 will be a crucial year, with new regulations applying to e-cigs in the US, the EU and elsewhere. The impact of these legislations cannot be overestimated (700’000 persons die each year in the EU from smoking-related diseases, and 430’000 in the US).
The outcome of the legislative process is unpredictable, and will largely depend on the mobilization of vapers and e-cig companies (who, against most predictions, defeated the medicines regulation in the EU Parliament on Oct 8, 2013).
Looking at the regulation of snus (a relatively safe tobacco product, prohibited in most European countries), there are reasons to be pessimistic. On the other hand, even if e-cigs are tightly regulated, it will be impossible to ban all unregulated products. This phenomenon is just too large, and you cannot stop a tsunami just by waving a piece of paper. Unregulated products will be sold on the black market, which will be worse than the current situation (see what happens with illicit drugs).
Nevertheless, 2014 will see a continued rise in the adoption of e-cigs (we are still in the “early adopters / early majority” stages of the innovation curve), but sales will soon reach a ceiling, because current e-cigs do not deliver nicotine quickly enough. To ensure that most smokers switch to e-cigs, products will need to improve, in particular by using freebase nicotine, or protonated nicotine (that is, by controlling the pH of the vapor).
I predict that the e-cig manufacturers who best control the speed of nicotine delivery to the brain will dominate the e-cig market (although increasing the speed of nicotine delivery will be controversial, because it will make e-cigs more addictive). The success of e-cigs will force us to reconsider the place of nicotine in the law and in society, to make room for new nicotine product (including addictive ones). This is one of the most important public health debates in recent decades.
2. Get Ready For A Monumental Backlash
Lindsay Fox: ECigarette Reviewed
2014 is going to be an important year for vaping. The FDA has thus far dragged its heels, missing deadlines and keeping its cards pretty close to its chest, but the hammer of regulation will finally crash down in 2014. Previously, they’ve treated e-cigarettes with the level of fear you’d expect from a cave man confronted with a smart phone, but they’ve had plenty of time to think and are likely to be a bit more reasonable than they’ve seemed in the past.
Regardless, something – be it a senseless nicotine limit, restrictions on flavors, bans on refillable cartridges and e-liquids or something else entirely – will piss vapers off and cause a monumental backlash. It’s likely to be a chaotic one. And yes, in 2014, people will still be stupid enough to say e-liquid flavors are designed to lure children into tobacco addiction.
From a technological perspective, I’m hoping to see more of the sort of innovation in design and increasing availability of e-cigs we’ve seen in 2013. The industry is maturing, and as well as seeing more cig-a-like models sitting alongside tobacco cigs in stores, 2014 may mark the year when traditional retailers realize that most vapers don’t use them!
As familiarity increases, I hope we start to see some dependable APVs or at least more eGos in stores, so curious smokers may start getting their hands on devices that perform better. However, the politics may take precedence over the technology in 2014.
3. The end of the “gold rush”???
Jo Petner: Vaper Joes
This will be a stressful year for the vaping community. This year may be the end of the “gold rush”. We are currently in the wild west of the ecig industry and the heavy hand of the FDA may come in a sweep that off the table. Enforcement will take time. With loop holes and court battles – we may not see any enforcement until 2015. I predict this will effect physical store locations first. It’s far easier to enforce something when you can ring the door bell. Online line sales are harder to enforce. Contrary to popular belief the FDA cannot ban online sales – they can only make it difficult to sell.
There will be new innovations this year. Brandon from Evolv has told me that they plan to turn the industry again – much like they did with variable wattage. With a statement like that – I’m sure they won’t disappoint.
Over the last year we have been inundated with mechanicals. The market for the high end mechanical will come to an end. The market as we speak is starting to crack, and will continue to tank throughout the year. If you have them, sell them now.
China will begin producing many different styles of 26650 devices. The market has been screaming for them over the last year with few to fill the void. China is already in the works on 4-5 different devices with a 2014 release.
Bottom feeders may make a comeback. Vaping always goes in circles and the bottom feeder is the last style of mod that hasn’t had its resurgence. I have seen more and more people at vape meets using them. When China clones the REO – you know there’re back.
Juice will continue to become more and more boutique style with fancier packaging, labels, and unique shaped bottles. The juice itself will probably stay the same, but we will convince ourselves its better because we just paid $40.00 for 30ml.
4. Things Will Start Getting Dire
Steve from Steve’s Vaping World
Last year James invited me to make my predictions for the e-cigarette industry in 2013. I have to admit my predictions were somewhat pessimistic. Before I move on to 2014, let’s see how I did last time when I predicted:
The FDA would finally release its draft regulations (along with what I thought they would look like).
Thanks to the government shutdown, this one so far hasn’t come to be. Though I am writing this in early
December, and the FDA still seems intent to get something out this year. So, for now I seem to have missed the mark.
Prohibitionists would redouble their efforts and lean heavily on the gateway theories and protecting the children. I think I nailed that one.
The TPD would come back to haunt Europe. Technically this happened between the time I wrote that and when the article got published. But the TPD was mostly defeated and now is once again casting an unsightly shadow across the continent. – I’ll claim that one as well.
Some vendor would do something stupid. I won’t name any names, but there were some shakeups in 2013 due to unhinged comments. However, this prediction is like shooting fish in a barrel, so I won’t take credit.
For my 2014 picks, I’m basically going to renew last years predictions. Things will start getting dire for the e-cigarette. I suspect Europe will once again prevail in the EU, but then the fight will move to individual member states, such as the UK’s battle with the MHRA.
The FDA will release something, though it seems like they might be leaning on states to do their dirty work with support from the CDC. I expect the American battle to be mostly a battle of attrition that happens at the state and city level. It will be a matter of endurance to see which side can keep fielding activists to attend meetings and lobby politicians.
5. The Year Of Quitting Vaping
It goes without saying that the number of vapers in 2014 and forward is going to grow exponentially. It’s important that we as a community arm them with the knowledge that they need to stick with vaping.I have the feeling that 2014 will also be the year of quitting vaping. 2014 marks my 5 year anniversary of vaping. Many many people are also hitting their 3, 4 and 5 year milestones as well. I see more and more posts around the internet and via e-mails and private messages from people who have vaped for the last 2-3 years, and are finally ready to quit all together. Vaping has served it’s purpose for them and they are ready to stop. This isn’t a hobby for everyone. It’s the means to an end for some, and I think that’s just awesome.As for me? I’ll be vaping as long as humanly possible. GrimmGreenIndustries does not slow down in 2014.
6. A Divide In the ECigarette Market
Klaus Kneale, News and Opinions Editor, Ecig Advanced
Conventional wisdom says that market consolidation (the merger, acquisition, and destruction of many companies to few) will come into full swing in 2014 for the electronic cigarette industry. Many analysts believe the little guys will get hedged out by big business buyouts and financially prohibitive regulation. This will certainly be the case for some, but I believe a divide is going to take shape in the industry like never before. On one side, small semi-disposable models like Blu, NJOY, and V2. On the other, luxury experience products and enthusiast-level “open system” devices (formerly called mods) like Provari, Volcano, and do-it-yourself products. Few e-cig consumers will go for both — some preferring the convenience of small models while others prefer the customization experience and long-term cost advantage of the bigger stuff.
This divide already exists; 2014 will define it.
Market consolidation will happen to a degree, but neither side of this divide will ever truly be able to devour the other. Regardless of regulations set forth in the upcoming year, both sides will grow, develop their own market identity, and demand regulations and standards that put their side ahead of the other. It won’t be uncommon to see small model companies seeking flavor bans and online sales restrictions while open system companies seek higher device standards and safety measures. In the end, the two sides may well need similar but distinct regulatory frameworks. This could create quite the speed bump for regulators.
7. 2014 Will Be A Milestone Year
Katherine Devlin of the Electronic Cigarette Trade Industry Association
2014 is going to be a real milestone for the whole vaping community – both industry and consumers, as well as our growing number of allies in Public Health and elsewhere. I believe we shall continue to have regulatory uncertainty for several years to come, but I do not anticipate that policy-makers will get it too far wrong in the end.
That ‘end’, however, is unlikely to be clear within 2014 (or even 2015). Still, delay is better than knee-jerk ban, and of course, this gives us all time to grow – and more importantly, to educate the policy-makers so that they can make good decisions for us all. Look what happened in October 2013, with the education of the European Parliament by Europe’s millions of vapers: we have proven we can make a real difference, and I only see that getting stronger during 2014 and beyond.
There is far more focus on high standards now, with China having got the message loud and clear that it needs to up its game for this vibrant sector, and I believe that will continue across the global industry in 2014, with concomitant improved innovation bringing ever better products for vapers.
I also think we will begin to see more of a division between the cigalike market and the 2nd and 3rd generation devices market, with Big Tobacco continuing to move into the cigalikes, and the Independent Electronic Cigarette Industry generally focussing more specifically on the needs of vapers. Having said that, I firmly believe there is room for all these products, and that we can all work harmoniously together on achieving our common goals – which applies to the community of consumers, too.
I have high hopes for 2014. Ecigs are an idea whose time has really come now, so it’s very much a case of ‘watch this space’….
8. Rallying The Vaping Troops
The year 2014 is certainly going to be a challenging one for the e-cig industry and for vapers. The regulation of these products is now a reality – not just here in the US, but globally as well. The industry has exploded like nothing I have seen before, which has raised some eyebrows from local, state and federal sectors – as well as huge big pharma and tobacco companies – all of which stand to lose billions in profits, unless e-cigs are stopped.
We can already see the pressure is on, with a seemingly endless wave of proposed ordinances that intend to drive electronic cigarettes off the market. As we await regulation and legislation, we cannot help but wonder: will it be a ban in legislative sheep’s clothing? What will the impact be?
2014 will be the year we rally the troops to fight for our right as adults to use these products. I expect multiple legal challenges worldwide, as we move forward in our tireless effort to show that the greatest value of e-cigs is this: they allow people to get their nicotine fix without the well-documented harm that comes from smoking tobacco.
My hope is that those in charge of public health will stop mis-interpeting (intentionally or otherwise) the data and science that is available so far. I hope they will realize that e-cigs are the most promising product in human history when it comes to reducing smoking-related harm. Therefore not only should it NOT be banned from the market – it should be promoted as a consumer product that will effectively increase the quality of life for millions.
9. The Year When Opposition to Ecigs Ramps Up
Chris Price of E-Cigarette Politics
2014 looks a tough year to predict, on the face of it, because much hinges on the regulations proposed by the US FDA and the EU Commission. However they probably won’t be able to implement anything in 2014 (or perhaps even 2015), so we should be safe for another year or so.
Worldwide, as ecig users increase around 80% year on year currently, we’ll see the 2013 figure of about 10m vapers in total rise to around 18 million. US numbers should go to around 5 million by late in the year, EU numbers to around 8 million, UK about 2.5m, ROTW around 5m.
As ecig use really starts cutting into cigarette and pharmaceutical sales (about a 5% drop in stick sales in 2013 and probably double that in 1st-line pharma products, so much of the same in 2014), we’ll see opposition to ecigs ramping up as the industries impacted turn the screws on their paid agents, front orgs and medical shills. Pharma especially will be screaming in pain as NRT sales begin to tank and smoking cessation starts to be seen as redundant (and that’s essentially a pharma money-making tool rather than a public service). Their paid rags such as the Daily Mail will ramp up the lies – but we’ll have more good research to refute them with. Fully-owned front orgs such as the WHO will scream loudly as the funders turn the screws, trying to get legislation to protect cigarette sales by blocking ecigs in order to safeguard smoking-related pharmaceutical sales.
In the US it looks as if the FDA will finally get to see their deeming regulations go public. If so, a massive court battle will ensue by late in the year, to try and restrict the iron grip cigarette protectionists have on regulatory policy. Nothing will be resolved for a couple of years, most likely – so whether or not the White House releases the deeming proposals, there shouldn’t be any federal impact on ecigs in 2014. The individual States, though, are another matter: their economies depend on cigarette tax revenues and MSA payments, and even the AGs have a personal financial interest in the cash; this means things will get tough in some States because cigarette sales are vital to them. MSA payments probably won’t begin to slide until 2018, but the States will recognise the threat by 2014 and start restricting ecigs – perhaps by using taxes. We might see vendors having to process different tax rates or recognise different ecig rules for different States, so ecommerce apps might begin to need some State-specific tech work this year (although 2015 will be a whole lot worse). Watch out for Cali of course.
In the EU, we’re waiting for Stalinburg (aka Brussels) to decide what our fate is. Most likely they won’t get anything in place for a year or two. Some European countries will turn up the heat though, and there’ll be more legal challenges. Places like Lithuania are owned by tobacco, and places like the UK by pharma, so things are never going to be easy for something that will dramatically reduce cigarette sales and smoking-related disease. In the UK we might see some regional/local issues, although pharma (sorry, the Dept of Health) won’t be able to move against us until the EU sort themselves out.
Further ahead, 2016 will probably be the first year in which offshore ecig vendor sites become necessary, as the regs will start to bite hard everywhere by then (US and EU both). Expect to see more ecommerce sites in Switzerland etc. by that time, as vendors will need to move part of their sales operation offshore or see the black market take over exclusive supply of refillable ecigs, normal strength refills, anything with a flavour, DIY supplies and so on (whatever gets banned – and it will be some of those items in some places). In 2016 the face of vaping will change dramatically: make the best of it, because 2014 and maybe 2015 will be the last of the golden years.
Ecig hardware and refills, in 2014? They’ll continue to get better and better, of course. Not sure if anything will come along to challenge a Nemesis with a Kayfun running 45mg Ecopure Rich, but you never know…
10. The Year of the Fight
Phil Busardo of Taste Your Juice
At the end of 2012, I was asked to provide my predictions for 2013, I can’t believe a year has gone by so quickly!
Unfortunately, I think 2014 is going to be the “year of the fight”. The year that we fight for our rights as vapors, not only here in the US, but all over the world.
Last year I said, “It has grown well beyond a fad at this point.” That is certainly true. It has picked up even more “steam” in 2013 and like a giant locomotive or cruise ship, with more and more people successfully making the transition from traditional tobacco cigarettes to vaping, it will become harder and harder to stop.
I continue to hope that those in charge look at the studies and reports, listen to the people who are living healthier lives, and put the importance of their citizens’ health before lining their pockets with tax dollars. It’s not smoking folks, even though it may look that way.
Ah, but that is the politics of vaping, and we all know how I feel about. Luckily there are those who focus on advocacy and fighting for our rights as vapers and to those people, I’m forever grateful.
So let’s talk more about the “hardware” and “software” of vaping.
As far as the “software” or e-liquid is concerned, I think we’re going to see more and more liquid companies doing things the right way. Clean rooms, immaculate mixing facilities, documented processes, correct air handling systems, etc. I think these are the e-liquid companies who will be around for the long haul. Self regulation is the key to success here.
I think we’re also going to see more and more “designer” e-liquids… fancy bottles (hopefully ALL with child safety caps), and even fancier flavors. In some cases, these flavors will be created in-house and not readily available, off-the-shelf flavorings. Even if these liquids go up in price, it will still be cheaper than smoking, as long as you’re not spending all your money buying every mod that comes out!
I guess using the term “mod” leads me to the “hardware” side of vaping.
2013 seems to have been the “year of the mech”… with everyone and their brother putting out a new one. Not to mention the clones, knock-offs, and replicas coming out of China. My feeling is that this will continue in 2014, as people all over the world try to “cash in” on this booming business. The problem with this is… they all start to look the same after a while. More innovation is needed here and that’s something I’m going to be personally looking for in 2014.
There are those who are “cashing in” because they care about vaping, understand the impact it has made to people’s lives, understand the business and what is needed, and are vapors themselves. There are those who are “cashing in” because they see nothing more than $$$ and don’t have a complete grasp on what vaping is all about. I sincerely hope the first group wins.
So finally some predictions for 2014…
1) Better and better starter kits. Fill and go kits that provide an outstanding, hassle free, and consistent vape experience for the beginning vaper allowing them to make the transition far easier and with less frustration than in the past. Where were you when I was messing around with blue foam and Lipton Pyramid Tea Bags!
2) More focus on airflow and where it’s provided. You begin to wonder if the 901 atomizer had it right so many years ago. Your “topper” or what you screw onto your device should have the best knowledge of how it get’s its air, so it should be the one responsible for airflow and not the device you’re attaching it to. This will allow for cleaner mounts for all, not to mention the ability to tailor your device to the e-liquid you’re using or the environment you’re using it in. Juice flow control would help out here as well.
3) Different heating elements over the standard Kanthal and Nichrome. I think… I hope, that 2014 will be the year we see some radical changes over the standard coil. This goes along with some of my predictions I made in 2013, “Wicking without a wick. Vaporization without a coil.”. I guess if I continue to predict it, eventually I’ll get it right .
4) More power and safer devices. I think we’ll see a wave of devices that address the sub-ohm community, providing more power, regulated and stable power, and the ability to provide that power to lower resistance and multiple coil builds while doing it safely.
5) The one is going to raise some eyebrows… the death of mesh. IMHO I feel that the vape quality, ease of use, ease of build, and position independence of a device like the Kayfun utilizing a micro-coil/cotton build is superior to that of the genesis atomizer utilizing a standard mesh/coil build. So I think we’re going to start to see a loss of popularity of the genesis style atomizers and hybrids in favor of more Kayfun styled designs and hybrids.
6) Finally, my worst prediction… the number of spam emails in my inbox from Chinese manufacturers trying to sell me 5000 units of their latest clearomizers will continue to grow.
Happy Vaping everyone and I wish you nothing but the best for 2014!
11. Will Anything Really Change?
John Manzione, Publisher of Spinfuel Magazine
Looking over last year’s predictions published in the Ashtray Blog I noticed there wasn’t much I got right, and a whole lot I got completely and utterly wrong. But, seeing as how I was invited back, I thought I would give it another shot.
So what do I expect 2014 to bring us in the way of electronic cigarettes? Pretty much the same as what 2013 brought us. Not much. Watching 2013 unfold the way it did, with FDA regulations expected in April, then October, and since then only the occasional “it’s coming…” we ‘should’ see something, right? But who knows?
Will the government kill off so many jobs for Americans in this slow- as-molasses economic revival? Honestly, I don’t know, but I wouldn’t. We did see plenty of companies like Innokin and Kanger come out with lots of new models of APV’s, but nothing surprising or game changing. More of that will come in 2014, without a doubt. But again, that’s no surprise; Chinese manufacturers know the ‘hobbyists’ around the world want the latest and greatest, even if the greatest ain’t so much great as it is new.
I don’t expect much to happen in the community of eLiquid vendors either. The top-shelf companies continue to put out delicious new flavors, some even manage to avoid the ‘variation on a theme’ curse and come up with something brand new, see The Plume Room’s ‘Angel Sauce’ for and example, or Rocket Fuel Vapes ‘Limerick’, both are fine examples of the huge improvements in great tasting eJuice. There are plenty more, but I just don’t see much happening that isn’t already happening.
Then again, I was wrong last year I could (probably) be wrong this year. Vision shocked me just last week with their new X.Jet coil-less coils, which are really just hidden coils, by managing to finally eliminate that metallic taste in very-short-wick atomizers. So maybe technology will make real advances this year.
If you’re really honest though, 12 months ago things were not that different than they are today. New models, new products, that just look different but are the same on the inside isn’t change, it isn’t innovation… its just variations of the same thing, over and over.
What I’d like to see is more American and European innovation. I’d like to see more hardware made and assembled in the Unites States and the United Kingdom. And I’d really like to see honest politicians sweep into office and see things in the same light that normal, honest, people do (in all areas of public interest).
In other words, if a year from now we’re all talking about how various governments finally accepted electronic cigarettes as “infinitely safer” (man, I just love those two words strung together like that), than tobacco products, and actually admitted that hard core smokers, or anyone that enjoys the act of smoking (for whatever reason) might enjoy e cigarettes, and if so, then ‘God bless, enjoy, by all means, enjoy; that would be something, really something. But I’m not holding my breath.
When it comes down to it, governments, big tobacco, big Pharma, and electronic cigarette makers share one common trait above all else; greed.
Do we think any of them will really change?
Thanks for reading. I’d love to know what YOU think is in store for 2014, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!