For the last seven years, we’ve been publishing expert predictions on the future of vaping.
The aim is to get a range of perspectives that stretches across geography and interest groups. This year we’ve stretched further around the globe featuring experts from the UK, France, Canada, the USA, Australasia and Asia. Each expert here has been involved in tobacco harm reduction for a number of years and is able to bring a unique perspective to the challenges and opportunities facing vaping.
As usual, this is a long post. For those with a more passing interest, we’ve highlighted key quotes and points and put them at the top of this post. You can click through to any individual prediction from these quotes. You can also find a summary of the predictions on LinkedIn here.
To make the post easier to navigate, we’ve also classified this year’s post into different fields: Public Health & Advocates, Scientists, Bloggers & Industry. That’s tricky, as there’s some overlap. In particular, most if not all of the contributors here are advocates for vaping.
Predicting the future is fiendishly difficult, but our contributors have once again taken time out of busy schedules to put together well-considered thoughts, culminating in an insight into the future of vaping which is unmatched anywhere else on the web. So once again, a huge thank you to all of our contributors, both for their efforts here and for their work for vapers and the vaping industry.
Louise Ross: Ex Manager for Leicester’s Stop Smoking Service, Vape Advocate
“…we in the UK will be able to show the world that, far from being on the wrong side of history, we got it undeniably right back in 2014”
Clive Bates: Counterfactual Consulting Limited, Ex Director of Action on Smoking and Health, Blogs at CliveBates.com
“…regulators will start to be taught lessons about the limits of their power by consumers, markets, internet commerce and overseas entrepreneurs.”
Prof. Jim McManus: Vice-President, Association of Directors of Public Health UK
“It will become ever clearer that ideology rather than evidence of effectiveness still sits at the base of some health professionals rejection of vaping.”
David Sweanor: Professor of Law, Experienced Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocate
“Innovation is gathering momentum, and people like having power over their lives. A technological and public health revolution is afoot.”
Oliver Kershaw: Founder, E-Cigarette Forum
“…with industry AND anti-vape wanting to see them go I don’t give short-fills much hope of escaping regulatory action.”
Martin Cullip: New Nicotine Alliance
“…the future could see simplicity take over as innovation in devices improves apace.”
Ghyslain Armand: Funder of Vaping Post and PGVG Magazine. Co-maker of the documentary film “Beyond the Cloud
“…the tobacco industry is gaining control over the vaping market and doesn’t care at all about your health.”
Samrat Chowdhery: Director, Association of Vapers India (AVI)
“It will be a tough year for businesses. The regulatory uncertainty and increasing pressure will discourage local entrants and delay the entry of major international brands like Juul and iQOS…”
Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos: Researcher, University of Patras
“2019 will be a key year for developments in tobacco harm reduction.”
Prof. Riccardo Polosa: Director, Center of Excellence for the acceleration of HArm Reduction (CoEHAR)
“Vaping prevalence will continue to rise worldwide.”
Dr Marewa Glover: Centre of Research Excellence: Indigenous Sovereignty & Smoking
“Tobacco harm reduction as a sector, and solution, will advance as more scientists, doctors, nurses, social workers and researchers see the proof for themselves.”
Neil Humber: E-Cig Click
“If 2018 sounded the death knell of vaping in the US then 2019 could see the final act. Let’s hope I’m wrong.”
Jim McDonald: Vaping 360
“…while nicotine product sellers face resistance at every turn, the legal marijuana biz has a bright future.”
Greg Conley: Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association
“With so much uncertainty and fearmongering, no state is safe, so it is critical that vape companies and their customers start getting engaged now and not wait until it is too late.”
Nigel Quine: CEO, Cuts Ice
“This year more than ever, consumers, industry, and researchers alike must unite to defend flavours with a common voice.”
Gillian Golden: Chief Executive & IBVTA Steering Committee Co-Chair
“…there is some hope that the next set of regulations might be a little more balanced, and carry within it more knowledge of a now developed market sector.”
Paul Hare: Innokin
“Key players in the vaping industry will invest more heavily in scientific research to reduce potential toxins and optimize flavors.”
Public Health & Vape Advocates
Louise Ross: The UK Will Show It Got It Right
While head of the Leicester Stop Smoking Service Louise Ross became a key advocate for vaping. Now retired, she continues to speak and write about vaping, and is also a trustee of the New Nicotine Alliance.
Every year, my certainty that we will move closer, and faster, to the end of widespread smoking becomes more and more eroded as I see researchers, policy makers, opinion leaders and so-called public health ‘experts’ throw their combined weight in the way of tobacco harm reduction progress. My optimism is sustained though by the passion, determination, spot-on analysis and good humour of the worldwide army of advocates from all walks of life – scientists, consumers, politicians, healthcare workers and respected public figures. Without wanting to wish the years away, I look forward to the end of the next 12 months, at which point I am confident that we in the UK will be able to show the world that, far from being on the wrong side of history, we got it undeniably right back in 2014.
Clive Bates: Consumers & markets will win in the end
Director, Counterfactual Consulting Limited, Ex Director of Action on Smoking and Health, Blogs at CliveBates.com
Last year, I was optimistic about the situation in the United States. We were still bathing in the warm glow of Scott Gottlieb’s appointment and some relaxation of the enforcement of FDA’s ultra-burdensome and anti-proportionate PMTA route to market. That prediction frankly did not age well. 2018 saw FDA participating a full-on moral panic, positioning itself as the protector of the nation’s youth – and in doing so revealing that its primary function is to protect the cigarette trade, whatever it thinks it is doing. My outlook for the United States has turned negative and Dr Gottlieb has emerged as a leading enemy of innovation.
But my main prediction is again hopeful. It is that regulators will start to be taught lessons about the limits of their power by consumers, markets, internet commerce and overseas entrepreneurs. As with any prohibition or its more respectable regulatory equivalent, the enormous arbitrage opportunities created by the barriers erected by regulators to products people want to buy for legitimate reasons in their own interests will prove too tempting. Juul knock-offs in any flavour you like will become ubiquitous.
Professor Jim McManus: More Evidence, More Conflict
Director of Public Health, Vice President Association of Directors of Public Health, Blogs at The Common Place
Over the next year I see greater dissonance in the clinical and public health community. We will see more evidence on the benefits of harm reduction and vaping within this, and it will become ever clearer that ideology rather than evidence of effectiveness still sits at the base of some health professionals rejection of vaping as a harm reduction tool.
David Sweanor: Opposition to e-cigs will continue – but it won’t stop vaping
Chair of the Advisory Board, Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics, University of Ottawa, winner of the ‘Public Health Hero’ lifetime achievement award among other awards.
There is nothing like reading my past predictions when I want a dose of humility. At the risk of more of the same a year from now, here are my predictions for 2019.
From the beginning, vaping has been a revolution led by entrepreneurs and consumers. This is despite the enormous importance of reducing cigarette smoking and the existence of so many entities claiming this as a goal. It had initially seemed absurd that many regulators and anti-smoking groups refused to support vaping or were outright adversarial. I think many of us have long thought that there would ultimately be enough evidence for pragmatism and compassion to win over most of them.
There has been some remarkable progress. The UK, a country long susceptible to outbreaks of rationality, is usually cited as the best example. In the past year we have seen further progress in many countries, including my own. But the overall reaction is far less than would be expected were the Enlightenment taken seriously.
So, as we look to 2019, what might we expect?
I think many of the organisations that should be major players in facilitating the substitution of low risk non-combustible products for lethal cigarettes will stay adversarial. In fact, as vaping becomes ever more common, and the research becomes ever more overwhelming, they will double down in their opposition. They will adamantly pursue ideological purity over facts and lives. Bodies like the WHO, CDC, Tobacco-Free Kids and FDA will scream more about any perceived downsides to vaping, so expect to hear a lot more about “kids”, and even popcorn lung. They will actively misrepresent facts and will further facilitate the ongoing viability of the cigarette industry and the destruction it causes. US money will lavishly fund a destructive and inhumane abstinence-only global approach to nicotine just as that country has historically sought to globally impose moralistic approaches on alcohol, ‘drugs’, birth control services, etc.
The optimistic aspect of this is that all this opposition will largely not matter. At least not to vaping and other low risk alternatives to cigarettes in an ever-expanding range of jurisdictions. In fact, it might merely help good advocates generate the public discussion that speeds the demise of combustibles (and the credibility of those protecting them). There are already millions of vapers, and most can easily get and share products and information. There are also increasing numbers of savvy entrepreneurs who see extraordinary opportunities to ‘do well by doing good’. Innovation is gathering momentum, and people like having power over their lives. A technological and public health revolution is afoot.
The list of substitution-effect ‘breakthrough countries’, those that have reduced cigarette sales at a pace never before found to be sustainable, now includes Sweden, Norway, the UK, Iceland, Japan and South Korea. In 2019 the list will become longer. Some countries will enter the list due to rapid take-off of non-combustibles. Others, by Big Tobacco’s comprehensive country specific consumer and sales data finally becoming public. We know they have data that will amaze and shock us as to how rapidly this market could transition and how much has already happened in several countries. It is just a matter of it becoming public. That will happen in 2019. In part because some of the people reading this prediction will have access to such data, know I have a long history of protecting sources of leaks, and might want to limit my humility when we look back at these predictions a year from now.
To a truly healthier 2019, and to the frustrating but deeply rewarding shared experience of truly making the world a better place!
Oliver Kershaw: Shortfills will be regulated
Founder of E-Cigarette Forum, Oliver Kershaw has been an active advocate for years, and has probably done more behind the scenes than most vapers realise!
2018 was the year vape panic went mainstream. For the first time, vaping opponents were able to occupy significant column inches in the media misrepresenting the technology. This phenomenon was principally an American one, but the knock-on to other parts of the globe shouldn’t be underestimated. For instance, just recently there was a major piece in the Sunday Times on short-fill brands and their marketing. I’ll expect this to continue through next year. I don’t like to make specific predictions, but with industry AND anti-vape wanting to see them go I don’t give short-fills much hope of escaping regulatory action.
In the US context, flavors are under significant threat both federally and at the local level. Local bans typically insert restrictions into so-called blockbuster bills and are hard to challenge if they get far enough. The FDA doesn’t want congress to take any action, but Senator Schumer has the bit between his teeth on the flavor issue: don’t expect federal action to bow out gracefully.
Also through 2019 I anticipate many more intellectual property battles. Again, these are likely to affect the largest markets first, so look to the US. Smok have just withdrawn their Alien series and JUUL are aggressively pursuing patent infringement actions against pod manufacturers. Expect more of this – it’s only just warming up.
More widely, are we likely to see any rapprochement between the pro and anti-vaping camps? It seems doubtful. Whatever one thinks of PMI’s foundation for a smokefree future, its biggest impact so far appears to be in triggering the antismoking community to confirm its opposition to tobacco harm reduction. Where does that leave consumers and independent industry in the debate? I’m unsure, but there’s a massive need for us all to assert our voices now.
And products? There’s some cool stuff about the hit the market!
Martin Cullip, New Nicotine Alliance: Vaping bans could reverse in the UK
The biggest mover and shaker of this year has been the upsurge in pod systems, or PodMods as colloquially called. It was noticeable in May at Birmingham’s Vaper Expo that this is a sub-category which is finding favour with consumers, Ecigclick even described it as a March.
What is interesting is that pods are most associated with tobacco companies but there is thriving competition in the independent industry too. Fiddling around with complicated kit, building RBAs and winding wool is becoming a niche specialism as vaping goes mainstream, the future could see simplicity take over as innovation in devices improves apace. In 2019, pods will take off further but – unlike in the US – Juul won’t be the market leader. Their product over there has a distinct advantage due to its nicotine strength and tobacco control organisations giving them free advertising, but when competing on a level playing field under the TPD they will have a harder time.
Brexit will continue to dominate headlines but there is fat chance that the UK will ditch the pointless and spiteful aspects of the TPD even if we leave with a deal where we are allowed to. The office of Minister for Public Health has traditionally given us uninspiring – or even incompetent – politicians and Steve Brine’s answers to Parliamentary Questions on the subject have been weak and betray a fear of rocking the boat. So, it looks like we’ll be up to our eyeballs in tiny single-use plastic sea life-murdering bottles for some time yet.
On a more positive note, the release of the Science and Technology Committee and APPG reports in 2018, both calling for better education of the public towards e-cigarettes and relaxing of vaping bans, can only be helpful. I expect this will be an advocacy area to further exploit in 2019 and I foresee more welcome activity on the subject. Speaking with a glass half full, we could hopefully see some large hospitality businesses fall into line with the UK public health consensus and announce that they will be more receptive to vaping, but maybe with caution so as not to upset their more reactionary customers too much. Imagine a coffee and a vape without stealthing? Let’s hope 2019 brings it.
Ghyslain Armand: Beware Big Tobacco’s influence on vaping
I wrote last year that there was a urgent need to draw a red line between tobacco and vaping. Some events showed once again that the tobacco industry is gaining control over the vaping market and doesn’t care at all about your health. Major tobacco companies keep making massive margins over tobacco sales, keep marketing their deadly products everywhere it’s still possible (especially in Asia and Africa), and now pretend they want to reduce tobacco related deaths? I call every vaper who still care about the origin of vaping, a social movement that, from 2008, made tobacco and pharma companies shake with fear, brought harm reduction into modern public health strategies and showed that casual consumers can change a very well established order of things, to buy their vaping products wisely.
Some vaping advocates are now saying that no matter who builds it, a vaping device or e-liquid helps reduce tobacco epidemic. If we were machines I would agree, but we are not. We have memory and we bring values to our behaviours. I wouldn’t buy organic tomatoes from Monsanto (if they were so), just like I would prefer to get an electric car from Tesla rather than General Motors, or I wouldn’t buy a medicine from the same people who made the disease it’s supposed fight.
No time to protest ? Then vote with your wallet.
It’s a good thing the tobacco companies are on the vaping market, it challenges independent players. But let’s not forget who changed the game at the beginning and let’s support them. Let’s support the companies that got this long term view of developing something that has already changed our lives, companies built by people who just quit smoking one day and wanted to make a living out of it.
F*ck big tobacco.
Samrat Chowdhery: Vape businesses in India can expect a difficult year
Samrat Chowdhery is the founder director of Association of Vapers India (AVI). He was named ‘Advocate of the Year’ at the Global Forum for Nicotine (GFN) in 2018 and is on the governing board of the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO).
It is difficult to call 2019 from the Indian perspective because of the wide range of unknowns, except that the tobacco harm reduction debate will hot up further with both sides becoming louder and more organised.
The general elections slated for mid-year will ease regulatory pressure from the Centre, but the weakened oversight could also give the states a freer hand to legislate as they please. The policy direction will be further shaped by the verdicts in a number of legal challenges to the prohibitionary vaping laws, which includes a recent import ban. A favourable view of tobacco harm reduction by the courts could effectively end the government resistance to it.
Meanwhile, the international focus on India will continue to grow as more experts and researchers become involved through projects and seminars, even as the Bloomberg-funded charities and government agencies will sharpen attacks against them. The media will anchor this debate and in the process is likely to become more aware of the science and evidence, amplifying the call for harm reduction strategies.
Local research will take off for the first time with help from the Foundation for a Smokefree World. The medical community will become more cognisant of innovations in THR, which is likely to create a rift between those wedded to current cessation therapies and the ones willing to include new consumer-friendly methods.
It will be a tough year for businesses. The regulatory uncertainty and increasing pressure will discourage local entrants and delay the entry of major international brands like Juul and iQOS, force the existing vendors to quit or operate illegally and generally shrink the market unless the courts intervene. There will be negative impact on prices and availability.
Despite this, smokers will continue to switch owing to rising awareness, though the public perception could turn increasingly negative because of the bans, misinformation and propaganda. Pod systems will take off in a big way, and we could begin to see bidi* smokers make the transition.
* Bidi is a local form of cigarettes. It’s the most prevalent form of smoking — tobacco rolled in a leaf — and also the most harmful.
Konstantinos Farsalinos: Expect key developments in the USA
Research fellow at National School of Public Health, Athens, Greece and lead researcher on numerous vaping studies. Blogs at E-Cigarette Research.
I think 2019 will be a key year for developments in tobacco harm reduction, mainly in the US. FDA just recently introduced strong restrictions in e-cigarettes flavors availability. While the main reason was the increase in youth use in 2018, they have not released key data that would support their decisions (such as regular e-cigarette use, use according to the smoking status and prevalence of tobacco cigarette use).
Another key development in the US will be the outcome of the IQOS PMTA and MRTP application. I predict that IQOS will get a PMTA and might also get a reduced exposure claim. It will be interesting to see how marketing of IQOS will affect the overall perception of Americans (including the local scientific community) about tobacco harm reduction. In Europe, I don’t see any important new developments. In terms of research, we might see some developments in terms of the need for temperature-control devices, which have almost disappeared from the market.
Riccardo Polosa: Vaping prevalence will continue to rise
Riccardo’s positions include Professor of Medicine at the University of Catania and Scientific Advisor for LIAF (Italian Antismoking League). He also holds the INNCO Global Award for Outstanding Advocacy.
Making predictions is always difficult. I am a physician and a researcher, not a fortune teller. But I will give it a try. Please forgive me if I am biased towards positive-type predictions.
1. The interest among medical community and patients’ associations about risk reduction with ECs (e-cigarettes) among COPD patients will grow because poor quality of life in patients with COPD remains an unmet need and medical management is quite unsatisfactory. Anything that can improve quality of life of COPD patients should not be dismissed lightheartedly. Switching to using ECs has been shown to reduce respiratory infections and to improve general health as well as physical performance in COPD. Given that many COPD patients continue smoking despite their symptoms, ECs could be a viable and much less harmful alternative.
2. More independent studies will focus on replication/validation of findings from tobacco industry. Independent research will be an increasingly important to establish tolerability, safety, efficiency and harm reduction potential of these new technologies and to add credibility to the THR paradigm. Moreover, independent research is strongly needed to provide rigorous feedback to the industry and informed answers to the regulators.
3. More emissions analysis and possibly clinical studies investigating actual / absolute risk from ECs (as opposed to relative risk of ECs compared to conventional combustible cigarettes) will become available in 2019. A more comprehensive understanding of the residual risk of these products will start resolving concerns about long term health effects of these products. Nonetheless, we should not lose sight of the potential benefits of ECs compared to cigarettes as a lot of people still smoke conventional cigarettes and this will be a public health issue for a number of years to come.
4. More evidence will emerge in support of the possible trade-off between vaping products as an “off-ramp” for adult smokers and an “on-ramp” to nicotine use for youth. Millions of deaths from cigarette smoking are an immediate, stark, and preventable tragedy that should be fully factored in to a rational risk-benefit analysis. Given the relative harms of e-cigarettes compared to conventional cigarettes, it is logical for many health authorities to consider carefully calibrated and proportionate action as disproportionate intervention may result in harm to public health.
5. In the next year, I foresee the launch of innovative antismoking campaigns that take into consideration correct information regarding new combustion-free technologies with the aim of encouraging more smokers to switch towards less harmful life-styles. Providing accurate and correct information will allow smokers to choose the best choices for themselves – based on their personal needs and not according to the needs of the Authorities. Shifting the responsibility of quality of life and health from the legislator to the person / citizen through a process of self-efficacy, self-awareness, and health literacy is strongly advocated by the European Community.
6. Vaping prevalence will continue to rise worldwide. A more stable regulatory environment, improved understanding of the benefit vs risks of these new technologies, as well as higher quality of the products and greater diversification will all contribute. JUUL will continue to grow, particularly outside US.
7. More disruption will occur. The critical distinction in public health and consumer policy is that of a fast-moving tech innovation that is obsoleting combustible tobacco products. This is likely to bring more disruption among the enemies of innovation and lovers of status quo in tobacco control. This disruption has been already set in motion; more countries will follow the positive developments in Japan, Korea, England, New Zealand, Canada and Iceland that by promoting a widespread and complete adoption of new technologies it is possible to substantially accelerate declines in smoking prevalence. Also, the appreciation that vaping is not tobacco will grow.
Also see our interview with Professor Polosa on vaping and lung health.
Dr Marewa Glover: Tobacco harm reduction will advance…
Marewa Glover is the Director of the Centre of Research Excellence: Indigenous Sovereignty & Smoking and Chair of End Smoking NZ.
Polarisation of the political landscape in many countries is triggering usually unengaged citizens to speak up and get more politically active. This is good! But, it also increases the demand on experts and professional advocates to interject fact, truth and sanity. This is good too, as long as it doesn’t divert energy from work solutions.
The extreme policies being promoted by people of opposite political persuasion are scary. It doesn’t matter which side of the us-versus-them debate you’re on, the people at the other extreme appear to be suffering from a kind of folie à plusieurs (a shared madness). If you listen carefully, you’ll hear them hissing “cult” at each other.
It’s unsettling when people behave illogically, such as, when medical doctors want to ban products that will reduce smoking-related disease and premature deaths. If even doctors can fall prey to the misinformation madness, are any of us safe? This triggers fear. It’s quickly followed by a defensive response, such as, anger. With the encouragement of social media sites tweeting insults and posting vitriolic abuse at opposers has become normalised.
Getting angry is understandable if you’re under threat and being denied your equal rights to health, as is happening to people who smoke or vape. Health advocates, academics and people who espouse justice, who denounce inequalities, racism and violence spewing ad hominem attacks on smokers, vapers and their advocates, is just hypocritical. We’ll never achieve the utopia they purport to want as long as they pile on anyone their mates tell them to hate.
In 2019, unfortunately we will see more sand throwing. More strong vaping advocates, particularly consumers, will burn out as the goal-posts of harm reduction get kicked down time and again. More professional advocates will dive off to fight Trumpism, climate change or other Government moves that threaten social changes we can never come back from.
The year 2019 will see the rise of the vaping product manufacturers and retailers as a stakeholder group to be reckoned with – and about time. The vaping industry, that is independent of the cigarette industry, have been too timid. They’ve been scared to poke-the-bear in case they provoked excessively restrictive legislation. Meanwhile, their seasoned competitors – cigarette companies and pharmaceutical giants have been lobbying to shut the independent vaping industry out.
There will be millions of new vapers in the coming year and some of them will join local lobbying efforts. Vaping consumer groups, however, will need to become more sophisticated. For instance, they’ll need to start demanding that their favorite vape kit or e-juice maker does more to protect access to the product. Investors, jumping on the vaping elevator to riches, will certainly be demanding more aggressive protection of their investments. More lawyers will be employed and, I do hope, we start to see some of the anti-vaping commentators hit with legal action for the defamation they feel so self-righteously free to employ.
Tobacco harm reduction as a sector, and solution, will advance as more scientists, doctors, nurses, social workers and researchers see the proof for themselves. Millions of people who once smoked, without medical intervention, without cost to their Governments, have more quickly than ever before, stopped smoking.
Neil Humber, E-Cig Click: The future of vaping is… mobile?
Writer Neil Humber has been vaping for seven years and can be found blogging at E-Cig Click.
Touch screen control has been a thing for a while but this year saw vaping take the voice and motion control route to varying success.
And of course Wismec utilized Bluetooth meaning you are now able to turn your mod into a loudspeaker – what a time to be alive! None of those appeal to me – as an old school vaper I prefer good old fingers and thumbs – much like my building style – so what new technology can we vapers expect in 2019?
iJoy has just stolen my thunder for this article by announcing the new wireless charging feature – thanks’ iJoy I was proud of that one and now my big idea has been blown out of the water lol. I thought it seemed a natural progression given most of the mobile phones coming out of China nowadays has that feature – and so it is.
So…and given I’m the least technological savvy of any of the team over at EcigClick [and I’m guessing those writing on this article] that’s left me stumped to say the least.
However. Let’s run with the whole mobile phone thing for a moment. Most of the higher priced vaporizers out there use Bluetooth apps to connect and take total control of the device and I think some vaping devices – not many – but some may have done something similar.
So given we live in a mobile phone based world it seems obvious to me your phone and mod are going to link up in some way very soon and maybe even in reverse – let me explain.
A camera on your mod? Using the microphone/speakers on your mod to make a call? The screen becoming a keyboard for texting? Given China is home to both the bonkers and cutting edge [in equal portions] I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to see a marrying of the two technologies – we shall see.
As to what else is coming up in the year ahead in the world of vaping? This past year has I think seen the rise of squonking but I reckon that’s peaked and will be on the wane for a few years. I was pleased to see so many new rebuildable MTL tanks arrive on the scene and also it’s been good to see vaping remember its roots.
Vaping is after all about quitting smoking in the first instance and there have been plenty of good starter kits out there as well as a plethora of pod systems. Some of those pods have been bloody awful – but many have been excellent allowing regular vapers and newbies a clean ‘n easy way to get that nic fix.
I’ve also begun seeing CBD specific vape kits appear and coupled with the rise in use of CBD based e- liquids I’m sure 2019 will see some of the bigger mainstream vape companies enter the thriving market – it really is becoming big business.
Speaking of business and as I alluded to this time last year the vape industry in the US is seriously under threat with in particular Big Tobacco and Pharma doing their level best to sabotage from within.
JUUL sold vaping out big time with its sucking up to the FDA following a meeting of it and the four main tobacco companies that have a stake in vaping. I had a feeling then JUUL wasn’t in the fight and thought it was a matter of time before one of the big 4 bought them out.
As I’m writing this in late November I see Altria – parent company of PMI makers of IQOS – has or is about to buy into the JUUL product.
Big business is threatening to kill off the US vape industry and my hope for 2019 is the advocacy groups over there get their acts together – toughen up and get their collective feet into the doors of the movers and shakers in Washington.
However up against the wealth – power and lobbyists of Big Tobacco and Big Pharma I think it’s too late. If 2018 sounded the death knell of vaping in the US then 2019 could see the final act.
Let’s hope I’m wrong.
Jim McDonald, Vaping 360: Three not-so-wild guesses from the land of the free
Jim McDonald is editor of Vaping360.
Flavor bans coming soon to a state near you
Following the lead of cities and counties in California’s Bay Area, expect states to begin advancing bans on e-liquid flavors (other than tobacco and possibly menthol). New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed a ban already, and California and Massachusetts probably won’t be far behind. Fighting these state bills will add to the burden of state vapor industry trade groups who are already struggling to keep up with nearly endless proposals to tax vapor products and age-restrict purchases. Industry giant JUUL Labs is helping fund the state-level fight, through the Vapor Technology Association (VTA), but they seem unwilling to publicly oppose any of the regulations and legislation inspired by the moral panic still raging over JUUL’s apparently irresistible shape and rather ordinary flavors. And JUUL Labs supports Tobacco 21 laws that include e-cigarettes.
Will Prof. Glantz retire?
Stanton Glantz, everyone’s least favorite anti-smoking (and -vaping) zealot, is finally facing a political challenge he may be unable to handle. After reaching a settlement with one accuser for sexual (and academic) misconduct, Glantz has another case coming up soon. Meanwhile, he’s on the radar of some highly capable and determined #MeToo activists, and they’re unlikely to be swayed by Glantz’s power within the insular tobacco control world. Even the $20 million NIH/FDA grant Glantz finagled for his UCSF tobacco control center might not be enough to save him.
Maybe the future of vapor tech is green
With recreational cannabis now legal in 10 U.S. states, and medical weed legal in 33, expect vapor business leaders to spend more of their resources trying to break into the “other” vaping industry. It makes business sense, because in many states (California especially) the very same politicians that clamor for bans and restrictions on nicotine products are very amenable to legal weed and the huge industry springing up around it. The trend is clear: while nicotine product sellers face resistance at every turn, the legal marijuana biz has a bright future.
Greg Conley, SFATA: Companies and consumers need to get involved before it is too late
Writing on behalf of SFATA for this post, Greg Conley is also the President of the American Vaping Association and has previously served as the pro bono legislative director Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA).
“Since I started advocating for vaping in 2010, the expectation has always been that however bad the prior year was, things would only get worse the next year. It is almost certain that 2019 will be the most difficult year for harm reduction advocates yet. The combination of youth vaping increasing in 2018, the associated JUUL panic, Democrats making big gains in state and federal elections, and health activists vilifying the FDA for delaying the PMTA deadline until 2022 presents the perfect storm for bad legislation to pass.
“At the federal level, we can expect Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) to become Chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. Rep. Pallone has repeatedly refused to meet with small business vape shops from his own district and has not been shy about labeling the entirety of the vaping industry as Big Tobacco. We expect Rep. Pallone will introduce a bill to ban or severely restrict e-cigarette flavors in the near future. With House Speaker Nancy Pelosi being adamantly opposed to vaping, stopping this bill from passing the House will be difficult.”
“At the state level, we should expect to see a flurry of bills seeking Tobacco 21, excise tax, indoor usage restrictions, and flavor bans. Every state is different, but we significant threats are likely in California, New York, the New England states, and Colorado, among others. With so much uncertainty and fearmongering, no state is safe, so it is critical that vape companies and their customers start getting engaged now and not wait until it is too late.”
Nigel Quine, Cuts Ice: We must defend e-liquid flavours
Nigel Quine is the founder and CEO of Cuts Ice and Liquid Ice Brands.
2018 undoubtedly provided some significant high points in vaping’s transition from a burgeoning to established industry. As the wave of our seemingly endless summer began to crest, the House of Common’s Science and Technology Select Committee provided one of the strongest positive policy interventions our sector has seen to date. Vaping had its long awaited and well-deserved good news day, but now is not the time to rest. This positive momentum must not be allowed to falter, especially with politics looking set to play a big role in the year to come.
In the UK, one event is set to dominate the discourse of 2019; the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on March 29th. At time of writing, the country is still awaiting any clarity about the shape our exit and future relationship will take.
Putting the politics of the debate aside, it is crucial that the Government learns from its experiences thus far and begins to communicate across industries, including vaping, about the Brexit process. There are doubtless opportunities to be seized in addition to the obstacles to overcome. Brexit will surely prove to be turbulent for vaping businesses across Europe in 2019, but our industry has dealt remarkably well with significant upheaval before, and I am sure this will be the case again.
When it comes to products, our industry is rightly led by developments driven by consumers. In 2019 I expect to see a growing demand for high quality e-liquids which provide a unique, but consistent vape experience. Device trends in 2019 will continue to follow the same cycle we have seen play out before. Pod systems dominated much of 2018, providing a simple to use, fuss free vaping experience to both new and existing vapers alike, much in the same way that cig-a-likes dominated the vape landscape between 2009 – 12. Their market share will continue to grow and be one of the key driver to converting smokers to vaping.
As new vapers continue along their ‘vaping journey’, it is only natural that they will look to progress to more advanced systems, in the search of a fuller flavour experience, given that many pod systems tend to mute user experience, offer much less choice and are expensive by comparison to the open system products.
As the FDA’s tactics in the US start to become clear, it seems that flavour availability will be a key battleground over the coming months, which plays nicely with PMI’s key strategy to promote their HNB products. In the UK, we benefit from a well-informed Government and public health community. By irresponsibly banning e-liquid flavours apart from mint and menthol in convenience stores across the US, the FDA risk a public health disaster at home, and poisoning the vaping debate abroad. This year more than ever, consumers, industry, and researchers alike must unite to defend flavours with a common voice, and prevent this perverse action from harming smokers and vapers alike around the world. 2019 proves to be another interesting year for our industry.
Gillian Golden, IBVTA
Chief Executive of the Independent British Vape Trade Association, Gillian has been engaged with policy discussion at a local, national and international level.
The UK has offered the best example of politicians and regulators working positively and collaboratively with the vape industry, some of the worst examples of unnecessarily negative media portrayals of vaping relative to the harms of tobacco and smoking. Within all this, there is some hope that the next set of regulations might be a little more balanced, and carry within it more knowledge of a now developed market sector.
One of the more negative outcomes of the Brexit referendum result is that UK players have not been in a position to lobby for the most sensible way forward, which would be to remove vape products from the TPD entirely and move for the creation of a European Directive specifically encompassing vaping products without the encumbrance of combustible tobacco.
Perhaps a prediction, but most certainly a hope, is that we see the UK vape trade refocus on its reason for existence, which is providing an alternative to tobacco smoking.
As I write, the IBVTA are about to embark on supporting the fourth national campaign with Public Health England. 2019 will see this positive engagement continue to bear fruit, as more Stop Smoking Services and public health organisations move towards more pragmatic positions in supporting vaping. More local authorities too, including those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, will become sensitive to their obligations to not engage with the tobacco industry. And there will be a shift-change in understanding the efficacy of vaping as a means to quit smoking, something that detractors have long denied, despite all evidence.
In terms of the UK independent vape industry, while we undoubtedly operate in one of the most positive and pro-vaping landscapes, there is still work to do before vaping reaches its full potential. We will see the increase in independent companies coming to work together continue through to the next regulatory review, and more companies will recognise the value that a unified independent trade association voice can bring to the vaping sector. It has always been the case where the loudest voices in the vaping debate do not necessarily have the best interests of the independent vaping industry or vapers at heart, and 2019 will see renewed recognition of that.
Final prediction, and a very easy one – products will become better. While not every new product release will be a huge step forward, they will continue in the direction of improvement. Vaping products have come a long way over the first 10 years. We are fortunate that in many markets there are producers who are agile; they understand the technology, and customer demands have been able to make massive strides in relatively short periods of time.
It is woeful that in some parts of the world there have been regulatory constraints that do not take into account the vibrancy of a still relatively young industry with a very enthusiastic customer base, keen to advocate for it.
Paul Hare, Innokin; Changes in Vape Technology
Chief Marketing Officer at Innokin
In 2019 e-cigarette adoption will grow quickly in countries with scientific based regulations and face restrictive policies in others. Rapid improvements in product design and usability will continue, being driven by an ever larger consumer market. Advanced coil technologies, like Innokin Plex3D coils, will improve vapor and flavor and increase the number of puffs per charge.
Vaping may begin to benefit from the research and development of consumer electronic battery technologies. This will improve vaping by greatly speeding up charging, increasing battery storage capacity and eliminating any risk of explosions.
There will be an increased focus on reducing the number of youth trying vaping through more effective educational campaigns as well as the implementation of technologies to restrict access to minors.
The United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada will benefit from having adopted vaping into their respective tobacco harm reduction campaigns. The number of smokers in these countries will decrease as fewer young people take up smoking and more smokers make the transition to vaping.
Negative media coverage and consumer uncertainty in the US may discourage older smokers from making the transition to vaping and inversely encourage youth who consider perceived “risky behaviours” attractive.
Key players in the vaping industry will invest more heavily in scientific research to reduce potential toxins and optimise flavours. This research will improve the effectiveness of vaporizers and electronic cigarettes as tools for tobacco harm reduction.
Scientific studies from universities and researchers are needed to convince governments to adopt vaping as a key strategy in tobacco harm reduction. Through collaborative research studies with universities and health researchers around the world, more long term scientific data about the effects of vaping vs. smoking will become available.
The quality of vaporizers will continue to improve and the adoption of the UL 8139 certification will ensure that vaporizer kits reach high standards of production and safety.
The number of Chinese vaporizer manufacturers will decrease as experienced buyers focus on professional companies that provide quality products with strong customer support and a long term vision.
Heat not burn devices will continue to grow in Japan and Korea and improvements to the design and technology may increase adoption in more countries around the world.
At Innokin, we will continue to invest into research and state of the art production facilities to deliver more advanced kits and technologies to vapers around the world.