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The Rise of the E-Cigarette Market

Posted: 9th May 2017 08:10

The health problems associated with smoking are more widely reported than ever before and ongoing research is finding more ways in which smoking tobacco damages your health. Initial research was focused on the physical side-effects of smoking, such as damage to the lungs, emphysema, increased risk of heart attack and vascular diseases and, ultimately, death.
Nobody can claim not to know the impact of smoking on their bodies, but recent research has also included the dangers to smokers’ mental health of their habit. Of course, having any physical addiction is less than ideal, but the prevalence of data about the side-effects of smoking means that smokers are more likely than ever to suffer from conflicted feelings including guilt and fear, especially those who have tried and failed to give up.
The role of e-cigarettes

Since the dangers of smoking have been widely publicised, there have been attempts to create products that would help smokers to give up. Most of these attempted to replace the nicotine that formed the basis of the smoker’s physical addiction, but these substitutes often failed to provide any replacement for the act of actually smoking. Smoking cessation advice often suggested taking up knitting or similar crafts that would occupy a smoker’s hands, but this often failed to hit the spot in terms of providing an appealing alternative to the ritual of smoking a cigarette.
E-cigarettes approached the problem from a new perspective, focusing on the act of smoking itself as a source of comfort and addiction, and seeking to replicate that more effectively. For those who found that they missed smoking itself, that the process of lighting and smoking a cigarette relaxed and reassured them, the idea of an alternative to tobacco that provided all of that was one which was bound to take hold. ‘Vaping’ became known as the healthier option, as evidenced in this article, and thus, the idea of ‘smokeless smoking’ was conceived.
The e-cigarette as a commodity
With a viable alternative to smoking having finally reached the market, it was only a matter of time before e-cigarettes started to command a share of the huge profits that tobacco companies had been enjoying for decades.
Addiction may be a terrible thing for those who are suffering, but for the companies that make the products they are addicted to, it is hugely profitable and the tobacco industry has been worth billions of dollars for decades.
However, the vaping industry has become one of the fastest-growing in the UK. Use of e-cigarettes has been on the rise for the last couple of years, with last year seeing a rise of 24% on the year before. This has been attributed, at least in part, to the increasing awareness of the dangers of smoking and the fact that Public Health England released a report which confirmed the vaping industry’s assertions that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than tobacco.
Estimates suggest that the value of the UK e-cigarette market could rise to around £4.46 billion by the year 2021, with a global market value of £25 billion, according to a report by Beige Market Intelligence[1]. The popularity of e-cigarettes is growing, not just in the UK, but also in North America, particularly the US, and throughout Europe and with it the value of the market.
The legal position

In the UK alone, the population of 12 million smokers is being eroded by the 2.6 million vapers, of whom 700,000 are ex-smokers and 1.3 million are using both tobacco and e-cigarettes, suggesting that those individuals are at least attempting to cut down, if not giving up, tobacco.
In part, this is due to the laws concerning smoking which is increasingly restrictive, whereas the evidence supporting the health benefits of vaping in comparison to smoking suggests that any laws introduced to limit the areas in which vaping is allowed will be much more relaxed.
Although vaping may well be a booming industry at the moment, the degree of growth currently enjoyed by the e-cigarette sector is unlikely to be sustainable at the current rate. However, as the most viable alternative to the use of traditional tobacco, many investors consider e-cigarettes to be a safe bet when it comes to offering a decent potential return on their investments.

[1]Global Vape Market (e-Cigarette and Vaporizer) – Strategic Assessment and Forecast – Till 2021

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