Vaping always seems like such a new and novel thing to so many people that it is sometimes hard to believe that e-cigarettes have been available for purchase for over 15 years now. The vaping industry is changing at such a rapid pace, in fact, that you’ve missed several distinct product generations if you’ve only been a vaper for a few years.
There is no doubt that the best time to be a vaper is now. The products are so much better than before that there is simply no comparison. Sometimes, however, the best way to know where an industry is going is to understand where it’s been – and to help you do that, this article will discuss the most significant ways the vaping industry has changed over its first few years. years. Let’s explore the evolution of vaping.
The vaping industry has become more mature
One of the biggest changes that has taken place in the vaping industry is a transformation in the way the industry presents and markets its products. This shift has happened partly due to increased regulatory scrutiny and partly as a natural side effect of vaping becoming more of a mainstream activity instead of a continuation of the counterculture as was the case at the start.
When vaping really started to catch on in the mid-2010s, some companies went a bit too far in trying to market e-cigarettes as lifestyle products. They hired attractive young models for photo shoots and paid social media influencers to spread the word. Meanwhile, e-liquid companies began creating and marketing vape juices that tasted like popular candies and cereals and even went so far as to mimic the packaging of these products. These marketing techniques brought unwanted attention to the industry and had the unintended side effect of deterring smokers who would otherwise have been extremely interested in switching from smoking to vaping.
More recently, the vaping industry has learned from its mistakes and is now marketing products in a much more polished and understated way. Vaping companies have learned that vaping really sells on its own merits. It’s less risky than smoking and it doesn’t smell bad. It’s even much cheaper than smoking. Educating smokers about these benefits is really all that is needed to make smokers want to buy e-cigarettes.
Vaping hardware preferences have changed
Hardware is the most important aspect of the vaping industry that has changed over the past few years. Today’s popular vaping devices, such as the Geek Bar, look almost nothing like the e-cigarettes people used a decade ago. The basic principle remains the same. Much like e-cigarettes of old, a modern vaping device still uses a heating element to vaporize a nicotine-infused liquid that is inhaled by the user. The appearance of the hardware, however, has been completely transformed.
First-generation e-cigarettes closely resembled tobacco cigarettes, and the similarity arose out of necessity. Virtually every smoker in the developed world these days is aware of the existence of vaping. There was a time, however, when the idea of vaping was completely unknown to virtually all smokers. If you were a smoker and saw a modern vaping device like a box mod on the shelf of your local convenience store – and had no idea what vaping was – you wouldn’t know that the device had something to do with smoking and probably would. I’m not even interested enough to ask about it.
In the early days of vaping, products needed to provide a visual cue suggesting a relationship to smoking. People who saw the first e-cigarettes immediately understood that they were electronic smoking devices and wanted to know more. Physical resemblance helped e-cigarette manufacturers win their first customers and played a major role in the early success of the industry. Now that vaping devices no longer need to look like tobacco cigarettes, they’ve gotten bigger. The increased size allows today’s devices to last longer and produce larger, more satisfying vapor clouds.
The development of e-liquid flavors has become more advanced
Vaping has improved by leaps and bounds in flavor quality over the years, with top e-liquid companies making something that rivals a premium dining experience. Early e-liquid companies tended to focus on tobacco and menthol flavors, perhaps because they assumed smokers would prefer cigarette-like flavors. The few non-cigarette flavors that were available tended to have only one note, such as cherry or vanilla.
As the vaping industry evolved, it became clear pretty quickly that tobacco flavors are actually not what most vapers prefer. In fact, it’s far more common for vapers to turn to fruit, candy, and dessert flavors. As more and more e-liquid companies have entered the industry, tobacco-free flavors have come to represent a much larger share of the market. In the mid-2010s, some of the most popular e-liquid flavor profiles included cereal, custard, and candy flavors. E-liquid companies learned to replicate the flavors of the world’s most popular snacks and desserts, and they also learned that they could make those flavor profiles even truer by using sucralose as a sweetener. In the late 2010s, sugary e-liquids made up the vast majority of the vaping industry.
In the 2020s, e-liquid companies have increasingly moved away from single-note flavors in favor of more complex blends. Today, it’s no longer enough for an e-liquid alone to capture the flavor of something like custard, no matter how accurate the flavor. Instead, members of the vaping community are looking for e-liquids with much more complex flavor profiles. Instead of a regular custard e-liquid, for example, a popular vape juice today might capture the flavor of a custard pie with a base of graham crackers, a drizzle of strawberry, and a dollop of whipped cream. Instead of creating regular menthol e-liquids, today’s vape juice makers use menthol to add a layer of freshness to their flavors. The added complexity of flavors makes today’s e-cigarettes infinitely more palatable than tobacco cigarettes, encouraging smokers to quit smoking at an ever-increasing rate.