TECC Celebrates 15 Years!

The Electronic Cigarette Company is turning 15 years old and the business says it is “thrilled to have been able to help people break free from the chains of smoking for so long”

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The Electronic Cigarette Company (TECC) is turning 15 years old and the business says it is “thrilled to have been able to help people break free from the chains of smoking for so long - after all, there are not many vaping companies around that have been there since the start quite like we have.” TECC has written to Planet of the Vapes to look back on its time.

It all started back in early 2008, when the first commercial e-cigarettes were made available for purchase. We initially started off as an eBay business, but due to rapid expansion needed a proper website and office facility to keep up with the sheer demand.

“Fast forward to 2023, and we have become one of the most trusted vape businesses in the UK. There have been so many changes over the last 15 years, so we thought it would be insightful to do a little breakdown of each year, highlighting something interesting from each of them.”

Chairman Fraser Cropper said: “Back in 2008, electronic cigarettes had been available, through very limited, principally eBay private sellers’ channels for less than a year. There was no telling 15 years ago where these very early indicators, of essentially proof of concept devices, would ultimately lead.

“Nevertheless, The Electronic Cigarette Company was formed as the UK’s first dedicated online electronic cigarette store, with a simple mission to attempt to make as accessible as possible these new products to the widest group of smokers. 

“Across these 15 years, TECC (as we have more latterly become known) has attempted to maintain this simple mission.  Whilst the range of products has vastly improved both in choice and quality, we have strived to maintain our simple and enduring motivations. We remain an online business, focused on making available best value products and the provision of sector leading customer service and support.

“We aim for our site to be easy to navigate and offer what we believe to be the best range of products, chosen so all our customers are safe in the knowledge that we offer only the best quality and value products, supported by our warranties, guarantees and service expectations. We are humbled that so many customers choose as their vaping business of choice.  Thank you for all your support across the past 15 years.”

2008 – where it all started

2008 is a special year for obvious reasons. Not only did it mark the founding of The Electronic Cigarette Company, but it was also the first time that many people were introduced to the concept of vaping; a revolutionary new way to leave cigarettes behind without sacrificing the core experience of smoking.

“In this year, we launched our website with the first cartomizer kits like the Mini. The batteries were tiny, the prefilled cartomizers themselves lasted a short amount of time, and the kits were not cheap. The original ‘atomizers’ were just bits of mesh that heated up small pieces of e-liquid soaked material. We also started selling our very own e-liquids that were available in 15 flavours, introducing early vapers to options that were not just tobacco or menthol! Each one came in a glass bottle with a pipette dripper – classic!

“But crucially for the first time, there was finally a solution to smoking. For the first time, everyone had the chance to give it up once and for all. In many ways, 2008 is one of the most important years in our history.”

2009 – Screwdriver Modness!

The early days of vaping saw many weird and wonderful devices come and go. One of the more important releases though was the arrival of the Screwdriver; one of the world’s first ever mods! Like the name suggests, it did indeed look like a screwdriver, and it was a massive success with customers. It used the old DSE 901 threaded atomizers that had removable cartridge packed with some wicking material. You could get about 5 decent drops or so of e-liquid inside it and that was it.

There was another huge release this year – the Titan. This kit came with a cigarette style battery and prefilled pods that came in screw top containers.

TECC says: “The Titan went on to become our (and possibly the industry’s?) longest selling kit, lasting for 12 years before finally being discontinued in 2021.

“Our responsibility to this new industry was clear from the start, and we wasted no time in ensuring we only sold to those aged 18+, and were the first vape company to standardise child resistant packaging across our e-liquid and prefilled cartomizers, despite there being no regulations around that demanded such actions at the time.”

2010 – Caught in a Tornado

2010 was a landmark year, and one which totally changed the way people vape. Our close partner Joyetech developed a brand-new battery and atomiser system called the eGo-T, and we were floored by just how different it was. This was known as the Tornado-T on our website and offered vapers a whole new way to get their nicotine. It marked a bold move away from e-cigs that looked like cigarettes, carving a path that would be filled by a whole new set of weird and wonderful designs in the future.”

TECC says that it is thanks to the Tornado-T that hundreds of thousands more smokers made the switch to vaping, “due to its efficient performance and outstanding battery life for the time. It also introduced us all to the now iconic eGo and 510 thread, the latter of which would go on to become the standard threading used with virtually every single e-cig and tank since.”

2011 – Growing pains

TECC says that 2011 was a very interesting year.

With our sister company Totally Wicked rapidly growing, The Electronic Cigarette Company and its products began to diverge away from each other, offering distinctly different styles to suit our customers.

“The industry was finding its feet, with more and more businesses popping up across the country. Our experience allowed us to continue leading the charge, helping smokers as far away as Australia (before the draconian vape bans) find freedom from smoking.”

2012 – The World’s End

Aside from the various doomsday predictions for the world, 2012 saw many developments in the vaping industry.

Our selection was more varied than ever, with variable voltage devices like the Torpedo VVV, the legendary E-Pipe and E-Cigar. There was something for everyone, and more people than ever were choosing to vape and ditch the cigarettes.

Replaceable atomiser heads were also becoming very popular. With devices like the eGo-C from Joyetech reducing the cost of replacements significantly. We were starting to enter a new era, and the future was looking bright.”

2013 – An eVictory

While the industry was continuing to grow, innovation was taking place at an all-time high. TECC continues: “Joyetech hit a new high with the launch of the remarkable eVic; the innovative, intelligent e-cigarette. For the first time, you had a screen that displayed all settings in front of you, with puff counts, voltage fine-tuning and average draw duration. The eVic turned vaping on its head and became a new benchmark that others would be scrambling to copy for years to come.

“While we were all celebrating an industry that was starting to mature, there were dark clouds rolling in on the horizon. The EU and MHRA had been discussing a ban on e-cigarettes, and it didn’t look good.

“The proposed regulations from these two regulating bodies could have resulted in electronic cigarettes being classed and regulated as medicinal. E-cigs would be removed from the market. No innovation, no myriad of flavours, no fun, just sterile products prescribed for you. No freedom of choice! We couldn’t let this happen, so we decided to do something about it.”

2014 – Article 20 Battle

Some may remember this,” TECC Comments, “others may not, but 2014 was the year we decided to stand up for vaping and vapers all over Europe. Leading the charge against the ridiculous Article 20, Totally Wicked and ourselves started legal proceedings to try and save the vape industry from the claws of the EU and MHRA.

“Lots of campaigning, videos, blogs and televised interviews ensued, as a true David vs Goliath battle heated up. This would rage on for almost 2 years before a final ruling would be made.

“Despite this, the industry did what it does best; continue to help people break free from the chains of smoking. There were even more innovative devices to choose from like the excellent eVic Supreme, which showcased the innovation we all know and love from Joyetech, and introduced the industry to a then unheard of 30W of power when paired with the Delta tank!

“But the most important release of them all would be the Curve, which introduced vapers to the legendary iStick 20W. This was a real gamechanger, and would later morph in to the arc series that has become by far our best-selling product. What a rollercoaster year!”

2015 – The next big thing

2015 saw Joyetech introduce the eVic VT, a 60W, 5000mAh vape kit that showcased VT (Variable Temperature) technology with Ni (Nickel) and Ti (Titanium) coils.

We complemented this kit with the release of our Curve VT40, which offered a more compact VT device with the same functionality.

“We also saw the stupidly popular eGo ONE series, alongside the Curve 2 and Curve 2 Mini, which helped thousands of vapers move away from smoking forever. Let’s not forget the Tornado V4/V5 which offered an affordable and easy way to vape. We also introduced the fantastic Titus e-liquid range, which has become our most popular vape juice!”

The Article 20 battle continued throughout the year, with prominent calls to action via websites and newsletters. Slowly, the industry was beginning to unite around the calls to save vaping.

We knew the time to act was now, or risk letting the carpet be pulled out from under us all by those who had little to no understanding about what vaping meant to people; freedom from smoking.”

2016 – TRPR regulations enforced

Despite a commendable attempt to battle the disproportionate vaping restrictions presented in Article 20 of the TPD at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), ultimately the ruling did not go in the favour of vaping.

This was a bitterly disappointing result, but only strengthened our resolve to hold the organisations and individuals responsible to account,” the company says.

TRPR, the UK’s interpretation of the TPD (Tobacco Products Directive) landed on 20th May 2016. This brought with it a raft of new restrictions, such as vape tanks being unable to exceed 2ml, a maximum of 20mg nicotine containing e-liquid that could only be sold in 10ml bottles, and a near-total ban on advertising. It also required nicotine warnings on all packaging, and a requirement to notify vaping products via the MHRA.

TECC says: “From a products point of view, there were many new additions that spawned huge followings. The iJust 2, iStick Pico, eGo AIO and iStick Power were just some of these, alongside the Reuleaux DNA200, which was one of the most advanced (and expensive!) e-cigs around at the time. Despite the challenge presented by TRPR, it was great to see the industry make the changes needed to continue to thrive.”

2017 – Expanding horizons

A lot of things changed in 2017.

Recognising vapers need for more options and choice, we started to sell products from all the best brands in the industry. This included the most popular vape liquids, starter kits and mods. One key launch for us this year was the PockeX from Aspire, which to this day remains one of the all-time best-selling starter kits.

“We also launched our coil and e-liquid price promise, which guaranteed the best prices for our customers in an increasingly competitive market. This year marked the first real emergence of vape pod kits, which have since become one of the most popular ways to vape.”

2018 – 10 years of freedom

Not many vape companies at the time could claim to have been around for a whole decade. Which is why we made sure to celebrate our 10th anniversary in style. We had a special edition arc 5 created for the occasion and held numerous activities with customers to join in with the fun.

“There were plenty of new products coming on to the market, including vape pod kits like the Nord and RPM40, which would go on to become some of the most popular products of the year. With nic salt liquids picking up pace alongside them, they were a perfect match for each other.”

2019 – Rise of the vape pod

Vape pods came into their own and every brand had something to offer.

Recognising this shift, we decided to up the amount of these devices we stocked. It turned out to be a good decision, as by the end of the year, pod kits were all that most people wanted.

“It was also the last year of normality, not just for us, but for the wider world…”

2020 – Hope in adversity

2020 – the year of social distancing and turmoil, and one that accentuated the need for e-commerce and online portals.

We were there when it mattered most to our customers, and welcomed in a whole host of others who were desperately seeking a new home to buy their vape products now the high street was closed. Our warehouse team worked tirelessly to ensure that the increased demand was dealt with in our usual quick manner, and we cannot thank them enough for helping us get through an incredibly challenging year.”

2021 – Disposable dominance

As more and more people moved toward a convenience-driven future, disposable vapes saw a meteoric rise, led by the Geek Bar. This was one of, if not the most popular vape device in the world at one point, with everyone clamouring to try the intense strong flavours offered.

The success of the Geek Bar would ultimately be overshadowed by something else later in the year, the Elf Bar. This product struck a chord with vapers, and still to this day commands a formidable share of the market.

We have seen our share of industry upheaval over the years, but perhaps nothing quite like the rise in disposable popularity. A wave that, for better or worse, we have continued to ride through to today.”

2022 – Bar salt

Despite the dominance of Elf Bar, the Lost Mary hit the scene and became just as popular in a short space of time. These titans continue to be the go-to option for vapers wanting to try single use e-cigs.

“One of the main reasons people use disposables aside from the convenience, is the flavour. “The strong tastes offered by these products often have vapers coming back for more every time. We thought, what if we could bottle those flavours and offer it as a great value alternative to disposables? So, after extensive testing, we did just that with the release of VLTZ e-liquid.

“Now known as bar salt e-liquid, it was finally possible to enjoy the great flavour found in disposables, but for a fraction of the cost, both to your wallet and the environment. Of course, there were a host of devices released to use with bar salts, like the Aspire R1, Joyetech WideWick and EVIO C.”

2023 – 15 years of freedom

So here we are, 15 years later and stronger than ever. As this lookback has hopefully demonstrated, we have seen many trends come and go in the industry, and often played a leading part in helping to shape it for the better. And if our experience is anything to go by, 2023 is sure to have its own surprises in store.

“But what we are most proud of is the incredible team behind the business. Every one of us has dedicated our time to helping people find freedom from smoking, and we couldn’t be happier seeing everyone take those first steps away from tobacco and changing their lives for the better.

“As we look to the future, it’s natural to sometimes forget about that time when we were just that little eBay store. But one thing we will never forget is our purpose; to help smokers break free from the chains of smoking. So here’s to 15 years. 15 years of innovation, 15 years of leadership, 15 years of freedom.”

Photo Credit:

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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