Vaping News

All Change As Industry Under Scrutiny

Despite vapers telling the industry it needed to act, intransigence resulting from over confidence has led to the entire sector being placed on notice of legislation

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Vapers were telling the industry it needed to get its house in order as far back as 2014. Companies stealing intellectual property and branding for eLiquid names and packaging was always going to lead the sector down a business cul-de-sac. Booming business and constant expansions bred overconfidence, poor marketing practices and product design riled decision makers. Now, in 2024, the entire UK vape market faces an existential crisis.

The UK Government has its critics, but it has been world leading when it comes to tobacco harm reduction and vaping. Opting for a soft touch implementation of the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive, vapes have been encouraged as a smoking cessation aid.

Despite limiting tanks to 2ml and concentrations to 20mg/ml, such was the success noted at smoking cessation centres and in research that vaping became a key part of the government’s 2019 Smokefree 2030 ambition.

The opposition to vaping was strong, organised and well-funded, but constantly reducing smoking rates and a growing body of sound British research quelled any resistance taking hold.

The industry was riding the crest of a wave and showed no intention of changing their business models.

Last year, an audit by the Local Data Company showed 233 brand new independent vape shops opened up. The figure is especially striking when compared to the 61 that began across 2022 and a net closure due to the Covid pandemic the previous year.

In total, there are now over three and a half thousand independent vape stores in the United Kingdom – and that’s almost 50% more than the number of Greggs (2300) in town centres and service stations!

According to commissioned researched conducted by NIQ, year on year sales grew in value by £897.4 million – placing the entire UK vape market on course to be worth £3.25 billion this year.

One of the major drivers of the boom in vape sales have been the plethora of disposable vape brands with their ease of use and convenient shapes. The Lost Mary brand led the way with a growth in sales to the value of £310.6 million.

Unfortunately, this success has brought with it a swathe of problems.

Years ago, vapers on the Planet of the Vapes forum were demanding the industry addressed issues related to eLiquid companies stealing sweets and fizzy drink logos and branding. Having been a driving force in independent manufacturers dropping diacetyl from recipes, hopes were high we would see a change but foreign companies and large corporations refused to listen.

Then Planet of the Vapes News pushed for a sensible approach to incorporating recycled components into vape manufacture and a responsible industry approach to environmental sustainability. Again, we met with indifference or silence over multiple years.

Now they’re listening – just not to us.

Shoddy marketing on microblogging sites like TikTok, persistent reoffending by breaking the advertising code, and shirking any responsibility for recycling has left the industry facing a genuine threat as the government has been pushed into acting. Mainly the fault of the leading disposables manufacturers, the proposed ban of single-use vapes threatens to bleed over into a ban on types of juice flavours and a vape tax to be announced in the budget.

If only they’d listened to us when they had the chance.

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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