The Future of Vaping
Posted on 24 April 2015 by Matt Brown.
It's hard to believe, but electronic cigarettes have been around now, in one form or another, for over 10 years. In that time, we've seen massive strides in design and performance, with millions of people all over the world making the switch from tobacco to vaping.
While the popular devices available on the market today are a world away from where we started in 2004, it is still possible to see the echoes of the first generation of e-cig devices in their design. This is beginning to change, however.
In the coming years, I predict that the needs of new vapers are going to change dramatically. While traditionally they have preferred small, simple devices to start out with (predominantly cigalikes), with vaping becoming much more commonplace, I expect we'll see these begin to be eclipsed by larger, more powerful systems.
The desire for increased battery life means that we are frequently seeing batteries which offer capacities in excess of 1000mAh (and that's before we even consider IMR cells). While the humble cigalike will probably continue to be a popular first step into vaping for some time to come, when the time comes to upgrade, the ubiquitous eGo style devices are likely to be replaced by larger or more powerful batteries which bridge the gap between the eGo and advanced personal vaporiser systems. Batteries like our Series-E are already gaining traction in the wider marketplace, and I'd expect this to increase dramatically over the next few years.
In terms of functionality, VV is quickly becoming the industry minimum standard. While manual and automatic switch batteries have served a useful function, and will continue to do so for many users, the small increase in complexity of a VV device is a small price to pay for the added flexibility and power on offer. I'd expect to see most vendors offering VV as standard in their larger batteries by 2017.
The rise of Variable Wattage devices is also something I'd expect to continue into the future, particularly those with a small footprint, such as SMOK Xpro. While they are significantly more complex than a standard eGo system, these mini box mods offer a huge amount of power in a relatively tiny unit.
When it comes to tanks, the future is already upon us. For years, users have been split between those who favour the ease and simplicity of clearomisers, versus those who prefer the customisation afforded by more advanced Rebuildable Atomisers or Rebuildable Dripping Atomisers. In the past few months, however, a new hybrid style Rebuildable Tank Atomiser system has been gaining popularity.
These RTA tanks, such as the Kanger Subtank, offer the best of both worlds. They are compatible with stock coils for those who crave accessibility, but work with an optional RBA deck for when you fancy having a crack at building your own coils. In the short time they have been available, a plethora of models have surfaced and I'd expect further evolutions on the design to drive the wider market forward over the coming years.
In tandem with VW devices and RTA tanks, we've also seen an explosion in the popularity of sub-ohm vaping. While a mainstay of more advanced vapers for several years, it has become a great deal more accessible in recent months thanks to the rise of high-airflow, sub-ohm capable tanks and batteries.
While the form and function of the devices which are available is important, the build quality and reliability of the products themselves will be key. As consumers, vapers are becoming increasingly clued-up about product capabilities, and place a high premium on quality. We're already beginning to see the effects of this, as greater levels of community engagement have helped to identify fairly serious problems with several high-profile products.
Vendors who do not place quality, safety and reliability at the core of their business are going to suffer as we move forward.
The wider public are also increasingly viewing e-cigs an electronic device, with all that that entails. Bricks and mortar shops which offer product demos, and a more hands-on shopping experience will most likely become the first port of call for customers who wish to buy on the high street, as opposed to online. The prevalence of cheap disposables available in supermarkets will inevitably continue for some time to come, but as consumers learn more about e-cigs and how to gauge their quality, their popularity will decline.
Finally, marching towards the industry in 2016 is the dreaded TPD. The EU's Tobacco Products Directive has cast a large shadow over the wider vaping community for the past couple of years, and if it is passed into legislation next year as planned, it will have an effect on the products which are available to consumers.
Thankfully, a strong case against the TPD is being mounted at the moment. The outcome of this appeal will dictate the direction of travel in the marketplace. While I agree that a certain amount of regulation is a good thing for the e-cigarette industry, much of this already exists within the framework of consumer goods legislation and self-responsibility on the part of vendors. If e-cigarettes are to continue to evolve for another 10 years, how any regulation is imposed will be of vital importance.
All opinions are my own and may not be representative of, or endorsed by, JAC Vapour.
*Update 03/2016 - The TPD has been finalised by the EU and is scheduled for implementation on May 20th, 2016. For further information on what this means for vapers, read our guide to the TPD.