Using electronic e-cigarettes, or vaping as it is now more commonly known, has helped millions of people get off the smokes and onto a healthier alternative to try and kick the habit. It is a multi-million dollar industry and has recently seen a massive surge in both variety and popularity in a relatively short space of time.
Originally designed in China, the first prototypes weren’t really the best thing on the market but as the technology grew and became more affordable, people started to make the switch over with the peak coming in 2014 (fun fact – a prototype for electronic cigarettes was introduced in the 1960s but quickly disappeared). A recent study has shown that 70% of people manage to kick cigarettes once they have started vaping.
But going into 2017, the industry has been hit with a lot of uncertainty. The government recently passed a little law called the TPD or Tobacco Product Directive, which will now limit what we are able to purchase from vape stores and also products the stores can buy in for the consumer. Some of these regulations include the size of bottles that the liquid will come in, the capacity of the tanks and the level of nicotine that is available to customers.
As with any law or directive the government passes, there will always be positive and negative affect on the market or product they have targeted. But it is of the opinion of many big names in the industry that the TPD will effectively take away a person’s right to vape.
As I said earlier, the vaping industry is worth millions of dollars and in the UK alone and has created thousands of jobs, both through stores and the manufacturing side of the industry. I will go right ahead and say that I work in a shop myself and vaping also helped me kick a sixty a day habit nearly eighteen months ago.
So why has the government decided to target something that is helping millions of people?
What it all boils down to is money. The government is losing thousands of pounds in tax revenue every month because people are hitting tobacco on the head and moving to a product that is not taxed. The British Government rely heavily on the tax duty made from tobacco products. Even some of the biggest names in the tobacco industry are now investing in e-cigs and these are available in corner shops and petrol stations across the UK.
I’ll be the first to admit that there isn’t a huge amount of research on vaping about the effects on a person’s health or what it might cause in a few years time, but there isn’t any solid evidence to say it is harmful either – either way you look at it, it is better than smoking. If you were to tie in the insane amount of bad publicity that is doing the rounds on social media and in tabloid newspapers, it all adds up to harming the industry and giving non-users the wrong impression.
However, the TPD may also work in the favour of the consumer as it will hopefully weed out the people who are only in it for the money and stop the sale of the fake products that are in abundance on the internet. It may also provide the people who want to make the switch with a little more faith in the product they are going to invest in.
At this stage, the opinion within the vaping community is divided.
On one side of the coin, you have the people who believe vaping will continue to grow and the TPD will only help to stabilise and push the industry forward in the right direction. But flip the coin and if the TPD takes away the variety on the market for the consumer then we could very well see the death of what is, in my opinion, the biggest aid to stop smoking.
As an ex-smoker and avid vaper, I most certainly won’t be going back on the fags.