Whether or not you buy into the alleged health benefits that electronic cigarettes have over conventional tobacco products is of little consequence. What can’t be denied however is that vaping can no longer be classified as merely a fly by night fad – the value of the vaping industry, which is estimated to reach a whopping $32 billion (U.S.) by the year 2021, is surely evidence enough of that. While this figure is impressive, the most intriguing question pertaining to all things vaping isn’t necessarily when, if ever, it will replace cigarettes entirely, but rather, how it became such a global phenomenon so quickly.
Timing Is Everything
Electronic cigarettes (at least the idea of them) have been around a long time. In fact, Herbert Gilbert filed the first patent for the modern e-cigarette way back in 1963. The reason it didn’t take off (unsurprisingly) was that it was simply too ahead of its time. Sure, tobacco companies opposed the innovation in an effort to protect their product lines, but it’s also safe to assume that the comparably limited knowledge of the health effects of tobacco possessed by the public in the sixties didn’t exactly ignite a sense of urgency to develop and market a safer alternative.
Fast-forward a few decades and the medical establishment has confirmed with study upon study that cigarettes are by far the most lethal consumer product ever made. Armed with this information, it was just a matter of time before the general public claimed that enough was enough. Coupled with a growing societal trend to be healthier as a whole, it’s understandable that the vaping industry took off the way it did.
It’s also safe to say that the act of vaping was able to entrench itself so effectively because legislators have had a difficult time figuring out how the products should be treated as well as identifying what sort of oversight the industry requires. This grey area meant that more people were able to access the technology and eventually become regular users. Many jurisdictions have just recently finished revisiting their laws, while many still have yet to do so.
The Promise of Something Better
Though the long term health impact of vaping is not yet known, it is a generally accepted truth that e-cigarettes pose far less danger than conventional tobacco products since the e-juice doesn’t need to be combusted in order to be consumed. Further, studies have gone on to say that not only are they safer to use, e-cigs are also a potentially successful method for helping people quit smoking.
Perhaps what is most appealing to smokers about e-cigarettes is that vaping allows them to continue to experience the social aspect of smoking without the harmful effects – something that isn’t altogether offered by other tobacco harm reduction alternatives.
Regardless if it’s a preliminary finding or an anecdotal account, when people hear how taking up vaping can help them kick the habit and live a happier, healthier life, it doesn’t take a great deal of persuading to get them to try it.
The Economic Effect
Chances are, there’s a vape shop near you; and that means that there’s one less storefront remaining empty – but it also means so much more. The meteoric rise of vaping culture has created a demand for secondary products and services. Not only does this provide jobs in a time when jobs might by hard to come by, it also offers an additional means of taxation for the government.
The sale of vaporizers for instance, devices used widely by the vaping community, is expected to exceed $3.5 billion in 2016 alone. With such a positive effect on the global economy, it’s difficult to turn a blind eye to the benefits of promoting the vaping culture in the community. Consequently, for those who would claim that the tobacco industry is also good for the economy, it’s important to remember that while the annual revenues of the tobacco industry may exceed more than $700 billion, tobacco is also a drain on public funds. Tobacco-related health care costs footed by governments is also in the hundreds of billions.
Vaping Is More Socially Acceptable Than Smoking
Though many cite health benefits as their reason for vaping, a recent American study revealed that nearly a third of respondents took up vaping because it was more socially acceptable than smoking. Societal pressure of course can be a pretty powerful motivator; given the choice between being ostracized or accepted, people would gladly choose the latter even if it meant a drastic change in their habits or behaviors.