Written by Tim Klerekoper, Ph.D. January 26, 2016
*This article was not written by Maxed Out Vape
With all the industry hype and changing trends, it might be easy to lose track of the most important factor driving the vaping industry, which is the goal to produce an effective alternative to tobacco cigarettes. It is important to never lose sight of that objective.
The vaping industry climate arguably can be described by the “pendulum” theory. At first the industry was all about not smoking. Over time, a small percentage of the industry headed left, and another small percentage headed right. On the one hand you have people trying to ban e -cigs, and on the other you have increasingly high wattage vaping with more and more powerful systems. Mind you, let’s not knock people who “chase clouds,” and we should also appreciate people who believe that reasonable regulation of the industry is important (emphasis on the word “reasonable”). It is crucial to remember, however, that the vast majority of the industry is still stuck smack- dab in the middle. Given this industry divide, there are six key industry trends will likely prevail in 2016.
#1 Quality or “The latest”?
When we shop for a car, most people compare manufacturers. They look for cars with a good track record and great ratings. They should look for the same thing in an electronic cigarette. Where was the mod made? What materials did they use? What kind of testing does the manufacturer implement? Of concern is what might be seen as a continuing trend of e cig manufacturers using their customers as guinea pigs. When a company can go from an initial product concept to putting product out to the market in just weeks, we probably should be suspicious. Companies that put out high quality products usually take longer to get that product to market, but in the long run it’s usually worth it.
Another concern is the existence of a new technology bias—the idea that new is inherently better. A key example of this in 2015 was the movement toward temperature control. While the companies that introduced it can be applauded for introducing a great concept, there should still be critique about the way the temperature of a coil is determined (or not) as the case might be. Algorithms have their limits, and if you advertise you can “control” or “limit” the temperature of a mod, you’d darn well better be certain your measurement is accurate. Perhaps it should have been billed as “temperature guessing.” We should take a close look at products that are introduced before they are perfected, but having said that, we should look forward to the continuing development of that temperature- based technology.
#2 Flavor and vapor are better than ever!
In the early days of vaping it was all about replacing the amount of smoke a cigarette produced. The vast majority of vapers still want just enough vapor to replace a bad habit, yet we see a trend of those people walking out of vape stores with high wattage mods and tanks that go way beyond their needs. It makes as much sense as selling a Formula 1 racing car to someone looking for a four -door sedan!
We do need to give a great deal of credit to coil builders for upping the ante when it comes to vapor and flavor. There was a period when a hand- built coil on an RDA could produce considerably better flavor and vapor than tanks, which is most likely one of the reasons tanks have trended towards better flavor and vapor is because the coilers set the bar higher for the industry as a whole.
#3 Battery life is getting better, but at what cost?
Cigalike products frustrate users for two reasons—first, is the tiny amount of e- liquid they hold and second is running out of battery power just when it is most inconvenient. On the other hand, there are box mods on the market now that weigh more than a quarter horse. Fancier coils and sub- Ohm tanks are requiring higher and higher wattage and more and more battery power, but at what risk? Use a battery incorrectly and you could pay a significant price. What does the manufacturer of the battery suggest? The answer might surprise you!
#4 Safety should be non-negotiable.
Nobody should be willing to take a risk that his or her e- cig’s battery will vent, so it is logical that consumers should not only purchase mods that have safety features on- board, but also mods that have been thoroughly factory -tested. Reverse battery protection and thermal monitoring with multiple safety backup systems shouldn’t be an option. Is your mod electronically and structurally safe?
Another positive trend in the industry is the rising quality of e- liquid. In the early days you could order e- liquid from a nationally known company and get a plastic bottle with a handwritten label that gave virtually no information about the quality of the ingredients inside. Now, a great many e-liquids are produced with extensive labeling, in a clean- room lab under sterile conditions, and packaged with child -resistant caps. Many companies are also testing for potentially hazardous chemicals. The vaping industry should be proud of the fact that without having been regulated, e -liquid manufacturing is definitely trending toward safety.
#5 Durability and longevity need some improvement.
The quality of e- cigs in this industry varies widely. Repair rates can vary from one half of one percent to more than 40 percent! Consumers should reasonably be able to expect a lot better quality than that. Can your e -cig even be repaired? A lot of companies don’t even offer that option! Don’t even ask what happens when a mod is inadvertently dropped. How often are mods drop tested? Our industry has collectors and those who are into purchasing whatever the latest technology is, but most vapers simply want an effective, reliable system that lasts. A large segment of industry products won’t last more than six months. A good quality model might cost you a bit more at the beginning, but will save you a lot over the time you use it. It will be important to this industry to see a trend toward higher quality, more reliable models.
#6 Political trends are challenging.
Political trends in the vaping industry have been challenging at best. Many agencies (local, state, and national) have been critical of the industry, citing a combination of consumer claims, safety incidents, and medical studies. Given the relative novelty of the vaping industry (compared to tobacco), studies are still relatively limited in scope. An important step for manufacturers moving forward will be to look objectively at these critiques and assess where their products lie in relation. This way, any feature- specific safety and health concerns can be identified and changes can be made as needed. The upcoming year will likely see more of these efforts, along with an industrywide effort to better define standards for manufacturing and practice.
Overall, vaping industry trends are headed in the right direction, but there is a lot of work to do. Each individual vaper needs to realize that they are personally responsible for helping set industry trends. As a unified group, they can achieve vaping’s most important goal, while enjoying themselves in the process.
In a recent study, scientists have found electronic cigarette vapor has NO toxic effect on the cells found in human lungs. Fresh research, funded by British American Tobacco (BAT), suggested inhaling nicotine vapor could be as safe as breathing air.
To perform these experiments, the tobacco giant teamed up with the MatTek Corporation, maker of human cell models used in “in vitro” laboratory experiments. Scientists then used a “smoking robot” to expose these lung cell replicas to tobacco smoke, two different brands of e-cig vapor, and plain old air.
After being exposed to old-fashioned smoke for six (6) hours, the cells died. However, after subjecting the cells to an “aggressive and continuous” dose of e-cig vapor, researchers claimed the damage to the airway tissue was “similar to that of air”. BAT spokesperson, Dr Marina Murphy, stated “by employing a combination of a smoking robot and a lab-based test using respiratory tissue, it was possible to demonstrate…. the e-cigarette aerosols used in this study have no [toxic] effect on human airway tissue.”
There are plans to tests a wider variety of e-cigs, to prove its results. “Currently there are no standards concerning the ‘in vitro’ testing of electronic cigarette aerosols,” said Marina Trani, Group Head Scientific Product Stewardship at British American Tobacco. “Our protocol could prove very useful in helping the process by which these guidelines might progress.”
The debate about e-cigarette safety has been raging for several years. Study after study have highlighted health risks, although most experts agree vaping is much safer than smoking cigarettes. Dr Michael Siegel, professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University’s School of Public Health, welcomed the latest study as evidence of the safety of electronic cigarettes; stating “Despite the limitations of the research, it adds additional evidence to support the contention that vaping is a lot safer than smoking.”
He called on public health bodies and anti-tobacco groups alike to encourage smokers to swap to vaping; a step which would “transform the nicotine market and achieve a huge public health victory.” going on to proclaim, “Such a phenomenon would result in the greatest public health miracle of our lifetimes.”
However, the health expert warned overheating liquid nicotine could produce dangerous toxins. Personally, overheating e-juice taste horrible and should be avoided for that reason alone. Vaping advocates claimed the previously research results, which found e-cigs vapor held dangerous chemicals, were false due to the nicotine liquid being exposed to high temperatures.
VokeEarlier this year, British American Tobacco announced the release of a device called Voke, not currently available on the market, which is licensed as a medicine and produces no heat, working more like an asthma inhaler than an electronic cigarette.
Tom Pruen, Chief Scientific Officer of the Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association, stated he was satisfied the latest research was accurate. “While I’m sure that for many the source of the research will be a problem, of recent years the science conducted by the tobacco industry has been of very good quality, and despite the historic issues I wouldn’t view it with any greater skepticism than research conducted elsewhere,” he said. He went on to add, “the results are not unexpected. Not only are the components of an e-cig aerosol expected to be of low toxicity, based on a large number of analytical studies, but this research broadly agrees with a previous study.”
*This article was not written by Maxed Out Vape