E-cigarettes: Are They a Fad Or Are They Forever?


  The rise of e-cigarettes has been astonishing. The electronic alternative to the classic tobacco-based cigarette has been around since 2003, yet it has remained largely unused or unheard of until this decade.
2012 was the year Britain saw the e-cigarette market absolutely explode, with sales of vaping products skyrocketing. Meanwhile, the number of “smokers” dropped significantly. Such a swift move from unknown tech to an icon of modern culture was always going to raise eyebrows. This was not a steady increase but a meteoric rise.

Just like the fad that was Pokemon Go, which took a standard augmented reality app and filled it with nostalgia, vaping takes the normal experience of smoking and infuses it with enticing, delectable, and sometimes downright bizarre flavours.

Many a vaper have been drawn to the product, not necessarily because of the promise of a healthier lifestyle or cost-effectiveness of the brand but simply to try all the amazing e-liquids available.

While a ban on e-cigarettes in public places has been curtailed, for now, some argue that, if it a ban were to be passed, vapers would simply go back to cigarettes.

With enticing flavours, an ability to vape in public places, and the intrigue of a sudden explosion of e-cigarette products leading to a stark rise in the vaping population across the country, many believe this whole thing is just a fad.

But is it?

Depending on where you look, you’ll find data for e-cigarette sales rising and falling. This is largely due to a movement to online vaping sales and away from retail. However, as it stands, both the US and the UK saw growth of the industry as a whole in 2016.

A rise in sales, a trend that has continued now for several years, seems to be a strong argument against the idea of vaping just being a fad. However, a fad doesn’t have to be an overnight thing. Pokemon Go, Gangnam Style, Crazy Frog, Mexican Jumping Beans: these are all well-known fads that came and went pretty much overnight, and they are often what we think of when we refer to the term.

This is not the only type of fad you’ll find though. Others can stick around a lot longer.

Take selfie-sticks, UGG boots, Beanie Babies, and the 80s Perm. These were all fads, undeniably, but their popularity is measured in years, not months. So can e-cigarettes be compared to the likes of the selfie-stick?

Probably not.

At a fad’s core is novelty. It provides something new and different that everyone wants, but it doesn’t provide longevity or usefulness to last outside of that initial novelty period. Like chewing gum, you have a taste, then the taste is gone and you don’t want it anymore.

As we’ve already mentioned, e-cigarettes have some of that novelty. Their flavours are primarily a novelty, and those large clouds of vapour they produce (which can be great fun to make shapes and rings with) are also a novelty

However, the core of the vaping phenomenon is not novelty. A study recently found that over half of all vapers take up e-cigarettes as a way to give up smoking with the second biggest reason being that they believe it is safer than smoking tobacco products.

The science backs up their opinions. Research run by the British government found that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes. It cannot be said that health fads don’t exist, but often these are herbal or alternative remedies, like green tea or, the most despicable of them all, hot yoga.

However, here is the reason we know that vaping isn’t just an e-cig fad: nicotine addiction. Nicotine addiction has been around for nearly 200 years. It’s not a fad; it’s an ever-present part of our modern society. Vaping offers those with this addiction a safer way of managing and coping.

When you take away those who vape because it’s cool, or fun, or tastes nice, you are left with those who want to take care of themselves and their families. Patches and programs to defeat the smoking addiction worked for some, but they did not work for everyone. Vaping, however, has changed everything. It satisfies the cravings, indulges the habit, and does this in a safer way.

We need to be aware of the differences between tobacco and nicotine. While smoking tobacco has clear negative health outcomes, nicotine itself is not the cause of concern. Vaping allows adults to enjoy nicotine without inhaling tar or carbon monoxide, the true killers in a cigarette.

With vape shop sales set to overtake cigarette retailers, newcomers will more likely be drawn to vaping than their tobacco-based cousins. Many smokers also find that e-cigarettes are just as satisfying, if not more satisfying, than a standard ciggy.

In terms of health benefits, overall product satisfaction, and the previous longevity of the cigarette, vaping is definitely more than just a quick and soon-to-be-over e-cig fad.

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