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How The Vape Market Has Grown


16 September 2021

Words by webvitality

Since the first e-cigs hit the market in 2005, there has been a growing trend of people ditching regular cigarettes for a smoking alternative. But how has the market grown over the years? And how does the future look for vaping?

The Early Years

The invention of the e-cig started back in the 1930s when Joseph Robinson was granted his patent for an electronic cigarette, although his design was never manufactured. Another electronic cigarette patent was filed in 1963 by Herbert A. Gilbert. This design was another one which was never realised. It wasn’t until 1979, when Phil Ray, a computer developer, worked with his physician, Norman Jacobson, on a new device for nicotine delivery, known as the vape. This device made its way into stores but eventually fell out of favour as the design was faulty. During the 1990s, there was a flurry of patents and possibilities for new and improved e-cigs. In 2005, the first e-cigs and vape units that we know appeared, sparking a surge of people abandoning smoking and switching to vaping.

The First Surge

In 2003, a Chinese inventor went to work on refining the e-cig after his father died. Hon Lik set to work after watching his father smoke his entire life and ultimately died from lung cancer. It was his initial effort which would create a new trend of vaping. Although his original device proved to be disappointing, people liked the idea of using a mechanical device instead of regular smoking.

The market for vaping exploded in 2010. Since 2011, vaping has become a new trend. With 7 million users worldwide, this number jumped to almost 25 million in 2014. This rose again to 41 million in 2018, and again to 68 million users in 2020. As a smoking substitute, vaping is believed to continue to grow as more people attempt to quit smoking. 

The devices which are used for vaping have undergone a massive change over the years. From the original cigarette type device to the mod-boxes which were clumsy and too large to carry about. Now, the design has looped back around to a sleeker design that can be easily refilled with your liquid of choice, and is small enough to carry in your pocket. The technology around the vape pens is always changing and new developments are always being released.

The main reasons people have made the switch to vaping are-

  • The range of flavours available- if you have ever smoked, you will be familiar with the various flavours of different tobacco. But that was it. The closest you could get to a different flavour were menthol cigarettes. Vaping, on the other hand, offers a wide range of options including cherry.
  • Someone they know vapes- Maybe you have a friend who has been a smoker in the past and they have made the switch, or maybe they just enjoyed the idea of vaping. Whatever the reason, there is a good chance that a lot of people get introduced to vaping by their friends or family.
  • It is better than smoking- smoking is responsible for millions of deaths worldwide. On average, 480,000 die from smoking-related disease in America, and 78,000 in the UK. 60 people died during 2019 – 2020 due to using an unregulated cannabis vaping product.

An industry Under Attack

Two years ago, the industry was valued at $19.3 billion, and this figure is going to keep rising. As the industry grew, it started to get attacked by several governments world wide. Vaping has been banned in certain places in the USA yet still allows smoking to continue. Their main focus has been on banning non-tobacco flavours and leaving people with very little choice when it comes to their vaping liquids. Across the globe, there are 7 countries that have banned vaping completely. Since the explosion of vaping in 2010, there have been several steps within the industry to ensure it is as safe as can be. In 2012, the American E-Liquid Manufacturing Standards Association (AEMSA) was formed to regulate the quality of vape juices.


The rise of vaping has been undeniable, and it is not going to slow down anytime soon. As the amount of smokers worldwide continues to decrease and make the switch to vaping, the bigger the industry will become. The only question is,if this is how much it has grown in the last ten years, how big will it get in the next ten years?

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