Vaping Boom as Users Predicted to Rise to 55m Around the World
There are millions of vapers in the United States and around the world, but that’s nothing compared to what’s forecast for the coming years. According to a new prediction by marketing research firm Euromonitor International, the number of people using e-cigarettes and other vaping devices is expected to rise to an enormous 55 million by 2021. While it’s still a small number compared to the amount of smokers globally, estimated at 1.1 billion people, the forecast, if it comes true, shows that vaping is on a seemingly unstoppable upward trajectory.
That being said, the number of smokers around the world is falling, with new data from the World Health Organization earlier this year showing that there are now 29 million fewer smokers around the globe. Most of those stubbing out are in wealthier nations, while many in poorer or less-developed countries continue to puff away and put their health at risk.
Peculiarly, governments and health authorities in a growing number of Western nations are supporting e-cigarettes as a way to get people off deadly smoking, while many developing nations with large smoking populations have banned vaping entirely — despite at the same time permitting widescale advertising of cigarette products. Tobacco, as we now know, kills half its users and leads to around 7 million deaths around the world each year, nearly 1 million of whom are not smokers, but inhale secondhand smoke and go on to develop smoking-related diseases.
A Big Switch to Vaping
Countries such as the UK and New Zealand have declared plans to go smoke free in the coming years as they seek to encourage people who are currently smoking to stop. One way they’re doing this is by running public health and other campaigns suggesting that smokers switch to using an e-cigarette instead of lighting up. The National Health Service in Britain says: “E-cigarettes are particularly effective when combined with support from local stop-smoking services — people who choose this route have some of the highest quitting success rates.”
E-cigarettes and other vape gear are easily available at a good vape shop — either online or a physical store — and they’re also more affordable than expensive cigarettes. The attraction for smokers seeking their nicotine hit is that e-cigs and the e-liquid they contain come in varying levels of nicotine, as well as in multiple flavors, but without any of the many thousands of toxic chemicals that are found in burning tobacco.
According to the new figures from Euromonitor, vapers worldwide have risen from 7 million in 2011 to 35 million in 2016, and will reach 55 million within the next three years. As to where people are getting their vape supplies, a separate study has found that most are buying e-cigarettes from specialists shops — both physical and online — followed by supermarkets, traditional tobacconists, kiosks in shopping malls, and pharmacies. Others are getting their e-cigs from newsagents, bars, gas stations and other retail outlets.
A Growing Market
All this is propelling the vaping industry upwards, and now the biggest markets for e-cigarettes and related vaping products are the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom. Consumers in these three countries collectively spent $16.3bn on smokeless tobacco and vaping products in 2016, Euromonitor says. Other research, meanwhile, says that globally the vape market will be worth $32.1 billion by 2021.
This comes as the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention released a new report showing that smoking levels among high school students have fallen off in recent years. “Among middle school students, current use of any tobacco product decreased from 7.5% (0.87 million) in 2011 to 5.6% (0.67 million) in 2017 … Since 2014, e-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among both middle and high school students,” it says.
The most popular type of vaping gear was open-system vaping, rather than closed-vaping, the Euromonitor survey found. These devices feature a removable mouthpiece, allowing users to refill their e-cigarette with e-liquid manually.