Vaping is finally going mainstream. In the UK, the NHS is promoting eCigs as a quitting aid as part of their Stoptober 2018 campaign. An increasing number of people are seeing vaping as a viable alternative to cigarettes; an alternative that fits their lifestyle and desire for a pleasurable, healthier adult habit.

So, what does the next 10 years hold for the vape industry as we reach this vital turning point? What key trends and developments are likely to shape the way people vape in future?

Smoking's Terminal Decline

The battle with Big Tobacco is all but won: people know smoking kills, and governments will continue to regulate cigarettes out of existence. The number of people taking up smoking is continuing to fall.

A global surveys of smokers found that in most countries there was a significant desire to quit. People don't want to kill themselves with smoking, but until recent years have not found an alternative that replaces the pleasurable aspect of the smoking habit. With more scientific research and awareness there is greater clarity on health impacts of smoking. The vape industry brands that will flourish will be those working closely with healthcare providers, researchers, and healthy lifestyle companies and brands. This will help them continue to credibly promote themselves as the 95% healthier alternative for wannabe ex-smokers for the next decade.

Youth Concerns

Concerns have been raised about vaping and eCigs becoming a gateway to smoking, addiction and bad habits. One brand under scrutiny is Juul, whose slick compact and neat vaping devices are seen as being attractive to image conscious and tech-focused teenagers. Although there is little evidence to back up the theory - as smoker numbers continue to decline - for the vaping industry to continue to grow, regulation and a focus on safeguarding young people needs to be a priority in the years ahead.

In the scramble for exposure and sales it will become increasingly important to sell products on a secure, regulated vape specific marketplace, ensuring quality and safety and maintaining trustworthiness amongst health conscious consumers. For example, UK-based Clouder is an e-commerce vape destination that establishes partnerships with local sellers and major vape brands to give vapers a wide, reputable choice of products with real customer reviews. Growing vape brands will want to shake off the current stigma that surrounds vaping. This means we are likely to see further alignment with large online marketplaces, age-appropriate brand partnerships and sponsoring of adult-targeted events that show their legitimacy and responsibility towards consumers.

Embracing Cannabidiol (CBD)

Another major health development that will continue to attract interest is the exploration of Cannabidiol (CBD) oil. More state authorities and countries will be exploring the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal purposes as the medical benefits of CBD oil are investigated and verified.

The CBD market is growing in a similar way to vaping. The industry is developing new ways to integrate it into a variety of products, legislation is changing, and CBD is being regulated in more countries. Where it is legal, CBD vape liquids and oils are popular. Anecdotal reports from users suggest it helps with conditions such as anxiety and epilepsy. There are growing public calls for further research into the medicinal capabilities of CBD

This presents a real opportunity for vape device and liquid manufacturers to work closely with the medical industry in relation to CBD. The vape industry already has a focus on health for ex-smokers. This will inevitably broaden to look at how vaping can enhance overall health

and mental wellbeing, using natural compounds. Vaping is the most efficient way to get CBD into the body, and therefore could be the future choice for people with a range of health concerns.

Devices and Tech Innovations

eCigs and vape units have come a long, long way in a short space of time - gone are the days of flimsy parts, fiddly coils and temperature settings. Manufacturers can now look at further innovation to meet the desires of savvy vapers.

Smart vaping devices are likely to become the norm. Some already exist to give ex-smokers control over their nicotine intake and help combat their dependence on the drug. Other current smart device innovations focus on child safety, with personal activation settings that prevent another person using someone else's device. Health monitoring and tracking usage is also emerging - a patent for an electronic smoking device with connectivity to track and limit usage was recently filed by Philip Morris (maker of Marlboro) and another usage tracking device exists which actually calculates how much you are extending your lifespan each time you vape!

There will also be more technology platforms looking at opportunities for online sales of vape products, with sellers searching for new ways to reach more customers and establish higher value relationships with them through communities, loyalty programmes and subscription services.

The subculture of vapers across the world will grow stronger as they use online communities to organise events, share tips and tricks and shape the direction of the industry as a whole.

Flourishing Flavours

We are already seeing vape liquid flavours evolve. There is likely to be a move away from sweeter flavours that tend to appeal to younger audiences, as legislation to prevent vaping attracting younger users is enacted.

Nicotine still plays a big part in vape liquids as vaping is still predominantly used as a quitting aid. But there are also signs that vaping will move beyond that and the use of liquid flavours will become part of an all-round healthier lifestyle. Vapers are already managing their nicotine intake, gradually reducing with lower concentrate liquids over time. Flavours can also play a big role in weaning people off the drug.

There will be increased focus on using eLiquid flavours as mood enhancers to replace the effect of nicotine; flavours in foods such as berries, chocolate and tea have been found to be chemically similar to a mood stabilising drugs. Tastes such as dark chocolate and cocoa, could provide the pleasure experience of a luxurious treat (without the calories and overindulgence!).

A further step forward is the addition of supplements to eLiquids; for example, people with Vitamin B12 deficiencies are already beginning to try vaping as an alternative to injections, sprays and tablets.  The potential for new flavour combinations and vitamin boosts is huge and this could be the biggest trend we will see over the next decade.

Cooperation with regulators, smart tech innovations, and development of liquids that enhance nutrition and mental health - all are indications that vaping is ready to evolve from a quitting aid-turned-subculture trend, to a mainstream health and lifestyle choice for everyone.