Many experts dubbed 2016 the 'year of the health product'. It got that moniker due to a shift in public awareness when it comes to staying fit and healthy. Health and fitness products like Fitbits and groceries such as almond milk and avacados saw a boom in places like the UK and US, denoting a general trend toward healthy living. In the same year, sales of vape kits and e-cigarettes rose 30% to £81m. It's safe to say that vaping is a booming industry and lots of people are getting on board, but it's curious that while sales are booming during these 'health conscious' times, places like New York state are laying out public bans. Why? Can vaping really be part of an internation health kick, or do we simply have our heads in the clouds?
Not a one off
We always see a rapid growth in consumption of healthy products in January. Everything from apples to gym memberships surge as part of people's new years' resolutions to curb bad habits and wipe the slate clean. Sadly, these kicks don't often last. What's different about vaping though, is that it hung on in there through 2016 and continued to grow. Bloggers blogged about it, governments debated it, and it became a central talking point in the UK when the NHS outwardly recommended it as a way to curb tobacco smoking. They even went as far as to make it part of their 'Stoptober' campaign to help people kick cigarettes with great success. Vaping was the number one tool for quitters in 2016 and 2017 has followed suit.
According to a report last year by research firm Beige, the vaping market is predicted to be worth £4.46bn by 2021. It will be interesting to see what 2018 holds.
Why the vaping ban?
The vaping community was shaken this year when New York state announced a blanket ban on vaping in public spaces like bars and restaurants. It seemed to be overkill given the huge reduction in smokers in the past few years that can largely be attributed to advancements in vaping. Some say it was ill-advisedly tied to the 'war on drugs', trying to banish nicotine altogether, but health experts warn that simply banning it won't help. Others think that it's simply a civic move, trying to stop vapers from invading other people's space with their plumes, which may have some credence.
The real sad thing is that, despite Public Health England declaring that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking, some states are lumping it in with cigarettes. It unfortunately perpetuates the stigma that vaping is 'dirty', when in actual fact vapers are tobacco free and in many cases even nicotine free. Vaping leaves no traces and has very little impact - if any - on those around us. It feels like a rush to judgement when a considered approach would be far more valuable.
We're on the cusp of kicking cigerettes for good, and vaping could be many people's ticket to a healthier lifestyle - let's not demonise it.
What are your thoughts on vaping in public spaces? Have you successfully qiut smoking as a direct result of vaping? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below.