Last fact-checked 23 December 2020 | Report a factual error on this article
The New Year is almost here! We’re all looking forward to putting 2020 behind us, and there are some exciting changes on the horizon for the UK vaping community to look forward to.
In this article, we give you our bets for the future of vaping in the UK. We’ll look at imminent innovations in vaping technology, and the likely impact of larger challenges like COVID-19 and Brexit, so that our customers know what to look out for in the months ahead.
Vaping Expos and Competitions Will Return
This is something we’re really excited about! With a bit of luck, vaping hobbyists, connoisseurs and cloud chasers will get to meet up at a couple of exhibitions this year (if not this year, then definitely in 2022).
The UK’s COVID-19 vaccination programme kicked off on 8 December 2020, and it’s expected to take most of next year to get us all vaccinated footnote 1. All being well, we should hopefully see a loosening of lockdown restrictions by the back half of 2021. When lockdown ends, events and conferences will be able to start back up again.
Face-to-face events are a relatively new part of the UK’s vaping scene, but having personally attended a few of these events when we launched Fog Addicts, I can tell you that they’re really good fun. Not only do vaping exhibitions give us all a chance to discover exciting new kit and flavours, but they also give us a safe space where it’s perfectly acceptable to really indulge our hobby. When you’re at a vaping event, you can blow as many rich, fat clouds as you like without offending anyone!
IoT: Coming To A Box Mod Near You
The Internet of Things (IoT) is coming to e-cigarettes! Using bluetooth technology, the latest generation of vape mods come with remote locking technology, so that you can keep your vape safe from kids and pets, and even render it useless if stolen. With bluetooth connectivity, we should be able to sync our usage and battery data to our phones, which is going to be a must-have for vape connoisseurs looking for even more control over their vaping experience.
We’ve also heard rumours of voice-controlled box mods coming to market by the end of this year, although we’re not sure how many vapers really want to be able to talk to their vape. We’ll wait and see.
Bluetooth and internet-connected technology is great, but the majority of our customers just want a simple vape with a long-lasting, consistent battery charge and a clean, convenient refilling system. 2021 is going to be a big year on these fronts, too. Battery technology is improving all the time, and pod cartridge systems are becoming cleaner and more sustainable. Watch this space!
EU Import Costs Could Increase
We still don’t know how much it will cost to import goods from the EU in 2021, because Brexit negotiations are still taking place between the EU and UK.
If we end up with a ‘no deal Brexit’ and businesses in the UK and EU are forced to trade on WTO terms next year, then e-liquids imported from the EU could become 20% to 30% more expensive. This is a big increase in costs that will be borne by everyone in the vaping economy: manufacturers, distributors, retailers and consumers.
In an ideal situation, we’d have some sort of tariff-free deal on vaping kit and e-liquids travelling between the EU and the UK, but with trucks currently stopped at the border thanks to the coronavirus emergency, we just don’t know how any of this is going to play out. There’s not a lot that any of us can do about this uncertainty at the moment — our fate rests in the hands of MPs and MEPs, who will need to vote on a deal (...if a deal gets done).
More Home-Grown Flavours
The flipside of potentially higher costs on EU-imported e-liquids is that we could well see a surge in home-grown flavours!
We already have a flourishing juice-making scene here in the UK, and we’ve certainly got enough buyer demand. According to the BBC, the UK is the second-largest vaping market in the world (see the full report here). Based on our own sales figures, we already know that UK-manufactured juices make up a huge chunk of the e-liquid bestseller lists (learn more on our recent article). If customs duty decisions go against us on 1 January 2021, these added taxes could create some new opportunities for up-and-coming British vape juice manufacturers.
By law, new e-liquids need to be registered with the MHRA for six months before they can be sold to the general public footnote 2, so while we shouldn’t expect to see many new flavours hitting the shelves in the first half of 2021, it could be a very interesting autumn & winter next year.
A Relaxation of Vaping Laws
Speaking of laws, the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (TRPR) gets reviewed next year! A March 2020 report from Public Health England confirmed that “the TRPR vaping regulations will need to be reviewed by 20 May 2021”, ... less than six months from now footnote 3.
The TRPR is a pretty sensible law for the most part. It protects UK consumers by ensuring minimum standards of safety and quality, and it limits the amount of nicotine that e-liquid can contain (which is a good thing for the vast majority of vapers). There are some parts of the law that are inconvenient for vapers, however.
For example, there’s currently a 2ml limit on all e-cigarette reservoirs. This 2ml limit is a pain for committed vapers, as it forces you to refill your vape device much more frequently. It also limits the number of squonk mods that can be legally sold in the UK; most squonk bottles are designed to hold 5ml or more (learn more here), which can make them illegal in the UK, depending on how they are sold.
With COVID-19 and Brexit set to dominate the Westminster agenda in 2021, we can’t see vaping laws getting a huge amount of attention next year, but we’re hopeful! Our industry was in its infancy when TRPR became law in 2016, and we know more now about the relative safety of vaping now than we did then.
It’s too early to say for certain, but our instinct is that 2020 is going to be a watershed year in the fight against smoking. Coronavirus was a wake-up call for many smokers in the UK, and we think that in the fullness of time we’ll discover that tobacco sales dropped as a direct result of the pandemic.
One of the reasons why we love what we do here at Gourmet E-Liquid is that our products help people to become ex-smokers. I was a long-term smoker before I discovered vaping, and so was Gareth. We both remember how hard it was to quit and how stressful it was to know that we were trapped into doing something so unhealthy.
Coronavirus is a horrible, cruel disease — there’s no question — but if the fear of catching COVID-19 helped more smokers in the UK to quit this year, then that will be a silver lining worth celebrating.
Thanks for your support in 2020
Thank you to all of our customers who supported us in 2020. Whatever happens next year, the Gourmet E-Liquid team will be here to bring you the very best e-liquid flavours from all over the world.
We hope that you and yours have a wonderful festive break (...and that Santa leaves lots of vaping goodies in your stocking!)
Links & Citations
The first person to receive a coronavirus vaccine in the UK received their first injection at 6:31AM on 8th December — you can read the full news story on the BBC News website here:
If you’d like to get up-to-the-minute information on the UK vaccination programme, the NHS website has a section explaining what’s happening at the moment:
“Producers of new e-cigarette and refill container products must submit a notification to MHRA six months before they intend to put their product on the UK market.” Learn more at the link below:
You can read the full March 2020 report titled “Vaping in England: an evidence update including mental health and pregnancy” at the link below: