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The Future Of Vaping: did we get it right?

The Future Of Vaping: 2021 & Beyond

John Boughey |

Last fact-checked 28 February 2024 | Report a content error

Back in December 2020, we shared our best guesses about where the vaping industry was headed. We listed out imminent innovations in vaping technology, and made predictions about the likely impact of larger challenges like COVID-19 and Brexit. So what did we get right? How many of our predictions came true?

Prediction #1: Vaping Expos and Competitions Will Return

It took longer than expected, but we got this one right! We were hoping for a resurgence in face-to-face vaping events straight after lockdown came to an end, but it has taken a few years to get back to normal. Last year, Vaper Expo UK attracted more than 20,000 visitors over a 3-day event (source:

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. 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

We got this one VERY WRONG. Even the most advanced vape pens and box mods still don't have bluetooth or wi-fi built in. Maybe IoT-enabled vapes will happen one day, but as of 2024 this was a very bad guess.  

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

Sadly, we got this one RIGHT. New import taxes, combined with the cost to businesses of simply figuring out the customs rules on imports, have had a lasting impact on almost every business in the country (source: Most e-liquid is  imported from the USA and Malaysia - not from the EU - but new vaping taxes planned in this year's budget may make these more expensive, too.

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

We got this one RIGHT ... sort of. There are more UK-based e-liquid brands now than there were 3 years ago, but these brands still need to import a lot of their raw materials. 

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, 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

We got this one WRONG! Vaping laws haven't changed at all. If anything, they're likely to become stricter in 2024 in response to the rise in youth vaping and disposables. Let's watch this space.

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. 

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. 

More Ex-Smokers

We are delighted to say that we got this one RIGHT. Around one in eight people (12.9%) in the UK today are smokers - it's the lowest percentage of smoking prevalence we have ever seen. By comparison, in 1974, more than half of men in the UK smoked (the stats for women were slightly lower). The 2024 ex-smoker stats are great news but ideally we need to become a smoke-free society (source: 

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. 

The biggest thing we missed

Back in 2020, we had no idea just how big disposable vapes would become. The prospect of youth vaping becoming an issue seemed ridiculous to us, too. This industry continues to surprise us all. Whatever the next three years bring, our mission stays the same: to deliver the very finest premium e-liquid to UK vapers and help more people quit smoking for good. 

Thank you to all of our customers who have continued to support us over the years. We really appreciate each and every one of you. 

Stay safe and happy vaping! 

John Boughey

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