Progress in the vaping world has generally followed a ‘more is better’ philosophy. New Kanthal alloy coils feature the lowest resistances yet; expensive ecig setups with advanced mods and circuitry can run far above 200W. Many mods now also feature touchscreens and settings to adjust temperature and power delivery curves.
But with the advent of new, simpler vaping products like the JUUL, many find themselves asking the question: is the vaping industry moving backwards, technologically? The answer is a little bit more complicated than it might seem at first.
It appears that strong regulations and poor understanding of the health effects of vaping have led, in the past, to lower prices on vaping products. This is because lower prices leads to lower financial risk, which balanced out against the poorly understood health risk. In this way, the vaping scene has been allowed to flourish.
But as time has gone on, vaping regulations have been getting looser and looser. This is mostly driven by a wealth of research in the past few years proving that vaping is signficantly less harmful than smoking tobacco. Now that the health risks are proven to be quite low, people find themselves more open to spending a bit more on a vape product.
Which means that the upper market for vaping products is beginning to open up. Whereas the top of the market has mostly been occupied by high-tech, complex electronic cigarettes, we’re starting to see new, low-tech products up there as well. This is where the JUUL comes in.
JUUL aims to offer a low barrier to entry, meaning no vaping learning curve (which admittedly has been pretty steep up until now). It also reportedly offers a better vape than a lot of its competitors, through the use of quality flavours and nicotine salt, rather than freebase nicotine used in most modern eliquids.
And people seem to be eating this up. JUUL claims to be producing 20 million replaceable flavour cartridges a month, and is ramping up production to double that over 2018. They’ve also received big investment from firms like Tiger Global and Fidelity Investment.
So is the vaping industry moving backwards? Yes and no. While it is investing in technologically-simple products like the JUUL, those products try to iterate on current ecig technology to create a better vaping experience. But the technologically-complex vaping products at the top continue to sell and remain incredibly popular. It’s yet to be seen whether either side with dominate, or if this is even a battle in the first place.