Is vaping changing before our eyes?
For any long term vapers such as myself, you grow accustomed to what vaping is. Depending on where you come from in the vaping community, you perceive vaping in a certain way. For me it is a sub ohm tank and a mod that supplies more power than I would ever dream of using. For others it can be a hand crafted vaping experience tailored to their exact wants. Some vapers see a little pod device or newsagent kit as what vaping actually is, helping them quit smoking. No matter how you perceive it, you know what vaping is. So what if vaping changed before your very eyes? That is what is happening right now and its impact may well be seen for years to come.
So how did we get here?
That is a million dollar question to ask in current circumstances. The way of vaping seems to have died at the turn of this year and we are seeing a whole new horizon before us. Products we have grown to connect to vaping are being replaced by alternate versions, driven by a whole new outlook on what vapers want, but the question is do they? The sub ohm tank seems few and for between and instead we are getting pods for everything now, whether it be a small pod kit or a sub ohm kit. Given the advancements in vaping over the past 10 years, it does strike me a little strange to see how quickly it is changing its image and when you consider vaping as a hobby, it is moving far back from that to a whole divisive world that will split the community into two. There is no right or wrong answer as to why so what I want to do is take a trip down some of the possible reasons why we are seeing this, hopefully to at least find some reasoning as to why it is changing.
The Big Reset
When vaping first came out as a mass market product, the image of what a vape device was became standard. A glass or plastic long tank with string wicking and a small battery powered pen with each companies branding. Some were great, others were not worth buying but at least that was what vaping was. As time moved on we saw it get bigger and bigger and evolve that string wicked device into some that were absolutely massive and utilised power like nothing else. Even as recently as last year, SMOK released a kit with 200w of power shaped like a handle of a gun with a tank that held nearly 10mils of E-liquid and powered double of what most others on the market dared to do. They aren’t the only ones with this sort of product but again compare that to the very beginning, vaping had changed and so did vapers demands. Perhaps this ideal was only ever going to be short lived in the industry perspective, after all how big can you go before people suddenly want something different. So this brings me onto the first point;
The big reset.
When the pod market started, it seemed to emulate the most basic of vaping products aimed at helping people quit smoking. Small lower powered MTL devices that were both compact and easy to use. They proved to be a hit with new vapers and as a result, gained popularity. So what if this is the big reset for the industry collectively? To take vaping from what it was threatening to lose control over and revert back to what we originally expected, simple devices designed at delivering nicotine? To focus less on the experienced vapers who had since fell into their own comfortable pattern and to focus on the smokers, the people who are wanting to come into the vaping world but saw these products as difficult or too big? When you think about it, moving from a small to a large pod device is very similar to its tank counterparts, but by switching what the products are, you are creating a new line in vaping from beginning to end. By making the products more simple for these new vapers, replaceable pods rather than just coils, simpler designs and natural progression if you want to turn the power up, its more than just a few products. Given the flood of new products every single month, it makes sense that the industry want to universally hit the reset button and reshape the products into a more familiar image.
As technology has advanced more and more over the years, cost of production will have risen along side it. To go from a simple mod design and add brand new microchips that offer fine tune control, the cost of that small part alone has grown quite a bit. When you factor in all the different features in a device now from modes to power output and efficiency, more costs get added on again. Some companies who were known for shoddy products have massively increased their quality control in recent times which again is both time and cost increases to get that product to market. Much like a video game compared to 20 years ago, the better it is, the longer it takes and the higher the price to make it. So when you factor this in, there has to be a limit on how far that goes before vaping products become far too unruly for their own good. These companies have to depend on mass production to ship their product worldwide so whereas before anyone could ship anything and still sell it, as the market as grown exponentially, so has the demand for quality. Many companies have to live or die based on their quality these days to compete so given that, we have to factor cost into the thought process.
A focus on a pod style device makes it much easier and cheaper to mass produce these products compared to before. Just think what difference a plastic pod style tank or device will have compared to one made from metal and glass, even if its pence cost wise to our understanding, over a million made it certainly adds up. So by reducing the cost of the product to manufacture, it allows these companies to ship more of them quicker around the world and to latch onto market demand much easier. We as vapers just get the final article in store or online yet for the big companies, at their place of birth it is far more substantial than that. So perhaps the cost aspect of making them is a big factor in the sudden switch to pod style devices, in an ever crowded market, any profit increases make a massive difference each year.
Another aspect of why there is a sudden change in the vaping industry has to be based on its customers, otherwise why make products no-one wants? That is a simplified version of the point but there has to be a motivation to make a brand new style of product when general consensus is that no-one wants them.
Except they do.
Again we can go back to a previous point about resetting the industry but perhaps our thoughts of what a vaper actually is has long since gone whilst we have settled in our ways. For many of us vaping for years, we are part of communities of like minded vapers, we watch products that interest us and don’t pay much attention to much else. Given that every single one of us were formerly smokers, we represent part of the biggest surge of quitters than ever before. However we make up such a small number of that figure globally that it is easy to forget we don’t represent the entire vapers community. So what if pods have become the must have style product within the vaping circles and have long since replaced what we know and love? What if last years biggest selling pod device outsold the best sub ohm tank by 10-1, that these high powered mods were left on the shelves whilst the small 13w output devices were flying off them? Our perspective is skewered by what we buy but what if vapers actually want pod systems and the industry is simply giving them what they want? This could well be one of the motivations that are driving this change in vaping as the vapers who buy regularly are demanding them. Even overseas, do we know what is popular in Asia? In America? In Europe itself? We lose focus on what others want when we only know our own, what we are told to buy. What if for every sub ohm vaper with their 100w tank there is thousands of vapers in a different country vaping on their pod devices instead?
Reliability / Cost for vapers
Have you ever broken your tank by knocking it over? Have you ever dropped your mod into a bath or sink and had to get rid of it? If so, please call Drip Hacks claims on….. you get the idea there. As vaping devices have become bigger and better, so has the risk factor with using them. That 9mil tank may fantastic for flavour and capacity but is it as good when it falls and smashes? Is that 200w mod as reliable when the screen is broken or you misplace it on a night out? More so when you factor in the cost of such item to then replace, it creates a large risk factor when buying these kits. As the kits have got bigger and better, so has the cost, with a standard kit costing anywhere between £50 – £80 no matter if you buy online or in store. Over the years cost has risen to the point where it is unrealistic to be able to just replace products just like that and especially if you have a favourite. So what if this drive for making pod devices isn’t just about the companies, it is for you?
One benefit of a pod device is that it is far more robust than a tank. The tank may be better but dropping one compared to a tank will only ever have one winner. Their size may be smaller but they can be built to withstand more accidental damage and most importantly be cheaper to replace. So perhaps the idea to switch the focus from mods to pods has a reasoning with vapers in mind? If you lose a pod device, sure it is bad thing to happen but that pod is then only £20 to replace. Perhaps part of the motivation is for this exact reason, encourage more people to buy at a smaller price point. You may buy two devices for the price of one regular one if they are cheap enough and think less about replacing it if something happens. As technology has advanced, so has the quality of the product so that little pod device or a sub ohm equivalent that has since come to market has become cheaper to buy. So it is entirely plausible that companies have changed their approach to build much more customer relations and to try and make vaping more affordable whatever the situation that a vaper is in, making it much easier as well for smokers to quit themselves and to buy vaping products.
So what do you think about the change in the vaping industry? There has been a definite shift in vaping products over the past 12 months and the landscape for the future right now looks completely different to as it does now. We still have some companies who form part of the old guard but many of them are already making that switch over. Some companies have even cut their old style production entirely and moved over to the pod based systems for quite a while now. We have seen the sequel to one of the biggest selling series of mods come out with a pod tank alongside many other variants. Vaping as we know it is changing now but without an official answer we may never know. However maybe the answer is in this article, maybe its none of the above, all we can do is guess but we will have to adapt to it. All vapers like us can do is hope the final bastions of the old way of vaping stick to their guns and fight the incoming change, otherwise the next Crown, TFV or even Mesh pro may well be the pod of the future and remnants of how vaping used to be.