Disposables - friend or foe?
Disposables are a cheap and simple way to vape, making them incredibly popular with "new" vapers.
These inhale-activated devices require zero experience to use and don't need to be refilled or recharged. In fact, for a lot of people, they are the only type of vaping product they'll ever need. Disposables are a sleek and compact piece of kit and each device on average will outlast 20 cigarettes - at a fraction of the price.
Disposables will almost always arrive pre-filled with e-liquid (usually in Nic-Salt form) and can be used straight out of the box, when empty it will stop producing vapour and you can then replace it painlessly. - small enough that it's convenient to carry around a spare so you're never caught short.
So, it seems that disposables have identified a major gap in the market and now we understand exactly what disposables are, it's prudent to point out some of the considerable pro's and cons of these particular devices.
It seems that disposables have given the market a breath of fresh air as many consumers who tried vaping when it first hit retailers back in 2011/2012 perhaps went on to dismiss the idea altogether - but ten years means a lot of innovation. Companies have worked extremely hard to make their products the best they can be with a constant stream of feedback from a thriving consumer base. So, it's almost like trying to compare the earliest iPhone, to the latest model, and then insisting they're still the same experience.
Disposables offer very little commitment for consumers to dip another toe in the pool, they're a catalyst for resurgence and re-discovery and we're finding many customers are pleasantly surprised by the ranges of upgrades available once they transcend to something more substantial. This knocks a great big hole in the tobacco industries already waning sales figures, especially at a time when the price of twenty cigarettes has rapidly soared.
Whats more, this is working on a global scale as year on year cigarette consumption is shrinking and the vaping market is steadily growing. There's no denying that things are changing.
Take New Zealand for example, who announced only last week that they're determined as a nation to cut the umbilical cord of tobacco influence and have outlined plans to focus on the next generation of adults. They're setting an example and realise what's at stake.
However, it's not all sunshine and rainbows - disposables do offer some major downsides.
For example, the body of most disposables are coated in colourful single-use plastics which are the worst kind of non-biodegradable products to impact the environment. "Vape waste" seems to also be on the rise, and perhaps it's actually the responsibility of manufacturers to come up with a more efficient solution after their products run out of battery or liquid.
What many people don't know is that cigarette butts, (filters) are one of the most common form of plastic waste that is found not only floating in our oceans, but finding their way as micro-plastics into our homes. So it's crucial that a like-for-like attitude should never be the answer. Progress in this area is always paramount.
Here at Socialites we recently transitioned all of our 10ml juice bottles to recycled ocean plastics to recognise the impact we were having on this growing problem and we urge other companies to now do the same.
Another aspect worth pointing out is the overall strength of many disposables. Arguably, the market was born out of the American attitude towards 50mg Nic-Salt devices. Here in the UK we follow a strict directive that bans anything over the strength of 20mg by law. So most disposable products here in the UK have maxed out the strength right at the very top end. This can be worrying for any one who hasn't consumed nicotine before. With such high doses it's very possible for someone to become quickly hooked. We have always stood by a policy to deter anyone who has never smoked to thereby avoid vaping, and we'll quickly reel off a long lists of reasons why nicotine addiction should be avoided at all costs, but we admit the market could be doing a lot more.
And last but not least, we have possibly one of the most worrying cons - counterfeit products.
With anything that gains popularity, they'll always be carbon copies at the ready to borrow some goodwill in order to make a few extra quid, but we're also seeing direct "fake" versions of disposables flooding the market on mass.
So, how can you tell if you're actually vaping the fake stuff? Well, any vaping shop worth its salt (or Nic-salt?) would be crazy not to offer The Real Mccoy, not only because of their own reputation, but Trading Standards have been coming down hard on this issue, starting with Vaping Shops. So a smart place to start are businesses with notoriety for high acclaim and who are respected by the industry. We saw a Fish and Chip Shop recently, selling Geek Bars on their counter, and unfortunately it's safe to assume they may lack the experience of recognising if their goods are genuine items themselves before we can even begin to imagine what advice is proliferated to their customers.
In conclusion, the trend of disposables is snow plowing through a tough market of consumers set in their ways and obstinately "un-budgeable". But more can be done to offset the cons that have been highlighted above.
Product manufacturers have a global responsibility to ascertain the impact of their hardware. Here at Socialites we embrace disposables as a way to satisfy consumers as they move away from conventional smoking practices, anything is better than smoking after all, and we commend anyone who starts to take more responsibility for their health. But for the time being, we hope that it only serves this introductory purpose in the short term and that we can convince our customers to move onto the vaping practices that have been tried and re-tried, considered and re-considered, in a place of passion and determination over the last decade.
all opinion expressed in the article above are entirely that - the opinion of our company director Roy Williamson who has worked in the vaping industry for nearly a decade.