In our previous blog post, we mentioned the fact the US-based Philip Morris recently launched a brand-new smokeless cigarette in the UK, acknowledging that if it does well, the company could see its way to eventually phasing out combustible tobacco. We also mentioned that Philip Morris is actively engaging with world governments about the demise of smoking. Well, we have further evidence that tobacco is on the ropes.
Fortune magazine reported on 1 December (2016) that both British American Tobacco and Philip Morris have just opened their first vape shops. BAT set up shop in Milan while Philip Morris chose London. A Philip Morris representative went so far as to tell Fortune that the purpose of opening the shop goes beyond just selling vaping products. It is also about educating the smoking public about vaping.
So, does this make sense? Do smokers need to educated about vaping products and how to use them? Absolutely. There is so much misinformation out there; misinformation that is unnecessarily stunting the growth of vaping among smokers. The more that can be done to educate smokers, the better the chances that smoking will eventually become obsolete.
Apparently, the obsolescence of tobacco is the goal. According to Fortune’s Lucinda Shen, Philip Morris’ CEO said that “one day in the future, cigarettes may be non-existent.”
Things New Vapers Need to Learn
Assuming that consumer education is really the basis for opening the two new vape shops, there is no shortage of stuff new vapers need to learn. Many of these things are unlikely to be mentioned in either the BAT or Philip Morris shops because they have a vested interest in promoting only their own products. That leaves it to independent distributors and retailers to handle the bulk of the education.
New vapers need to be informed about several things, including:
- Disposables vs Rechargeables – The market for disposable e-cigarettes is fading fast, but Big Tobacco may make a concerted effort to turn things around. Vapers need to know the differences between disposable devices and those that are recharged and refilled.
- Tank Technologies – Tanks have changed the way vapers use their vaporisers. They have also helped to facilitate new designs – like box mods, for example. Which leads us to the next item.
- Mod Choices – Vaping is no longer limited to cylindrical devices with long batteries and drip tips. Mod choices are expansive these days, with some of the more unusual styles looking nothing like the vaporisers of old.
- Manual vs Automatic Devices – Vapers can also choose between manual devices, triggered with a push button, and devices automatically activated by drawing air through them.
- Variable Voltage Devices – Devices capable of using batteries and atomisers of different voltages are the hottest thing right now. New vapers often find these types of devices a bit overwhelming.
- Liquid Choices – The sheer volume of liquid choices these days is incredible. Vapers have hundreds of flavours to choose from, along with varying nicotine levels and recipes that include PG, VG, or both.
Along with the various technologies, new vapers need to be educated about the actual process of vaping and how it compares to smoking. This may be the most important concept of all.
Vaping Is NOT Smoking
First and foremost is the fact that vaping is not the same thing as smoking. This may seem obvious to veteran vapers and those of us in the vaping industry, but far too many smokers still believe there is no substantial difference between the two practices. Just a bit of chemistry is all it takes to open their eyes.
Smoking is a process based on combustion, a process that radically changes the chemical properties of leaf tobacco to release thousands of chemicals and carcinogens. Vaping involves no combustion. It requires only atomisation – the process of transforming a liquid into an aerosol. Atomisation changes only the state of e-liquid; it does not alter the chemical composition of its ingredients.
The differences between the two processes certainly make a difference in what a person is inhaling. But, there are practical differences to account for as well. For example, cigarette smokers know that they can produce a larger, hotter cloud of smoke by drawing as hard as they can on a cigarette. A hard draw increases combustion to produce hotter temperatures and more smoke. Vaping is different.
It does not matter how hard you draw on an e-cigarette, you will not increase the voltage of the battery or the amount of current flowing through the atomiser coil. Instead, the secret is air flow. New vapers are often frustrated by the vaping experience because they do not understand that the key to a good vapour cloud is a long, slow draw that maximises the amount of air flowing across the coil.
There are a lot of additional things that would be helpful for new vapers to learn. Most are learned over time and with a fair amount of practice. But if Big Tobacco is going to try to get in on the vaping market by way of educating their customers, it might be time for those of us who have worked so hard to develop the industry to start looking at our own educational efforts.
Tobacco is on the ropes. Perhaps with a little more education on our parts, we can finish the job.