The UK E-cigarette Summit took place on Thursday 14th November and saw some key influential figures from the e-cigarette industry and public health sector relay the facts and give their expert opinions on what’s going on in the world of vaping.
The E-cigarette Summit is attended by key policy makers and public health stake holders from all over the globe. The Summit is therefore the perfect place for public health professionals and industry experts to provide credible information which will help drive suitable reform for the industry in the interest of public health.
Amongst Professor John Britton, Professor Linda Bauld, Deborah Arnott and a number of other smoking cessation and health experts was Totally Wicked Technical Director and IBVTA board member, Liam Humberstone. Liam was only the fourth person directly employed in the UK vaping retail sector to speak at the E-cigarette Summit. The inclusion of the independent vape industry is particularly welcome at the event as it allows us to share our experiences, sales trends and findings which we bring back from the front line. One key example of this was when Liam Humberstone discussed the importance of e-liquid flavours.
The importance of e-liquid flavours
Amid the threat of a flavour ban in the USA, Liam took the opportunity to show, with real life Totally Wicked sales splits, just how important flavours really are. His findings show that less than 10% of Red Label E-liquid sales are attributable to tobacco varieties.
Compare this with fruit flavours and which make up 26% and Desserts and Sweet fruits which make up a further 24% and you can see just how popular flavours such as blackcurrant and bubblegum really are. The point Liam was making was that if flavours were banned then vaping would be less attractive to vapers who could potentially relapse back into smoking.
Further to the Red Label figures, Liam also delved into the sales splits of Switz E-liquid, which is primarily sold to smokers who are switching to vaping. The range consists of 2 tobacco flavours, 1 menthol flavour and a mixed fruit flavour. 40% of sales were attributable to the mixed fruit flavour. This shows that as well as current vapers, smokers are also very keen on flavoured e-liquids. If this choice was taken away, it could make vaping less attractive at the very pivotal time of introducing e-cigarettes to a smoker.
3 days after Liam spoke at the E-cigarette Summit, President Trump reversed course on a flavour ban that had been proposed for the USA. Some individual US states are continuing with restrictive plans.
Are Media Outlets ‘responsible for premature deaths’?
Keeping on the point of vaping becoming less attractive to smokers, Liam also raised the particularly poignant point of negative media headlines. Liam’s passion for the vaping sector was clearly evident as he explained that people need to think whether those who are writing these news stories are responsible for premature deaths.
The premature deaths Liam was speaking about refer to those of up to 90,000 UK smokers each year. These lives could potentially be saved by smokers make the switch to vaping. However, we know that the recent misleading news headlines are deterring people from vaping as we are seeing less people through the doors of vape shops.
Speaking of vape shops, Totally Wicked’s Technical Director also discussed how important these have been for the industry. Using Totally Wicked Preston as a prime example, Liam explained that the vape scene is no longer primarily about tattoos, caps and huge plooms of vapour but about helping people to quit smoking for good.
While the vaping stereotype may have tarnished the reputation of vape shops for some, these stores are the grass roots of what vaping is all about and have helped hundreds of thousands of people quit smoking.
What should the future look like for the vape industry
Liam finished proceedings by exploring what the future should hold for the UK and USA vaping industries. One of the key points was in fact the aforementioned topic of placing importance on the value of vape shops.
The other points delved in to the societal and political roles of the industry and how the political role, which includes propositions such as the flavour ban, should be disempowered. This power should be placed into the societal role which is allowing people to make the switch away from tobacco cigarettes.
Liam also explained that partnerships between vape businesses and public health stake holders, such as local stop smoking services should be valued and developed.
We hope to see Liam Humberstone’s and all other speakers’ points taken on-board by policy makers and governmental influencers. This annual summit is immensely important to the industry and has helped to shape it and allow it to thrive since its inaugural presentation 6 years ago.