For the first time in 2 years, industry experts, retailers and vaping enthusiasts were able to get together again at the World Vape Show held in London earlier this month. Held over 2 days, the event was much more than a trade show. It was an incredible demonstration of how far the vaping industry has come over recent years.
A changing (and growing) sector
Once a relatively niche sector, dominated largely by vaping enthusiasts and specialised retailers alone, vaping has rapidly become recognised and supported as a safer alternative to smoking by consumers and public health organisations alike. (2) Smokers looking for a healthier alternative nowadays only have to walk into their local supermarket or forecourt and will discover numerous simple and affordable options available to them. The appetite and need for these convenient and easy-to-use vapes was blindingly apparent to everyone by the number of disposable products and brands dominating the show this year.
Despite the current trend for disposables, the show didn’t represent the wider picture and full scale of the industry that we have all nurtured and developed for so long. There was a stark absence of many of the big UK and international brands. It was incredibly unique to see what could be described as “the old style of vaping: open tank/mods!’ at the show. Whilst this may be the current reality, it was in contrast to the vape shows of yesteryear. I have no doubt that this is merely a moment in time, and we look forward to many more vape shows, which represent the total sector, including disposables, in the future.
Key topics debated
Along with the opportunity to network and share the latest in vaping products and innovations, the World Vape Show brought together a number of leading academics and industry experts to debate many topical questions. As well as leading figures from the vaping industry, a number of important regulatory partners joined the debates, including representatives from Trading Standards and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. The panel discussed matters from how to tackle disinformation to ensuring access to tobacco harm reduction in healthcare.
Totally Wicked’s CEO and IBVTA Chair, Marcus Saxton (5) was on the panel to discuss the opportunities and challenges for independent vaping business in trading with supermarkets and convenience stores.
Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos (6) debated the current position on the back of the latest Conference of the Parties (COP 9 (7)) on Tobacco Control, specifically taking on the Misinformation & Junk Science around Vaping. Konstantinos Farsalinos, MD, MPH is a cardiologist and research fellow. He specialises in echocardiography and in smoking and tobacco harm reduction research. Konstantinos Farsalinos is a passionate researcher and dedicates a lot of his time exposing anti-vaping junk science.
Discussing the importance of compliance to our industry was Craig Copeland, E-cigarette Manager at Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, alongside Joanne Cook, Senior Trading Standards Officer at Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards .
Marcus Saxton attended both days of the show and said “It was great to be back together with fellow industry advocates after such a long time away. Whilst the show didn’t fully represent the usual breadth and depth of exhibitors, the panel interviews certainly did. From the very topical question of compliance, through to the well-trodden scientific evidence which continues to support vaping as the much safer alternative that we have come to know.”