Despite doubts about healthiness and high taxation, the young market for electronic cigarettes is experiencing a boom that does not seem to be abating. And it’s not just an Italian phenomenon
In recent years, the electronic cigarette market has experienced a constant growthvirtually uninterrupted. According to the experts, then, the trend will continue to have a positive sign also in the near future; for the forecast period 2022-2027, in fact, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13% is estimated.
After all, wandering around the Italian squares it often happens to meet e-cig users, who are easily recognizable by the dense clouds of scented vapor that surround them. It is estimated that today there are about one million users of this product in Italy.
Thanks above all to the Internet and eCommerce, the offer of these products has expanded dramatically with a continuous search for new flavors to offer to consumers. To date, for example, electronic cigarette liquids can be purchased on Terpy, one of the main European e-shops, which offers innovative and safe flavours, which can be fruity or creamy, with or without nicotine.
Electronic cigarette users: the numbers in Italy and in the world
With reference to Italy, the ANPVU Association, which represents the Italian Consumers of personal vaporizers (more commonly known as e-cigs), has made public the data collected by EcigIntelligence, which estimated at more than one million consumers of this product.
More in detail, in the report published (on 30 May 2022) by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, on the occasion of the World No Tobacco Day promoted by the WHO, it is highlighted how the number of Italian e-cig consumers has tripled in recent years , rising from 1.1% in 2019 to 3.3% of the population in 2022 (quantifiable in about 1,700,000 people).
However, the unstoppable growth of the market for products without combustion is not an Italian peculiarity.
According to the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction, a paper published by the British health agency Knowledge Action Change (Gsthr), globally there were 82 million users of electronic cigarettes in 2021 (compared to 68 million recorded in 2020, with a rate of annual growth of 20%).
To have a term of comparison, just think that traditional cigarette smokers globally amount to more than a billion people.
Therefore, e-cig consumers are growing in the world and this trend is also confirmed in Europe, as evidenced by the Eurobarometer report published in 2021. The latter examines “the attitude of Europeans towards tobacco and the electronic cigarette ”, looking at every single European country, plus the United Kingdom.
Compared to the previous survey (2017), the report records an overall reduction, albeit slight (three percentage points), of smokers of traditional cigarettes and vice versa an increase in the diffusion of products without combustion: this type of product exceeded 2.5% of total sales of tobacco products.
Among the most virtuous countries by far is the United Kingdomwhose public health policy includes, among other things, a constant awareness-raising activity on the damage caused by tobacco and use of e-cigarettes as a harm reduction measure.
The British authorities, encouraged by scientific research and pressure groups (such as the Action on Smoking and Health), have considered that these devices are a effective means of enabling people to quit smoking and the numbers would seem to prove them right.
Thus, if e-cig users are growing in Italy, the United Kingdom runs even faster. It is the first country in Europe, while in the world it is second only to the United States (which boasts more than ten million vapers) for the number of consumers of this type of product.
This is also due to the fact that the British government adopts a active politics on the subject, aimed at supporting those trying to quit smoking by financing the purchase of devices for this purpose (such as electronic cigarettes) and promoting programs to encourage smoking cessation.
The results of the United Kingdom’s anti-prohibitionist policy were not long in coming. Recent research conducted by the Knowledge Action Change agency on the English population, in fact, shows that among smokers intending to quit, those who use e-cigs are more likely to succeed of those who try to do it on their own.
How to explain the unstoppable growth of the e-cigarette market?
The main reason for vaping is clearly to quit smoking. But what fuels the market is rather the advantages that the e-cig can bring to traditional smokers: the electronic cigarette involves less serious side effects than the classic combustion of tobacco which, as is known, can involve, among other things, the onset of pathologies of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
Finally, let’s not forget that, since the e-cig is a relatively young product, the long-term effects are not yet known about health. Therefore, only time will tell if non-combustible products are not as harmless as many think.