The 4 Biggest Changes in the Vaping Industry in 2020

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This has been a difficult year for most industries, and the vaping industry is no exception. In the United States, during a global pandemic, the FDA began the era of full government regulation of the American vaping industry. One by one, vaping brands that hadn’t begun the process of taking their products though costly regulatory review were told that they could no longer sell their products in the U.S. The number of players in the U.S. vaping industry shrunk considerably in 2020, and that’s only one of the ways in which the industry has changed this year. How else has the vaping industry changed in the U.S. and elsewhere? Let’s investigate further.

Pod Vaping Systems Came of Age

For several years now, it has been very evident that pod-based devices would one day rule a significant portion of the vaping industry. That finally happened in 2020, and the success of pod systems isn’t just a U.S. phenomenon; companies like V2 Cigs UK have also reported big increases in the number of pod systems sold this year.

Why are pod systems so successful? One reason is the fact that just about every vaper these days wants to try nicotine salt e-liquid, and a pod system offers the ideal level of vapor production to take full advantage of this new type of vape juice.

The next reason why pod systems have experienced such high demand in 2020 is that they’re so easy to use. Since vaping made its debut, people have longed for a device that would be just as satisfying as a cigarette without introducing all of the extra challenges that typically go along with owning high-end consumer electronics. Pod systems are successful because they’re simple; just charge the device, drop in a pod and vape. Anyone can understand how to use them.

Mesh Coils Became the Top Way to Chase Clouds

Over the last few years, cloud chasing coils have begun to get a little out of control. Tanks like the SMOK TFV12 Cloud Beast King featured as many as 12 individual heating wires and required an insane amount of power to operate at maximum efficiency, basically meaning that, if you wanted to use the best vaping equipment available, you had to own a dual-battery mod capable of operating at well over 100 watts. People love chasing clouds, but even the most ardent vaping hobbyists had to admit that those requirements were a little over the top.

Traditional cloud chasing coils with wound heating wires introduce a number of other problems along with their high power requirements. The vapor typically has a very “wet” character with a cloud chasing coil, which can make you feel like you’re drinking your e-liquid. High-end tanks with wound coils are also likely to pop and spit during operation.

A mesh coil replaces the traditional wound heating wire with a thin strip of metal mesh, thus allowing the coil to have the same heating area without the power requirements that go along with having a high-mass coil. Mesh coils make it possible for single-battery vaping devices to produce enormous clouds. They’re also very quiet during operation and rarely pop or spit. They’re better than wound coils in just about every way, in fact, and they replaced traditional coils in almost all high-end vape tanks in 2020.

E-Liquid Packaging Became More Subdued

One of the major changes that took place in the vaping industry in 2020 was that, in the United States, the FDA began to send warning letters to e-liquid companies that used bright colors or cartoon mascots on their packaging. The warning letter campaign was part of an overall movement toward ensuring that all vape juice makers in the country were only marketing their products to adults and were not using any design elements that could potentially appeal to teens. Across the country, e-liquid packaging became much more subdued in 2020 – and since e-liquid makers in the United States supply vape juice to much of the rest of the world as well, the change had a ripple effect throughout other countries.

The Vaping Industry Entered Its Next Consolidation Phase

In September 2020, the FDA premarket application deadline for new covered tobacco products finally arrived. All makers of vaping hardware and e-liquid who wanted to continue doing business in the United States needed to submit premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs) to the FDA by the deadline.

When the FDA originally announced its proposed regulations for the American vaping industry in 2016, many people cried foul. The estimated cost of compiling just one PMTA was well over $1,000,000 by some estimates, and according to the FDA’s regulations, every e-liquid flavor, every e-liquid nicotine strength, every vaping device, every vape tank, and every type of vape coil counted as an individual product that required its own PMTA. The total financial burden on the vaping industry, people said, was just too much for small businesses.

By 2020, though, the biggest brands in the vaping industry weren’t that small anymore. The industry had continued to grow during the intervening years, and the rising tide lifted many boats. The biggest vaping brands were able to save up the funds required to initiate the PMTA process, and by the end of August, the FDA had received about 2,000 applications. Any company that managed to submit its applications by the September deadline could remain in business for up to a year pending final approval.

The PMTA deadline didn’t signal the end of the American vaping industry as many people had predicted back in 2016. However, the deadline triggered the industry’s next major consolidation phase as the smaller e-liquid makers that were unable or unwilling to initiate the PMTA process have either ceased doing business already or will do so soon when they run out of stock. The remaining e-liquid makers will continue to grow, and the FDA’s PMTA requirements will function as a cost barrier that makes it extremely difficult for new companies to enter the industry.