2021 Vaping Highlights: Here's this year's biggest vape news

2021 Vaping Highlights: Here's this year's biggest vape news

Melissa Greenlaw

The vaping industry has always moved quickly, and this year has been no exception. Just before we break out the Bucks Fizz for Christmas, we wanted to reflect on the year and remind you of all the biggest vaping news from 2021. Here’s everything that happened in the world of vaping over the last 12 months. 

Public Health England Published Big Report

Way back in February, Public Health England (PHE) released its 7th independent report on vaping in England. It’s main findings included:

  • nicotine vaping products were the most popular aid (27.2%) used by smokers trying to quit in England in 2020
  • it is estimated that in 2017, more than 50,000 smokers stopped smoking with the aid of a vaping product who would otherwise have carried on smoking
  • 38% of smokers in 2020 believed that vaping is as harmful as smoking – 15% believed that vaping is more harmful
  • using a vaping product as part of a quit attempt in local stop smoking services had some of the highest quit success rates – between 59.7% and 74% in 2019 and 2020

The report also stated that the Smokefree 2030 goal should include a review of the role e-cigarettes can play in helping smokers quit, and that the lack of a medically licensed vape product needed to be addressed. 

The report was welcomed by healthcare and industry experts, with many pleased to see that the issue of misinformation surrounding vaping was finally being addressed. Since then, more stop smoking services have incorporated vaping as a recommended tool for quitting smoking, with the NHS including advice on e-cigarettes in their 2021 Stoptober campaign. 

Vape Shops Reopened

After an extremely difficult year, vape shops were finally allowed to reopen in April! Unfortunately, vape stores were not categorised as ‘essential retailers’, and were forced to close their doors throughout lockdown. 

The UKVIA spoke out against the Government’s decision, stating, ““Whilst we recognise the predicament that the Government faces, with data highlighting the worsening coronavirus situation across the country, as an industry we feel extremely disappointed that the vaping sector has once again been overlooked as one providing essential goods and services.” 

Luckily, vape shops were allowed to reopen along with the rest of the retail sector on the 12th of April, helping to reverse the rise in smoking rates during the pandemic. 

A&E E-Cig Trial Began

In May, a 30-month-long vape trial began in five NHS A&E departments across the country, led by researchers from the University of East Anglia. 

The patients taking part, who are all smokers, will be split into two groups. The first will receive a starter kit and support, whilst the second will be given quit smoking leaflets and advice. Success will be measured using follow-up appointments over a 30-month period, which will allow researchers to compare the effectiveness of each quit smoking support method. 

The news was welcomed by health experts across the UK and the UKVIA, who agreed that it couldn’t have come at a better time. With the pandemic in full swing, studies showed that 39% of smokers aged 18-34 said they were now smoking more regularly due to stress from Covid-19. It also revealed that 10% of former smokers had restarted their habit since the start of the pandemic.

Thankfully, smoking rates across the UK have fallen significantly since the easing of lockdown, with help from this year’s Stoptober campaign and new advice from healthcare professionals encouraging more people to switch to vaping. It’s hoped that this trial will prove the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a quit smoking tool and reassure smokers of how much safer vaping is compared to cigarettes. 

The Disposable Vape Trend 

The disposable vape trend has grown exponentially over the last year, and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon! Back in summer, every vape retailer started to struggle to get their hands on them, with Geek Bars flying off the shelves as soon as they came back into stock. 

Since then, many brands have released their own disposable devices to try and keep up with demand. With new products hitting the market every week, including Elf Bars, I VG Bars and Dinner Lady disposables, the supply chain seems to have finally caught up. 

However, disposables have their issues, and they’ve received their fair share of bad press over the past six months. Many counterfeit products managed to worm their way into the UK market, with raids by trading standards becoming more frequent on disreputable vape shops across the country. 

There were also concerns around the sale of disposable vapes to underage users, with big online retailers starting to stock them without enforcing proper age verification. There’s been a lot of work put in to prevent this from happening, but it is still an issue that’s being closely monitored by trading standards and the UKVIA. 

Despite this, good quality, legal disposables have helped many people switch to vaping this year. They’re also ideal for nights out and vaping on the move whenever you’d rather not risk losing your more expensive vape kit. 

888 Vapour Launched Vape Recycling Scheme

In response to the disposable vape trend, we launched our ground-breaking recycling scheme in each of our stores in August. We’re proud to say that we were the first high-street retailer to offer such a scheme, working closely with Biffa to ensure everything gets disposed of and recycled responsibly. 

We’re encouraging our customers to pop in and recycle all their used disposable vapes, as well as any old batteries and kits. We’ve also tried to help vapers switch from disposables to more eco-friendly starter kits by offering great deals throughout the year, both in-store and online. 

To find out more about all the green policies we’ve implemented throughout the year, take a look at our story, published by Planet of the Vapes. 

MHRA Opened Submissions for Prescription E-cigarettes

In a world first, the UK announced that e-cigarettes could soon be made available on prescription via the NHS. Following backing from PHE, the E-cigarette Working Group and Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, the MHRA announced that it had begun taking submissions for medicinally licenced vape devices in October. 

The Health Secretary, who supported the new plans, said, “Opening the door to a licensed e-cigarette prescribed on the NHS has the potential to tackle the stark disparities in smoking rates across the country, helping people stop smoking wherever they live and whatever their background.”

It’s hoped that medically licensed, which GPs will be able to prescribe to their patients, will help cut through the misinformation and 

New Zealand Announced Smoking Ban

In December, New Zealand announced a new smoking ban to all those born after 2008, creating a smoke-free generation. The legislation will make it illegal to ever sell tobacco products and cigarettes to anyone aged 14 or under when it comes into effect, with the legal smoking age rising each year. 

When announcing the plans, Associate health minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said, “This is a historic day for the health of our people.” She added, “We want to make sure young people never start smoking so we will make it an offence to sell or supply smoked tobacco products to new cohorts of youth. People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco.”

The legislation will also limit where tobacco products can be sold, removing them from supermarkets and corner shops, as well as reducing the legal maximum nicotine content in cigarettes. Vaping in New Zealand is still recommended as a healthier alternative to smoking to help people quit. 

The new legislation was met by a mixed response, and whilst doctors and healthcare professionals praised the plans, some questioned whether it would lead to an increase in counterfeit tobacco importation and gang crime. Whether it will work continues to be debated, but it’s hoped that it will speed up New Zealand’s Smokefree 2025 goal. 

NICE Recommends Vaping to Quit Smoking

Finally, the last big vaping news of the year came from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), who released its latest guidance on tobacco and prevention. For the first time, it recommended vaping as a quit smoking tool. 

The new guidelines, developed with Public Health England (PHE), encourage health professionals to gain an in-depth understanding of the latest evidence on vaping to give their patients the best and most up-to-date advice available. This includes discussing the fact that vaping is significantly safer than smoking and that e-cigarettes are an effective quit smoking tool.

On top of this, The National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT) has published a new e-guide to help stop-smoking providers incorporate vaping into their services. In response to the news, John Dunne, Director General of the UKVIA, said: “The last 12 months has seen vaping embraced by the healthcare sector like never before, which is a huge leap forward when it comes to harm reduction.”

So, that’s 2021’s vaping news wrapped up just in time for Christmas! Looking ahead to 2022, it’s likely that we’ll hear more about how vaping will be incorporated within Britain’s Smokefree 2030 plan. We’ve also got big plans here at 888 Vapour, so keep your eyes peeled for some exciting news on our socials, website and in-store! 

Need to get your hands on some last minute vape essentials before Christmas? You can find all our shops’ opening times on our store finder page.  

Most importantly though, we want to wish our customers a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all the team at 888 Vapour!

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