The electronic cigarette business is booming, thanks to a court decision and no government regulation. The boom in the vape industry, as it is commonly called, is leading to a decline in traditional cigarette smokers, according to statistics.
The vape boon since 2013 is credited to a number of factors. One primary reason is that restrictions on traditional smokers increased with fewer places available to them for their habit. Health insurance companies are also encouraging people to kick the habit with incentives for non-smokers and heavy penalties to those who do smoke.
Landowners, who have had vacant buildings since the economic downturn are offering deals to those who want to open vape stores and more potential business owners are eyeing the vape industry as a successful way to be entrepreneurs.
Numbers from 2013 show there are 3,500 vape stores in the United States, with more than a dozen stores opening up in some cities every year. The expansion took a sharp upward turn after a 2009 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decision was overturned by a federal court in 2010. The FDA wanted more regulations on the e-cigarette industry. Current regulations apply only to those e-cigarettes listed as a therapeutic device, and not those listed as standard for sale for pleasure devices.
There is profit to be made for those getting into the vape business. Most accessories and vape products have a markup of between 200 and 400 percent. Some electronic pens cost $250. Some stores are bringing in $1.3 million a year. There was more than $1 billion in vape equipment and product sales in 2013.
The evidence is still out on e-cigarettes. Doctors state they are safer than smoking, but there haven’t been any long-term studies to suggest what years of vaping will do to a body. The vapors do contain nicotine, and it is generally assumed that vapor contains less chemicals than the 7,000-plus chemicals contained in tobacco cigarettes. There are no regulations over the flavor mixes that go into vape smoking and that has promoted some concerns from the FDA and health officials.
Still, vaping has led to less tobacco use. There has been an 18 percent decrease in traditional smoking over the past few years. Numbers seem to be falling in the teen set as well, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some health officials believe more teens are vaping and have health concerns about it. Many states do not have age regulations restricting vape use, although many stores implement their own policies not to sell to teens.