It’s been seven years since the United Kingdom embraced a smoking ban in public places, cafes, bars, restaurants and places of work. In a move that was designed to outlaw the smoking of cigars, cigarettes and pipes in public, the government hoped to put an end to what is widely considered to be an anti-social and harmful habit.
Opposition to the Smoking Ban
Naturally, the tobacco industry was both alarmed and threatened by the introduction of restrictions to smoking in public places. The biggest worry was that their industry would suffer severe losses, and they have been at pains to point out the massive amounts of revenue their products generate for the economy. According to the Tobacco Manufacturer’s Association sales of tobacco and associated products generate around £10 billion annually for the Treasury. The organisation is keen to emphasise the losses that the country would face were tobacco products to be outlawed completely.
And they are not the only ones. Committed smokers understand the medical risks associated with smoking tobacco and feel aggrieved that they are no longer allowed to choose for themselves what they spend their hard-earned cash on. The usual argument of the beleaguered smoker is that thrill-seekers, performance car owners and the morbidly obese are all allowed to make their own lifestyle choices, so why not smokers too?
The Rise of the E-Cigarette
It was only a matter of time before someone somewhere thought of a way to circumvent the smoking ban. The honour falls to Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist who developed and patented the e-cigarette in 2003 only to see the market develop and thrive beyond his wildest dreams.
Smoking an e-cigarette is known as ‘vaping’ and it’s catching on up and down the country as dedicated tobacco smokers look for an alternative to the traditional cigarette. Tired of standing outside pubs and restaurants in the cold and rain, the smoker now has an alternative option which is proving incredibly popular.
E-cigarettes come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and styles, from a copycat traditional cigarette format to more high-tech designs, but for all of them the principle is the same. A battery pack heats a special liquid which contains nicotine and flavourings, and this is inhaled and exhaled just as with a normal cigarette. The difference is that it is vapour which is inhaled, rather than smoke. Smoke is the culprit which contains the harmful chemicals known to damage lungs, whereas the vapour containing nicotine is relatively harmless.
It’s not just smokers who are turning to vaping either. With a host of flavours available and nicotine-free options too, people who would never have dreamed of lighting up a ciggie are discovering the fun of inhaling a variety of vapours as a way of socialising and relaxing. Sites such as enjuice offer a dazzling array of flavours, from traditional tobacco and menthol through to exotic cocktails, coffee and dessert-themed vapours.
With almost one and a half million people now turning to vaping rather than smoking traditional cigarettes, this is a growing market which looks set to increase in popularity. Cheaper and less harmful than smoking cigarettes, vaping is becoming the pastime of choice for many people