Keeping track of the disposables scene: how will it weather the regulatory storm?

At ECigIntelligence we estimate that disposables now account for nearly 40% of the global vape market — an astonishing figure when you consider that not so many years ago, the future was considered by many to lie in much higher-cost, refillable, customisable products.

But the dizzying growth rate that has led disposables to their current success also seems to be leading them into a perfect storm of regulatory and public unease, focused both on youth vaping rates and on the impact that disposable products of any kind have on the environment.

Bans are being widely discussed, and while not all will come to pass, some certainly will. As a result, the disposables market in a year or two may look rather different from the disposables market today.

Indeed, it may end up being the “disposables” market, in quotes (or perhaps we will have to resurrect the term “cigalike”; when did you last hear that?).

For while the youth vaping issue ultimately has to be solved by enforcement on retail and marketing — not simply by prohibiting a specific type of product — on the environmental front, the industry faces the challenge of coming up with products that continue to offer some of the positive aspects of disposables (ease of use, for example) without actually being disposable.

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    In the meantime, disposables of any kind are clearly no longer a minor niche that anyone in the sector can afford to ignore. And to help all stakeholders — including regulators, public health professionals and so on, as well as companies — make sense of this burgeoning market, the ECigIntelligence team has launched a new product this week.

    The Disposable E-Cigarette Tracker covers seven of the largest e-cigarette markets in the world – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, the UK and the US – and gives you interactive access to data on pricing, technical features, flavours and nicotine strengths, as well as competitor comparison.

    Meanwhile, our analyst Lucas Tremlett has also produced an on-demand webinar surveying the disposables scene, covering the regulatory landscape, consumers, market trends and product evolution.

    Do check them both out. But be warned: if you’re looking to find out what disposables will be called when they’re not disposable any more, we don’t have the answer…yet.

    — Barnaby Page ECigIntelligence staff

    Barnaby Page

    Editorial director
    Before joining ECigIntelligence in early 2014 as one of its first employees, Barnaby had a 30-year career as a reporter and editor for newspapers, magazines and online services, working in Canada, the US and the Middle East as well as his current British location. He has edited publications covering fields including technology and the advertising industry, and was launch editor of the first large daily online news service in the British regional media. Barnaby also writes on classical music and film for a number of publications. Barnaby manages the editorial and reporting teams and works closely with the analyst teams, to ensure that all content meets high standards of quality and relevance. He also writes for the site occasionally, mostly on science-related issues, and is a member of the Association of British Science Writers.