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What’s Coming in 2014?

What's to be expected in 2014 on the electronic cigarettes front?

It seems very probable that a signal development will be increasing community development of e-cig users as a political and recreational interest group.

One social force making this happen is the natural appearance of vaping lounges. These have not been founded for political reasons, although they may turn out to have great political significance in the long run. They have been founded, and are continuing to be founded all over, because they provide a relaxed and pleasant environment where e-cigarette users can congregate, socialize, and vape.

And organize! As public use bans proliferate, vapers will increasingly look for places to publicly use the product they feel is saving their lives, and when under challenge by the health and morals police, they will do so with a somewhat combative attitude.

The overweening regulators have done this to themselves: they have turned a group of innocuous hobbyists into an angry activist group, one that is not going to go away. The emergence of a vaping community, with a sense of identity under fire, has been a product of the challenges of the past year.

One may also predict a further bifurcation of the market into a cigalike group, dominated by the Big Tobacco juggernauts that now sell e-cigs too, and a personal vaporizer group, with a hostile attitude toward Big Tobacco as well as toward municipal nannies. Cigalikes, e-cigarettes that look like toxic cigarettes, may be the product of choice for new users for a time yet, but experienced users will continue to distinguish themselves by using something that doesn't look like smoking.

This will make their habit more palatable to the general public, while it also embodies their feelings of anger toward Big Tobacco. Vapers who really need something that mimics the smoking experience, to make the quitting process easier, may switch to cigalikes made by one of the several leading companies that do not sell toxic cigarettes as well, those that haven't been strong-armed into one of Big Tobacco's corporate portfolios. Eventually they may well graduate to a grown-up e-cig, a PV or "mod" PV.  

The world still waits for regulatory decisions by groups like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US, and the EU Commission and EU Council in Europe. After years of dithering, they can be expected... well, to continue dithering, most likely.

The movement of vapers into defensive battle formation may well render their pronouncements irrelevant, as vapers continue to come together as a community and find places to congregate legally.  

Big Tobacco will very likely continue to dominate the cigalike market, but they may well become irrelevant to mature vapers as well.      

The research will continue to come in vindicating the health record of e-cigarettes. Public-use ban activists may eventually have to stop saying that there is no evidence.    

There will certainly be more regulation banning sale to minors, as well there should be. No one in the industry or among user groups advocates sale to minors, so opponents may soon have to stop yammering about that. Young people will continue to try e-cigarettes; after all, there's always some young people who like to experiment with prohibited things. Some of them may have tried toxic cigarettes and, like many adults, will be using e-cigs to stop smoking. Preliminary evidence suggests that 1 youth in 1300 may go on to smoke after beginning as a vaper.   So 2014 promises to be a good year for e-cigarettes, thanks in part to the zealots who have tried to stop the product in its tracks.

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