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Electronic nicotine delivery systems continue to evolve

For now, it appears vaping is here to stay and the technology that fuels the industry’s products will continue their evolution.

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Image: Kevin Raposo / KnowTechie

When the first e-cigarette was created, it was revolutionary. Today, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) continue to change, but the changes are more evolutionary than they are revolutionary.

Vaping started as a revolution but has become more of an evolution

At first, the vaping industry offered adult consumers around the world a chance to vape through relatively simple vaping devices that are now commonly referred to as cig-a-likes, which many vapers still use today.

As vaping caught on, new vaping hardware began to surface on the market. Today, vape companies offer a range of devices for vapers to choose from, which include cig-a-likes, but also new types of devices, such as:

  • Vape pens
  • Vape mods
  • Pod systems

With vape companies racing to deliver new products to customers, the changes seen in vaping technology seems to continue to be less revolutionary and more evolutionary.

For instance, pod vapes have become popular in various parts of the world, such as the United States. While some of the early pod vape companies offered their customers a handful of pod flavors or less to choose from, others have since joined the market to offer a much more robust selection of flavors.

While some of the early vape companies offered disposable vape pods prefilled with e-liquid, there are now various companies that offer refillable vape pods that can be used more than once.

While the first refillable vape pods to hit the market could be refilled with e-liquid, they still needed to be replaced after their coils burned out and ceased functioning. As refillable vape pods continued to evolve, companies began to offer refillable pods with replaceable coils, further extending the product life of refillable pods.

Yet another example of vaping technology’s evolution is seen in new vape mods that are equipped with two batteries instead of one. While the use for such high-powered vaping devices is limited at this time, the next generation of vape tanks could change things, leaving vapers who adopt dual-battery mods poised to take advantage of future vape tanks.

As vaping rose in popularity, so did feedback from vapers in the vaping community. Vape companies, many of them in tune with the needs of their customers, listened to the feedback and produced new hardware to cater to the needs and desires of their customers. One of the resulting hardware evolutions was the vape mod, which provided vapers with more control over their vaping devices than they ever had before.

Today, much of the technology seen in mods, such as variable voltage and adjustable airflow, can be found in other types of vaping devices, such as pen vapes and pod systems. By combining the technology seen in vape mods with vape pods, a new form of vaping device has been coined: the pod mod — which, like much of the technology discussed, is more of an evolution than a revolution; a logical next step, if you will.

Vape juice continues to evolve alongside the hardware that supports it

Vape hardware is not the only area where vaping technology continues to evolve, as the other side of the equation, e-liquid, also continues to progress in less of a revolutionary sense and more of an evolutionary one.

Early e-cigarettes used and still use today what is known as freebase nicotine. Freebase nicotine, which was first developed in the 1960s, is created through a chemical process that transforms the naturally occurring nicotine salts found in tobacco leaves into what has become known as nic salts.

One limitation seen in freebase nicotine as it pertains to vaping is that it becomes very harsh when inhaled at higher concentrations. Scientists eventually discovered that a freebase nicotine solution could be mixed with a weak acid such as benzoic or levulinic acid to reduce the pH, which in turn allows higher concentrations of nicotine to be delivered through vapor without the vapor being too harsh for vapers to inhale. While this may have been a revolutionary achievement in the world of e-liquid manufacturing, the changes that have come since appear to be more of an evolution.

For example, e-liquid manufacturers have continued to push the envelope in terms of nicotine strength, now offering e-liquids that contain more than 50mg/ml. The same can be seen in what flavors are now offered. Where there were once a limited number of flavors on the market, the selection has virtually exploded to the point at which there are at least thousands of different flavors for vapers to choose from.

Here’s a look at some of the major flavor categories that the bulk of today’s e-juices fall into:

  • Fruity
  • Dessert / Candy
  • Cereal
  • Baked Goods
  • Drinks
  • Mints
  • Menthols
  • Tobaccos
  • Iced

Iced is an increasingly common category of vape juice that incorporates menthol for a cooling effect alongside other flavors, such as fruit and tobacco flavors. There are also other flavors that don’t fall easily into any of the categories above and are sometimes labeled as artisan flavors.

Vaping products continue to evolve

So long as the vaping industry is not stifled by regulations or a lack of interest on part of adult consumers, it appears the industry’s products will continue to evolve well into the future. The real question may be whether another revolution will take place at some time, perhaps within the vaping industry or outside of it. With vaping alternatives such as heat-not-burn devices continuing to capture the attention of nicotine users, there is certainly a chance that the next revolution could be one that drowns out the vaping industry that we see today, at least to an extent.

For now, it appears vaping is here to stay and the technology that fuels the industry’s products will continue their evolution.

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