Predicted to more than double in value by 2028, the e-liquid industry’s rapid growth is unprecedented. Here’s what it tells us about vaping.

What the E-liquid Industry’s Record Growth Tells Us About Vaping

When Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik invented the modern e-cigarette in 2003, he envisioned it only as a smoking cessation tool. His father had died as a result of his smoking habit; Hon Lik wanted to create a safer alternative that people could use to quit cigarettes. Unimpressed with other smoking cessation products such as nicotine patches, he set to creating a cigarette-style device.

Two decades later, the vaping scene is nearly unrecognisable from those early cig-a-likes. Brightly coloured disposable vapes have become ubiquitous, power-hungry mods guzzle batteries to create the most intense vape clouds, and people are even gathering at conventions around the world for cloud chasing and vape trick contests.

One of the most interesting examples of the surprising development of the vaping industry is the e-liquid sector. Valued at 1.4 billion US dollars in 2021 and expected to more than double in value by 2028, the global e-liquid industry is now growing at an astounding rate.

So, what does this unprecedented growth in the vape juice industry tell us about vaping?

E-liquid flavour variety encourages smokers to try vaping


The early Chinese e-cigarette was released to the market with just two flavours: tobacco and tobacco-mint. While these flavour profiles remain popular around the world, the e-liquid industry’s immense growth has seen thousands of other flavours coming to market. Fruity e-liquid flavours have found widespread popularity, while dessert-inspired and beverage-themed vape juices are also the go-to flavours for many people.

Offering a wide range of options catering to every vaper’s individual tastes, the huge selection of vape juice flavours available is thought to be one of the ways that vapes have become more appealing to many people.

In a Dutch study (K.A. Romijnders et al., 2019), researchers found that smokers who were interested in trying a particular e-liquid flavour had a more positive attitude towards vapes and felt less social pressure to avoid e-cigarettes than smokers who did not want to try any flavour. This suggests that the massive range of e-liquid flavours available may be beneficial for encouraging current smokers to take up vaping.

In fact, one study of Americans who had switched from cigarettes to vapes looked at the e-liquid flavours they chose for their first vape kit. C. Russel et al. (2018) found that 33.5% of first e-cigarette purchases were fruit-flavoured in 2015-6, compared to just 17.8% before 2011. Conversely, the number of tobacco-flavoured first purchases almost halved over the same period, with 24% in 2015-16 compared to 46% pre-2011.

It’s clear that the availability of flavours other than tobacco and mint is popular among smokers starting out vaping, helping them make the change. As the e-liquid industry grows and more new and exciting flavour combinations become available, even more smokers may be tempted to pick up their first vape.

Cutting out cigarettes may be easier with great vape flavours


Other research based in Canada and the USA has evaluated how different e-liquid flavours are linked to enjoyment, satisfaction, and former smokers’ efforts to stay away from cigarettes.

S. Gravely et al. (2020) found that fruit was the most popular e-liquid flavour (29.4%), followed by tobacco (28.7%), mint/menthol (14.4%) and candy (13.5%). Notably, the researchers found that vapers who were using candy or fruit flavoured e-liquids found vaping more satisfying and enjoyable (compared to smoking) than vapers who were using tobacco flavours.

While the research didn’t find that particular flavours made people more or less likely to succeed in quitting cigarettes, the study shows that a range of available e-liquid flavours can be beneficial for ex-smokers’ preferences and feelings of satisfaction when vaping. The authors wrote:

Recent concerns about the attractiveness of e-cigarette flavors among youth have resulted in flavor restrictions in some jurisdictions of the United States and Canada. However, little is known about the possible consequences for current and former smokers if they no longer have access to their preferred flavors. […] Limiting access to flavors may therefore reduce the appeal of e-cigarettes among adults who are trying to quit smoking or stay quit.’

Vaping can be a hobby

For some people vaping is simply a means to an end – a way to cut out cigarettes while avoiding nicotine cravings and continuing to enjoy the social and enjoyment aspects of smoking.

For others, vaping has become a hobby in itself. The astounding growth of the e-liquid industry and the formation of boutique and premium e-juices brands demonstrates that people enjoy sampling different flavours, finding their favourite brands, and even trying their own hands at mixing e-liquids.

Boutique UK e-liquid manufacturers such as Midlands-based Wick Liquor, quintessentially English manufacturers Just Jam, and Oxford’s own Ohm Boy are just a few examples of the outstanding British e-liquid scene. In the future, it’s likely that the UK will continue to make a name for itself as a hub of high quality and innovative e-liquids.

DIY e-liquid is also on the rise, with many vapers buying base e-liquid, nicotine shots, and flavour concentrates in order to perfect their own recipes. For some vapers, creating personalised e-liquids is a great way to express their creativity and perfect their vaping experience.

In contrast to the mint and tobacco dominance of the past, many vapers are now looking for exciting and novel flavours to tantalise their taste buds. Here in the UK and all over the world, new e-liquid brands are popping up every day to deliver tempting new products for enthusiastic fans.

Overall, the ever-growing market for e-liquid in thousands of different flavours demonstrates that vape juice is not just a vehicle for nicotine but an integral part of the vaping experience and a popular hobby.

The future of the e-liquid flavours


Predicted to grow in value rapidly over the next few years, the e-liquid industry is only just getting started. New products and brands are coming to the market each day, making it easier than ever for smokers to make the switch and stick to their e-cigarettes.

Moreover, major innovations in the e-liquid industry have already transformed vaping for the better, such as the development of nic salt e-liquids which deliver nicotine faster and provide a smoother throat hit than their freebase nicotine counterparts.

If reading this article has inspired you to try some exciting new e-liquid flavours, head over to Legion of Vapers. As one of the UK’s leading online vape stores, Legion of Vapers offers thousands of e-liquids for you to try at temptingly low prices. Check out their shop to try the latest and best e-liquids on offer today.