The year 2019 was a year of massive change for the electronic cigarette industry. While there has always been a wide variety of e-cigs, just two years ago the American vaping community was completely smitten with large vape mods and sub-ohm vape tanks that produce monumental clouds of vapor. Things seemed to reverse course in 2018, the year of JUUL. In fact, JUUL became a multi-billion dollar company in a very short order. The industry went from large mods to tiny JUUL pods. But that was so last year.

In 2019, there is still a strong market for JUUL. And hardcore vaping enthusiasts are not about to give up their beloved 200-watt mods for some little gadget that looks like a USB memory stick! But in addition, something new has come along. And the new player does not play by the rules.

The success of JUUL spurred a lengthy list of Chinese copycats. You will see them in every gas station and corner store from coast to coast. They look like JUUL, small gadgets that look like USB sticks. Unlike most of the earlier e-cigarettes, the pod systems deliver massive amounts of nicotine. In fact, 50mg to 60mg is normal. We are told that some of the imports from China may even have higher nicotine content than what is listed on the packaging.

In short, over the last three years the vaping world has transitioned from the pursuit of the most vapor to spiking disposable e-cig pods with as much nicotine as they possibly can. And that is terrible news for the ethical and honest American vape brands that are caught in a crossfire.

Disposable Salt Nicotine Pods

While we do not have hard data, we are told by an anonymous e-cig distributor that Chinese manufacturers are shipping 1 million disposable vape pods a day to the United States. That number may be a low estimate. Vape shop owners are having trouble keeping up with demand. Inventory shortages are commonplace. At my local smoke shop, they have not been able to get Strawberry Puff Bars in stock for over a month. The 50mg to 60mg disposable pods are selling like crazy.

With JUUL, we have a single American corporate entity tracking its own sales. With all of these disposable nicotine sticks, it is much more difficult to track actual sales. Companies like Stig or Puff Bars are hard to track. These companies are a bit mysterious. And they seemed to come out of nowhere. Not to mention the countless counterfeits flooding the US market. There are 1,000 e-cig factories in Shenzen, China pumping out high-nicotine sticks as fast as the assembly line will roll. The bottom line is this, the American e-cig market has been turned upside down by high-nicotine disposables coming from China in almost unfathomable numbers.

If you know what to look for, the signs are everywhere. In my own anecdotal observations, I can report that I frequently observe discarded pod vapes and packaging. I see empty wrappers or discarded batteries almost every day. It is hard to imagine how many toxic batteries are being tossed into streets and landfills.

Perhaps more alarming is the fact that these disposables are sold dirt cheap in every c-store. Including stores where kids go after school to by chips and soda. One puff on a 50mg or 60mg nicotine stick causes an instant and powerful buzz. With underage vaping experimentation on the rise, the presence of higher nicotine devices available at cheaper prices is a frightening prospect. Disposable salt nic pods attract underage experimentation. And unfortunately, legitimate American companies will pay the price.

E-cig Regulations Help China and Hurt American Companies

If disposable pods are so popular, then why don’t the American companies sell them? The answer is that they can’t. Frankly, the American companies are forced to play by the rules while Chinese companies play by no rules. As of August 2016, FDA electronic cigarette rules dictate that companies are not allowed to add any new products. However, Chinese companies have been adding new products daily since 2016. The competitive balance is wildly unfair. And China is shipping new devices to America as fast as they can make them. That includes millions and millions of cheap, disposable salt nicotine pods.

It gets even worse for American companies. The teen vaping crisis is causing draconian regulations that affect the independent American companies but barely touch either Big Tobacco or China’s vapor products. For example, flavor bans will wipe out every independent vape juice brand but will have zero impact on the 60mg salt nic pods sold in your corner store. If regulators and politicians don’t wake up to the realities on the ground, e-cig regulations will only help the bad actors and be an apocalypse for law-abiding US e-cig companies.

What Will Vaping Look Like In 2021?

Trends in vaping change at the drop of a hat. But as things stand now, the future looks bleak for independent American e-cig brands. While government officials have targeted e-cig flavors as the cause, the spiked nicotine levels of disposable pods are totally ignored. Flavor bans will wipe out the independent American vape juice manufacturers and e-cig companies. Worse, spiked 50mg plus salt nicotine pods will be about all that is left on the market. And that is exactly the product that attracts underage use.

Ultimately, by 2021, we could be looking at an electronic cigarette market dominated by the Big Tobacco brands like JUUL and Vuse as well as the mysterious disposable nicotine sticks flooding into the US from China. All of these products have something in common, and that is the super high nicotine content.

The days of enthusiasts making their own coils and engaging in cloud contests at vape conventions could well give way to millions of vapers furiously puffing on tiny, nicotine filled pods. Because unless things change in a big way and soon, he who has the most nicotine sells the most vapes. And those independent American companies that play by the rules are set with a destiny under the wheels of a very large bus.

Author's Bio: 

I write articles all over the internet. Love everything about writing and reading!