Spend 25.00 CHF more and get Free Shipping!

Behaviour and trends of the vape market in Europe and the USA

Publié le : 2019-10-10 16:45:38
Catégories : News / Events

vape comportement


On October 7th, we attended the Paris Vapexpo conference about the situation of the vape market in different countries. Here’s an update on neighbour countries and a focus on the American situation.

A panel of experts

On October 7th at Paris Vapexpo, we were lucky enough to have on stage a panel of participants representing France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, and even the United States. Together, they gave us a tour on the state of vaping in their country. Of course, the discussion revolved a lot around the events that took place across the Atlantic at the end of the summer.

The situation in France

Aurélie Crouzet, from the IFOP polling institute, gave us the figures for the latest monitoring on vaping between 2018 and 2019 :

The French market is now well established in France where we are now mainly in a user market (restocking liquids). Nevertheless, it’s still growing with regular new vapers. The polling institute estimates the market at 800 million euros and still growing (20% between 2018 and 2019).

There are currently 4.5 million French vapers, but unfortunately there are still 2/3 of vapo-smokers. The typical vaper is a man of about 40 years and vaping mostly sweet e-liquids. Equipment purchases, on the other hand, remain fairly stable.

Pre-filled cartridge pods have been introduced, but open systems still account for 76% of the market this year. Most vapers use nicotine, but it should be noted that liquids with 0mg of nicotine still account for 10% of the market.

Obviously, these figures date from just before the American events of this summer.

vape e-cig suisse sweetch

Elsewhere in Europe

Let’s remember that European countries had to apply a European directive in their national law two years ago. The Tobacco Product Directive (TPD) regulates the processing, presentation and selling of tobacco products and related items, including e-cigarettes. This is to ensure high quality and safety to consumers.

Its latest review focused on product design, from redaction to packaging and set the rules for sales, notifications and compliance statements.

What’s happened since ?

In Germany

In Germany, there were 3.7 million vapers for a market of 600 million euros in 2017. The market then slowed down abruptly, and consumers turned to France and England for their equipment and liquids.

Why ? Because the German authorities, with the arrival of the TPD, enforced a 6-month delay before any new liquids or equipment could arrive on the market. With the vaping industry still new, technological innovations are fast and no one wants to buy an electronic product that is already 6 months old.

Once again, the authorities did not understand the vape market. What a pity !

In Spain

In this country, the market is even younger than elsewhere in Europe because it had difficulties taking off. Indeed, while vaping was introduced all over our continent, the Spanish had a case of lipid pneumonia in 2013. Which, in the end, was attributed to e-cigarettes, without specifying that it was the liquids used that should have been incriminated. At the time, it killed the market.

Currently, the Spanish Ministry of Health still encourages people not to vape and to use only medical products. There are only about 500 shops throughout the country to this date, whereas they were nearly 2,700 shops in France in 2018.

As it is, Spanish vapers must wage a real war in order to maintain access to their tobacco alternative. Recently they mobilized in front of the Ministry. Good luck to them !

In Greece

In Greece, a 1 euro tax on nicotine liquids had been introduced even before the TPD in 2017. As a result, the market was slowed down from the beginning and never became very important. Today, there are about 400,000 vapers. This tax has led some Greek vapers to turn to the black market and the others have managed to get used to vaping with 0mg of nicotine.

How did those vapers manage not to feel the lack of nicotine ? They kept smoking ! Heated tobacco has been on the rise so far and authorities still say vaping is dangerous.

Sadly, Greece holds the record in Europe with more than 33% of smokers. What a shame !

In Italy

In Italy, it was a ban on internet sales and a tax that damaged the market. With a tax of 4 euros for every 10ml bottle, the price of e-liquids skyrocketed, which clearly did not encourage smokers to reduce their tobacco consumption with the help of e-cigarettes. Rather than giving an alternative to smokers, Italy decided to discourage smokers from vaping.

As a result, the market was severely slowed down, giving way to heated tobacco, with a tax of only 1.27 euros per iQos (Philip Morris) pack and 0.77 euros for Glo (BAT). Strangely enough, in 2014 and 2016, Matteo Renzi, president of the Italian Council of Ministers, celebrated the inauguration of the iQos factories with great enthusiasm. Today, it’s estimated that there are only 1.5 million vapers. A blow to the public health !

Since then, vapers have mobilized on several occasions. They finally made the state bend and internet sales were reintroduced and the tax reduced by 80% to 80 cents per bottle of liquid with nicotine and 4 cts per ml for those without.
vape usa sweetch suisse e-cig

What about the United States ?

Dimitris Agrafiotis, president of the Tennessee Smoke Free Association, crossed the Atlantic to come to Vapexpo.

“I apologize for the irresponsible behaviour of my government, which has been sweeping away the efforts that have been made in France and in other European countries over the past 10 years !”

He explains that this is not the first time the U.S. authorities have tried to kill the vaping industry. There was previously a wave of panic about the presence of diacetyl in liquids that lead to an epidemic of "popcorn disease", the media frenzy over battery explosions, and then the introduction of taxes.

As of today, it’s a collective hysteria that wants to ban vaping permanently because some people have vaped illegal adulterated liquids from the drug market. But this crisis is much more serious than the others because the authorities have deliberately manipulated consumers to scare them.

Some market data

The U.S. vape market is worth $10.2 billion, with $4.4 billion for rechargeable pods. We have an estimated 10,000 shops for 11 million vapers. Right now, a 100 vape shops are closing every day !

U.S. companies in the sector will close one after the other, sending many workers back to unemployment as well as vapers to tobacco. This may affect the global market.

The worst part of this whole crisis is that we now know the culprits for the poisoning of many unfortunate vapers. But strangely enough, the media did not see fit to relay this information. The e-liquids had vitamin E acetate, an oily substance used to improve the solubility of THC, as well as residues of myclobutanil, a fungicide used in cannabis (which is prohibited in Europe). The liquids that contained these products came from the illegal drug market. Nothing to do with vaping in general then !

Dimitris Agrafiotis' opinion is that everything is collapsing in order to make room only for the big tobacco and pharmaceutical companies’ products. Powerful, they have the means to impose their products through complicated and outrageous regulations.

So if these companies were so concerned with risk reduction, why don't they just stop producing cigarettes ? And why are they not fighting alongside independent vaping shops against the American authorities ?


In short, a panel of experts from different countries were present at Vapexpo in Paris on Monday, October 7, 2019. They described the current situation in their respective markets. Except for France, which is doing rather well, Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy and the United States are struggling.

Our European neighbours have had to, and still must, face absurd and counterproductive decisions by their authorities. But the award for irresponsibility is unequivocally granted to the American authorities who have simply decided to send vapers back to tobacco !

In conclusion, let’s mention Jacques Le Houezec closing line to the conference :

“You don’t have many jobs where you help save lives every day !”

Dear Reader, thank you for your attention. See you soon for our next article.

The Sweetch Team

Partager ce contenu