Vaping Trends of 2021
In many ways, 2020 was a year most of us would be happy to forget. For many individuals, families and businesses, it was a testing and challenging year. But in the world of vaping, it was business as usual. Innovative and stylish new products, with better taste, efficiency and durability have become the norm in this exciting and ever-evolving space — and 2020 was no different.
As we look forward to 2021, we identify the key vaping trends that are set to define the next twelve months.
Nicotine salt e-liquids were a big trend from 2020 that will continue to pick up momentum. Available since 2017 — mainly in pod-like devices — nicotine salts have steadily gained a foothold in the broader market due to a smooth taste and nicotine hit that closely resembles combustible cigarettes.
Made by combining benzoic acid with the naturally occurring salts found in tobacco leaf, nicotine salts allow users to vape higher nicotine concentrations, but without compromising on taste. The addition of benzoic acid accounts for three significant changes. Firstly, it enables the liquid to be vaporised at a much lower temperature, making them suitable for lower wattage devices. Secondly, the reduced PH leads to lower alkaline levels, which reduce the harshness of vaping high concentration liquids. And finally, the chemical changes from the addition of benzoic acid result in an increase in bioavailability, meaning vapers report quicker and more satisfying nicotine hits.
In recent years, nicotine salts have proven extremely popular with new vapers, with many reporting that salts have a higher success rate among those transitioning from cigarettes.
However, nicotine salts aren’t just popular with newer vapers. Seasoned, longtime vapers have also begun to move away from freebase nicotine in favour of nicotine salts. Many report a better throat hit, flavour and increased nicotine bioavailability, that makes for a more satisfying vape despite using a lower volume of juice.
With more brands offering nic salt versions of their best selling juices, 2021 looks like the year when nic salts go mainstream.
A common refrain among many vapers is that mod devices are overly complicated and expensive. Access to the promised land of smooth hits, intense flavours and bigger vapour clouds requires a steep learning curve that involves intricate knowledge of the different coils, tanks, mods and more. However, due to the growth in the availability of nicotine salts, lower wattage devices are becoming a viable alternative to sub-ohm devices.
Sub-ohm devices need a higher wattage because freebase nicotine requires a higher heat to vaporise. But because nic salts vaporise at a lower heat, even lower wattage devices can produce thick clouds and a great taste with higher resistance coils. Pod devices are straightforward to use, which means new vapers can get the best of both worlds: Easy to use devices, with a great taste.
2020 was the year of the Uwell Caliburn Pod. A minimalist design and excellent build quality complemented by great battery life and a delicious taste made it a sure-fire favourite among vapers. And with two exciting new devices launched at the end of the year — The Koko Prime and the G Pod Kit — expect 2021 to be another strong year for the Asian manufacturer.
Smoking Vapor’s MiPod Refillable Vaping Kit continues to be very popular with consumers. This compact, all-in-one device’s robust build and great flavour make it a regular fixture on the lists of best pod devices. With a new version scheduled for this year, the MiPod will continue to perform strongly.
The Smok Nord 2 Pod was the long-awaited update to the 2018 Nord pod. A sleek design that doesn’t skimp on build quality combines with an excellent mouth to lung taste. This is a great device that will be a major player in 2021.
With so many high-end pod options available at comparatively lower prices, it’s hard to predict much growth for sub-ohm devices. Indeed, as their relevance wanes, expect to see pod devices eat further into their market share as vapers, both new and old, use nic salts in these discrete and portable devices.
Disposable vape pens should build on last year's steady growth. Simple, affordable and small, these disposable pens are a low-commitment option for current smokers to try out vaping. Vape pens have come a long way from the days of throwaway devices sold at petrol stations. By coming loaded with nicotine salts, these pens pack an incredible punch without the need for high wattage.
2021 should see these pens make significant inroads with the type of smokers who tried vaping a few years ago but were turned off by messy, complicated devices that failed to deliver the satisfaction of a combustible cigarette. These devices are a cheap, low risk and ready to go, which should make it a smoother transition for anyone trying to kick the habit as part of their new year resolutions.
Additionally, they are also proving popular with long term vapers when socialising. Instead of losing or breaking an expensive device on a night out at the pub, these pens — available for as little as £4.99 — are a cheap, ultra-portable and worry-free alternative.
Lower Nicotine Strengths in Nic Salts
Another trend from 2020 that looks set to continue is the availability of lower nicotine strengths in nicotine salt liquids. Previously, manufacturers only offered nicotine salts at concentrations of 20mg in the UK due to EU regulatory restrictions. However, demands for lower concentrations led to brands offering 10mg, as users who started vaping with nicotine salt began to cycle down in strength.
More recently, brands have begun offering 3-5mg strengths. This is likely to be a growth area in the vaping space for 2021, with many suggesting that these lower concentrations can be used on a sub-ohm device. 5mg users report an enhanced taste profile along with a softer, gentler hit. We’d recommend against experimenting with anything higher than 5mg nic salt juice in a sub-ohm device to avoid ingesting excessive amounts of nicotine through these high wattage devices. With so many devices designed specifically for nicotine salts, it’s best to stick to manufacturer recommendations.