The electronic cigarette or e-cigarette is a credible alternative to the traditional cigarette. Developed since 2005 following a Chinese patent, the electronic cigarette works like a vaporizer, where a liquid, which is transformed into gas by the action of heating, is inhaled by the smoker who has evolved into a "vaper".
The electronic cigarette market is huge. It is currently estimated that 500,000 people are vapers. The room for progress is also impressive since France has more than 15 million smokers, half of whom wish to quit. After experiencing strong growth in France from 2013 to 2015, the electronic cigarette market is slowing down. The number of vapers increased by 86% in 2013 and in 2015, they represented 4% of the population. The market took advantage of its novelty for a while, with many vapers who are former traditional smokers. Today the market is in decline for several reasons: competition has intensified, and many smokers succeed in quitting smoking thanks to the e-cigarette which gradually reduces the nicotine dose.
Nevertheless, this decline in the market would be due to the transition from the fashion trend, and the market is now expected to recover on a more solid basis. Customers should acquire more equipment and electronic cigarette shops are diversifying their products: more perfumes, more flavours and more choices in withdrawal products. Market growth of 24.33% is expected between 2016 and 2020. The tobacco withdrawal segment alone is expected to grow by more than 18% over this period.
The market is currently dominated by small players who launched themselves on the Internet and have recently opened physical shops. Traditional cigarette companies will not leave the market in the hands of the "small ones" for long. In the United States, the market leader Blucigs has already been acquired by the Lorillard group, the country's third largest cigar manufacturer. The disparate market will most certainly restructure in the period 2014/15 when cigarette manufacturers invested in this market as it is beginning to be the case in the United States. By 2016, France, the United Kingdom, Russia, Italy, Poland, Germany and South Korea accounted for 75% of the world market.
The public health impact of electronic cigarettes is controversial. Development, in terms of R&D, is underway and the local production of e-cigarettes should not delay any longer given the pressure of the health authorities and the suspicion on products coming mainly from China.
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