Estimation Of The Global Number Of E-cigarette Users In 2025
When will vaping finally take over smoking?
Nicotine is among the most addictive substances worldwide, along with caffeine and alcohol. In the past, the standard way for a person to get their nicotine fix was through smoking tobacco, which caused numerous health risks.
Research over the decades proves that smoking can cause severe respiratory difficulties, including COPD and lung cancer.
Vaping came to the market as a safer alternative with the NHS estimating e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than tobacco.
With so much positivity surrounding these ingenious devices, it's understandable that many tobacco users ditch the smoke in favour of vapour - but how prevalent are e-cigarettes today? More importantly, will the e-cigarette market continue to expand and when will they become more popular than cigarettes?
Well, the good news is vaping is set to experience exponential growth. In this post we'll examine past trends and current global vaping figures to get an idea of what we can expect by 2025.
Let's dive in.
A brief history of vaping
The man many credit for inventing vaping is Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist who in 2003 decided to find a safer alternative to smoking tobacco. While Hon Lik might be responsible for bringing vaping to the general public, he wasn't the first to come up with the idea.
The concept of vaping has been around since the 1920s; Herbert A Gilbert notably created an e-cigarette in 1963, but distributors didn't back the idea.
Then, J. Phillip Ray attempted to bring e-cigarettes to the market in the 1980s but also failed - perhaps due to the tobacco companies' influence.
Finally, Hon Lik succeeded, and vaping is now a global phenomenon. Not only is it safer than smoking, but it's also a more sustainable option.
How do electronic nicotine delivery systems work?
One of the reasons e-cigarettes are so popular is that they don't burn tobacco, which makes them safer to use. When a person smokes, they light the cigarette and inhale it until it burns down to the filter.
The main problem with this method is they also inhale dangerous chemicals, carbon monoxide and tar, along with nicotine.
Electronic cigarettes house a heating element known as an atomiser which heats a flavoured liquid, which can contain nicotine. The liquid produces a vapour that the user inhales by puffing on the device.
While vaping does expose users to some chemicals, they're not as dangerous as cigarettes - especially as there's no tar or carbon monoxide.
Global e-cigarette market growth from 2014 to 2022
While many non-smokers might believe it's easy to quit smoking, ex-smokers know it's an uphill battle. Nicotine replacement therapy has its place, but before vaping took off, smokers would try to stop multiple times - and some never managed to fully.
While vaping was a relatively new concept in 2007, it gradually began gaining traction and experienced immense market growth between 2014 and 2022.
According to Statista, the worldwide e-cigarette revenue was:
2014: €5.84 Billion
2015: €8.58 Billion
2016: €10.43 Billion
2017: €12.16 Billion
2018: €13.5 Billion
2019: €15.84 Billion
2020: €16.44 Billion
2021: €17.58 Billion
2022: €21.59 Billion
These statistics show that vaping continues to grow with the industry experiencing its most significant revenue increase between 2021 and 2022. In terms of future revenue, the study also estimates that the number will increase to €26.32 billion in 2025.
How reliable are these numbers?
We've seen steady growth since 2014 and 2022, but the sharp rise between 2021 and 2022 could be attributable to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Numerous worldwide lockdowns took place between 2020 and the early stages of 2021, and despite those restrictions being lifted, people still had to change how they socialised.
Research published by the National Library of Medicine highlighted that people were more dependent on nicotine and vaped due to the anxiety surrounding different pandemic variants and social isolation.
So, while we can see that the global revenue increased, these figures depend on how frequently people vape and don't clearly indicate whether the number of new vapers will increase.
The use of e-cigarettes between 2012 to 2021 (UK)
When evaluating whether e-cigarette user numbers will continue to increase by 2025, we need to look at how many people vaped in the previous years. Statistics from Ash assess the number of e-cigarette users in the UK between 2012 to 2021.
The numbers show a steady increase in the percentage of the population that vapes.
Interestingly, there was a slight decrease in 2020, but by 2022 the percentage of vapers increased to 8.3%, which shows a steady growth overall.
Will the number of worldwide electronic cigarette users continue to grow?
We've seen many positive changes since vape shops opened their doors to users, and electronic cigarette use is experiencing year-on-year growth worldwide. A report by Briefing Papers shows fascinating numbers from the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction.
The 2021 report was the first ever to do a worldwide study of vapers; estimates stand at 82 million worldwide.
While it's hard to estimate the number of e-cigarette users in 2025, the market is growing fast and there's no evidence to suggest that vaping will decrease in popularity.
Many countries realise that e-cigarettes are one of the best alternatives to smoking, and as time goes on, we'll see more global statistics and country data that show the continuing growth of vaping.
However, the market's continued growth largely depends on several external factors. We'll take a look at these next.
While the Millennials are still the dominant generation in the workforce, Gen Z will have the biggest impact on the vaping market. Retailers worldwide have had to change how they communicate with the Millennials, and they're going to have to adapt again as Gen Z is even more tech-focused.
As older demographics of this generation continue to embrace vaping, we should see further growth.
Young people are more informed about the dangers of smoking tobacco, so they'll naturally seek safer alternatives, and that's where we could see vaping taking over smoking in the years to come.
Vaping is safer than smoking
Another factor that will inevitably impact the e-cigarette market is that it's safer than smoking.
Vaping nicotine is less dangerous than smoking tobacco and nicotine products, and even established tobacco companies know they can't get away with ignoring the potential health risks they expose consumers to.
Over the years, we've seen numerous initiatives, including tobacco companies having to put warnings on each product and shops no longer displaying cigarettes.
While there are some debates surrounding the safety of vaping, this research usually focuses on e-liquids containing diacetyl and acetoin. The UK and some other countries have restrictions on these chemicals, so the e-liquids you buy here are safer alternatives.
Vape products could become prescriptions
The NHS offers numerous options for people to quit smoking, including cessation clinics and a range of nicotine replacement therapy programmes. However, these aren't always successful, as they don't replicate the smoking experience.
As health professionals in the UK know that vaping is much safer than smoking, evidence suggests people can reduce tobacco use through e-cigarette prescriptions (Gov.UK).
The UK also has a smoke-free by 2030 initiative, and if other countries adopt the same positive stance towards vaping, the e-cigarette market could experience higher growth rates.
The global tobacco epidemic will define the future of the global e-cigarette industry
There was a time when tobacco control was non-existent, and advertisers would promote cigarettes as a healthy lifestyle product.
Expectant mothers would puff away on their cigarettes while waiting for antenatal appointments, and parents happily lit up in the living room with young children around.
Tobacco smoking was just one of those things people did, and even non-smokers couldn't escape the suffocating waves of carbon monoxide and chemicals that filled the air.
While tobacco manufacturers had the world at their feet, doctors would soon warn others of the health risks associated with smoking. People began to understand what their daily habit was doing to their bodies.
The World Health Organisation Global Report on Tobacco Use
The WHO Global Report highlights the true impact of tobacco use, and the figures paint a shocking picture. Here are some of the key facts in the report:
8 million people die yearly from smoking, and 1.2 million deaths are from passive smoking.
People in low-income countries and middle-income countries are more likely to smoke.
Research in 2020 showed that 22.3% of people worldwide were smokers.
Men are more likely to smoke than women.
Of 195 countries worldwide, 182 have ratified the WHO Tobacco Control framework.
All of these statistics give us an indication of how smoking will continue to change in the future.
People are more informed about the risks of smoking
One key driver of e-cigarette market growth is that people are more informed about the risks of smoking today.
The internet provides valuable statistics on how tobacco use increases the chances of certain cancers and lung diseases, while many countries actively help people quit tobacco.
While some research suggests that some people aren't entirely aware of what smoking can do, there's more awareness now than before.
International tobacco control works
In the past, tobacco companies would use numerous marketing and distribution strategies to get people to buy their products. During the mid-1960s to 1970s, both the UK and the USA took steps to ban tobacco ads on radio and TV.
However, companies in the tobacco industry would use promotional techniques to compensate for the loss of e-cigarette advertising exposure, which still meant they could get their products to the general population.
The World Health Organization recommends a ban on promotional advertising and sponsorships, which some countries have already adopted.
If more countries restrict big tobacco companies, the e-cigarette market should - in theory - continue to grow.
Vaping is more cost-effective than smoking
One tactic governments worldwide are using to reduce the number of cigarette smokers is to increase the price of tobacco products. As smoking is more common among lower-income demographics, people are more likely to switch to a cheaper solution, such as vaping.
Research from Statista shows just how much the price for an average pack of cigarettes increased in 22 years. In 2000, a person paid just £3.91 for a pack of cigarettes, but in 2022, this price went up to £12.61.
In 2000, a moderate smoker's average yearly spend would equal just above £600, but in 2022 the price increases raise the total to over £1900.
The average vaper spends up to £430 a year, so people can move from smoking to vaping, protecting their health and wallets.
What does the future hold for the e-cigarette market?
There's no disputing that vaping is a safer alternative to smoking, and as long as you buy e-liquids from reputable providers, you can avoid the adverse side effects. High-quality vape juices and e-liquids don't have to cost the earth, especially with 88Vape around.
You can shop a wide range of popular flavours, including traditional tobacco, fruity favourites and dessert-based e-liquids. We also offer a range of cost-effective vape kits and speedy delivery across the UK.
With so many benefits associated with vaping, we're confident that the e-cigarette market will continue to grow worldwide. As the UK makes an effort to become smoke-free by 2030, it's likely that more people will make a positive change and have healthier futures.