There’s an awful lot going on in the world of vaping right now. Plenty of shiny new mods to look at, like the Sigelei temperature control mod, there’s a new one coming from VaporShark and so on. I’ll admit to keeping an eye on what is coming after all I did suffer extensively from shinyitus in the early stages of my journey into vaping so I know all too well the attraction of a new shiny.
There’s also been a lot of talk about juice ‘problems’, namely Diacetyl and acetyl propionyl (DA/AP) alongside some pretty daft marketing approaches. Not to mention that little inconvenience, the Tobacco Products Directive and the FDA’s Deeming. So I suppose to an extent most could be “forgiven” for forgetting a few fundamentals. What do I mean by that?
Well when I started vaping, temperature control was an idea that seemed a long way off. The average power of a device, not counting mechanicals was around the 40-60W mark. Most users were quite happy running 1.2-1.8Ω coils in tanks that held up to 5ml. Certain activities, such as ‘cloud chasing’ were left to those that had a lot of experience in vaping and had a very good detailed understanding of the mechanics behind it. In the twelve months I’ve been a vaper, the market has evolved considerably. It is now common-place to find users with pre-made sub-ohm coils running on a temperature control device, more and more “entry-level” sub-ohm devices are being made and the average power levels have jumped from 40-60W to 80-150W. In a year.
Whilst this level of innovation is all driven by us, the consumer, always wanting more power, more flexibility, and more customisation. The search for that perfect all-day-vape has driven the market. Aren’t we forgetting someone though?
Our friends over at eLeaf brought in the iStick, a small simple to use device with a maximum power output of 20W but would fire a low ohm coil. KangerTech and Aspire introduced the SubTank and Atlantis making the realms of Sub-Ohm a reality for the masses. Now all of sudden you could buy a tank, coil and mod that would happily do what the majority of major league experienced vapers had been doing through a very steep learning curve. Instead of buying reels of Kanthal wire and a rebuildable atomiser, you can buy five 0.5Ω ready-made coil heads from up to £20 depending on the retailer.
I look at a variety of retailer websites, and the vast majority have eye-catching displays such as this. The Sigelei 100W, the IPV V4 100W, and the SX Mini. Two powerful devices and one device that can do temperature control. In our quest for perfection for ourselves, have we ignored the new starter?
Very few e-tailers have a starter-kit prominent on their main page and a Google Search turns up KiK as the leading result with UK ECIG STORE as the second result. KiK retail CE4’s as their “start kits” and only the one “advanced” in the form of the EVOD and a Kanger tank.
UK ECIG STORE sell CE5’s for their starter kit, but they also do a range of other “kits“, including the SubTank kit (K-Box and SubTank).
What are retailers doing?
Of course there is no right or wrong way to make the journey into vaping, but the innovation only seems to be in the top end, higher power devices (with or without temperature control). Innovation is good, don’t get me wrong on that but surely there could be some more time dedicated to the new starter? The number and variety of starter kits is depressingly small, and I’ve heard from other users on Twitter that some vape stores are encouraging new users onto 40W+ devices!
Continuing in this vein will only serve to harm the community long-term in my addled opinion. With the glut of high power devices, and “entry-level” Sub-Ohm devices, hell even a SubOhm Starter Kit!
The market is big enough now to sustain the more experienced users with the ongoing innovations, it’s time to return to the fundamental reason the industry exists in the first place. The new user. Invest in solid, performance devices that a user can pick up use and re-use without having to be baffled by temperature control or having to worry whether their batteries will power the shiny new sub-ohm tank.
The market as I see it caters to three distinct groups:
- New users, these are the guys and girls that want to switch to a lower risk alternative to smoking, or are looking at vaping as a means to quit smoking (and subsequently quit vaping) altogether
- Experienced users, these are the guys and girls that have been using these devices for a year or more, they have a firm grasp of battery safety and can probably rebuild their own coils
- Advanced users, these are mostly your mechanical mod users, and the vast majority are guys that have a great understanding of Ohm’s Law and battery safety
Each group has its nuances for sure, there are many in group two that are quite happy with an MVP and a Pro-Tank, whilst others (like me) are either re-coiling Kayfun tanks or are rebuilding sub-ohm coils.
There isn’t a right or wrong way to approach these three groups, but group one is being left out. Many new users are looking to the more established and most seek to emulate them quickly, without learning about the fundamental safety of batteries. Christ alive, I saw a post on Farcebook that a new user had bought a rebuildable tank and wanted help with coils. This was a new user! Hadn’t used a new user device, he’d bought a device that most experienced users had!
By all means, keep innovating at the top end of the scale, but don’t forget what started all this.
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