Vapourium is New Zealand's first dedicated brick and mortar vape store, and since we started in 2014 there have been many changes in the products we sell due to the constant change in the industry.
We have seen electronics niches rapidly evolving in the past few decades, a great example is cellphones in 1999, then 2009, compared to the cellphones we have today. Vaping was not mainstream in New Zealand until the early 2010s, although a few novelty e-cigarettes were available in gift stores and some pharmacies nobody really knew anything about them and were unlikely to see value in them as an effective method of smoking harm reduction.
Overall the hardware is essentially the same, but with many years of research and development, we have seen a dramatic improvement in overall quality, design and performance.
In 2014, Vapouriums core vapes were the Joyetech VTC mini, or Eleaf istick paired with an Aspire Nautilus Mini or Kanger Subtank. The Smok TFV4 was just released, and this was seen as a groundbreaking tank with capabilities to run at a high wattage. The Joyetech VTC mini was another game-changing product, initially being a 60W unit, which was able to be upgraded to run at an INSANE 75W with temperature control modes and all sorts of menus to play with settings.
The market was full of cheap pen-style vapes, and bulky box mods and the mechanical mod niche was thriving. Pods were available, but nicotine salt was yet to be developed, so pods tended to be really harsh on the back of the throat.
In the last 5 years, we have seen brands come and go, but the hardware categories essentially remained the same until "pods" hit the scene.
As vaping was formerly seen as a niche interest, or even a hobby, many products catered to people who were looking for an element of DIY. Whether this revolved around building coils or playing with settings, you had to have some sort of experience to get the most out of your device.
We have seen a huge cultural shift in the vaping scene in the last year, and are moving away from the preconceptions that vaping is something you need to spend time on to master, to vaping is something that you do to quit smoking.
As we have seen the popularity of vaping in New Zealand rise, due to the health concerns and high prices on tobacco products, the average consumer has changed from people solely looking for a new hobby, to people looking for an alternative to smoking. While there will always be a hobbyist side to vaping, that isnt the appeal to most consumers.
It was so hard in 2015 to find a device for someone who suffers from arthritis, or someone with poor eyesight, and while its a little sad to see the enthusiasts side of things tapering off today, its amazing to see so many products that require NO maintenance at all, especially reliable devices under $50. The only way that vaping can become a full replacement for smoking, is if it is completely user friendly.
Hopefully, the future of vaping is full of exciting innovations. All we can do is watch innovations as they roll out, and are adapted in large by a blossoming new industry.