A Reply concerning the state of the e-cig industry.
The state of the e-cig market is changing very fast at the moment (September 2014).
Currently the major tobacco companies in the USA have about 50% + of the market for the first generation cig-a-likes. They have, to date shown no interest in going into the second and third generation e-cig markets.
The market for e-cigs is now split about 50/50 between first generation e-cigs, and the rest.
This means that Big T has control of about 25 – 30% of the US market. Unfortunately the first generation e-cig market is not growing much and the second and third is growing fairly fast (according to Wells Fargo), thus Big T is losing ground in this market at an accelerating rate.
This does not make Big T very happy! They are in fact now trying hard to get second and third generation (open system e-cigs) regulated off the market completely, in order to protect their profits in the first generation (closed system) e-cigs market.
The tobacco settlement has absolutely no bearing on this situation at all, that is purely a way for the tobacco companies to get more of their claws into local governments.
World wide the situation for Big T is even worse, as nowhere else do they have such a large penetration of the cig-a-like market.
At the personal level:
Smokers are switching to e-cigs to improve the state of their health, their wallets and the atmosphere around them.
Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) is the name of the game here.
It has been shown that e-cigs are approximately 95% safer than combustible cigarettes, and every cigarette not smoked is a win for THR. Many vapers (users of e-cigs) have now switched entirely from combustibles, and some have stopped using nicotine altogether, whether on purpose or by accident (nicotine, without many of the other chemicals produced by burning tobacco, does not seem to be anything like as addictive as smoking).
There are those who still “dual-fuel” (smoke and vape), but even there, every cigarette-not-smoked is a win for THR.
E-cigs are a demand led phenomenon, The mass-market supply-side is always trying to catch up!
The technology involved in e-cigs.
The basic design is very simple indeed, however optimising it for ease of use and effectiveness is a continuing process.
The atomiser and nicotine containing liquid are all extremely old in the original design, but fixes to them both have made considerable improvements in both consistency of the vape and in chemical safety.
The battery most commonly used is the Li-Ion type which runs at 3.7v nominal, and this battery has only been around in the mass-market for about fifteen years, and is still very much a work in progress. A few years ago there were massive recalls for mobile phones and laptops etc because of battery failures (frequently catastrophic failures resulting in explosions), and these were all due to Li-Ion type batteries. There has been a few incidents of this type of battery going as well, but the technology in these batteries is now fairly well known (scientifically). However a few batteries are always going to fail even after QC checks, especially when they are wrongly connected, misused or charged with the wrong equipment.