The State of the Vape 2019

The State of the Vape 2019

With the recent news that the UK government plans to erase smoking by 2030, we thought it was a good time to report on other news and trends to show you what vaping in the UK looks like in 2019.

Over the last 12 months, Vape UK has sold vaping products to over 75,000 people from 77 countries around the globe.


Unsurprisingly for a UK based vape store, the vast majority of those lovely customers were from right here in Blighty. We were interested to crunch the numbers to see which UK cities have the highest number of vapers.


Vaping in the UK by city

As of the end of 2018, there are now an estimated 3.2 million vapers in Great Britain. Our analysis of our 68k+ UK customer base shows that London takes the top spot for the number of vapers (relative to population).


After London, the rest of the top 25 UK vaping cities are:

2. Bristol

3. Brighton

4. Birmingham

5. Manchester

6. Glasgow

7. Nottingham

8. Leeds

9. Leicester

10. Southampton

11. Liverpool

12. Sheffield

13. Norwich

14. Edinburgh

15. Coventry

16. Reading

17. Colchester

18. Swindon

19. Northampton

20. Derby

21. Plymouth

22. Cambridge

23. Ipswich

24. Aberdeen

25. Bournemouth


Are you surprised by these results? Maybe your city isn’t featured, yet it seems to you that, recently, everyone you see has an e-cigarette in their hand. If so, your city might rise to one of the top spots in our 2020 State of the Vape annual update. Check back next year!


Vaping in the UK by e-liquid flavour

A good vape juice is integral to our enjoyment of e-cigarettes. In order to keep the pesky nicotine cravings at bay, and give us our best shot at quitting smoking for good, the e-liquid that we vape has to be something we prefer to smoking traditional tobacco.


For that reason, it was of little surprise to us to discover that tobacco is no longer the most popular flavour of e-liquid that we sell.


We analysed 12 months of e-liquid purchase data, equating to over a 250k bottles of vape juice sold, to see which flavours UK vapers are opting for.


UK vapers love menthol e-liquid

The top spot, by a huge margin, was taken by flavours that fall within the menthol and minty category. Double menthol, triple menthol, fresh mint, fruits with menthol -  it would seem that UK vapers love the fresh, cool hit that a menthol e-liquid provides.


Heisenberg is a particularly popular fruit with menthol e-liquid. Known in the vaping world as the ‘King of All Day Vapes’, it is one of our best ever selling flavours.


After menthol, the rest of the top 5 e liquid flavour categories are:

  1. Fruity - blended mixed fruit, cherry, and blueberry top the list of vape flavours in the fruit category
  2. Tobacco - still popular with newbie vapers, the favourites are British Tobacco, Amber Gold, and Virginia
  3. Sherbet - our customers are increasingly loving the tang and fizz that sherbet vape juice delivers
  4. Slushies & Smoothies - the creamy fruit blend of a smoothy, and icy fruit blend of a slushy are winning combos

E-liquid flavours - the best of the rest

Outside the top 5 UK favourite e-liquid flavours, classic sweets such as pear drops, blackjacks, and refreshers always sell well. 


Flavours that are heavy with vanilla, such as custard and caramel, are also crowd-pleasers; as are bakery goods such as doughnuts, waffles, and cereal. However, the richness of the flavour can make them less suitable as an all-day-vape, so our customers generally vape them alongside a lighter flavour.


Our final top selling e-liquid category contains well known beverages. Cola, lemonade, milkshake, and coffee are prominent flavours within this category.


It’s important for manufacturers of e-liquid, like us, to monitor these trends in flavour preference so that we can make informed decisions about our ranges, and keep our customers loving the juice they vape.


2019 vaping news

We’re only halfway through the year and already a lot has happened in the world of vaping. We’ve chosen some of the top newsworthy stories to keep you up to date.


UK government plans to eradicate smoking by 2030

According to documents leaked to the Daily Mail, the UK government is planning a crackdown to completely eliminate smoking from Britain by 2030.


This follows a plea last September from Public Health England’s (PHE) Chief Executive, Duncan Selbie, to the NHS to work towards a smoke-free Britain by 2030.


However, instead of the NHS bearing the burden of such a task, the leaked government plans indicate that tobacco companies will be forced to cover the cost of helping people to quit.


Quit leaflets will reportedly be placed inside cigarette packets, and black market cigarettes will be targeted.


The government, alongside PHE, is expected to encourage smokers to switch to vaping. In order to achieve this, more education around e-cigarettes is needed for GPs in order for them to start recommending the devices to their patients.


The whole plan is expected to be officially announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock next week.


Marlboro buy a stake in Juul labs

Altria Group, the makers of Marlboro cigarettes, is to pay $12.8bn for a 35% stake in Juul Labs.


Juul is the US market leader in e-cigarettes, and this deal indicates that the tobacco giants are recognising vaping as a serious threat to their industry. 


Chief Executive, Howard Willard, stated,


“We are taking significant action to prepare for a future where adult smokers overwhelmingly choose non-combustible products over cigarettes.”

San Francisco bans vaping

While in the UK an NHS taskforce looks to try to encourage more smokers to switch to vaping, on the other side of the pond San Francisco has become the first US city to completely ban e-cigarettes.


This shortsighted decision is borne out of a long US tradition of taking a prohibition-style abstinence approach. I’m old enough to remember Nancy Reagan’s “Just say no” campaign to stop young people trying drugs. They claim that removing e-cigarettes from the market will prevent young people from taking up vaping; when, in reality, it will mainly harm the smokers that want to use vaping as an effective way of quitting.


Thankfully the UK is taking a level headed ‘harm reduction’ approach to vaping following published reports showing that e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than cigarettes. Plus, a recent PHE report from February shows that there is no evidence of a surge in non-smoking young people vaping.


Only 1.7% of under 18s vape regularly - the vast majority of these also smoke. Among young people who have never smoked, only 0.2% use e-cigarettes frequently.


Vape shops open in two UK hospitals

As part of the NHS’s efforts to eradicate smoking, two NHS hospitals in the West Midlands now have their own vape shops.


Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust allows the use of e-cigarettes on their grounds, with smoking shelters being transformed into vaping shelters. From 5th July, anyone caught lighting up on their grounds faces a £50 fine, with security cameras in place to police the rules.


The trust’s medical director, Dr David Carruthers, said that his board was united in eliminating passive smoking. He stated,


“Every alternative is available and we ask visitors and patients to work with us to enforce these changes. Giving up smoking saves you money and saves your health.”

The State of the Vape 2019 takeaways

E-cigarette use in the UK continues to rise. Flavour trends may change over time, but what seems set to remain the same is the UK’s growing understanding that choosing vaping is the best way to help people quit smoking for good. That message needs to be spread far and wide if we are ever going to achieve PHE’s goal of a smoke-free Britain.


We're here to help you quit smoking for good

At Vape UK, we pride ourselves on being responsible vaping advocates. We keep up to date with all of the latest news and studies; we supply high quality TPD compliant vaping products; and we are always on hand to offer helpful and honest advice about vaping. Please get in touch if you have any queries on quitting smoking.

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  • Nicola Webster

About the author - Nicola Webster

Nicola Webster works as a researcher, consultant, and content creator for Vape UK and Vape UK CBD. She holds a CIM Level 6 Diploma in Professional Marketing and has developed her skills and knowledge of analytics and research over a 12 year career in product marketing. Her research led approach to campaigns and content writing ensures the articles she writes for Vape UK always have a basis in fact and cut through the noise. A strong advocate for tobacco harm reduction, Nicola is an ex-smoker thanks to vaping and wants others to understand the benefits of vaping compared to smoking. Outside of content creation and vaping advocacy, Nicola enjoys watching live music, travelling in Southeast Asia, and exploring the beautiful countryside of the South Downs.