Earlier this year, The Telegraph reported that e-cigarette sales have increased by 75% and global sales surpassed the $6bn for the first time ever, suggesting that more people are attracted to the vaping lifestyle than ever before. Despite the inevitable fast approaching hindrance that the Tobacco Products Directive will inexorably impact on the sales and production of e-cigarettes, the number of people switching to e-cigarettes is not falling.
For many of those who made the big leap from the smokey cylinders to vapour producing mod boxes, it has become a way of life rather than just a habit. A lot of ex smokers have thrown themselves full heartedly into the vaping lifestyle culture leaving no room for nostalgic thoughts about their love affair with traditional cigs. This culture born out of the need to get rid of a bad habit whilst still getting the kick of nicotine, keep a shared identity and continue with a hobby, is a strong and fully established one.
As with any culture, there are niches, ways of doing things, shared ideas, competitiveness and partiality. Traditionally, (well, since 2007) the vaping industry has proved to be very male heavy. Why? There are several theories as to why, but it would seem that it mainly boils down to the fact the the products are very techy; involving modifications and building which appeals to a typically masculine love of gadgetry. Similarly, the popular notion of cloud-chasing taps into testosterone fuelled competitiveness which is difficult for women to break into. As a result, men have taken the limelight and the lead role on the vaping stage – an industry originally designed to save lives that has been transformed into an edgy and somewhat skilled lifestyle as well.
Surprisingly, despite this glaringly obvious male dominance, now, over 50% of vapers are female. Whilst in the past, women have partaken in mostly being the face (and other body parts) of the vaping industry, the gender imbalance is being felt less and less in the industry with woman making up a large portion of those attending expos and not just there as a pretty face but selling and giving information on products. Also, more female friendly products are being sold in shops and online such as pink mods and other small devices. Whilst this isn’t to everyone’s taste, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Although, some women do still claim to feel out of place in vaping shops due to the heavily male marketed products and hefty male presence.
There are some incredibly influential women in the vaping industry all with unique stories, exciting journeys and fantastic insights into the world of vaping. One of these women is Jess-Marie Cornell, the owner and designer of Double Helix Design Accessories. She says that she vapes to “help keep a healthier lifestyle and stay off of cancer sticks” and has been tobacco free for 4 years. She says that she was inspired to get involved in the vaping industry through the customisation of e-cigs. As a result of this, Jess-Marie was able to turn this passion into a business so now makes charms to hang off tanks and drip tips. She isn’t alone in this journey – hundreds of talented women have been able to make a lifestyle out of the money they earn from being involved in the industry from photography, modelling, reviewing, and owning businesses.
The notion that the vaping game is a man’s domain is fast becoming outdated. With the rise of female vapers, simultaneously comes the rise of women entering into the fast paced culture and lifestyle of vaping. It’s important that the vaping industry makes entering into the culture as easy and welcoming as possible for women by continuing to produce more female friendly products and dismiss any prejudices about women’s ability to build and understand the technical aspects of e-cigarettes.
It’s undeniable that change is happening and that it’s happening for the better - and much like the rest of Western society, equality is fighting its way through one industry at a time.
This article was written by Grey Haze, a UK vape store stocking e-cigs and e-liquids. I haven’t published many posts from vendors before, but Grey Haze is not only a vendor, but they’ve also got a great blog, with some reports from big vaping expos featuring a number of vaping celebs. You can visit their website here: http://www.greyhaze.co.uk/
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