Written by Clint Mayfield
I will begin with a chronological time-line regarding e-juices and how they have evolved compared to the juices that e-cigarette shops sold years ago in the “dawn of the vape age”. I’ll also briefly touch on the positive and negative impacts that online juice companies and manufactures have made on the “Brick & Mortar” side of the industry.
When “Brick & Mortar” e-cigarette shops were becoming more common, e-juice selection was not quite up-to-par. Any e-juice bottle larger than 30ml was a rarity. Most shops didn’t even have a wide selection of 30ml’s, the true majority were the 10-15ml bottles!
Prior to the 2016 FDA Regulations on e-cigarettes and e-juices, e-juice “manufacturers” were popping up left and right. During that time, the term “manufacturer” was a vaguer term. It could have described a company mixing in a 30,000sq.ft. ISO Clean Room, as well as, a 15-year-old mixing flavor concentrates in his bedroom and selling them on his laptop. At this time, a large majority of “manufacturers” sold their juices online, instead of in a physical “Brick & Mortar” shop. Due to the ease of online purchasing, this caused a hue depreciation in the value of e-juices, causing juices that were once sold for over $1 per ml to drop to under 30 cents per ml! E-juices were at an all-time-low, referring to both price AND quality!
Due to the extreme volume of low-quality, untested e-juices, two factors directly affected the vape industry. The first factor was the influence that the FDA had on the industry with its rules and regulations. The second factor was the negative stereotypes associated with vaping. One example of these stereotypes involved “Popcorn Lung”. This stereotype began when lab tests of certain e-juice flavors discovered very minute amounts of Diacetyl. Responsible for a “buttery flavor, this chemical was used in powdered form in popcorn factories. A condition called “Bronchiolitis obiliterans”, also known as “popcorn lung” was discovered in employees in a factory in Missouri. The amount of diacetyl present in an e-liquid was well below the safety threshold for this substance. E-liquid manufacturers responded quickly, insuring that their juices did not contain any Diacetyl. This was a very positive thing to happen to the vaping industry, because not only did regulation weed out the poor-quality juices, it helped customers achieve a better priced, good quality e-juice. Although the bad quality juices were outlawed and no longer sold, their price points held!
E-juices have not only evolved in terms of pricing and quality, the immense variety that is now readily available is beyond what any veteran of vaping could have ever imagined.