London’s vaping scene is really taking off, starting to rival even New York City as a place to try out new e-cigarettes, e-liquids and other accessories – such as fashionable and stylish vaping mods. Wherever you go in London, whether it’s the House of Vapes in Central London or The Avant Garde Bespoke Vaping Bar in the West End, it seems that vape enthusiasts are looking for the newest and most fashionable gadgets.
In many ways, this scene is playing out in capitals across Europe as well. New vaping cafés are sprouting up, mixing together elements of the coffeehouse scene – such as vintage furniture, free Wi-Fi and eclectic music – with elements that are unique to the vaping scene, such as a willingness to experiment with new e-liquids and accessories. Some have even compared vaping enthusiasts to wine connoisseurs and oenophiles, in their pursuit of different products and desire to find out more about how new vaporizers can enhance the overall experience.
As an example of the type of fashionable vaping mod that people are using, consider the Icebox, which is made in the UK and comes in a variety of different sizes and colours. In 2016, Vape Magazine named Icebox the “Best Brand” of the year. The most popular Icebox is the 50W TC, which comes in black, white and blue and retails online for £39.99, about the same price that you’d pay for mid-range technology gadget but with superior features.
That’s part of the appeal of these vaping mods – they are distinctly high-tech and come with as many tech specifications for the battery and atomizer as a typical technology gadget. The Icebox, for example, comes with a micro USB charger and a nifty temperature control function. And, just like the latest tech gadget, the design aesthetic matters. When you head into a London vaping café, part of the experience is being able to share the latest accessories with your friends and compare how different atomizers can change the overall vaping experience.
That’s led to growing communities of vaping enthusiasts, who have long since moved on from basic flavors like mint, in search of the more exotic flavors that they’ve seen or read about in vaping trade magazines. And it’s also led to the emergence of new behaviors, like #CloudChasing, that are distinct to the vaping community.
Those unique shared behaviors have given the London vaping scene a sort of “underground feel.” Some have even compared the scene to the rise of speakeasies in America during the 1920s, which led to innovations in music and entertainment during the Prohibition era.
For years, though, the Big Tobacco players have been circling the vaping industry, looking for potential points of access to what has become a multi-billion-dollar industry.
For users of vapor products like the Icebox, that’s both a challenge and an opportunity. It’s going to push them to embrace more innovative designs and mods. And it’s going to require smaller, more nimble brands to create an aura of exclusivity that the bigger brands just can’t match.
So the next time you head out to a fashionable vaping café in London, take a look around you. As long as you see the people around you still pulling out their exotic atomizers and experimenting with fashionable new mods, you’ll know that the vape industry is still going strong.