The Future of Disposable E-cigarettes

Industry Insight by 2FIRSTS
Aug.29.2022
The Future of Disposable E-cigarettes
With certainty the policy axe will come down to regulate this precious resource. Will disposable vapes survive the axe?

According to a joint investigation by British Sky News and the non-profit environmental group Material Focus, Britons throw away two disposable vapes every second. The battery of each disposable e-cigarette contains 0.15 grams of lithium. The consumption of 1.3 million disposable e-cigarettes every week equals to 10 tons of lithium annually, which is equivalent to the batteries that support 1,200 electric cars. Unfortunately, these discarded batteries are most likely to be sent to landfills or incinerator.

 

If you adjust the data to the world's largest e-cigarette consumer market, the United States, whose market share of disposable e-cigarettes is 13 times that of the United Kingdom, we get number that is much more gigantic.

 

There has been a lot of attention placed on the waste of disposable vape batteries. 2FIRSTS interviewed an lithium battery engineer named Chen. He explains that the batteries of disposable e-cigarettes are no different from those of pod system or open system e-cigarettes. This is significant, meaning that batteries in the disposables are capable of recharging and reuse.

Electric Car Battery Life, Cost of Replacement, Recycling & Leasing | EDF

(Figure: A lithium car battery)

It’s not by accident that e-cigarettes are compared to the electric vehicles. Chen notes that as the digital electronics market shrinks, lithium-ion batteries are mostly used in electric vehicles, followed by e-cigarettes. Moreover, disposable vapes have always been the faster moving products of the e-cigarette market. In 2021, China’s export revenue of e-cigarettes reached 138.3 billion yuan, with disposable e-cigarettes accounting for 65%. The rise of the global e-cigarette market means that the market of single-use e-cigarettes are likely to continue to increase. In the U.S. alone, the sale of single-use e-cigarettes is estimated to grow by 38% - 43% in 2022.

 

The considerable revenue and volume of disposable e-cigarettes in the market can be attributed to its low price. Its low barrier of entry and ease of use, attracts repeated buyers. Compared with pod system vapes, disposable vapes have lower SKU and higher turnover rate, thus forming the advantage wide and dense distribution channels. In short, customers like to buy, retailers like to sell, and the two-way fit results in a big economical force for disposable vapes.

 

However, due to the disposable vape’s non-environmental properties and walking a thin line on the US flavor ban, they will be regulated sooner or later. Chen further explains that although the lithium battery of disposable electronic cigarettes can be recycled and reused, it is difficult to ensure that there are no impurities during the purification process. Coupled with the high cost of the purification process, the recycling cost of the product is high.

 

Although pod system vapes can alleviate the problem of battery waste caused by disposable vapes, the cost of educating users and proving after sale services is higher than that of disposable vapes. It’s not easy to establish a good marketing channel for a single brand, all of which are the dilemmas faced by enterprises of e-cigarettes.

 

The electric vehicles have largely been agreed as the direction for the future development of automobiles. As the world closes in on the fierce competition for lithium resources, the government's supervision of disposable electronic cigarettes may accelerate.

With certainty the policy axe will come down to regulate this precious resource. Will disposable vapes survive the axe?

 

Edited by Yuri Hou

Translated by Jason Tian

*This article is an original article of 2FIRSTS Technology Co., Ltd. The copyright and license rights belong to the company. Any entity or individual shall make link and credit 2FIRSTS when taking actions to copy, reprint or distribute the original article. The company retains the right to pursue its legal responsibility.

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