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As 2014 comes to a close, we can look back and see that a lot has happened in the ecig industry. The FDA has...

As 2014 comes to a close, we can look back and see that a lot has happened in the ecig industry. The FDA has continued to push forward with regulatory efforts, new technology has emerged from some of our favorite brands, and ecig activism has grown by leaps and bounds. Even with the huge surge of improvements in 2014, experts are still calling 2015 the year to watch. This week, the Ashtray Blog interviewed some of the industry’s most important voices to get their predictions for the coming year. Here is what they expect to happen in 2015.

Better Ecigs for First Time Vapers

Clive Bates, the former head of Action on Smoking and Health, said that next year will bring a new surge in growth for the entire industry. Not only will we see more vapers, but even the rookies will head straight to second generation devices. After plateauing, vaping will resume its inexorable rise in 2015 because it will be easier for users to go straight to 2nd generation products that work for them,” Bates explained. “The business focus will be on simplicity and making sure new users can enter the category easily and without arcane knowledge.”

Spinfuel blogger John Manzione agreed that technology will see a big shift next year. More specifically, he thinks that cigalikes are going to become a thing of the past. “Smokers are moving past cig-a-likes and jumping into the bigger, better devices faster than ever. This will continue, and the time it takes for a former smoker to get to the larger devices will get shorter and shorter,” Manzione said.

Over at Vaping.com, Oliver Kershaw is also expecting rapid innovation that will continue to change vaping as we know it. “On the tech front, we should expect rapid innovation this year as power-regulated devices come down in price and become more widely available, and more widely accepted. This, combined with new tank systems that are hitting the market now are likely to take the high-power style of vaping to a wider market. In my view, these devices are more pleasurable, and will convert more smokers – but they are not without their own controversies, which will become more apparent as more vapers are seen to be using them.”

Big Tobacco Fights Back 

As the ecig industry thrives and more smokers switch to ecigs, Big Tobacco is certainly not going down without a fight. In 2014, we saw cigarette companies jump into the ecig world with both feet and experts predict that we will see that trend continue in 2015.

Professor JF Etter said tobacco companies would even resort to hard core lobbying strategies to try to retain their profits and stay on top of the market.  “They cannot envision doing business in this field without using their influence to obtain a ‘friendly’ regulation. This means sitting behind closed doors with high level civil servants and MPs, and building a high regulatory wall around this business,” Professor Etter said.

Even if Big Tobacco plays it dirty, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will succeed. Grimm Green told the Ashtray Blog that he fully expects ecig users to fight back with a rise in activism that we’ve never seen before. “As we move past 2014 I feel like vapers are actually starting to care more now than they ever have. We have fantastic activist leaders that are helping to guide the way to victory. I have no doubt that we will continue to grow and thrive as a community.”

More Research and Lives Saved

Ecig research has grown by leaps in bounds in 2014, but experts predict further growth in this arena during the coming year. P Busardo told the Ashtray Blog that he expects research to get more detailed and practical. As a result, vapers will be empowered to make smart choices. “We’re going to see a lot more research being done on what we do and how we do things. Temperatures, liquids, wires, wicking materials will all continue to be tested and looked at,” Busardo explained. “This can only benefits us as vapers, giving us the information we need to make better informed decisions on how we vape should we chose to use the information provided.”

As research moves forward, the result will be a larger number of smokers that feel comfortable switching to ecigs. Ultimately, experts believe that 2015 will be a year when lives are saved. Herbert Gilbert is responsible for the first ecig prototype that was introduced in 1963 and he said that next year will be game changer. “As the inventor of the first electric cigarette in 1963 I predict that the continuing ongoing growth of scientific knowledge proving that tobacco kills while ecigs save lives can only result in even more millions of lives being saved…and that is my prediction based on simple logic,” Gilbert said. “When people learn and comprehend the difference they will stop killing themselves with tobacco, and switching to ecigs will provide a proven and scientifically recognized way to do just that.”

So that is a recap of what the experts are expecting for next year, but now we want to hear from you! What do you think 2015 will bring for the ecig industry?