The e-cigarette industry in South Africa is going from strength to strength as smokers are switching to vaping in a bid to quit smoking. “South Africans are vaping up a storm”, was Katharine Child’s opening statement in an article published by BDlive on the 13th of July.

Child mentioned that there are about 60 to 70 franchises in the country, all growing steadily, with one of the biggest brands, Twisp, reporting a growth of 4000% in the last four years. Another success story is that of Sharri Van Zyl And Warren Pleass, who decided to team up and get in the vaping business after quitting smoking with the help of e-cigarettes. Fast forward three years, and they own four e-cigarette stores in Gauteng. Van Zyl and Pleass reported a growth of 10% yearly for the first two years, followed by a spurt of 65% in the past year, doubling their customers from 8000 to 15000.

Van Zyl explained that in South Africa there is a “community” of vapers, with some customers visiting their stores weekly to upgrade to the latest model of e-cigarette, or buy the latest vaping products available on the market. There is even a one day conference in August, which this year is attracting about 40 exhibitors, double the amount of last year.

More statistics in favour of e-cigarettes

A survey conducted by Twisp on 4000 of its customers concluded that 98% of them were previous smokers. This contradicts the report recently released by the Journal of Pediatrics claiming that vaping is a gateway to smoking for adolescents. The Electronic Cigarettes Association in South Africa, (EASA), counter claimed the latter by pointing out that its member organisations do not sell vaping products to teenagers.

Derek Yach, actual director of the Vitality Institute, previously led tobacco control negotiations at WHO.
Derek Yach, actual director of the Vitality Institute, previously led tobacco control negotiations at WHO.

Many scientists and health experts/organizations have spoken up in favour of vaping as an alternative to smoking, such as the PHE, who found vaping to be 95% less harmful than smoking. Derek Yach, who led for many years tobacco control at the World Health Organisation, said that there are 2 ways to approach the vaping dilemma, support smokers in switching to vaping or let “people die from lung cancer”. Derek Yach will be in the movie Beyond the Cloud, co-presented by Vapexpo ad the Vaping Post, that will be released in September in Paris.

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In-house journalist covering international vaping news.