Here in the United States, 2021 will go down as perhaps the worst year ever for vaping. With a complete ban on all vape mail set to take effect in just a couple of months, anyone who wants to continue vaping will have no choice but to show up in person at their local vape shop when they want to buy e-liquid. For some people who are trying to avoid all unnecessary trips out of the house, that’s a step too far. This will undoubtedly be a blow to public health. Many US vapers will return to smoking, as cigars ironically remain perfectly legal to ship via mail. Since the vape mail ban was part of an omnibus spending bill that has already been signed into law, it’s unknown whether the ban will ever be lifted.

Across the Atlantic, though, it’s an entirely different story for our vaping community compatriots in the United Kingdom. In fact, the UK vaping industry has been in the midst of something of a renaissance following the US PMTA deadline in late 2020. Now that manufacturers of vaping products can’t release new gear here without first compiling costly applications and having those applications approved by the FDA, the US no longer rules the vaping industry as the world’s biggest market for vaping gear.

These days, manufacturers of vape gear are focusing their energy on the second biggest vaping market – the United Kingdom – and the desires of the UK vaping community are now driving the direction of the industry to a greater extent than ever before. You can see it when you visit the manufacturers’ websites; they’re all using UK spelling rather than US spelling on their pages for new products, and they’re featuring the TPD-compliant versions of their products in promotional photos. For the first time, the UK vaping community is setting the tone for the entire vaping industry.

Here’s another thing that’s great about being a vaper in the United Kingdom. Unlike here, there are no onerous regulations preventing new companies from entering the e-liquid industry or from bringing new flavors to the market. Vape shops like Simply ELiquid receive a constant trickle of completely new products, ensuring that British vapers never have to worry about boredom.

So, as those new products continue to trickle in, what trends will rule the UK e-liquid industry in 2021? These are the three biggest e-liquid trends that UK vapers will notice this year.

Fruit-and-Menthol Vape Juices Continue to Rule the Flavor World

Over the past couple of years, the flavor combination of fruit and menthol has arguably been the biggest thing in the entire e-liquid industry. We can thank the Malaysian e-liquid companies for this. Malaysians absolutely love menthol, and most Malaysian e-liquids feature at least a little coolness even if they don’t have terms like “menthol” or “ice” in their product names. E-liquids like the extremely popular Cush Man by Nasty Juice – an e-liquid blending a super-juicy mango base with a hint of chilly menthol – have opened minds across the world to the possibilities that exist when you make menthol a small part of a more complex flavor profile rather than the main ingredient.

The members of the vaping community have shown no sign of boredom with the fruit-and-menthol e-liquid trend. Why should they? E-liquids with flavor profiles intended to resemble fruit smoothies, sherbets, slushes and ice pops have never tasted more realistic and believable than they do right now, and there is still plenty of creative ground that the e-liquid makers of the UK can cover with their fruit-and-menthol blends. The fruit-and-menthol e-liquid paradigm isn’t going away any time soon.

Unsweetened E-Liquid Enjoys a Big Comeback

If there’s one thing that every vaper hates, it’s got to be coil gunk. This is a problem that’s only gotten worse as time has gone by because a coil that consumes e-liquid more rapidly will become gunky more quickly – and today’s mesh coils consume an incredible amount of vape juice. If you use a really powerful vape tank – something with a triple mesh coil, for instance – you can put a new coil in your tank at the beginning of the day, and by the end of the day, the coil will be so covered with black gunk that you’ll have trouble getting any enjoyment at all out of your vaping experience.

Installing a new coil every day is obviously an unsustainable way to vape. New coils cost far too much, and even the most ardent RBA users get tired of building coils from scratch every day. Clearly, the e-liquid industry has moved too far in the direction of heavily sweetened vape juices, and something has to change.

That “something” is going to be increased demand for unsweetened vape juice. By now, there are enough articles online on the topic of coil gunk that every vaper who wants to know why his or her coils burn out so quickly will find out within minutes that sucralose is to blame – and they’re going to look for an alternative that doesn’t kill coils. The UK e-liquid companies that gain the most market share in 2021 will be the ones that come up with flavors that are delicious but still coil friendly.

Nicotine Salt E-Liquid Loses Steam

In the UK, the nicotine salt e-liquid trend is going to peter out among all vapers except the new switchers who have just quit smoking and need to use e-liquids with the highest possible nicotine concentrations. Since the highest legal nicotine strength for e-liquid in the UK is 20 mg/ml – a far cry from the strengths of 50 mg and above available in the US – nicotine salt e-liquid doesn’t really have any strong differentiating factors making it a compelling purchase for most vapers.

Meanwhile, the pod systems that drew some experienced vapers to nicotine salt in the first place are being upgraded – and the latest “pod mods” that companies like SMOK and Voopoo are now making are so powerful that they really don’t work well with high-nicotine e-liquids.

Nicotine salt e-liquid has had its day in the sun – but in the UK, at least, it’s going to remain a niche product that appeals mainly to new vapers. As soon as those new vapers upgrade to more powerful hardware, though, they’re going to ditch the nicotine salt vape juice in favor of the traditional freebase nicotine e-liquids.