Lately, a renowned Dutch YouTuber by the name of Enzo Knol initiated a campaign aimed at motivating young vape users to break free from smoking. As part of this effort, they can surrender their vaping devices to the YouTuber in exchange for 10 euros. This got me wondering why, despite a prolonged decline in cigarette consumption, we are witnessing a surge in the vaping culture within urban areas.
A PUFF OF HISTORY
Vaping, as we know it today, emerged in the early 2000s as a smoking alternative. In Amsterdam, vaping found a welcoming home. Amsterdam hosts a variety of vape cafes, with a range of e-liquids and vaping devices, catering to all preferences. Vape cafes prioritise the experience of vaping itself. You’ll find cozy corners with comfortable seating, a vast menu of flavours, including mango and Dutch apple pie, and knowledgeable staff ready to help you navigate the world of vaping. But what struck me in particular was that the websites and social media accounts of these vaping cafes were far from attractive, lacking any kind of visual appeal, which piqued my curiosity even further.
THE APPEAL OF VAPING FOR MILLENNIALS
Vaping culture among millennials in Amsterdam, much like in many other urban settings, has been on the rise for several reasons. Let’s dive deeper into what makes vaping so appealing to this generation:
Perceived Health Benefits. Many millennials see vaping as a less harmful alternative to traditional tobacco smoking. While more and more studies show the harmful health effects of vaping, the perception of reduced harm is a significant driving factor.
Flavour’s Variety. Vaping offers a vast array of flavours that traditional cigarettes simply can’t compete with. From fruit medleys to dessert-inspired concoctions, millennials enjoy exploring diverse flavour profiles, creating a sensory experience beyond smoking.
Social and Community Aspect. Vaping culture fosters a sense of community. Much like the traditional cigarette, vaping . This social aspect can be particularly appealing for millennials seeking connections in a digital age.
Convenience and Accessibility. Vaping is more convenient in some respects. There’s no need for lighters or ashtrays, and vaping can often be done indoors where smoking is prohibited. It fits well into busy urban lifestyles.
A GLIMPSE INTO AMSTERDAM'S VAPE SCENE
While vaping culture thrives in Amsterdam, it’s important to note that the Dutch government has implemented regulations to ensure safety and responsible consumption. These regulations govern aspects such as nicotine content, product quality, and age restrictions. Recently it has been announced that from 2024, vaping flavours will be prohibited, and only tobacco tasting vapes will be allowed. Perhaps this explains why vape shops in Amsterdam are reluctant when it comes to making their social media channels too appealing. Nevertheless, it remains intriguing to contemplate how, despite the lessons learned from the era of cigarette culture, vaping has achieved remarkable popularity and widespread acceptance. Furthermore, it piques my curiosity about which future trends in formerly confirmed unhealthy behaviours will manage to captivate urban millennials, leading them to wholeheartedly embrace and adopt these new practices.