Ever since the introduction of e-cigarettes, vaping usage has exploded around the world. For those who vape, the practice can seem lonely at times. Those who don’t actually know just how many people vape may easily assume that no one shares their passion. For a smoker, socialization is easy – there’s always another smoker around to share a cigarette with. Vape users don’t have this advantage though, and it’s not uncommon for them to not have a single friend or associate that vapes. Fortunately, vaping is now more popular than ever, and those that vape automatically belong to a super special and global club that includes millions of other members.
Just how many members belong to this club? How many people vape around the world today? How many own vape kits? This is exactly what we wanted to find out. Since the vaping market is relatively new, user research is still relatively thin and underdeveloped. After researching a ton of awesome sources and the most recent vape statistics (and using a bit of simple math), we attempted to estimate this number. In the following article, we will share our findings and present our rationale for unofficially estimating “How Many People Vape Around the World?”
How Many Vapers in the World?
Presenting an estimate for the worldwide usage of e-cigarettes is more difficult than you could ever imagine. The vaping market changes daily. Laws in some countries change suddenly, impacting the vaping population; while some emerging countries have witnessed extreme growth just within the last few years.
To make our global estimate as fair as possible, we turned to two reliable data sources for vaping industry statistics — the CDC and Euromonitor International. Through these sources we know that:
- **Spoiler Alert** According to the CDC, there are currently around 9 million vape users in the United States.*
- According to Euromonitor International, the United States’ makes up 43.2% of the world’s total vape users.
Using these statistics, we estimate that there are at least 20.8 million vape users worldwide.
While the global user base continues to grow, what is most interesting is how many people vape in each global region, and how the laws and perceptions in these areas affect these vaping populations.
How Many People Vape in North America?
North America is comprised of three countries that have very different vaping markets, and a variety of different laws.
The United States is the world’s leading vape market, with over 9 million users spending over $3.7 billion per year on related products. In terms of the penetration of e-cigarettes on the total U.S. population, the CDC also estimates that approximately 3.7% of the country’s adults currently use e-cigarettes either every day or on some days. Vaping laws in the U.S. vary state by state. However, by federal guidelines, electronic cigarette products must be regulated as a tobacco product.
Canada’s vaping market is estimated to consist of between 308,000 and 946,000 vape users. This number is based upon statistics published by Waterloo University, which estimate that 946,000 Canadians have used an e-cigarette or vape mod within the past 30 days, while 308,000 use a device on a daily basis. There are very few federal restrictions related to vaping in Canada, and all regulations have taken place at a provincial or municipal level. This means that in some provinces, there are no restrictions as to where an individual can vape (unless specified by the establishment); while other provinces enforce the same restrictions as other tobacco products.
It is unknown how many vapers there are in Mexico. What is known however, is that their vaping laws can be extremely confusing. While it is legal to vape in Mexico, there are strict restrictions regarding the sale, trade, distribution, production and promotion of non-tobacco products — which happens to include vaping and e-cigarette products.
How Many People Vape in Europe?
Europe has a wide vaping market, but this market is mostly driven by just a handful of it’s countries.
The highest growth vaping market in Europe is the United Kingdom, where there are around 2.8 million vape users. This number represents a four-fold increase from 2012, when there were only 700,000 vape users in the country. In the UK, the e-cigarette has become one of the fastest-growing supermarket products by volume and value with a 50% year-on-year increase to around 17.3 million units sold last year.
Russia now has over 1.5 million vape users. Late to join the revolution, the country’s first vape shop didn’t open until 2014. Exploding in popularity, there are now over 500 vape shops in Moscow alone, and over 1400 shops throughout Russia. Similarly, Germany is now home to over two million vape users; a number that is expected to rise tremendously in the near future.
Other European countries with significant e-cigarette usage statistics include:
- France: A recent national survey conducted by France’s Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction show that between 7.7 and 9.2 million French residents have tried electronic cigarettes at some point.
- Italy: Although vaping witnessed a steady decrease throughout Italy between 2014 and 2015, the year 2016 showed a promising increase. It is estimated that there are around 2.34 million general vape users in Italy, with 1.38 million being regular daily users.
- Poland: There are an estimated 1.5 million vape users in Poland, spending around $129 million per year on vape related products.
How Many People Vape in Asia?
Asia is the most populous continent on the planet with 4.15 billion inhabitants; over 4 times the population of Africa. As a result, although the penetration density is higher in other regions like the U.S., Asia hosts more vape users than any other continent.
Surprising to most, Asia’s largest vaping market (in terms of number of vape users per 100 residents) is Malaysia. Currently, there are an estimated 1 million vapers in Malaysia who spend around $117 million per year on vaping and e-cigarette products. The rapid growth of this market was mostly due to a lack of regulation by the federal government, which gave room for distributors to set up their businesses and market their vape kits without government pressure. However, the scene is changing as the government has threatened to place bans and restrictions on vaping in the future. Additionally, Malaysia’s National Fatwa Council has declared vaping as “haram”, making it forbidden for Muslims. Since the population of Malaysia is 61% Islamic, this could present some challenges to those who strongly participate in Islamic Law.
Although there is only a small vaping community in Japan, it’s annual growth of new users is one of the highest in the world. In 2016, vapor-producing devices and products generated over $4.6 million in Japan. While this is a very small number compared to larger markets, this amount is five times greater than the revenue generated in the previous year, as shown in Japan’s e cigarette statistics in 2015.
China, which produces a great percentage of the vape devices that are distributed around the world, ironically, has a very small vaping community. Although the current number of users is low, market potential is extremely high due to the country’s lack of market regulation and the low barriers to entry. In a country with over 1.37 billion people, a 1% penetration of e-cigarette usage could equate to over 13 million vape users.
A major Korean manufacturer told vaping.com that there are approximately one million vapers in South Korea. The Korean market has complex issues, so it’s unclear how many vapers are using nicotine-containing liquid, but there’s no reason for us to doubt his overall assessment.
Many other Asian countries have also adopted vaping or are yet to be introduced to the practice. Other regional vaping statistics to be considered include:
- Surveys by NCBI show that awareness of e-cigarettes in Indonesia is around 10.9%. Of these individuals, 2.5% used e-cigarettes. With a population of 261.1 million, this equates to around 711,000 people vaping or using e-cigs throughout the country.
- A survey by Business Mirror estimates that around 4% of Filipinos use e-cigarettes on a regular or occasional basis. With a population of 101.1 million individuals, this means that there could possibly be anywhere up to 4 million individuals in the Philippines who vape or use an e-cigarette.
How Many People Vape in the Rest of the World?
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 12.2% of Australia’s population are daily smokers. Nearly one third (31%) of smokers had tried e-cigarettes in their lifetime, but only 4.4% of them use them on a regular basis. With a population of 24.13 million, this would equate to approximately 2.94 million smokers and around 129,000 regular vape users.
The usage of e-cigarettes in Africa is relatively unknown. For most of Africa, it can be assumed that there is no major vaping presence. However, in the country of South Africa, vaping has gained some momentum with an estimated 200,000 vape users.
South America also has an extremely small vaping and e-cigarette presence. There is a tremendous level of restriction and regulation on vaping throughout most of South America’s most populous countries. Some of these restrictions and bans include:
- Argentina banned the sale and import of e-cigarettes in 2011.
- Brazil banned the manufacture and sale of e-cigarettes in 2014.
- Uruguay has banned the sale of vaping device products completely.
How Many People Vape? A Lot.
It’s impossible to put a true number to exactly how many people vape. However, if there’s one thing we know, a WHOLE LOT of people are vaping these days! Even with conservative efforts, statistics would lead us to believe that each vape user shares their vaping passion with at least 20 million other people around the world. That’s not bad for an industry that’s barely older than the iPhone!
We are vape experts, not mathematicians. Did you find a better way to predict the number of people who vape around the world? If so, let us know in the comments below!