The UK Vaper Expo halls were right next door to the Star Trek convention – so was this year’s event an out of this world experience or did I want to be beamed up back home?
It was funny seeing so many Trekkies in full costume mingling with bearded snap back cap wearing vapers – though one group looked a little miffed when I acknowledged them with “may the force be with you…” No sense of humour lol.
Having missed out on the Expo last May, I was delighted to be fit enough to attend last weekend’s UK Vaper Expo.
Not exactly ‘fighting fit’ but there’s still some miles left in these old bones lol – however I still only managed two days.
And for once I didn’t lose my notebook – something I’ve managed to do the last three events.
OK enough rambling – so how was it?
In a word – enjoyable!
One thing I did notice was the B2B day was a lot busier than I’ve seen in the past with a lot of business being done – vaping is definitely on the up!
Sure there was miles ‘n miles of e-liquid, but the abundance of CBD and pod kits felt a little less than the past couple of years which has to be a good thing right!
One complaint many of us have had over recent Expos is the lack of big name hardware releases.
This certainly wasn’t the case here with Dovopo dominating and bringing out the big guns in the shape of new mods from Sam aka The Vaping Bogan and Brian aka the Vapor Chronicles – more on those in a mo’.
Not to be out gunned, Steam Crave had the absolute unit of a mod the Hadron on show and trust me when you add the huge squonk ‘back-pack’ that thing is a beast!
And whilst not a ‘launch’ Vic aka vaping With Vic looked like the cat who’d licked the cream after getting his hands on his designed Kelpie RDA.
He allowed EcigClick to show the first photo of the deck in this week’s vaping news – cheers mate much appreciated.
OK, so let’s have a look at where my wanderings took me.
Trust me it’s nigh on impossible to cover absolutely everything and I missed more than a few gems including meeting up with the EcigClick reviewers – what am I like lol.
OK on with the show…
New Hardware at the UK Vaper Expo
Unlike a few Expo’s I’ve been too, there was a decent amount of new hardware on view.
Sure there was the usual plethora of pods with most if not all very samey samey with nothing new or should I say innovative.
Apart that is from the one I missed lol – the new IGEK that connects to your phone allowing you to take calls!
Lord only knows how I missed that one!
I did pick up the MYLE pod kit and flavoured pods for review and my first impression is it’s a cut above most of them out there – review on that soon.
I had a lovely chat with ‘Apollo’ – cool name bro’ – on the Freemax stand and was curious at what he was vaping on.
It’s the new Max Pod from the company, however he wouldn’t let me photograph it or have a toot as it’s all hush hush lol.
Expect that one to be released late November.
But it was the big names from the world of vape reviews that were showcasing their latest mods that most folks were eager to see.
The Odin – From The Vaping Bogan
The great man himself was on the Dovpo booth with a limited quantity of his new mod the Odin on show and for sale.
It’s a collaboration between Sam – Vapourz Cloud and Dovpo and is both a bit of a beast and bloody gorgeous.
Powered by the DNA 250c chip and taking x2 21700’s – every time I walked past, the crowds were two and three deep to get a glimpse of it.
It’s a little pricey if I’m honest with the Expo price of £170 way out of my league!
I have a feeling the Odin is going to be on a lot of Christmas wish lists!
Dovpo SQ Topside – Brian – The Vapor Chronicles
The Topside and Topside Dual squonk mods have most definitely changed the face of squonking as we know it.
And the collaboration between Brian from the Vapor Chronicles – Dovpo and Signature Tips has created a dream of a mech mod!
The Dovpo SQ Topside is fully mechanical and carries through the same design as the original and now iconic SQ mech mod.
The internals are nothing short of stunning and I know it’s a cliche – but it really does hit like a train!
I know everyone says it, but what a lovely thoughtful and intelligent man Brian is.
He took the time to chat with me about the state of the vape in the US and was particularly concerned at the government going after the ‘heart and soul of vaping – the ‘mom and pop shops’.
The Steam Crave Hadron – With Squonk Back Pack
Steam Crave is known for its huge tanks, however it’s fair to say everyone – including me – was looking forward to seeing the new Hadron mod.
I was able to have a good look at it on B2B day when things were quiet.
Trust me on the public days it was a case of vapers engaging in Hadron Colliders as folks jostled to get a glimpse!
It is absolutely massive and that’s without the squonk backpack.
When you put that on my God you need two hands to hold it especially as this beast takes x2 21700 batteries maxing out at 220w!
Judging from the sheer amount of interest the Hadron is going to be a massive hit.
Thanks to Chrisie for taking the time to chat about it 🙂
The Kelpie RDA From Vic aka Vaping With Vic
Always good to bump into Vic Mullin aka Vaping With Vic at Expo.
I found him in the media area with a huge smile on his face.
He’d just got his hands on his new Kelpie RDA and the smile said it all – he was well pleased with it!
He also allowed me to take the first public photo of the deck – as seen in this weeks vaping news 😉
It really is a thing of beauty and the perfect follow-up to the awesome Kelpie RTA
New Juice At the Expo
As always there was enough e-liquid sloshing about to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool!
Zeus Juice launched its new Myth range of flavours with a very smart booth.
I had a toot on a few of them and bloody lovely they were too – especially the Peach Ice Tea – bloody delicious and then some!
I’m in the middle of reviewing the Pachamama nic salts at the moment and noticed they’ve just brought out a CBD range.
I had a long chat about vaping in general with account manager Andy Davis and he kindly gave me the full CBD range to review.
Given Pachamama is a US based company I was curious to see if they were PMTA ready and indeed they are – more on that in a moment.
Key Vape is a UK based company with a wide selection of e-liquids.
They are sister company to flavour manufacturers Honey Berry and create their own flavours in house from scratch.
I came a way with a few samples – thanks Katie – which I’ll be reviewing in the near future – trust me they are very special indeed 😉
I also managed to get a very quick chat with the lovely Jane Mulligan – owner and e-liquid mixing maestro from ShyTots – an e-liquid range I highly recommend 😉
She was inundated with customers and I managed a very quick taste of her new vanilla fudge with banana and chocolate flavour – oh my – scarily good!
Juice juice everywhere and not a drop to drink?
How about a drip of CBD in your coffee!
That’s exactly what the guys at the Coffee Boss stand were offering.
It’s the world’s first coffee and CBD machine ideal for vape shops and there’s also instant CBD based drinks too – tasty!
Obviously there were far to many juice stands to get round and if I’m honest not many I did try floated my boat!
The Vaping Entrepreneur!
I always like to look away from the main drag and the big names at Expo and try and find something a little different!
So I was delighted to find Curtis Dorrington, the inventor – designer and all round brains of the Vape Any Wear brand.
Nope it’s not a line of vape related clothing.
It’s actually an ingenious idea and product that literally allows you to vape anywhere!
In a nutshell you vape and then blow your clouds into the bag and as if by magic no vapour.
I was a little dubious but after watching Curtis demonstrate it and then having a go myself I was impressed!
And so were most of the folks I showed it to especially on the train on the way home – let’s put it this way it works lol.
Curtis very kindly gave one to me for review and I’ll get that out soon with more details on this clever young man’s background.
I did call him a vaping entrepreneur and mean it.
The Vape Any Wear isn’t his only ‘product’.
He’s also launched ‘A Vape Shop’ – a nope it’s not a bricks and mortar shop.
It’s actually a hire purchase site specifically for vape gear!
So if you fancy a posh new mod or kit and can’t afford it – you could order it from A Vape Shop and pay over 3 monthly installments.
Zyn Tobacco Free Snus
The company behind the Zyn Snus pouches, Swedish Match, had a large presence at Expo.
The parent company has just been given clearance by the FDA to market its product as a harm reduction tool.
Snus is banned here in the UK and in much of Europe therefore the Zyn brand is tobacco free.
I have tried Snus before and got on quite well with it.
After a long chat with the guys on the booth I came away with a couple of samples – review soon.
Yeah I know Snus isn’t vaping – but we’re all about harm reduction right?
Plus we know patches and gums don’t work so maybe Snus is ideal for traveling on trains and planes and of course of interest to smokers that can’t get on with vaping.
Either way I’ll be using the product for a week or so and let you know my thoughts 😉
Vaping Politics at Vaper Expo
One of the issues I was keen to look into was if the vape world was ready for the Pre Market Tobacco Agreements [PMTAs] set to come into play next May.
In a nutshell if any product from any company in the world hasn’t registered documentation covering the PMTA with the FDA by May 2020 – that product will not be allowed to be sold in America.
As far as the big Chinese companies were concerned they were mainly staffed by marketing teams and with the language barrier any sensible conversation was not possible.
I did speak to Andy Davis from Pachamama and was pleased the see the company is way ahead of the game.
Detailed submissions – thousands upon thousands of documentation in this case – have gone into the FDA and he was extremely confident the company as a whole will still be around for years to come.
I did chat to a couple of other US based companies most of whom were not really interested in talking about anything other than if I had a shop or was a distributor lol.
A case of hard sell rather than hard talk.
Though one guy told me he was very knowledgeable about PMTAs then promptly told me it covered the TPD…baffling to me lol.
Trust me and as John Dunne from UKVIA said after we bumped into each other:
If they don’t get their acts together PMTAs are gonna bite them in the ass…
Couldn’t put it better myself lol.
The Vape Debate
Speaking of John Dunne I did literally bump into him as he was walking the Expo floor handing out UKVIA brochures and business cards.
We did chat for a good 10 minutes however being in the middle of the red carpet and therefore in the way lol – I couldn’t really do a proper interview.
We have arranged a follow-up sometime soon so look out for that it’s going to be interesting to say the least.
I had arranged to meet up with Martin and Jessica from the New Nicotine Alliance, however every time I went to their spot no one was home – probably in the bar lol.
However I did watch most of the Vape Debate on day one in which John and Martin featured.
It was under the current campaign slogan Vaping Matters and as you might guess everything was covered from the USA flavour bans and THC scare to what the UK Vaping Industry needs to do in the future.
One message that rang out crystal clear was the need for the UK shops and websites to toughen up their age verification features.
All of the panelists felt that was crucial if the UK was to avoid the craziness of the teen vaping epidemic over in the states.
Childish packaging and marketing is strangely still a concern and again the panelists urged companies in particular to not go down that route.
John Dunne said the Challenge 25 scheme was crucial in keeping e-cigarettes out of the hands of youngsters and said UKVIA had now launched a secret shopper programme too.
Martin Cullip from the NNA said that at the moment all was well in the world of UK vape, however he said that could all change in an instant if we’re all not careful:
Public health officials attend Expo and so far have no problems with it all.
But that could all change very quickly.
No politician would want to defend an industry targeting children.
Wise words indeed.
I missed out on the May Expo due to my glass back so can’t comment if this one was bigger.
Those I spoke to said it was and by a long way.
The layout was OK if a little crowded around the edges and some of the bigger names seemed a little lost or tucked away from the main drag.
The music was definitely quieter and the booth girls – at least towards me lol – were definitely not pushy at all.
It was good to meet up with Vic – Mark – Aiden – Dwyane and Ricky – however blind as a bat me missed the EcigClick reviewers Gaz – Ian and Will – maybe in May!
The question is did I enjoy it?
Yes I did and very much so.
As I said and despite the crowds it felt a lot quieter most of the time and for once CBD and pods didn’t dominate.
Great to see 4 quality hardware releases too with Vic’s Kelpie RDA looking like a quality piece of kit and of them all Bogan’s Odin mod – and despite the eye-watering cost – it looks absolutely stunning.
So yeah a great Expo – I managed to cover 15 miles over the two days but still didn’t get to cover every aspect of the show which simply gets bigger and better.
It will be back in May after a brief stop off in London – the interesting thing will be how many US based products and reviewers will still be standing then.
It’s going to be an extremely interesting if a little worrying few months stateside to say the least.
However one thing is clear vaping is showing no signs of decline here in the UK and another awesome Expo proves it.
Vaper Expo UK The Return 2019 Photo Gallery
I did fiddle about with my camera settings after Vic suggested it was time for me to upgrade from my Nikon Bridge to a DSLR lol – guess I’d better start saving ha!
See you in May!