When the smoking ban was enacted in the UK back in 2007, Britain's tobacco companies were expected to face significant slides. Indeed, for these firms, there were major falls from grace - and those persisted as investors turned their attention to more "ethical" industries. While the tobacco industry has continued to suffer since then, it's a very different story for the vaping industry, as more news has broken about the promising health implications of e-cigarettes.


As tobacco has floundered, vaping has flourished


Only last year, five of the planet's leading tobacco companies lost over £100 billion in value, as the Daily Mail reported. British American Tobacco (BAT), a constituent of the London Stock Exchange, was trimmed by half in stock market value, making it the biggest loser of the five tobacco outfits. To an extent, this can be attributed to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s announcement back in November that it was mulling over banning menthol cigarettes. Over half of BAT's sales comes from cigarettes of this variety. However, the rise of vaping is another crucial factor...


Smoking versus vaping


Last year, Public Health England (PHE) revealed that, according to its own research, cigarette smoking is significantly less healthy than vaping. This was after PHE carried out a study exposing cotton wool to tobacco smoke and e-cigarette vapour, with some grim results. PHE is keen to prevent what it calls the "tragic" situation of smokers continuing to favour tobacco over e-cigarettes out of "false fears" about the latter's safety. Indeed, PHE has estimated that vaping is 95% less harmful than tobacco smoking, according to BBC News.


Promising omens for the vaping sector


Nationally, roughly 2.9 million people currently use e-cigarettes - and this figure could yet rise as word spreads about the acceptability of their use in regards to health. MPs are also seeking to lift various regulatory hurdles that might currently be hindering the continued uptake of vaping. In a report issued in August, MPs called for the vaping industry to be imbued with greater freedom to advertise e-cigarettes. They also called for regulations and tax duties on e-cigarettes to be eased, as well as a debate concerning whether vaping in public spaces should be more encouraged.


Is now the time to invest in the e-cigarette industry?


Naturally, should the practice of vaping become more acceptable, perhaps largely as a way of helping smokers to wean themselves off the practice, we can expect vaping product sales to rise. Those sales are expected to surpass £2 billion by 2020, This is MONEY.co.uk has noted. Especially encouraging is recently-made e-cigarettes' use of "heat not burn" technology, which saves these smokeless products from the high taxes applicable to standard tobacco alternatives. The customisation possible with "mods" such as the Innokin Proton 235W also hints at room for growth. To invest, you wouldn't even have to pick stocks yourself. Many professional fund managers can do so on your behalf, including selecting stocks from promising companies outside the UK to help spread your exposure.