Canada’s Vape Expo (CVE) made its way to Toronto this past weekend, playing host to a number of big names in Canada’s vaping industry. With more than 40 vendors, including manufacturers, retail outlets, and distributors, there was a good selection of choices for consumers to peruse.
The event took place on May 13, 14, and 15 in the International Centre near Pearson International Airport – the first day was limited to businesses only, while the remaining days were open to the public. The first day for consumers saw 6000 attendees, according to the Master of Ceremonies, and more than 500 packs of cigarettes were collected in exchange for vape starter kits.
Tickets could be purchased for $5 in advance or $10 at the door. All participants were allowed to vape inside the venue.
I attended the event with a friend who is a dripper – he builds his own coils out of wire and cotton and drips the juice directly on the device. Most drippers don’t vape above 3mg of nicotine because these devices are extremely efficient at delivering nicotine. They also gravitate toward juices that have a high VG ratio for the same reason – the lower the viscosity, the less juice is consumed per inhale.
Conversely, I am perfectly happy with my simple set-up; I have a Kanger Protank 3, with which I vape 12mg juices, and an Aspire Nautilus Mini tank which takes either 6mg or 12mg (or a mixture of the two). I tend to gravitate toward higher PG juices like PurEliquid because I like to feel the burn in my throat and I particularly enjoy bold, rich flavour.
With that in mind, we attended CVE together, and both had very different experiences. My friend had a vast selection from which to choose; he could literally walk up to any booth and his only concern was whether he liked the flavour profiles. I had to begin every conversation with, “What nic levels do you sell?” and was frequently told, in polite terms, that the vendor didn’t cater to my needs.
I would estimate perhaps 30% of vendors sold “my type” of e-juice. Most proprietors qualified their apology by saying they have them in stock at their store but didn’t bring any to CVE. One vendor offered to send me free samples by mail if I contacted them directly; most others simply told me to purchase their products online.
I can honestly say this: failing to accommodate varying preferences of vapers is just bad business. As a consumer, I will not purchase juice I have not tested, and I will not put in serious effort to try anything new when I have access to juice I enjoy. Although I may be a minority within the vape community, my needs are as valid as anyone else. If a vendor does carry “my type” of products, failing to showcase them at a vaping event is indicative of that vendor’s business plan. I would rather do business with a company that is passionate about their products and wants to help people off cigarettes than those who only cater to the majority.
Paying $10 for the privilege of feeling alienated has left me convinced that this event was more about the money than building community. There were no free samples, no entrance packages, and significantly fewer vendors than last year’s vapecan. I realized after we left that a few of the biggest brands were not represented at all, which made me question whether or not I’ll bother going next year.
Despite overwhelming disappointment, I did find a few vendors who impressed me. I’d like to give a special shout out to 416 Vapes, Kloud Panda, Maven, Canada Vapes, Drinx, and E-Cig Flavourium for catering to my very specific vaping preferences. Reviews of these purchases will be forthcoming.
Overall I’m glad I attended the event. At the very least I got some great deals on e-juice, most of which were less than 50% of the retail value. I wasn’t able to stock up on a few of the brands I really like, but I did find some new and interesting flavours. CVE was definitely not at the same level of awesomeness as vapecan, but it was worth attending.