Industry Insight By Jolin Zhou|22 February 2024

Study Reveals: Gen Z Viewed Vapes as “Trendy” “Cool” and a “Fashion Accessory”

Topics in this article:
Cool vape GenZ Vape Disposable Cannabis Vape




What are the factors that motivate young people to experiment with vaping? Although there is limited research on how the physical appearance of the latest wave of vapes may be attracting young people, a UK study published in 2022 reported that subjects aged 11 to 16 saw colourful, eggy-shaped vapes as ‘trendy’, ‘cool’ and a ‘fashion accessory’.




boxlike disposable vape

Available in a spectrum of colors and bubbly designs, the new crop of vapes represents an aesthetic about-face from the more subdued look of its predecessors.




This sets them apart from the earlist e-cigarettes, which were clunky modular systems or simple white “cig-a-likes” that mimicked the look of real cigarettes. Recall the dominant e-cigarette design circa 2017—a slim, black rectangle with sharp corners, easily mistaken for a flash drive. However, the vaping landscape is undergoing another transformation, moving away from such utilitarian designs to the eye-catching, rounded, and vibrant aesthetics of Elf Bars and similar brands. Notably, these newer models feature color schemes that echo their flavors, enhancing their visual appeal.


In interviews, young people have compared the appearance of these disposable e-cigarettes and vape pens to items such as candy, pacifiers, lip gloss and soap, with some noting “they almost look like toys”.


Its acceptance by Gen Z is clearly influenced by the design and marketing strategies of vaping device manufacturers, who are now prioritising the creation of devices that are not only functional, but also serve as modern lifestyle accessories. The shift towards bright candy colours and egg-shaped devices speaks volumes about the changing landscape of vaping culture.



From Seattle Streets to Social Media: The Rise of Micro Bar


You may notice that Micro Bar were a highly visible accessory in the area of Seattle, WA. Young people clutched them in the same fist as their phones or keys. A Dragon-Fruit Micro Bar sat on a table at an outdoor restaurant, next to its owner’s coffee. One man took a puff of a Lemon Headz Micro Bar while waiting in line to enter the Supreme store.




Ins genz
Picture comes from the Instagram




Micro Bar, which has managed to carve out its cannabis vaping niche with more than 300 stores, hit shelves in Washington in November 2021. By this summer, it had become the leading disposable vapor brand in the region among young Gen Z who vape, according to the survey. Visually similar products abound, including Packwoods, kream, Mfused and CCELL. Initially exclusive to Washington’s dispensaries and online retailers, the brand has ambitiously stretched its roots to California and Arizona, capturing the attention of a wider audience.


They are just as visible online. A Reddit meme account Photoshops joke Micro Bar flavors like Tide Pods and Crab Rangoon. On Instagram, Posts tagged #microbar have more than 18k views. Videos that show people dressed up as Micro Bar for costume parties have amassed millions of views.



Innovating Gen Z Vape Culture: Cubox and Lilmon



“Many believe that the popularity of the Micro Bar in Washington State sparked this eye-catching, rounded design. However, the popularity of box-like product aesthetics among young consumers can be traced back even earlier – two years ago, the D8 market saw a surge in high-capacity, box-shaped disposable hardware that resonated with a wide range of young cannabis consumers,” said Collin Yu, Chief Strategy Officer of Artrix, a trailblazer in cannabis vape solutions, leverages this insight to stay ahead of consumer preferences.



Cubox: Cute Cube, Easy Vape


This is precisely why Artrix introduced Cubox, a sleek, rounded-edge disposable cannabis vape, as the first in a series of disposable box-shaped vapes by Artrix. This compact device boasts an innovative dual air pathway design, absent a central post, facilitating a flawlessly smooth airflow for an optimal vaping experience. With no buttons and options for 1ml and 2ml oil capacities, the Cubox emphasizes ease of use and purity of taste, thanks to its construction from high-quality materials.




Artrix Cubox Gen z disposable cannabis vape




Lilmon: Next-Gen Mini Vape


Building on the success of Cubox, Artrix took a step further by launching Lilmon. At the heart of Lilmon’s unparalleled performance is its mesh ceramic heating technology. This innovative feature, combined with 1ml, 2ml, and 3ml volume options and a dual air pathway design, ensures that users can enjoy ultra-strong vapors and a stunningly smooth draw within seconds. Unlike traditional designs that utilize curved central tubes, Lilmon’s straight-through air pathway allows for more substantial vapor production, as the mesh ceramic efficiently atomizes more oil in a single draw.



Artrix Lilmon



Furthermore, its groundbreaking bottom-filling design, paired with an exclusive capping machine, revolutionizes the manufacturing process, doubling injection efficiency and minimizing leak risks, revolutionizing the manufacturing process for cannabis vapes. This unique combination significantly optimizes both the filling and capping processes, leading to a remarkable 2X increase in bulk injection efficiency while substantially reducing the risk of leaks during filling.


While some consumers prioritize discretion, a growing number, particularly among younger demographics, embrace these devices as bold fashion statements. “I would certainly argue that modern vapes, especially like Cubox and Lilmon, are targeted more toward young Gen Z and even Gen Alpha,” said Jessy, Artrix’s Chief Product Officer.



What are Young Gen Z Looking For?


What captivates young Gen Z consumers in the realm of vaping? The answer lies in vivid, eye-catching designs that make a splash on social media. Gone are the days of tech-oriented minimalism; today’s youth gravitate towards vibrant color palettes and playful silhouettes that pop in a feed. According to Jessy, if Micro Bar, Cubox, and Lilmon aimed to encapsulate Gen Z’s consumer tastes, “they’ve absolutely nailed it.”


The trend extends beyond the devices themselves, with some vapes adopting packaging akin to beauty, cosmetic, and skincare products found in stores like Sephora. Their pastel boxes and the sophisticated branding seen in upscale beverage brands like Kin Euphorics, or the engaging gradients of Partiful—an event-invitation platform beloved by Gen Z—emphasize this shift. These packaging strategies not only enhance the products’ appeal to young consumers but also embed them within a wider narrative of lifestyle and aesthetic choices that resonate with this demographic.


Taylor McGee, a 26-year-old graphic designer from Brooklyn, encapsulates the sentiment of many in her generation when she describes these devices as “small, round cutesy things with super bright colors that look really friendly.” The positive reception of these design choices by young people themselves is perhaps the most telling indicator of this trend’s resonance.