This June 12, 2013, file photo shows a person posing with an electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette. Electronic cigarettes have surpassed traditional smoking in popularity among teens, the government’s annual drug use survey finds. Even as tobacco smoking by teens dropped to new lows, use of e-cigarettes reached levels that surprised researchers. The findings marked the survey’s first attempt to measure the use of e-cigarettes by people that young. Nearly 9 percent of 8th graders said they'd used an e-cigarette in the previous month, while just 4 percent reported smoking a traditional cigarette, said the report being released Tuesday by the National Institutes of Health. (AP Photo / Tim Ireland, PA)
File - This June 12, 2013, file photo shows a person posing with an electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette. Electronic cigarettes have surpassed traditional smoking in popularity among teens, the government’s annual drug use survey finds. Even as tobacco smoking by teens dropped to new lows, use of e-cigarettes reached levels that surprised researchers. The findings marked the survey’s first attempt to measure the use of e-cigarettes by people that young. Nearly 9 percent of 8th graders said they'd used an e-cigarette in the previous month, while just 4 percent reported smoking a traditional cigarette, said the report being released Tuesday by the National Institutes of Health. (AP Photo / Tim Ireland, PA)
This June 12, 2013, file photo shows a person posing with an electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette. (AP Photo / Tim Ireland, PA)

(CNBC) – This past year was all about the “vape.” But the trend in which smokers inhale vapor from tobacco, marijuana and other nontobacco-based liquids is gaining even more followers among smokers and nonsmokers.

This year, the retail vaping industry is forecast to reach $3.5 billion, more than twice the $1.7 billion estimate for 2013, according to Bonnie Herzog, Wells Fargo Securities’ senior tobacco and beverage analyst.

And even though regulatory hurdles remain, curious consumers are pushing vaping’s growth.

Vaping involves inhaling water vapor through a personal vaporizer or electronic cigarette. When users draw on the device, its battery heats the liquid, which is then atomized into an inhalable vapor.

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