Despite all the debate of big tobacco’s versions of electronic cigarettes tasting and performing cheaply and not illustrating what consumers want, cig-a-likes have still accounted for a big percentage of the U.S. ecig market with brands like blu and Vuse dominating their competition. But things are starting to take a turn in the opposite direction starting with these last few months, when vapers have gradually given up on their mediocre cig-a-like models and went for more powerful advanced personal vaporizers or mechanical mods.

Vuse ecig Refillable mods and nicotine infused e-liquid sales have officially over passed the tobacco cigarette looking models sales, according to a new survey by Wells Fargo Securities for VMR, the company that makes the popular V2 brand. In the company’s most recent Tobacco ‘equity research’ analysis, Wells Fargo experts note that the market gain of big tobacco-owned brands of e-cigarettes (blu, Vuse) has dramatically decreased year after year, and that the vaping market is booming.

And even though it’s problematic to get reliable data for ecig sales by tiny companies, analysts firmly believe that vapers aren’t quitting altogether, but instead they’re moving to refillable mods marketed by companies operating mostly online.‘We believe the sales decline is more reflexive of volume moving to vapors-tanks-mods, which tend to be sold in non-tracked channels (especially vape shops),’ Wells Fargo stated. At the moment, the company estimates the US ecig market overall (if we include cig-a-like models) is estimated at $2.5 billion, with a great deal of the money coming from mechanical and avps and nicotine e-liquid, compared to about $1 billion for regular ecigs.

‘In addition to the experience provided through them, open system vaporizers are also a lower-cost vaping option over the long-term,’ said Bonnie Herzog, a renowned analyst that worked on the report. ‘We have found, for instance, that the weekly spend for an open system user is about 30 percent less than that of an e-cigarette user.’

To put it simple, big tobacco has reason to be frightened. More and more vapers are switching from combustible cigarettes to their electronic counterparts, and they’re usually choosing the tank systems that small businesses offer and that big companies have constantly failed to perfect, purchase or manufacture.

Why are people going for mods instead of cig-a-likes? Well, cig-a-likes are very simple to operate and they mimic the whole smoking process but at the same time the amount of vapor, throat hit and flavor are eclipsed by the more powerful AVPs or tank systems. There’s also an endless variety of nicotine bases e-liquids with the most delicious aromas and the overall price of vaping is gradually reduced when going for ejuice bottles instead of cartridges. Mods also allow for in depth customization, tweaking of the whole vaping process and finding an optimum sweet spot that could make anyone forget the taste of combustible tobacco once and for all.