In BioShock I and II, plasmids were ingrained in Rapture's culture. They were sold on every corner, and nearly every resident had a tale of plasmid addiction or abuse. It also made sense to wield plasmids in Rapture, because they were as intertwined with Andrew Ryan's world as mutant slugs and creepy girls. In Columbia? Not so much.
Don't get us wrong; playing with vigors is a trip. We were just the only ones enjoying them. Despite being readily available at the local carnival and mass produced at Fink's factory, it seemed Columbia's populace either didn't know how to buy them or could care less that they even existed. Here was a city where superpowers and salts were just lying around, and even Columbian's most well-to-do citizens were still lighting fires with matches. True, vigors were relatively new to Columbia, and yes, there's a throwaway line at the end that barely justifies their existence (different universe, same elements, blah, blah, blah), but they still feel out of place. Really, why would the Vox Populi go through all the trouble of securing guns if they could just nab a Devil's Kiss from a local carny?