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Join the discussion of how electronic cigarettes work with an old world industrial feel, as E Cig Werks provides commentary, updates and links on all things e-cig. E Cig Werks seeks to add clarity and common sense to the sometimes complicated and cluttere



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Top five reasons electronic cigarettes are here to stay

Thu, 08 Jan 2015 02:24:00 +0000

I like to say “I told you so” when it comes to the apparent success of electronic cigarettes.I had never heard of them as of about four years ago when I decided to Google “electronic cigarettes” wondering if they were for real and went on from there. I started a blog to help promote, educate and maybe make a little money on the growth of electronic cigarettes. That led to some diligent research of e-cigs thinking that they had potential as an innovative product with growth opportunity. The more that I learned about them, the more I became impressed and further interested.I have used this E Cig Werks blog to post and talk about topics focused on the business, marketing and cultural side of the products. I’m the first to admit that I’m not very tech savvy when it comes to e-cigs and vaping, but felt that I knew a good product when I saw one.Over the last four years, e-cigs have growth from a small niche product to near the mainstream. Several electronic cigarettes brands now have a major presence in convenience stores, pharmacies and other retail outlets, while the Oxford Dictionary recently names “vape” as its 2014 “word of the year.”From a numbers standpoint, e-cigs are now about a $1.7 billion annual industry in the U.S., and nearly $12 billion worldwide. A Morgan Stanley chart in businessinsider.com noted that e-cigs replaced 1.5 billion traditional cigarettes in 2013 compared to 400 million in 2011. Another report predicts a 24 percent compound annual growth rate for e-cigs over the next five years. Some of the specific topics we’ve covered include product reviews, marketing and advertising trends, regulation and exploding e-cigs (or the lack thereof). I’ve tried to avoid the hype and hyperbole of some e-cig proponents, but also don’t hesitate to admit my bias toward the products and growing industry. This blog has more than 72,000 views averaging almost 60 per day. The @ECigWerks Twitter feed has more than 4,300 followers, with most of them being associated with e-cigs and vapingI’ve attended several vaping meetings and conventions here in the Midwest, testified for e-cigs at legislative hearings, and visited local e-cig and juice companies here in Wisconsin. I also met with one of the e-cig industries more creative and successful proponents on his home turf in Brooklyn. As electronic cigarettes continue to grow in popularity and acceptance, it appears that several of the reasons I’ve cited for embracing and supporting them are contributing to their success.Here are my top five:-          No bad odor: Let’s just admit it. Besides the obvious health risks, the worst thing about traditional cigarettes is that they stink. Not only do they stink, but they make smokers, those around them and almost anything they come in contact with (clothes, cars, furniture, etc.) stink. E-cigs have virtually no odor, as they can be used almost anywhere. I have yet to meet anyone, even the strongest anti-smoker, who is offended by e-cig odor.-          Cost conscious:While their actual cost can be hard to measure, e-cigs are clearly cheaper than traditional cigarettes. They are also used in a different way than traditional cigarettes that tends to be less wasteful.-          Marketing and advertising strategy: E-cig makers and brands have learned valuable lessons from their tobacco predecessors when it comes to overhyping and promoting to young people. Most e-cig television and print advertising is understated and avoids appealing to kids, while more emphasis has been made online and through social media. One of the major arguments against e-cigs is their potential appeal to minors, especially due to flavoring and packaging. If that’s the worst that e-cig opponents can come up with, it’s a pretty weak case. -          Reasonable regulation: So far, both federal and local e-cig regulation has moved slowly in most cases. E-cig [...]



VUSE fires up electronic cigarette event marketing

Thu, 17 Jul 2014 14:30:00 +0000

I’ve been waiting for years to see a decent electronic cigarette marketing display. Well, I finally saw one on a recent trip to the Summerfest music festival in Milwaukee.The VUSEe-cig display from RJR Reynolds and BFG Marketing included a high tech trailer and displays, modern design and signage, and also had a prime waterfront location on the festival grounds.About a dozen workers were on hand at the display to present the features and benefits of the VUSE products. Some of those highlights included a quick connect easy pop-off filter, light weight design and authentic taste (more on this later). The staffer who helped me was engaged, knowledgeable and upbeat.The display’s crowds were somewhat limited, but that was partially intentional. To their credit, VUSE staff security limited access to those over age 21 with verified identification and to current e-cig or tobacco consumers (they had to take your word for that). This somewhat conflicting strategy of actually limiting e-cig marketing accessibility is smart public relations for VUSE. E-cig opponents are comparing current marketing to that of traditional tobacco companies in the past where aggressive product giveaways were used to attract new smokers.In fact, my wife was denied access to the display when she told the VUSE security staff that she was “only an occasional cigarette smoker.” So, clearly VUSE was not promoting their products to anyone other than tobacco or e-cig consumers. Other e-cig brands should take notice of this tactic as a self-regulatory best practice.Having worked at a number of major consumer events and trade shows in my career, I was expecting to see a display of this kind at some point. While there may be others out there already, the VUSE e-cig display was the first I have seen, and I was impressed. Of course, with VUSE being the e-cig brand of tobacco giant RJR Reynolds, you would expect a top level presentation.  The display was very open and inviting with plenty of tables, cabinets and a trailer showing various e-cig products.I expect to see more of these marketing displays from VUSE and other bigger e-cig brands like Lorillard’s Blu, Altria’s recent acquisition of Green Smoke, or NJOY. Other possible events besides music festivals and concerts could include state and county fairs, auto or motorcycle races or other sporting events. While some might not want to be associated with electronic cigarette marketing, this VUSE Summerfest example shows some venues are more open-minded to e-cigs than tobacco.I have seen smaller e-cig brands with displays at some events. It’s kind of like the difference between the big beer brands like MillerCoors or Anheuser-Busch and micro brands like Sam Adams, Red Hook or New Belgium. Nothing against the smaller brands out there, but there is a difference between a couple tables under a tent and a major display like VUSE.From an overall marketing perspective, the main goal of these kinds of displays is to generate precious “leads” or potential customer contacts and gather research, while also creating awareness or “buzz.”Getting back to the products themselves, VUSE e-cigs have a lot to offer.  The original flavor sample tasted fresh and realistic. You would expect no less from a company like RJR.The biggest and best innovation in the VUSE e-cigs is the QuickConnect easy interface between the battery and cartridge. Having a snap-on and off instead of a screw-on and off thread system seems like an easier function.Other features include powerful and consistent performance, a unique vapor light and logo, and effective and recognizable package. VUSE also offers a recycling program, which is smart marketing in this “sustainable” marketplace. The complimentary VUSE start kit that I received sells for about $10 in retail outlets and includes a battery, USB charger and two cartridges in either original or menthol flavor. While I was obviously impressed with the VUSE display at Summerfest in Milwaukee, it will be interesting to see where other e-cig brands t[...]



FDA regulation can benefit electronic cigarette growth

Sat, 03 May 2014 13:40:00 +0000

Hard as it is to imagine or say, it’s possible that federal government regulation could actually be a good thing for electronic cigarettes.Let me try to explain this before e-cig supporters and other libertarians fly off the handle. Hyper-regulation at all levels of government, especially federal, should make e-cig supporters suspicious of all too common government overreaction. However, if electronic cigarettes are as beneficial as many believe, then they should tolerate and work with most of the recently proposed Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and oversight.More specifically, reporting of electronic cigarette ingredients and other proposed reviews should help to clarify to the public many of the misconceptions due to the misinformation out there. As e-cig supporters like myself have maintained for years, the ingredients in e-cigs are pretty well known and documented. These include varying degrees of nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, polyethylene glycol 400 and flavorings.  If and when the FDA can show any major health issues or real harm from those ingredients, then e-cigs can be reasonably regulated. The possible negative repercussions are significant if e-cig regulation goes overboard, which is always a possibility with big government. For example, the regulation of e-cigs should be considered differently than traditional cigarettes when it comes to their impact in public places like bars and restaurants. With electronic cigarettes’ big advantage of avoiding second-hand smoke and odor, it’s been my experience that most people don’t mind their use in public places.  An example of federal regulators going overboard were recent inflammatory comments by CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden, who told the Los Angeles Times that e-cigs are a tobacco product and that he basically hates them. At least, the paper promptly corrected him noting that e-cigs don’t burn tobacco. Most of his opposition to e-cigs is based on fear-mongering and insinuations rather than facts.   We need to closely differentiate key facts and use discretion with electronic cigarette regulation when comparing them to traditional cigarette public use. Until it’s proven that there is negative health impact, electronic cigarettes should be permitted in public places if the property owner or business approves. Some of the biggest concerns with traditional cigarettes in public are smoke and odor, which are not really present with electronic cigarette vapor. From a marketing standpoint, most e-cig manufactures and marketers are already complying with the FDA recommendations as they aren’t really marketing to kids under age 21, avoid making health benefit claims and complimentary giveaways in public are pretty minimal. Electroniccigarette opponents use false fears hyping future and potential problems rather than citing proven facts or the many success stories of those who have used e-cigs to quit or cut down on tobacco. It seems that the worst thing regulators can say about e-cigs is that they might attract youth or possibly harm them. Yet, many of the same regulators are letting products like high caffeine energy drinks, soda, coffee and other products flagrantly market to young people. It’s possible that any level of regulation could harm smaller brands or manufacturers, but that becomes part of the process of allowing more consumers to benefit from electronic cigarettes. Some will likely argue that FDA regulations benefit the big tobacco companies with more money and resources who are now more aggressively getting into the e-cig market. Hopefully, they have learned lessons from past tobacco advertising mistakes and can more positively self-regulate electronic cigarette marketing in the future. The electronic cigarette industry needs to try its best to embrace the body of the proposed FDA regulations, but also aggressively fight overzealous and emotional oversight from big government and big health care.&nb[...]



Electronic cigarettes ignite passion and prejudice at Wisconsin legislative hearing

Mon, 10 Mar 2014 18:46:00 +0000

At a time when left-leaning big city governments like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are including e-cigarettes in their smoking bans, Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman and others were hoping to go in a more progressive and free-market direction.Grothman and a few others show they get it on electronic cigarettes by supporting a bill to exempt them from the statewide tobacco smoking ban in public places. Unfortunately, a minority of nanny-state big government alarmists likely provided just enough doubt or cover for those who don’t get it.E Cig Werks attended and testified at the March 5 hearing at the State Capitol in Madison, Wis. It was also a convenient trip down memory lane for me as I worked in the Capital back in the mid-1980s, a time when people actually smoked real cigarettes in their offices.The hearing was a demonstration in the old saying that “there are two things you should never see being made – laws and sausages.”Several times during the hearing, Grothman explained how his proposal would simply clarify that e-cigs are not part of the smoking ban for businesses like restaurants and taverns, and that businesses could voluntarily ban e-cigs if they so chose. The first speaker was Vicki McKenna, a conservative Wisconsin radio talk show host and staunch e-cigarette evangelist. McKenna cited her personal experience in using e-cigs to kick a 23-year smoking habit. A strong free-market advocate as you might expect from a conservative, McKenna concluded her remarks saying “electronic cigarettes have the potential to be a public health miracle.”KristinNoll-Marsh is a fellow blogger who has been a positive e-cigarette voice in Wisconsin for several years. She represents the Consumer Advocates forSmoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) and lauded Wisconsin for “doing it right” by proactively seeks to clarify that e-cigs are not subject to the statewide tobacco smoking ban and “not doing knee-jerk legislation based what e-cigs look like.”Two speakers from the public health lobby were Murray Katcher and Dr. Michael Fiore, both of whom cited more fear of electronic cigarettes’ potential negative health impact than any proven harm or risk. Fiore actually acknowledged that e-cigs are helping smokers quit tobacco and that they have far fewer toxic chemicals. His main point was that e-cigs are at a similar stage at this time as tobacco cigarettes were in the 1960s and ‘70s. Katcher also strongly advocated the negative health impact potential of e-cigs, especially for children through second-hand smoke. However, Grothman’s bill is essentially focused on Wisconsin taverns and restaurants, so hopefully that would affect many children. Although, this is Wisconsin.While I hadn’t originally planned to testify at the hearing, the testimony and atmosphere got me worked up enough to speak. I scrawled a few notes and focused on my blogging experience and the key messages that e-cigs help consumers avoid tobacco, odor and second-hand smoke while reducing nicotine. When Grothman asked me how much I thought e-cigs reduced harmful toxins, I just pointed to the previous testimony from the health experts.Following another compelling personal story about how e-cigs helped kick a 30-year smoking habit from a Sheboygan, Wis., resident, and a more technical and detailed presentation on the quality of e-cigs from Don Muehlbauer of Securience,LLC, in Wauwatosa, Wis., things went a stranger direction.An apparent Capitol staffer told a heart-wrenching story about his mother dying after cancer after years of tobacco smoking and referred to e-cigarettes as “a baby death product.” While anyone would empathize with those sentiments and emotion, they really weren’t relevant to the subject of the bill, which was letting private businesses decide if they want to permit the use of e-cigarettes. Greg Conley of the Heartland Institute then noted a variety of studies supporting the argument that e-cigs have far less toxins than t[...]



Electronic cigarette supporters can use New York City ban debate to get the word out

Mon, 23 Dec 2013 23:56:00 +0000

It was disappointing, but not surprising for electronic cigarette supporters, that the New York city council recently voted to ban e-cig use in public places.As much as New York City and its people can be very blunt at times, their city government is out of touch with most of its people and reality on the e-cig ban. Electronic cigarette supporters in NYC fought the good fight against the ban, especially on social media channels. However, the odds were against them with a fight against an elite big government body like the New York city council and an accomplice media.So rather than revisiting a battle already apparently lost, below some of the main arguments against e-cigs by New York politicians followed by some positive answers, messages and strategies to help defend against further and future bans and attacks.First of all, the overall message should be that electronic cigarettes are providing a choice to help consumers avoid tobacco, odor and second-hand smoke while reducing nicotine levels. They should be fairly and reasonably regulated like other similar consumer products.  The existence and appearance of electronic cigarettes sends a message that supports and condones tobacco smoking: The facts and common sense show about 20 percent of the population still smokes tobacco after nearly half a century and billions of tax dollars spent demonizing cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes clearly give those smokers the chance and a choice to avoid tobacco, reduce nicotine and quit smoking. It’s possible that some non-smokers will choose e-cigs, but this argument is nothing more than an emotional “smoke screen.”Electronic cigarettes are not healthy:Most e-cig makers and supporters don’t hide the fact that nicotine vapor has some negative health effects. However, e-cigs can help avoid thousands of toxins and chemicals burned in traditional tobacco cigarettes. According to the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, e-cigs contain five basic ingredients, all of them approved by the FDA/EDP for human consumption and already in U.S. food supplies. At least 35 e-cig studies can be cited showing there are not any harmful levels to humans. There is not enough research or regulation of electronic cigarettes: As noted above, there are studies and research on both sides when it comes to the health impact of e-cigs. However, until there is definitive evidence one way or the other, consumers and the free markets should be allowed to decide. Electronic cigarettes should really be regulated like other somewhat similar consumer products like energy drinks, coffee, or alcohol. For example, nicotine can be considered as both a stimulant and relaxant, and the federal Centers for Disease Control has said e-cigs are “less harmful” than smoking. Finally, research can often be contradictory like recent studies claiming that multivitamins provide no health benefits.Second-hand smoke, sorry vapor, from electronic cigarettes is harmful: So far, there is really no evidence that second-hand e-cig vapor is harmful. Until credible studies or research prove otherwise, the lack of second-hand “smoke” is actually a major advantage of electronic cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes appeal to youth as a gateway to tobacco smoking: Sadly, banning e-cigs more likely heightens their appeal to youth as a means of rebelling making them seem more “cool.” It’s fine to support banning the sales and use of e-cigs to minors, but it make no sense to ban their overall use in public. At the same time, we don’t see any governments rushing to ban high caffeine energy drinks, which are certainly comparable to electronic cigarettes.Odor, or lack of it, from electronic cigarettes: The minimal or almost non-existent odor from e-cigs is one of their biggest benefits. One of the biggest complaints from non-smokers and smokers about traditional cigarettes is virtually eliminated with e-cigs. Finally, I think one of the best arguments in [...]



Electronic cigarettes need reasoned regulation

Fri, 18 Oct 2013 12:38:00 +0000

Reason and common sense are words rarely used together when it comes to government regulation. However, those words might actually describe what’s happening lately when it comes to electronic cigarettes.Electronic cigarettes are the result of a combination of the free market innovation to improve a consumer product largely in reaction to serious health concerns, government regulation and taxation.Various governments from local municipalities to entire countries seem to be struggling with how to regulate and/or tax electronic cigarettes. With the growth of electronic cigarettes increasing dramatically, so do the opportunities and calls for regulation. Wells Fargo Securities recently estimated that electronic cigarette sales could reach $1.7 billion this year with much of that coming online, but with an increasing presence at retail outlets.  Some in the United States would have the federal government regulate electronic cigarettes just like regular cigarettes. However, since e-cigs are clearly so different from traditional cigarettes, it’s not quite that simple.What regulators can’t seem to figure out or decide is exactly how to classify electronic cigarettes? Are they more like traditional cigarettes, more of a smoking cessation device, a combination of those two, or something else entirely?To look further into those questions, let’s examine what electronic cigarettes do: Once inhaled, they deliver a relatively odorless vapor using a small battery and cartomizer/atomizer or filter. The vapor generally consists of solution of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and polyethylene glycol  mixed with varying nicotine levels and flavors. Most are a combination of metal and plastic resembling a traditional cigarette, but others are more like cigars, pipes or hookahs. What electronic cigarettes do not do is light with a flame, burn or smell. They contain no tobacco or paper, and can be used almost anywhere unless someone objects, which is pretty rare in my experience. The electronic cigarette regulation debate seems to be divided into three aspects of technical, political and emotional.We’ve touched on the technical side above, but e-cigs come in a wide variety of options varying from the most basic disposables up to more complicated vapor inhalers, liquids and more. Other choices include almost any flavor imaginable and nicotine levels from high down to zero. The rapid technical innovation of electronic cigarettes is what is making the political and emotional issues so challenging and controversial. On the political side, any push to regulate cigarettes is likely limited by many governments having much bigger problems and priorities like shutdowns and debt crisis, and public fatigue and hangover from the last half century of government battles with “big tobacco” over cigarette regulation and taxation.A recent Washington Post article detailed some of the regulatory issues and major players, particularly the emergence of the big three tobacco companies Altria, Lorillard and Reynolds American in recent months. After a 2010 Federal court decision that the FDA could not consider electronic cigarettes as drug delivery devices, most of the debate in the U.S. is focused on smaller, local issues like use in public places and sales to minors. As for taxation, the FDA and other governments are again struggling with how to classify e-cigs. The European Union also recently decided to classify e-cigs more like traditional cigarettes than drug delivery devices.Another major area in question is regulation of electronic cigarette advertising and marketing. As e-cigs ads are becoming more prevalent, they are nowhere near the massive reach of traditional cigarette advertising back in the day. This is likely another area where government has bigger things on its plate and no one is really complaining. One valid comparison is that electronic cigarettes are similar to energy drinks or even [...]



Friendly tips on using e-cigs in the real world

Wed, 21 Aug 2013 02:58:00 +0000

With all due respect, electronic cigarettes aren’t just for freaks and geeks anymore.It seems like there are two customer main customer categories evolving in the electronic cigarette world. “Vapers” tend to be more into the technology, juice flavors and other gadgets in the electronic cigarette markets. Other more traditional consumers tend to gravitate toward lower maintenance products like rechargeable and disposable electronic cigarettes.Having enjoyed, closely followed and written about electronic cigarettes for the last few years, it’s been refreshing and interesting to see how they have genuinely become more publicly accepted.Despite the recent war on e-cigs from New York Mayor Bloomberg and some others, most people seem pretty accepting of them in certain public places. To help maintain that level of public support, there are some tips and etiquette for e-cig users and vapers in public from my experience.    Mind your manners: Depending on the setting and your best judgment, it’s usually best to politely ask if it’s ok to vape or use your e-cig, unless you’re absolutely sure that those around you won’t mind. My experience is that most people don’t mind and actually find it kind of interesting. In the Workplace: We are not quite yet back to the Mad Men mode of the Camelot days where e-cig users can vape in a business meeting, but I think that we’re getting closer to that every day. Otherwise, it’s certainly doable to sneak a few e-cig puffs at your desk or work station, or while walking down a quite hallway or in the break room. More casual workplaces might be more willing to accept e-cig use.Social settings: Since many of my friends know that I use e-cigs, they are fine with it socially and often curious and might join in. If I’m not as familiar with the present company, I’m less likely to vape just to avoid the hassle.On the Town: Heading out for a few cocktails is likely the most comfortable public setting to enjoy electronic cigarettes.  After initially asking bartender or server permission the first few times I vaped on the town, I now don’t even bother asking anymore since they almost never mind. I wouldn’t recommend it the dinner table in most restaurants, though.At the game: Since most big sports stadiums either ban or restrict tobacco smoking, vapers seem to have more options here. Sometimes I mingle in the smoking areas just to see the reaction to my e-cigs. However, it’s also pretty easy to grab a few puffs in the concourses or even in your seats. When it comes to high school or youth sports, it’s probably best not to vape there if it’s not permitted. With the Kids: I tend to avoid using electronic cigarettes around our children or their friends, although ours are also old enough to understand the difference between e-cigs and real ones. I also usually don’t vape around other people’s children just to avoid awkward questions or situations.On the Road: One hard and fast rule is to not even think about using an electronic cigarette on a commercial flight. They are banned and not worth the hassle on a plane even if they weren’t. However, airports are pretty much fair game, especially in the bars and restaurants as I’ve almost never been hassled. Similarly, I usually avoid vaping inside buses, trains or taxis, but I have enjoyed local favorite Bedford Slims and others on the famed NYC subways. While they say you can’t smoke in hotels or rental cars, who is ever going to know if your e-cigs have limited odor?The most basic e-cig ground rule is just to use common sense and courtesy when vaping. With e-cigs clearly becoming more popular and accepted, vapers should do their best to keep the industry going in the right direction whether its V2, Greensmoke, White Cloud, Blu or others. [...]



Electronic cigarettes seriously starting to surge

Sun, 16 Jun 2013 14:01:00 +0000

Judging by the latest flurry of media reports, it appears that electronic cigarette supporters might be on the verge of being proven correct about the enormous potential of e-cigs and vaping.This recent electronic cigarette news has generally revolved around the topics of regulation, market and consumer acceptance, and the entry of all three major tobacco companies into the e-cig market.Media coverage, commentary and social media over the last several years seriously questioned the legitimacy, direction, future and acceptance of electronic cigarettes. So, just how do electronic cigarettes move from being little more than a strange, obscure and unknown phenomenon to universal acceptance as a consumer product?One interesting market connection made by several business experts and financial analysts is comparing electronic cigarettes to the recent huge growth of energy drinks, which were once perceived as out of the mainstream, but are now almost as accepted as soda or coffee. According to CPSnet.com, energy drink and shot sales grew 60 percent between 2008 and 2012, and totaled about $12.5 billion in 2012 with likely growth to $21.5 billion by 2017.When it comes to oversight in the U.S., the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) currently considers electronic cigarettes along the lines of traditional tobacco, while state and local governments are looking at regulation and taxation issues. Globally, countries are taking various routes on e-cig regulation. For example, a recent New York Times blog noted a battle between European regulators and retailers. While the British government is looking at e-cigs as medicinal, France might ban them in public and Italy would ban them in schools. Many e-cigs are actually manufactured in China, so it will be interesting to see how Asian countries move on regulation.The Times’ blog noted that global e-cig sales increased 30 percent in each of the previous three years to around $2 billion in 2011 with the European market around $650 million, according to Euromonitor International. Retail sales of e-cigs in the U.S. reached $500 million last year. While that is only a small fraction of the overall tobacco market, those figures are rapidly increasing.So far, the electronic cigarette industry has grown mainly through online websites and social media, but there is a steadily increasing retail presence, especially with the backing of major tobacco companies. Most forms of tobacco are sold in convenience stores as almost 40 percent of their revenues come from tobacco, but those numbers are dropping with fewer smokers and other competition. Celebrities, entertainers and others have also helped promote electronic cigarettes. Early adopters a few years back like Leonardo Dicaprio, Katherine Heigl and Johnny Depp are certainly big names, but they didn’t seem to have much impact on the public acceptance of e-cigs. More recently, it has been actual ads and investment by some lesser known celebs that might be bringing electronic cigarettes to the next level. Actor Stephen Dorff’s television ads for BluCigs, singer Bruno Mars and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Sean Parker and Peter Thiel’s investment in NJoy, and musician/actress Courtney Love’s appropriately outrageous online ad for NJoy. Financially, the major tobacco companies have finally joined the e-cig market. Lorillard saw electronic cigarette earnings increase with a specific reference to the previous $35 million purchase of Blu Cigs, Altria’s subsidiary Nu Mark recently announced plans to enter the e-cig market with the Mark Ten brand, and Reynolds American just launched its Vuse brand e-cigs.Besides the high profile positive coverage of electronic cigarettes, there are stories appearing in other media outlets and even the online commentary reflect an anecdotal positive consumer reaction to e-cigs. As much as anything, it might just be t[...]



White Cloud high in the e-cig sky

Sun, 17 Feb 2013 22:42:00 +0000

Electronic cigarettes are clearly gaining momentum in early 2013 and White Cloud e-cigs are up there with the best of them. E Cig Werks has sampled a variety of electronic cigarette products recently, so this review and profile of White Cloud electronic cigarettes is also a chance for some timely insight into the bigger picture of the electronic cigarette industry.With a wide array of quality electronic cigarette products, accessories and flavors, White Cloud seems to be as versatile as any of the top e-cig brands in the marketplace. White Cloud has both high quality starter kits and disposable e-cigs. The Cirrus2 Starter kit we tried from White Cloud comes with two batteries, a charger, five cartridges and a carrying case going for $49.95 online and progresses up to a Phantom Kit with more batteries, charges, cartridges and premium case for $199.95. The batteries come in long and short sizes, white or brushed metal colors, and three different ash tip colors depending on preference. White Cloud one-piece disposable electronic cigarettes come in the Fling brand with some 16 flavors now listed online, but more on that later. Online prices range from $5.95 for a single e-cig all the way up to $325 for a large quantity of 100. While you might expect the draw or flavor quality of a disposable e-cigarette to be less than that of a rechargeable battery, White Cloud products seem pretty comparable, which is a good thing. One of the many advantages of e-cigs is their versatility, which includes differences between product functionality, but not necessarily in quality. Each Fling disposable provides about 300-400 puffs, according to White Cloud, while the cartridges on the two-piece Cirrus models equal about 40 traditional cigarettes. In sampling the about 10 of White Cloud’s 16 flavor and strength levels, E Cig Werks concluded that the Apache,  Bora Bora, Kick and Espresso flavors were among the best. In particular, Espresso seemed most realistic and strong, while Kick and Bora Bora were very flavorful. Others like Vanilla and Moscow Male (kind of a strange, but appropriate name) were not really to my taste, but flavors can be especially subjective, which is probably why they have so many. White Cloud recently rolled out a new Cin (cinnamon) flavor for its Fling disposables. It’s starting to seem like good old Menthol gets lost in the shuffle with all these new e-cig flavors.White Cloud labels their nicotine strength levels with appropriate letter codes and we tried Double Extra Strength (XX), which is their strongest and Full Strength (F), which is in the middle. White Cloud has lower nicotine levels and a nicotine-free option like some other brands. Tarpon Springs, Fla.-based White Cloud emphasizes that their products, while using some components from China, are assembled on site here in the U.S. White Cloud’s website also provides clear and detailed description of its products, including one of the best graphics we’ve seen on how electronic cigarettes work. Over the last few months, it seems that the public perception and media coverage of electronic cigarettes and vaping has been increasingly positive. Brands like White Cloud and others on the higher end of the e-cig market have been included in some of that coverage. Specifically, White Cloud was mentioned as a top brand in an October Forbes’ story on electronic cigarette growth which noted the company has experienced 77 percent growth since being founded by Michael Murray and Danielle and Matthew Steingraber in 2008.Another area where White Cloud is among e-cig industry leaders is packaging and design. Their website provides colorful vapor jackets designs as well as NFL team tailgate accessory packs with color corresponding cases, battery and cartridge jackets. White Cloud also provides shot gun tips for those looking for more vapor and nicotin[...]



88 lines about 44 e-cigs

Wed, 23 Jan 2013 13:09:00 +0000

E-cigs are the next big thing, smokin’ in a hi tech style.Blu the color of the sky, ads with Stephen Dorff are cool.Greensmoke seems organic, then again, aren’t they all.V2 has a space age name, really smokes here on earth.(humming)Bedford Slims from NYC, handlebar mustachio.Safe Cig is John Cameron’s deal, his bro has Titanic taste.E Cigs Unlimited, name’s too long for this line.South Beach Smoke, makes Miami free to vape.(humming)White Cloud keeps it high, in the sky with cool smokes.American E-Liquid, lotta flavors from the States.Metro has that city feel, in the stores and online.Halo is so heavenly, angels might like this brand.(humming)Eversmoke lasts so long, orange tip looks like it’s lit.Totally Wicked dual coil, cool cartoons on their site.Johnson Creek has the Vea, Midwest flavors you can try.     Electronic Cigarettes Inc., boring name, exciting cigs.(humming)Red Dragon puff this slogan, Arizona is their home.Volcano blows its top, Inferno, Magma, Lavatube.ProSmoke rates high, really not for amateurs.Smoking Everywhere is the goal, planes, trains and some bars.(humming)NJoy should be good, see them in convenience stores.Gamucci an Italian name, but comes from the UK.E-Swishers aren’t cigars, now they’re e-cigs that are sweetLogics are disposable, Power Series is their line.(humming)Vapor Corp. has several brands, Fifty-One smokes anywhere.EonSmoke from New Jersey, lets you change more easily.Big Bang is the bomb, starter kits and much more.Divine Smoke party flavors, they’re from out east.(humming)Jet Cigs has the flavor, starter kits with cool pack.ROK they’re from Britain, bloody well good e-cig.Evolve is disposable, really nothing wrong with that.Ecigarator is no danger, just hanging in the swamp.(humming)MadVapes are they crazy, we sure hope they’re not.Ginger’s E-Juice has the flavor, American made all the way.Virgin Vapor is organic, no more comment needed there.Alice in Vapeland, Lewis Carroll might enjoy.(humming)Vape Dudes must abide, many cigs in their stock.Pink Spot Vapors hit the spot, pretty in any style. 777 not the Sunset Strip, e-cigs with some luck.Highbrow Vapor ye e-cig, really isn’t from the past.(humming)Solar Cigarette always sunny, always in Florida.Really E-Cig comes from England, must be a smashing smoke.21st Century Smoke in the stores, and online if you must.E Cig Werks, that is me, I choose myself to end this list.[...]



Can electronic cigarettes recreate retro rebelliousness?

Mon, 10 Dec 2012 14:08:00 +0000

Try to remember the last time someone waxed poetic about the days when smoking cigarettes in coffee shops and bars was considered cool.While it’s probably been a while, a recent Chicago Reader column by Tal Rosenberg lamented and lampooned how the 2008 Illinois smoking ban helped eliminate the once vibrant vibe of the Windy City’s coffee shop culture. On the same day, a Business Insider article predicted a possible bright and lucrative future for electronic cigarette advertising. A couple days later, the New York Times and Bloomberg Business ran stories on the growth of electronic cigarettes and their advertising. The timing of these stories and comments got me thinking about whether electronic cigarettes could ever replace traditional cigarettes as an accepted social behavior with a tamer version of the once audacious act of smoking tobacco, or do the same in the mainstream advertising and marketing worlds.Cigarette smokers have been relegated to the point where just catching a whiff of tobacco on the street sends one on a time warp to a Mad Men episode. It’s hard to believe there were times and places where smoking represented a sense of romantic rebelliousness such as Chicago in the ‘90s, Greenwich Village in the ‘60s, Casablanca in the ‘40s or Paris in the ‘20s. Yes, the times they are a changin’ at coffee houses around the world. It’s certainly debatable whether smoking bans themselves, more health conscious attitudes or both are beating the drums of change at coffee shops, bars and other places formerly known for their smoky ambiance.    As much criticism as smokers endure for their habit, they tend to be on the eccentric, independent and nomadic side, which fits right in with that old school coffee house culture. However, as coffee houses and taverns move ever farther from their Bohemian roots, is there a chance that electronic cigarettes can be part of either a rebellious or acceptable future social consciousness?Whether or not we want to admit it, our basic cultural behavior is often driven by advertising, public relations and now more by social media.  Much like the overall market for electronic cigarettes, brand and product advertising and marketing is currently very fragmented even though some major brands like Blu, Njoy and a few others might control larger market shares. With all due respect to Blu Cigs with its Stephen Dorff ads and others, there just haven’t yet been enough major electronic cigarette advertising or high profile celebrity endorsements to generate significant public interest.   That could be changing now as the New York Times and Bloomberg indicated that Njoy is launching a major ad campaign in the $12-14 million range covering cable and local television, print, online, social media and public relations. A major breakthrough for e-cig advertising will come when ads appear on national broadcast networks.Some of the latest numbers from the electronic cigarette world include an estimated 3.5 million users in the United States from the Tobacco Electronic Cigarette Association with sales of $500 million from Bonnie Herzog, tobacco analyst for Wells Fargo Securities, whose increasing media profile as an electronic cigarette market source is another sign of the industry’s growth. Herzog estimates U.S. annual e-cigarette sales are now about $500 million while tobacco cigarettes are about $1 billion. She and others have compared the current e-cigarette market to where energy drinks were several years ago before dramatically taking off. The fine line that electronic cigarette marketers have been walking might be widening when it comes to claims of being a “healthier” alternative to traditional cigarettes as some ads are using language like “Rise from the ashes” for Blu or [...]



American E-Liquid Store covers the bases

Mon, 03 Dec 2012 13:30:00 +0000

As an electronic cigarette manufacturer and distributor, the American E-Liquid Store is going a long way toward satisfying its customers with a variety of products.While focusing on electronic cigarette liquid as its name suggests, American E-Liquid Store also provides customers and suppliers with batteries, chargers and other accessories. With a strong online e-commerce presence and some retail product supply support, American E-Liquid Store seeks to combine high quality products with a variety of more than 40 flavored e-liquids.American E-Liquid Store prides itself on customer service and versatility in providing an ever-changing selection of e-liquid flavors.“We have a lot of products and hardware, but the liquid and flavors are our bread and butter,” American E-Liquid Store Chief Marketing Officer Kyle Danowski said during a recent site visit with E Cig Werks. “We have a diverse line because flavors can be pretty subjective. Customer service is also a pillar of our business.”Operating out of a relatively small location with offices and laboratories in Wauwatosa, Wis., just west of Milwaukee, American E-Liquid Store sells its products mostly in North America, but also worldwide.Some of the more exotic American E-Liquid Store Flavors include Cheesecake, Champagne, Djarum Black Clove and HavanaX, American E-Liquid Store also provides more traditional flavors like Tobacco, Menthol, Chocolate and Vanilla. Liquid bottles range in sizes from 15 mL to 60 mL with prices from $9.99 to $29.99 with options for nicotine and base liquid levels.While marketing the creativity of some of those exotic e-liquid flavors, American E-Liquid Store maintains a commitment to its customers with a straight-forward no-nonsense website at www.amercianeliquidstore.com and a 100 percent money back satisfaction guarantee. In addition, American E-Liquid Store adheres to ISO industry recognized standards for quality and operations, as well as Food & Drug Administration (FDA) current good manufacturing practices for pharmaceuticals.“We take the time and make the efforts to keep improving our products, services and facilities,” Danowski said. “We do lots of testing and so our quality management system is ISO certified and approved, and continuously improving often above and beyond what is required.”Other American E-Liquid Store products include eCigarette kits ranging from $19.99 rechargeables to $84.99 premium kits. Batteries, charges, atomizers, cartomizers also come in various styles and options, as well as accessories like cases, adapters, drip tips and do-it-yourself kits.These options allow American E-Liquid Store to sell to a variety of customers whether they want to take more time to enjoy the e-cigarette experience or whether they want more convenience.American E-Liquid Store started just over three years ago and markets mainly online. The company is also increasing its social media presence on Facebook and Twitter, and getting out meeting customers at local vaping events in the community, according to Dan Bartholow, American E-Liquid Store. “We fly under the radar a little bit,” Bartholow said. “We’re a growing company, but like to remember that we started small.”Both Danowski and Bartholow see only a positive future for the electronic cigarette and vaping markets. “There are lots of products and brands available, but the message of what electronic cigarettes can do and how they work is really getting out there now,” Danowski said. “You get the whole experience of smoking, but without really smoking, and it costs less.”Bartholow also believes that electronic cigarettes are moving toward increase acceptance. “You’re seeing more people using them (e-cigs) in social situations,” he said. “It wil[...]



South Beach Smoke electronic cigarettes stay true to name

Wed, 21 Nov 2012 16:00:00 +0000

As its name implies, South Beach Smoke puts the emphasis on its cool location and does not back down from the smoke when it comes to its electronic cigarettes. Based in Miami, home of the famed South Beach, this brand combines both the realistic and stylistic elements of the electronic cigarette market.South Beach Smoke electronic cigarettes replicate the look and feel of traditional cigarettes with a red-striped beige atomizer cartridge displaying the nicotine level, connected to an off-white 4.2-volt lithium ion battery with a gray and red logo. The batteries come in two sizes as either standard or larger with extra-capacity. The batteries should last on a charge for about 300-400 puffs or equal to a pack of traditional cigarettes or more depending on use. One of the most distinguishing South Beach Smoke features is the orange high glow crystal style tip, which lights brightly within a silver ring on each puff. It’s definitely a less realistic, but more modernistic look that fits perfectly with the South Beach Smoke moniker. Since its inception two years ago, South Beach Smoke has grown market share in the U.S. with a strong online presence and newly launched wholesale and retail channels. The company also has plans to expand online in the U.K. in the near future. South Beach Smoke CEO Nick Molina believes his brand is leading the way toward educating consumers about the benefits of electronic cigarettes. “There are an estimated 2.5 million people who have already chosen e-cigs over tobacco cigarettes and that population continues to grow,” Molina said. “We’re working hard to raise awareness of the health, social, and financial benefits of e-cigs so that as many smokers as possible realize there’s a better alternative to what is truly an antiquated practice.”Like other e-cigarettes, South Beach Smoke batteries contain a microcomputer smart chip, indicator light and battery cell that operate when the smoker inhales to vaporize the nicotine solution.South Beach Smoke customers can choose from nicotine levels ranging from zero, six, 12 or 16 milligrams (mg). I sampled the 12 mg level, which provided consistent and smooth puffs strongly resembling traditional cigarettes. Each cartomizer is equivalent to about 20 cigarettes, according to South Beach Smoke. The Deluxe Plus starter kit from South Beach Smoke contained two sizes of batteries, 5 cartomizers, carrying case, along with USB charger, wall charger and car charger. Currently priced at $89.99, the Deluxe Plus kit is a mid-range between the Deluxe kit and Deluxe Ultimate kit. Other South Beach Smoke accessories and options include Reusable Express kits resembling a traditional cigarette pack, as well as disposable e-cigarettes in packs of four, eight or 12. As for flavors, South Beach Smoke offers as tobacco classic along with variations of tobacco blue and gold. Other flavors include menthol, vanilla, chocolate, cherry, peppermint, pina colada and peach, many of which are offered in variety packs. Molina has a broad business background in technology, real estate and finance, while also contributing back to the community in the Miami area. He believes electronic cigarettes have a bright future.“Many of those who use e-cigs are former smokers who I applaud for choosing a safer alternative,” Molina said. “With heightened consumer demand for a better lifestyle options across the board, the movement toward e-cigs came as no surprise to us. With numerous studies showing the use of e-cigs can dramatically reduce nicotine intake and in some cases, even help to remove nicotine from users’ daily lives, this movement is here to stay.”[...]



Electronic cigarettes campaign toward increased acceptance

Tue, 30 Oct 2012 19:34:00 +0000

With the 2012 U.S. presidential election and Hurricane Sandy dominating the news headlines, several recent media stories and coverage of electronic cigarettes indicating their growth toward mainstream consumer acceptance might be lost in the shuffle.These stories include items in Forbes.com and Convenience Store Decisions about the increasing acceptance of electronic cigarettes in the consumer marketplace, and another about actor Stephen Dorff’s video ad endorsing Blu Cigs as a major way to avoid traditional cigarettes.In fact, the headline of the Forbes.com story used a rather loaded term in the e-cig world saying that “E-cigs are ready to explode.” Well, those close to the e-cig industry and others might recall stories from early 2012 about some e-cigs supposedly dangerously exploding. Those incidents apparently turned out to be more frivolous than factual as they were due to significant device modifications and little has been heard on the subject since they occurred.The fact that the fledgling e-cig industry survived that early scare regarding possible product defects now seems like a distant memory. However, it may well be remembered as an early victory in the larger campaign toward electronic cigarette popularity.The Forbes story focused on White Cloud e-cigs as just one of several of the more successful brands like V2, Blu, NJoy and Green Smoke. It also explores the issue of major tobacco companies becoming more involved in electronic cigarettes.Some interesting numbers from the Forbes’ story include that White Cloud enjoys 77 percent annual revenue growth, Blu Cigs brought in $30 million revenue in 2011, the e-cig industry generates $250-500 million annually compared to the $100 billion overall U.S. tobacco industry, and 2.7 percent of U.S. adults tried an e-cig in 2010 compared to just 0.6 percent a year earlier.While Forbes predicts that e-cigs are about to “explode” from a combination of technology and marketing, the trade publication Convenience Store Decisions (CSD) makes a compelling comparison to the energy drink industry.CSD claims the e-cig industry currently generates about $300 million in the retail with the potential to grow to $1 billion within 10 years, while other industry experts think it could grow even faster.The Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association says there are currently 1.5 million e-cigarette users in the U.S. compared to 46 million traditional tobacco users, with the big difference being that e-cig use is increasing while tobacco-based cigarettes are decreasing.The story also summarizes regulatory issues facing e-cigs noting that while some smokers may use e-cigs as a way to cut back or quit smoking regular cigarettes, they are regulated more like traditional cigarettes than as a health care option to quit smoking. While government regulation and taxation of e-cigs is being discussed at various levels, it may also stay just talk as long as e-cigs continue remain low profile when it comes to marketing, advertising and promotion, which have been mainly online, word of mouth and smaller promotional efforts until recently. One higher profile advertising effort in recent weeks is actor Stephen Dorff’s partnership with Blu Cigs on their “Rise from the Ashes” video. While other celebrities and athletes have either more casually endorsed e-cigs or openly enjoyed them publicly, Dorff’s video for Blu has received more media coverage. Blu was also purchased by Lorillard Tobacco earlier this year and helped contribute $14 million in third quarter sales. Dorff, who has appeared in numerous films and television such as the movies “Blade” and “Backbeat,” was a smoker for 20 years. In the black and white Blu (get it) vi[...]



V2 Cigs keeps it real with variety

Tue, 09 Oct 2012 20:54:00 +0000

One of the many benefits of electronic cigarettes is their variety. Electronic cigarette users enjoy a range of products from more realistic or traditional versions all the way to the most unique and different vaping experiences.  Some electronic cigarettes definitely provide a more realistic experience than others, so whether that’s good or bad is really up to the consumer. While I’m usually fine with the most simple and basic versions of electronic cigarettes and vaping, other consumers certainly prefer more options.   A brand offering as significant a variety of products and accessories as anyone in the marketplace right now is V2 Cigs. The Miami-based e-cigarette company’s product portfolio includes starter kits, traveler kits, high-end e-cig products, a women’s brand (Vapor Couture), flavored cartridges, e-liquids and more. Founded in 2009, V2 Cigs has rapidly grown to be the largest online purveyor of electronic cigarettes worldwide, with corporate headquarters and their own shipping facility in Floridaand a staff of more than 100 employees.Like other e-cig brands, V2 comes with a rechargeable battery, disposable cartridges and battery charges. Each flavor cartridge contains a solution of propylene glycol, water, flavoring and nicotine (in 6mg, 12mg, and 18mg strengths), as well as a nicotine-free option.   I found that V2 batteries held a charge for plenty of time. Combine that with the fact that the cartridges are dependable and long lasting provide for an excellent e-cig experience. V2 boasts an industry-high standard 4.2V battery across their entire line of e-cigs. Since reviews of electronic cigarette cartridge flavors can be as subjective as those for movies or restaurants, I’ll start with two of the basic V2 flavors – Red and Menthol. With Red as the most standard V2 flavor cartridge, I found the zero nicotine level to be as good as any I’ve sampled. The V2 Menthol was also very enjoyable in both the zero and light (6mg) nicotine levels. My two favorite V2 flavors had a soda counter feel as I really enjoyed the Cherry and Cola cartridges, as the taste and feel was the strongest and most realistic. Other flavors like vanilla, chocolate, coffee and peppermint were less appealing and realistic to me, but that is also a matter of personal taste. Besides the flavor variety, V2 offers a robust line of functional and stylish accessories. While I find the standard flash drive charger most useful, V2 has car chargers, wall chargers and portable case chargers (PCCs). In fact, while other brands offer a traditional “cigarette pack” style charging case, V2 launched a proprietary PCC with a slim profile and ergonomic feel much like an iPhone. Again, more options and selections are available from V2 at reasonable prices. Other V2 accessories include e-cig neck lanyards, which can certainly be a popular feature. In fact, V2 is offering a free pink lanyard as part of its Breast Cancer Awareness promotions this October. V2 also offers disposable e-cigarettes that were first introduced this summer. They come in packages of one, five, 10 and 20 flavor cartridges with flavor and nicotine levels options. I found the disposable versions comparable to other V2s and one of the best I’ve tried overall.  Like many e-cig products, V2 has a strong online and social media marketing presence, but is also adding retail outlets such as the recently announced Hudson News Distributors with 10,000 stores in the northeastern United States. V2 also recently announced their expansion to 7-Eleven, Short Stop, QuickStop, Navarro, Mobil, and Hess stores, among other vendors. V2 proudly offers a[...]



E Cig Werks celebrates first anniversary of vaping coverage

Wed, 01 Aug 2012 21:04:00 +0000

Exactly one year ago today, I took the plunge and began the E Cig Werks blog, followed by a Twitter feed and Facebook page. To mark this milestone, here are some thoughts and numbers on how things have gone in the blogosphere so far.First, as you can see from the blog banner, I am simply looking to comment on and analyze the electronic cigarette industry, write brand reviews and profiles, and provide some affiliate links or advertising to help support the site. Believe me, this last year has been a labor of love toward electronic cigarettes and certainly not a profitable one.The electronic cigarette industry is relatively new, but rapidly expanding with a plethora of brands, companies and others competing for a growing customer base, as well as monitoring government regulation and a volatile economy and marketplace. This is my 26th E Cig Werks post in the last year on electronic cigarette topics ranging from entertainment, celebrities, sports, politics and more. E Cig Werks has attended vaping events in Chicago while personally visiting with brands like Bedford Slims and Johnson Creek Smoke Juice, and profiling or reviewing several companies and brands.The E Cig Werks blog has totaled about 12,500 page views in the first year or an average of about 34 per day. While 70 percent of the traffic is from the U.S., other countries with the most visits include Great Britain, Canada, Germany, Russia and India. I’ve received more than 200 comments from readers with some being much better or more coherent than others, but all are appreciated. While the blog page itself only has three follows (thanks guys!), the E Cig Werks Twitter feed just passed the 400 mark for followers, most of which are related to electronic cigarettes, marketing, business or writing. Twitter seems to be the best form of social media communication these days as E Cig Werks recently started Facebook page and only has about 10 friends (sniff, sniff). Over the last year, I’ve placed countless comments on other websites, forums and blogs attempting to generate interest. That practice is certainly open to debate, but I don’t really consider these comments as SPAM since I’m always attempting to make relevant comments about electronic cigarettes or smoking-related topics. I enjoy working with the Blogger site to create and promote E Cig Werks. I also appreciate the design element paying tribute the Tubes’ Completion Backwards Principle album cover from 1980. Since E Cig Werks started a year ago, electronic cigaretteshave become increasingly more accepted and popular, but still have a long way to go before we’re enjoying them in more traditional settings like business meetings, family functions or sporting events. However, you can count on E Cig Werks to keep you informed and feel free to let me know your thoughts while I go enjoy an electronic cigarette.  [...]



Lorillard expects success with Blu Cigs, but will others follow?

Thu, 26 Jul 2012 22:19:00 +0000

It appears that tobacco manufacturer Lorillard and electronic cigarette brand Blu are still just getting to know each other. With its latest earnings report, Lorillard indicated general satisfaction with its acquisition of Blu earlier this year.Lorillard said that Blu contributed $8 million to the company’s total net sales for the quarter, but didn’t have an impact on profitability. In addition, Lorillard earnings per share were $2.19 when adjusted for costs related to the Blu acquisition. Murray S. Kessler, Lorillard CEO & President, expressed a strategic view of Blu and the electronic cigarette market after the first quarter earnings report. “I’m even more convinced about this opportunity now that we have gotten to better know the business and its management team,” Kessler said in recent earnings report coverage. “The business is rapidly growing, there is a clear patch to improving the technology over time, and consumer research supports that there is strong trial and repeat. Keep thinking of Blu as a long-term R&D project that we’re very excited about.”As for electronic cigarette government regulation, Kessler seems to see things heading mostly in the right direction. “We are taking a leadership position in the industry regarding responsibility and quality control and we look forward to working with the FDA so that it allows this segment to responsibly grow. We also look forward to working with the FDA to assess the role c-cigs can play within a comprehensive hard reduction strategy. We are convinced e-cigs can, and should, play a major role.”Besides Lorillard’s direction with Blu, it will be interesting to see where other major tobacco companies go with electroniccigarettes as they seek additional markets. When asked about the Lorillard acquisition and electronic cigarettes during a conference call earlier this year, Altria Chairman & CEO Michael E. Szymanczyk remained rather cautious. “We pay attention to all of these emerging segments and watch what’s going on and do some research and so we’ve been monitoring this one for some time,” Szymanczyk said. “There is pretty high awareness, but it represents still pretty small business proposition and so we are mindful of it.”While Szymanczyk indicated that Atria has done consumer research on e-cig technology, he also admitted the marketplace is wide open. “It’s not the kind of things that you would market test because it would be pretty hard to read among all the noise that exists in the market, but you really rely on consumer research relative to communication around the segments and the particular audiences.”Phillip Morris also seemed to send mixed messages in electronic cigarette and alternative tobacco product discussions earlier this year when CEO Louis Camilleri said the industry could be heading for a “paradigm shift” with new products around the world. However, any details on where Phillip Morris is going with c-cigs or other products remains open to speculation. The major tobacco manufacturers may also been cautious when it comes to electronic cigarettes since some companies experimented with them with little progress years ago. Only now that e-cig technology has improved in the last decade have they gained more significant popularity, acceptance and apparent success.So, while Lorillard has taken that initial electronic cigarette plunge with the Blu acquisition, the other major tobacco companies are still sitting on the edge of the pool while countless smaller brands enjoy the water, or vapor, in this case. [...]



Metro keeps its eye on the electronic cigarette prize

Fri, 06 Jul 2012 13:33:00 +0000

As the electronic cigarette market grows rapidly, the METRObrand is looking to continue cutting its way through an often hazy and cloudy marketplace with a solid line of products and a straightforward marketing approach.  The Colorado-based Metro brand was launched by Nicotek, LLC in January 2011 and is available both online and in retail outlets. Like many electronic cigarettes, METRO  uses a simple two-part system with a rechargeable battery, flavor cartridge and battery charger.  Marketed in premium and standard starter kits with separate accessories, and now, disposables, Nicotek has closely monitored and watched the electronic cigarette market for about three years to help develop the METRO brand and products. That research into both the benefits and drawbacks of electronic cigarettes led Nicotek to specifically focus on quality and consistency with the METRO brand. In addition, METRO closely follows suggested FDA e-cig regulations, including selling only regular and menthol flavors at standard nicotine volume strengths between 0 and 1.8 percent with water, propylene glycol and flavor.  “We continue to react quickly to market conditions, provide top of the line display and merchandising options, and of course, offer a quality product at a fair price,” said Mark Williams, business development representative for Nicotek. “These are all the things that retailers, distributors and consumers are looking for.” METRO starter kits with a rechargeable lithium battery, two hybrid cartridges and a USB battery charger retails for a reasonable $19.99. They also come in premium kits with two batteries, 10 cartridges, three charges and a case for $49.99.  In April 2012, METRO launched a disposable one-piece electronic cigarette called SEVEN that retails for $7.99 delivering about 300 puffs or the equivalent of two packs of traditional cigarettes. “This new item from METRO allows us to offer a more natural smoking experience through an e-cig that is about the same size as a traditional cigarette,” said Chris Colon, category development manager for The Pantry convenience story chain. “Consumers are shopping with their wallets in today’s economy and I feel the METRO SEVEN provides consumers with an option they have been looking for.” While I find the various electronic cigarette comparisons to be somewhat subjective, my experience with the METRO 1.8 percent standard e-cig had it lasting quite a long time without needing a charge or cartridge change. Also, the battery and cartridge proved to be dependable with the flavor - one of the most realistic I’ve experienced when compared to traditional cigarettes. Finally, a functional and eye-catching tin carrying case gives METRO some added style, and they are now selling t-shirts online. METRO seems to be striking a good balance between online and retail sales availability. Their website at www.metroecigs.com gives customers easy access and basic product information. With a presence in more than 10,000 U.S. retail stores, METRO should grow that area further with products like the disposable SEVEN. “Our team is constantly researching and brainstorming new ideas to help grow the electronic cigarette market,” said Arthur Marquez, creative director for Nicotek. “2012 brings a tone of new and exciting concepts to the table.” Competing in an ever growing, crowded and complicated electronic cigarette market, METRO is likely to succeed based on a combination of simplicity and creativity. “We definitely plan on longevity,” said METRO's internet marketin[...]



Lorillard and Blu Cigs take big electronic cigarette plunge

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 21:07:00 +0000

I think it’s safe to say that the electronic cigarette landscape changed was sufficiently rocked with today’s big announcement of the Lorillard Tobacco Company’s acquisition of the Blu Cigs electronic cigarette company for $135 million.E Cig Werks first blogged about possible impending nuptials between smaller electronic cigarette brands and the major tobacco companies in December 2011. At that time, an article on the Seeking Alpha financial website described electronic cigarettes as a “threat” faced by major tobacco companies. The article by Paul Santos was one of the first to note the logical interest in electronic cigarettes for large worldwide tobacco companies. At the time, Blu Cigs president Jason Healy made the following comment on Santos’ Dec. 7, 2011 column. “It’s good to see this topic being discussed, said Healy. “I am obviously betting on the fact that we have and will continue to make an impression on big tobacco.”The impression was apparently a good one as the Greensboro, N.C.-based Lorillardwill keep Blu as a separate company operated by its current management team in Charlotte while acknowledging Blu as the “best selling” electronic cigarette brand. "This is a very exciting move for me and my team,” Healy said in a statement today. “I am particularly excited about what this means for the brand and our customers. It gives us access to the tremendously experienced team and resources at Lorillard and will allow us to move to the next level on our expansion and product development."Having followed the growth of the electronic cigarette industry pretty closely for well over a year, I was just waiting for the larger tobacco companies to get involved as e-cig and acceptance popularity increased. According to the CDC, the percentage of U.S.adults who tried electronic cigarettes quadrupled from .06 percent in 2009 to 2.7 percent in 2010. While those numbers are small, they have increased significantly since then, but still pale in comparison to those using regular cigarettes. A New York magazine story had noted that the number of posts on the Electronic Cigarette Forum were at about 4.2 million for 2011 compared to some 30,000 three years ago in 2008. In addition, the online world of social media is full of websites, blogs, forums, Facebook and Twitter pages, and more outlets focusing on electronic cigarettes. With benefits like health considerations, cost savings, decreased odor, improved access and more, it seemed that an unsettled regulatory climate might prevent faster growth. However, since a U.S. Appeals Court ruled that electronic cigarettes be regulated as a tobacco product and not a smoking cessation device in late 2010, the market has grown further.  As many smaller companies like Blu grew and competed in the online and retail marketplace, it was only a matter of time before the big companies like Lorillard came around to electronic cigarettes. "For a relatively modest investment, we believe this acquisition can open up a significant avenue of growth for the company long-term,” said Lorillard Chairman, CEO & President MurrayKessler. "I'd say this because e-cigarettes is a rapidly expanding market segment, which is very early in development, and Blu cigs is the leading brand and innovator in the segment. We believe that Blu will benefit from Lorillard Tobacco Company's regulatory experience and sales infrastructure which are needed for it, and the category, to reach its potential in a responsible manner."Of course, there are still many unknowns in th[...]



Vapefest, Vapebash bring vapers together in Chicago, sort of

Tue, 03 Apr 2012 19:45:00 +0000

 E Cig Werks wasn’t the only vaper a bit confused by the dueling vaping events in Chicagolast weekend.There was Vapefest organized by the National Vapers Club(NVC) at the ChicagoO’ Hare Hyatt and at the same time, there was Vapebash at the O’ Hare Holiday Inn Express organized by the Windy City Vapers Club. I’ll let the various vaping forums cover the details and politics as to why there were two similar events only a couple miles apart on one weekend in Chicago. E Cig Werks is simply going to provide a more general review and some observations from the crowds and vendors who were there.Both events were pretty well attended with about 20-30 vendors each and hundreds of vapers, but a major difference was that Vapefest had a $10 entry while Vapebash was free. It sure would have been better to have everyone at one location, but it still worked out fine, especially thanks to a shuttle bus between the two that was apparently provided by the folks at Cignot.Even though many of the vendors and attendees were from the Chicago area like Cignot, Vapor4Life and Instant E-Cig, some had come a pretty long way including VapeNY, VapeRite from Georgia, MapVapes from North Carolina, and White Stag Vapor from Ohio.We spent Saturday afternoon mixing with attendees and talking to vendors, suppliers, manufacturers and other media. While E Cig Werks tries to focus its coverage on electronic cigarettes, it was interesting to see the wide variety of vaping products, e-liquids and smoke juice products and services. There were plenty of examples of the growing variety and popularity of e-liquid flavors in Chicagowith samples from bold coffees to exotic spices to homegrown organics from vendors like VapeNY, Vapor4Life, Clouds of Vapor, Century 21 Smoking and others. One new product making its debut at Vapefest was Century21 Smoking’s unique liquid dispensing device with a juice canister and cigarette dispenser. We noticed the “cool” factor of setting it on a bar or conference room table, as well as the potential hygiene benefits. The device is loaded with juice, flipped over and is then ready for vaping. Other popular products were larger battery “mods” with drip tips or specialty flavors from vendors like VapeNY, Cignot, MadVapes and others. Smaller disposable e-cigs were not as prevalent although Instant E-Cig from Chicagohad some quality reasonably priced products available.Among the observations from Vapebash and Vapefest in Chicago were that the electronic cigarette and vaping industry is growing and growing quickly. The big question on many minds was just how big can it grow and when will it become more accepted and mainstream? Hopefully, it will be sooner than later, depending on factors such as regulation, marketing, advertising, endorsements and more.Another takeaway from the Chicago events was the competitive camaraderie that seems to exist in the vaping community. Despite the obvious issues of the competing Vapebash and Vapefest events, everyone seemed to enjoy and appreciate the chance to socialize, spend and make money, and discuss the state of the industry.As much as most vendors were in Chicago to market and sell their products, some provided interesting success stories about how e-cigs had improved either their lives or the lives of their customers by allowing them to quit smoking regular cigarettes. Several vapers were also quick to share similar stories. So, hopefully, Vapebash and Vapefest organizers can figure out a way to combine forces for future Chicagoevents. E Cig Werks thoroughly enjoyed a[...]



Vapefest 2012: Won’t you please come to Chicago, just to Vape

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 18:41:00 +0000

E Cig Werks is expecting to make Chicago Vapefest 2012 “sweet home” for at least a few hours this weekend and will be looking to cover the event with blog posts, as well as with posts and photos on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Sponsored by the National Vapers Club (NVC) and others, previous Vapefest events have been held in Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Virginia. The Chicago 2012 event takes place Saturday, March 31 and Sunday, April 1 at the Hyatt Regency O’ Hare at 9300 West Bryn Mawr Avenue, Rosemont, Illinois.

Chicago Vapefest 2012 runs from noon until 9 p.m. followed by the XFactor band on Saturday and during the same hours on Sunday followed by a DJ. Raffles are also held hourly during the event from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. It’s only $10 for weekend passes or daily entrance at the event and attendees must be over 18 with an ID to get in.

Entry fee and raffle tickets proceeds will be used for electronic cigarettes research and other activism, as well as promotion on an e-cigarette documentary project called “We are Vapers.”

NVC is a consumer-based electronic cigarette organization that encourages responsible self-regulation by e-cigarette retailers, works with public health professionals on public information, encourages cigarette smokers to switch to electronic cigarettes and is fighting efforts to ban electronic cigarettes in various locations. The group formed about three years ago in Long Island, N.Y. to discuss electronic cigarettes and has grown nationally at the same time electronic cigarettes have become increasingly popular and accepted.

More information on Vapefests and NVC is available on their website at www.vapersclub.com and please provide any comments or feedback here.



Xcig focuses on disposable quality e-cig option

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 11:53:00 +0000

Disposable and quality are words that don’t necessarily go together, but don’t tell that to the makers of Xcig electronic cigarettes. After recently trying the Xcig tobacco and menthol disposable electronic cigarettes, E Cig Werks can report that their disposables work very well. In fact, Xcig products demonstrate the increasing overall versatility of the many emerging electronic cigarette products and brands. As you might expect from a disposable, Xcigs are one of the lightest weighing electronic cigarettes around. In this case, less is really not a bad thing as Xcigs still provide plenty of vapor and with consistent puffs. The unique feature of a soft tip also contributes to less weight and a more realistic cigarette feel. The Xcigs come in a very simple, one-piece disposable lithium battery and cartomizer in both regular tobacco and menthol flavors, which Xcig describes as “non-radical.” While other brands are focused on providing more flavor options, Xcig prefers to keep things back to basics when it comes to flavors.Like most electronic cigarettes, the negative air flow activates an internal atomizer to release nicotine filled water vapor similar to traditional cigarettes. However, the Xcig contains only five non-toxic ingredients compared to the estimated 3,000 chemicals in tobacco cigarettes. Xcigs contain nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, distilled water and artificial flavor.  I haven’t been counting, but it’s hard to dispute Xcigs’ claim that each cigarette last for about 500 puffs. With a 1.6% standard nicotine level, Xcig seems to provide an appropriate level of vapor for most almost anyone, depending on their preference. With an online cost ranging between about $6 to 8.50 per cigarette, Xcig is certainly comparable to a pack or two of regular tobacco cigarettes, which ranges from $4 to $12, according to a recent report by the Awl.com. Xcigs are also marketed in retail outlets such as Hess, 7-11, Circle K, Mobil and more. Xcig currently has about 4,600 likes on Facebook and 220 followers on Twitter. According to their website, Xcig has a team of individuals with an overall unique skill set. With over 20 years of experience in the electronics industry, 10 years in the tobacco industry and four years experience in the electronic cigarette industry, Xcig was formed to offer a product that no one else had. The soft-tip, realistic-sized electronic cigarette puts Xcig at the forefront of modern technology. Losing the chargers was a bold move in the industry, but Xcig believes recharging the electronic cigarette is a thing of the past. Disposable units are the wave of the future and offer a much needed care-free approach to the electronic cigarette.As for Xcig’s goals, their website states the obvious that one of the leading causes of lung cancer is carcinogens, which are contained in traditional tobacco cigarettes available at any gas station, grocery or convenience store across the world. From a health standpoint, they ask why cause more bodily damage than is necessary? In essence, Xcig’s goal would be to rid the world of lung cancer. Since they do not have that ability, they prefer to play a small part in converting traditional cigarette smokers to a healthier alternative and offering people a lesser chance of developing lung cancer.So, Xcig seems to provide an affordable, quality and disposable electronic cigarette option in what also appears to be a quickly growing market. Feel free to let E Cig Werks know[...]



Getting a good lesson on electronic cigarettes in the heartland at Johnson Creek

Wed, 07 Mar 2012 18:06:00 +0000

With such a huge number of competing electronic cigarette makers and brands, leave it to a company in the Midwest to get to the heart of the future of the global industry.On a recent visit to Johnson Creek Enterprises, makers of Johnson Creek & Red Oak Original Smoke Juices, in the aptly named Hartland, Wis., E Cig Werks had the opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at one of the electronic cigarette industry’s many growing companies.Following a guided tour of Johnson Creek’s recently built state-of-the-art facilities, I met with two of the company’s leadership team for an impromptu discussion of the state of electronic cigarettes and vaping.After seeing the painstaking level of both detail and fun that goes into the making of Johnson Creek products, consumer education was a common theme and important part of the company’s marketing program.“It’s a matter of educating people about what the products are, and just as importantly, what the products are not,” said Heidi Braun, Johnson Creek Chief Operating Officer. “We need to provide the facts since we’re in this industry for the long term.”Along those lines, Johnson Creek has a “Learn” section on its website at http://www.johnsoncreeksmokejuice.com/ solely dedicated to a beginners guide to electronic cigarettes, while also providing detailed testing reports and analysis on other sections of their site. Johnson Creek strives to be the destination new e-smokers turn to in order to learn about the industry as a whole. "Education is an integral key to the success of this industry," Braun said.Johnson Creek has quickly established itself as a major player in the electronic cigarette and smoke juice industry. Founded by Christian Berkey in Johnson Creek in 2008, the company has grown steadily and moved to their new location just outside Milwaukee County last spring.Besides creating original smoke juice products now totaling about 20, and providing flavors to electronic cigarette brands like Blu and many others. Workers in the 4,200-square-foot lab area were working on some large Blu flavor orders during my visit. Johnson Creek seeks to make their facility a fun place to work and be creative with an open environment including a large tiered training center, mini-baseball field, video games and more. In fact, I was so distracted and impressed with the visit, I forgot to take any decent pictures.In an industry that is truly global, Johnson Creek supplies American-made smoke juice directly to its customers and other manufacturers.One of the products Johnson Creek customers are awaiting is an actual electronic cigarette. Already branded as Vea, which is Latin for “the right way," the new e-cig should be available in the coming weeks and the Company has started Vea consumer education messages on its website.While Johnson Creek is taking a bit longer than some customers might want for the Vea electronic cigarette, the company just wants to make sure their new product is ready to go when they are launched.With hundreds of electronic cigarette brands now competing in the fast growing market, Johnson Creek Executive Vice President of Product Development, Bob Kieckbusch, believes FDA regulation and competition from major tobacco companies like Altria, Lorrilard or R.J. Reynolds will help legitimize the industry. “We welcome and expect legitimate regulation and competition,” Kieckbusch said. “We’re doing it right and the cream will rise to the top.[...]



Electronic cigarette explodes into controversy

Mon, 20 Feb 2012 05:43:00 +0000

One of the hottest topics in electronic cigarettes since their emergence into the marketplace over the last few years is the recent case of a man claiming that an electronic cigarette exploded in his mouth. First, let’s start this commentary by stating that E Cig Werks is a blog working to provide information on the growing electronic cigarette marketplace as an e-cig supporter and industry advocate. Like any decent journalist, I appreciate open discussion and want to give anyone with a differing opinion and position on electronic cigarettes the proper respect and benefit of the doubt.In its first few days, the exploding e-cig incident in Pensacola, Fla., has been reported in the media mainly based on descriptions of an emergency call to an ambulance and paramedics, and some third party reports. Beside the fact that we don’t know whether the exploding electronic cigarette was even an e-cig or a cigar, it also seems that the battery of the device may have been modified by the victim, who appears to be someone who had been using electronic cigarettes to avoid tobacco cigarettes for a couple years. So, considering that an estimated 2.5 million people are now enjoying electronic cigarettes, this is really the first high profile report of any serious mishap. I’ve been following the electronic cigarette industry and marketplace for well over a year and have just been waiting for the first e-cig “horror story” along these lines. There have apparently been other incidents mostly due to battery modifications, some of which are reported with additional detail on the Electronic Cigarette Forum (ECF). It certainly is a sensational story, and is getting some sensational media coverage. So far, the headline “Electronic cigarette explodes in man’s mouth” has appeared hundreds of times in newspapers and on websites around the world. It doesn’t get much worse than that from a public relations and image perception standpoint. Just how additional details on the exploding cigarettes story pan out will likely determine its level of impact on the electronic cigarette industry. Even if the facts of this story are essentially correct, there are some aspects that merit closer review. First, the exploding electronic cigarette may have actually been more like a larger electronic cigar that was modified with batteries by the victim. Either way, it's still a tragic situation for the victim and his family. Also missing from most reports on this story is the fact that this is one of the first reported electronic cigarette accidents after several years of overall industry growth. Yes, there have been significant debates on exactly how the industry and products should be regulated, but an objective review seems to point to a pretty good record when it comes to product safety. While we can't downplay the impact of this individual incident on the victim, it should be kept in reasonable perspective to the bigger picture of electronic cigarettes as a legitimate product.It will be interesting to see how this incident plays out in today’s over litigious society. The fledgling electronic cigarette industry doesn’t likely have the deep pockets of the traditional tobacco industry, yet. So, even thought it doesn’t seem that this incident is somehow designed to extract some easy money from an electronic cigarette producer, it’s not hard to image it could just be the beginning of a rash of similar claims about el[...]



New York e-cig train making its way out of the station

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 22:08:00 +0000

A recent weekend trip to New York City provided the Wisconsin-based E Cig Werks blogger with the chance to see firsthand just how electronic cigarettes are being accepted, marketed and promoted in the city that never sleeps.My main lesson from three days and mostly nights of vaping in the Big Apple is that while electronic cigarettes have come far, they remain a long way from being truly accepted as a commercially viable product, even in cosmopolitan New York. The weekend began in Brooklyn with outstanding coal brick-oven pizza and Peroni beers at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria right under the Brooklyn Bridge. While we didn’t vape there, we went on to enjoy some e-cigs in Brooklyn’s fashionable Williamsburg neighborhood along Bedford Avenue. Appropriately, we enjoyed the Brooklyn-based Bedford Slims (more on that later), as well as Greensmoke and Blu.Unfortunately, the night was a bit of a blur after that as I can’t quite remember too much more than the cab ride back to Midtown.Somewhat surprisingly, the experience of smoking electronic cigarettes in New York didn’t seem too much different than that back in Wisconsin. I usually don’t ask anyone for permission to vape anymore, or maybe just casually ask the bartender or waitress in a tavern or restaurant. Then, it’s time to sit back to enjoy the experience and conversation.I honestly expected more negativity and pushback on electronic cigarettes in New York since the city is at the hyper regulated forefront of the anti-tobacco movement. Instead, much like my current experience in the Midwest, New Yorkers either didn’t care about the vapor from e-cigs or were just curious about what they were and how they worked.One of the more interesting places to be in New York is of course the Subway, which was the best way to get between my Midtown hotel and the Greenwich Village hangouts we visited. As comfortable as I felt vaping at the MTA stations, platforms or stairs, I couldn’t muster the guts to smoke electronically in the Subway train cars. Maybe I just didn’t want the hassle or some sort of Bernie Goetz moment. Last fall, the MTA even banned regular cigarettes on some of their outdoor platforms. Meanwhile, I had no problem smoking electronic cigarettes in most indoor areas except for on the trains themselves. After taking the train from Midtown to the East Village on a Friday night, we enjoyed burgers and Yuenglings at the Corner Bistro, followed by treks to the d.b.a. bar for some really good beer and then Otto’s Shrunken Head in the East Village for PBRs. All three had very different crowds and atmosphere, but varied little in their reception to electronic cigarettes. Essentially, nobody had a problem with them and a few people asked questions about the e-cigs and how they work.My Saturday night in New York was spent with Bedford Slims Vapourette Co. founder Jesse Gaddis at the Revival Bar. While it would have been nice to meet in Brooklyn since that’s where his company is based, the East Village was a good compromise. Since I had previously blogged on Bedford Slims and enjoy their products, it was a great opportunity to meet up and discuss the electronic cigarettes industry, as well as enjoy a few beers, Bravo pizza and oh yes, some Bedford Slims. Some of the topics of interest included e-cig products, marketing, acceptance and more. While regular cigarette smokers on the street outside bars, businesses and[...]