When the first e cigarettes were offered to the marketplace with any sophistication and finesse in 2009, a new phenomenon was initiated. Although initial sales were rather pathetic, like anything that is new, with sales in the 60,000 range, it appears that in 2014, over 1 billion will be sold.
The e cigarette is a cigarette like device that holds a glycol liquid that a mechanism heats and atomizes, causing it to give off a harmless vapor, that the “smoker” inhales and exhales, just as if a tobacco cigarette was being smoked. Thus the user can “smoke”, or “vape” as it is called, without having to encounter all of the health hazards of tobacco smoking.
There is little doubt that tobacco smoke is the main cause of lung cancer, with over 160,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States every year attesting to the fact of its harmful qualities. Tobacco smokers are switching over to the e cigs in droves for obvious reasons – they can have the same experience, with little health risk.
The container that hold the glycol liquid can also house different flavors such as fruity, menthol, cigarette taste, chocolate, and about any other taste one can imagine. Nicotine can also be mixed into the liquid in varying strengths.
A cigarette smoker can then switch to an e cig and keep the same level of nicotine, and enjoy that “nicotine hit” without having to suffer the effects of tobacco smoke. Or, the nicotine can be gradually lowered so as to taper off on the nicotine level, and get rid of it entirely while “vaping.”
The trend is intriguing enough, but now the major tobacco companies are getting into the act. Lolliard, the tobacco giant, recently bought Blu ECigs, one of the early pioneers of the e cigarette market. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company has recently come out with its own brand of e cigarettes. With the deep pockets of big tobacco and their already established distribution networks, it is plausible that they will continue to make inroads into the marketplace.
Most of the surge of new users of the e cigarettes are former tobacco smokers, but that is a considerable number of people, and that grouping of people still only has a small number trying the new product.
Word is spreading however, mostly by word of mouth, and that alone is the most powerful method of advertising. It will be interesting to watch how this product evolves and grows and the market matures.