Big Tobacco marketing Electronic Cigarettes due to diminishing customers
Companies like Altria Group, Inc. (makers of Marlboro) have seen losses as people quit smoking or turn to electronic cigarettes as a safer alternative. Tobacco is still a multibillion-dollar industry and is actually growing in some parts of the world as it shrinks in the United States. Nonetheless, cigarette companies do not like to see losses, so the logical thing to do would be for big tobacco marketing electronic cigarettes. And that is exactly what some of them are doing.
Vape Products from Big Tobacco
Altria Group stands to lose a lot if more people keep quitting smoking and start vaping. That is why it has come out with the MarkTen via its NuMark branch. In order to be competitive in the existing industry, the MarkTen needs to have options and it has them. It comes in disposable and rechargeable models. It also gives users a choice of classic or menthol. A noteworthy change from big ecig companies is that MarkTen does not come in the more exotic flavors users expect. Perhaps the idea is to stick with tobacco tastes.
Reynolds American, the makers of Pall Mall and Camel, are jumping on the bandwagon with Altria. Their ecig product is VUSE. Dan Delan, the CEO of Reynolds American, said the company’s goal is, “transforming tobacco” to make it safer. The statement does not make it clear if he means making their tobacco products safer or making ecigs, which contain no tobacco, a major part of the company.
Lorillard Inc., which manufactures Newports, Kent and Maverick, did not produce a new ecig product. Instead, it purchased the existing Blu brand, which may give it a leg up on the other tobacco brand competition. Blu has an existing client base and has the features that make ecigs not only safer, but a novelty product.
There is currently a lot of investment going into ecigs from investors outside of the tobacco industry as well, so it is going to be a competitive area. Sean Parker put $75 million into NJOY Inc. People can expect to see an increase in marketing all around as these investors and companies start competing with each other to sell the most electronic devices.
The future for smoking is vaping
Americans are smoking less and big tobacco is a major business. If health trends continue on the path they are going, ecigs may wind up being what keeps these businesses afloat. Of course, that would take a great deal of time, but smart businesses know they have to be prepared in case ecigs start to get an edge that they do not currently have. Nonetheless, there are more than 200 types and that number is consistently growing. This is still only a fraction of smoking sales and it is unclear whether vapers will want ecigs as often as smokers smoke tobacco, so there is a great deal of uncertainty in both of these areas.
See CBS News article on Tobacco Companies Bet on Electronic Cigarettes