Fighting Fear with Science
As proposed bans and restrictions circulate, e-cig companies work toward longevity.
“E-cigarettes are kind of fun, although some would dispute that,” says Bartkowksi. “But to really understand the product, you have to understand a certain amount of electrical engineering. How is the power supplied and managed? What is the most effective way to power these products? Some knowledge of chemistry is required.”
Battery issues are a common problem with electronic cigarettes, he says. Too much power equals too much heat in the vaporization process, causing changes in molecular structure of the formula, affecting both flavor and nicotine uptake, and leading to consumer dissatisfaction.
“We believe the vast majority of imported e-cigs are way overpowered,” Bartkowski says. “Manufacturers are erring on the side of too much power, heating to a high temperature that isn’t necessary, partly because they want these things to work effectively the first time and this is their way of ensuring that. However, it is overkill, and inefficient.”
Industry leader NJOY stands behind its innovation efforts. According to Roy Anise, executive vice president of NJOY, the company has paved the path for creative merchandising strategies.
“The way we merchandise our product has never been done before, with a spinner rotating display designed to glamorize the King package and deliver it to the retailer with a footprint roughly the same as a box of 5-hour Energy,” Anise says. Now in 70,000 stores, NJOY expects the display to eventually reach 150,000 locations.
“We have a system for innovation throughout all areas of our business, including R&D, industrial engineering, consumer insights and especially in our manufacturing system, which is incredibly agile,” Anise says. “We are able to get product from concept to shelf in about six to nine months, which is basically unheard of.” NJOY’s newest product is a five-pack version of NJOY Kings that sells for $29.95 ($5.99 per King) and brings the cost down to less than a pack of cigarettes on a per unit basis, according to Anise.
Still on a mission to “obsolete cigarettes,” NJOY has several new products under development, in addition to its signature King brand, which is now being launched in the UK.
According to RAI’s Smith, c-store merchandising for Vuse e-cigs reflects the product’s “unique, advanced technology—modern, sleek and authoritative yet approachable.”
While Vuse products are sold only behind the counter, requiring clerk assistance and ID to purchase, Smith says the company is especially proud of Vuse Education Centers, which feature non-live products front and center so adult tobacco consumers can learn more about the product. Vuse is the only electronic cigarette to have been designed and assembled in the United States.
While it’s too soon to comment on Vuse’s expansion into other markets, Smith says “hundreds of jobs have been and will continue to be created in many states across the country as a direct result of Vuse manufacturing.”
Since splitting from Dragonite in 2010, VapAria has sought ways to more efficiently manage the power, control the heat and achieve better absorption of the vapor of an e-cig. In fact, it wants to create a new vaping technology altogether. Bartkowski says the company has a couple of designs that are more efficient from a power standpoint, more effective in terms of giving a consumer a feeling or sensation more closely aligned to what happens when they smoke a cigarette.