Fighting Fear with Science
As proposed bans and restrictions circulate, e-cig companies work toward longevity.
“All of that involves putting the various technologies in a form that is not only acceptable to consumers, but that also can be produced in the United States and perform cost-effectively in the channel,” he says.
Bartkowski’s team has been in a variety of meetings and negotiations with many tobacco and e-cig companies about bringing this particular product to market. Due to nondisclosure agreements, he couldn’t go into details, but he hopes to make an announcement in six to nine months of “somebody bringing our particular technology to market.” Bartkowski’s team believes the product needs to become more sophisticated than it is now—or has ever been—to earn the support of regulators.
“We are trying to develop a technology that differs significantly from anything in the United States, an alternative to what’s being used today, and better suited to face the kind of scrutiny and examination questions regulators are going to have,” he says. “And do it in a way that the patent infringement issue goes away.”
Will the new technology be available before they start banning e-cigs? As Bartkowski puts it, “We can be more confident about our own timing vs. various efforts to ban e-cigs. There are going to be more attempts to ban and restrict, but our new technology addresses a lot of the concerns many people have that lead them to ban or restrict.”
While more than 200 e-cig makers are fighting for turf, many expect the craze to go the way of the dot-com boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s, with only a half-dozen or so of the strongest, best-capitalized and most innovative eventually ruling the market. “The category,” Anise predicts, “will follow the path of traditional consumer packaged goods and have two or three large players and two or three niche players, and a lot of relatively small players.”
Buoyed by strong capital and an experienced team of tobacconists, NJOY fully expects to stand among the major players. “We do all of our own innovation and very quickly, from the flip-top pack we created to the unique product itself,” Anise says, alluding to the NJOY Kings design, which closely replicates an actual cigarette. It’s the same size with the same paper feel, soft tip and a flavor formulation designed by the top flavor tobacconist in the world, he says. And that’s important to NJOY as the company maintains its mission to stamp out cigarettes.
As for regulatory actions, there’s no crystal ball to predict the future. However, Bartkowski sees a groundswell of support among users who will fight to keep e-cigs legal.
“If we can give [regulators] answers to their unknowns, this could happen,” he says, “but we must do the research and know our product.”