With the electronic cigarette industry at a crossroads, and with ecig tanks making big gains, it may be better for the future of vaping if Big Tobacco ecig brands stick with cigalikes.
Now this type of statement can cut deep as a double-edged sword, seeing as that Big Tobacco has already bought into the ecig movement. They already have several Big Tobacco ecig brands out there, such as Blu eCigs, Vuse, and Green Smoke. There is no doubt that as these tobacco companies hedge their bets by investing in the growing ecig market, that some of that will spill over into positives for consumers.
Among the biggest positive aspects of Blu eCigs and Green Smoke being bought by Lorillard and Altria, respectively, along with RJ Reynolds creating Vuse, is the immense amount of cash flow. When billion dollar corporations show even a modicum of interest in a new market, they throw around some of that money they have so much of. Big Tobacco ecig brands have heavy backing.
In turn, this could fuel a research and development race the likes of which we have never seen in the ecig industry. In the end, we could see ecig brands make huge leaps in technology that could pass on these benefits to consumers, giving them an even better experience than they get today.
But like most things, there are perils along this path of growth. The fact is that that Big Tobacco is fighting a quiet war against ecig tanks, hoping they can put that segment of the market behind the eight ball with major restrictions. If you own Blu eCigs, Green Smoke, or Vuse, you really would rather the market be dominated by cigalikes.
At this point, getting into ecig tanks probably seems burdensome to Big Tobacco ecig brands, especially when you aren’t sure what the FDA is going to say in terms of their sale. These are also big companies that have had the chance to control pricing for high profit margins, and the competition in the world of eliquid wouldn’t let them do that.
Big Tobacco eCig Brands Are Pushing Cigalikes
What we are going to see going forward from e cig brands is a whole lot of growth, we just aren’t sure in which direction quite yet. There are those that will speculate on what the future brings, such as Jan Verleur, the co-founder and current CEO of V2 Cigs.
Verleur wrote an opinion piece recently for CSPnet.com, where he talked about where OSVs (open system vaporizers, of which ecig tanks are a part) are going and the affect of Big Tobacco.
He wrote, “The more Big Tobacco ecig brands builds out the ecig space without entering OSVs, the more likely independent players will thrive and tap that segment. If tobacco companies do enter the technology-driven OSV segment, they will encounter vigorous competition from the independent players who have won the loyalty of a dedicated community of vapers.”
This sounds perfectly logical to us. The concept of a free market is that increased competition will lead to better products and cheaper prices, benefiting consumers as a whole. When we don’t have this, we tend to have fat cats that sit back and rake in the money without feeling any need to get better or do more for their customer base.
That’s easy money coming in, so why would they mess with it? This is essentially what Big Tobacco ecig brands have going for them now and they have grown accustomed to it. It’s not like any new technology needs to go into a traditional tobacco or “analogue” cigarette. These guys have grown fat, and slow too.
As Big Tobacco ecig brands take a bigger stake of the ecig market, there is the concern that they will just stifle competition. Sure, there will be some R&D that they will invest in, but only to a certain point – the point at which they have a huge customer base that is reliant on them.
Open systems like ecig tanks don’t allow for such complacency, because there is always somebody trying to get better and provide an improved experience for the customer. This is what we are currently seeing in the so-called “OSV” segment that Jan Verleur is talking about. Which means that the future of vaping could be better for all of us if Big Tobacco stays out of the burgeoning ecig tanks segment. While it remains to be seen if that will happen or not, we have to believe that consumers needs will trump all in the end.