Reynolds- Are They Changing the Game? Not So Much! But that’s No Surprise!

Thursday, June 6, 2013, saw headlines throughout the tobacco world proclaim that Reynolds American was introducing an e-cigarette that would prove to be a “game-changer” in the burgeoning new industry.  Yes, the Reynolds Vuse was entering the market- first in Colorado on July 1- and then slowly and steadily throughout the rest of the nation.  Folks inside Reynolds and throughout the tobacco industry were right to herald this announcement as important, given what Reynolds’ entry in the marketplace with the Vuse is likely to mean- but, is it truly a “game changer?”

Videos and slide shows prepared by Reynolds and released concurrent with Thursday’s announcement revealed the Vuse and the various configurations in which it will be made available- a disposable and a unit with rechargeable batteries and replaceable cartridges, e-cigarette options that have been available online and in traditional tobacco retail environments in the US since 2008.  So, the Vuse is not really changing that game.  The Vuse will be using lithium chemistry to power their vaporizers- not really changing the power game.  The Vuse’s vaporization technology will be no different than the thousands of e-cigarettes currently being offered for sale in the US- not really changing the vaporization game.  The Vuse will be using a nicotine formulation composed of some combination of propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin- not really changing the “e-juice” game. The Vuse will retain the form factor of a traditional tobacco product- not changing the look of the product and not changing the game in that way.  The Vuse will have unique digital technology that will monitor the battery power and insure consistent “puffs”- not changing that game since that technology has been available from Chinese manufacturers going back to 2005 and the original Ruyan V-8 three-piece electronic cigarette- in retrospect a truly game-changing product and disruptive technology.

So, how is the game being changed with respect to the product itself?  Well, perhaps in the same way that Reynolds has changed the game in the past: in the same way that its Premier and Eclipse cigarettes changed the game; in the same way that its Camel Orbs and Sticks changed the game and in the same way that its Niconovum acquisition in 2009 has resulted in new and innovative smoking alternatives to reach and penetrate the US market.  That is to say- not at all.  Just saying . . .

22 comments ↓

#1 Vapor Vixen on 06.10.13 at 1:30 AM

“Game Changer” makes me laugh – it’s like a key marketing claim. Hey they said it so it most be true! Not! the issue is that most retailers and distributors and so many of the importers don’t understand the inner workings of an e-cigarette and you are so correct “e-cigobserver”. Much of what is being said is just propaganda that so many people just accept as “truth” and it doesn’t help that those reporting on it including wall street are so naive. Their disposable unit on the market is not a game changer (it leaked). It will be interesting to see what is really new if anything. I read that it has a new way of attaching the battery to cartridge – others have already done this – so not a game changer. Saw it at a trade show earlier this year.

#2 asd@asd.com on 06.10.13 at 10:09 AM

US manufacture is the most important thing they are doing differently from existing products; this design talk is all so much.. talk.

I don’t think the consumer will care; the question is to what it extent this helps them relative to Zeller’s plans.

#3 Candy Girl on 06.11.13 at 11:42 AM

This- combined with Altria’s announcement earlier today- makes clear that Big Tobacco is now “all-in” with respect to e-cigarettes. Not sure the last two entrants- Reynolds and Altria- would have made this step without some knowledge that the FDA is going to be much more tolerant of and careful with these products than has been earlier suggested!

#4 Copenhagen Man on 06.13.13 at 12:39 AM

This will be very interesting as both companies have a poor record of introducing products that are not original too them. Will be on the watch for Altria especially out right purchasing one of the better companies within 6 months of the launch as I can just see them saying this is tougher than we thought plus companies like V2 @ Greensmoke have superior products to most of the field. They both have exceptional consumer loyalty numbers and think about it – Lorillard saw this in BLU.
Could be wrong but I saw them try to get into the MST business before they bought my old company USST because they messed up and found it wasn’t in their expertise.

#5 Cigargoose on 06.13.13 at 6:38 PM

“Game Changer” kind of reminds me of the constant use of “Breaking News” in the media…it usually represents nothing new.

#6 jersey boy on 06.13.13 at 10:10 PM

I noticed this phrase being used when NJOY redid their awful onejoy product and took a awful tasting product to an ok tasting product but when I tried it the new king it didn’t seem to last that long. was it me or have others found it to be short in life?

#7 asd@asd.com on 06.14.13 at 9:51 AM

Well, does a aaa battery last as long as a c battery?

All things equal, small size is going to give you shorter life (battery and to a lesser extent fill capacity).

NJOY king is going to get taken down over its outrageously high nicotine levels.

#8 Vapor Vixen on 06.16.13 at 1:28 AM

@asd – agree even though the battery is awful – saw an ad in a c-store by 21st century that took a shot at king product claims of lasting up to 2 packs of cigs
I hear you are lucky if the king last a pack
4.5 is extremely dangerous which really makes no sense why they would do that – its like lets do the “right” thing but NOT!
No fan here of the KING

#9 asd@asd.com on 06.16.13 at 6:24 AM

What I could not believe about NJOY was than investor call where they’ve got all the back slapping going on for hiring a former surgeon general and everyone’s praising the move and the ceo is saying how this guy is going to “challenge them” on the sciences and it’s so great, and nobody mentions or asks about their nicotine levels — 45 mg in a single unit?

#10 Vapor Vixen on 06.17.13 at 5:34 PM

asd – you are so right! Well more people need to spread the truth I guess. Did you watch the call today with the CEO of V2?

#11 asd@asd.com on 06.19.13 at 7:11 AM

Yes, on the whole, I think he did a nice job with the call — very professional. I thought the must revealing part was the comment he made about margins in the context of going retail with NTC (no big surprise but it seemed like one of the more unguarded moments). I don’t blame him for papering over it but I think internet is going to end (which on some level V2 acknowledges — why else convert internet buyers into retail buyers).

I think the other interesting point is simply the utter lack of knowledge out there on the deeming regs —

So, while I was very impressed with V2 ceo but I still think their product is not flavored or packaged very well. If V2 really has this R&D effort described (which I doubt), they ought to hire some new folks!

#12 Vapor Vixen on 06.22.13 at 2:13 PM

asd – packaged pretty similar to blu
blu has no express kit though

also saw their new product at the tpe and was pretty nice looking – the vapor corture line

flavor is going to be a individual preference don’t you think? On line i saw the zig zag flavors which was interesting

#13 asd@asd.com on 06.25.13 at 8:52 AM

Sorry I am a bit of a curmudgeon on the subject of e-cig flavors — I don’t like the flavors of any of the major brands particularly the “tobacco” flavors — so my criticism of V2 on that account is a bit unfair.

#14 Fran on 06.26.13 at 7:11 PM

That’s why I love my E-GO unit – the flavors are phenomenal.

#15 coreman on 08.02.13 at 3:04 AM

@asd – you ever get a chance you should try the vapor couture flavors – i tried them today for the first time and i have to say they might be three of the best flavors i have as a buyer tried. really good

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