E-cigarettes billow their way into retail

Electronic cigarettes, sometimes called personal vaporizers, are making their way into the drug channel. As tobacco smoking in public is steadily becoming a thing of the past, smokers are looking for alternatives, and more retail channels are carrying the products.

Rite Aid has begun to carry several models of electronic cigarettes, replacement batteries and replacement cartridges, and is merchandising the products at the checkout near tobacco products.

The devices, frequently designed to look like traditional cigarettes, work by delivering nicotine in a tobacco-free vapor that’s inhaled. Most devices contain three parts: a battery, often with an LED on the end that lights up to simulate traditional smoking; a heating element; and a cartridge containing a liquid nicotine mixture that, when heated, turns into a vapor that is inhaled.

Since the devices don’t use tobacco, users aren’t exposed to the toxins present in traditional tobacco smoke. The vapor emitted from e-cigs is virtually odorless, so consumers can use them in public settings where traditional smoking is prohibited.

Electronic cigarettes come in both rechargeable and disposable models. Rechargeables come in starter kits, which include the rechargeable device and a number of pre-filled nicotine cartridges that are inserted into the device. Additional cartridges are available in varying nicotine levels; some come in different flavors. Starter kits range in price, retailing anywhere from $30 for a basic starter product to $250 for a top-of-the-line kit.

Disposable products are available in a number of styles and are categorized by “puff count” or the average number of puffs the device delivers before it needs to be replaced. Disposables are less expensive, retailing for between $9 and $30.

Vapor Corp., which markets the Krave, Fifty-One, Trio and GreenPuffer brands, recently added a line of zero nicotine e-cigs in 10 different flavors under its VaporX brand. Vapor Corp. boasts the largest and most complete lineup of electronic cigarette products across its brands, including rechargeable batteries, chargers, carrying cases and replacement cartridges, available in an array of strengths in various flavors. 

“Our electronic cigarette refills are all-in-one atomized filters or ‘cartomizers’ that include a built-in atomizer within each cartridge,” said Adam Frija, director of business development at Vapor Corp.

Frija said the company can create customized program for retailers and has rolled out an in-store marketing program that includes door clings and in-store signage, as well as product display units and promotional videos that help consumers understand how the products work.

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