Reynolds To Expand Vuse E-cig Product To Utah In Early 2014

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From The Business Journal by Katie Arcieri

A subsidiary of Winston-Salem-basedReynolds American Inc. on Monday announced that it will expand the availability of the company’s “VUSE” electronic cigarette to Utah by mid-January, a move that marks the next step in a nationwide launch for the product.

R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. first launched the digital vapor cigarette product in Colorado this summer as part of a larger strategy to diversify the company’s product lines as smoking rates continue to decline.

David Howard, a spokesman for Reynolds American (NYSE: RAI), said Monday that the company’s VUSE product will be available in Utah retail locations such as convenience stores and other tobacco outlets starting in mid-January. Consumers will be able to buy VUSE Solo, a pre-charged, ready-to-use product, for about $10.

The other product, VUSE System, costs $30 and comes with additional features including three flavor cartridges, a rechargeable power unit and a carrying case.

Shortly after the product appears on shelves in Utah, Reynolds will launch a marketing campaign that includes television and print advertisements as well as online and direct mail ads, Howard said.

Though he declined to speculate on future geographical markets, Howard said Utah was the next logical place to expand the product given that the state is contiguous with Colorado, where VUSE has received a positive response from both consumers and retailers.

He added that Reynolds already has established sales and distribution channels out West and that Utah is home to a larger tobacco consumer audience.

Reynolds is expanding the availability of the product as other cigarette-makers aggressively chase electronic-cigarette users.

For example, Greensboro-based Lorillard Inc. (NYSE: LO) has increased national retail distribution of its blu eCigs product to more than 127,000 retail outlets. And Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) announced the launch of its e-cigarette product earlier this year.