Blu however has gone the lifestyle route, long a sure winner for cigarettes, emphasizing freedom and fun with McCarthy and actor Stephen Dorff.
“With blu, you can smoke at a basketball game when you want to,” Dorff says in a TV spot. “We’re all adults here. It’s time we take our freedom back.”
The big companies are expected to squeeze aside scores of small e-cigarette pioneers as they push into the market.
“There are great advantages to scale in this industry,” said blu’s president Jim Raporte.
“Innovation will be a key factor in the success of the players within this space.”
The big challenge is regulation. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to propose to regulate e-cigarettes like tobacco in the coming weeks.
European regulators are trying to determine whether to control them like pharmaceuticals, regular cigarettes, or other products.
Regulation could limit distribution, sales and advertising. For instance, tobacco ads have been banned from US television since 1971, but so far e-cigarettes can advertise.
Naughton backs regulating them like over-the-counter drugs. But he warned that if e-cigarettes face tight controls on testing and review, it could stifle quick product innovation and development.
Reynolds’ Smith said they believe the FDA will regulate e-cigarettes “based on sound science.”
Since Reynolds’ other products compete under strict regulation, he added: “We have no reason to believe that [VUSE] cannot do the same.”
Warning: Smoking can damage your health.