RJ Reynolds' Colorado launch of new e-cigarette not inspired by marijuana, company says

Categories: Marijuana, News

Wax Jones
Since the early days of Colorado's marijuana legalization movement, the prospect of Big Tobacco moving into the state and taking over the pot industry has concerned activists. So it was only natural that when RJ Reynolds, among the most powerful of the nation's tobacco companies, announced that it had chosen Colorado to launch its new e-cigarette -- which looks a lot like similar devices used for consuming weed without the overpowering odor or harshness of smoking -- cannabis-scene observers couldn't help wondering if this marked step one in an invasion plan.

But RJ Reynolds spokespersons who gathered for a press event at the Curtis Hotel yesterday to tout the new Vuse e-cig insist nothing could be further from the truth.

"We are a U.S. tobacco company," notes Richard Smith, Reynolds American's lead communications manager. "We are not getting into the marijuana business."

Why, then, would RJ Reynolds debut the product in Colorado? According to Cheryl Zukowski, Reynolds American director of marketing, the staff took a lot of things into account, including consumer awareness and the different retail channels available here.

"Colorado offered us a unique opportunity in that it's a diverse state and we've got a lot of adult smokers who are interested in e-cigarettes," Zukowski says. "We also have great partnerships here with a lot of key retailers, and our trade sales force here in Colorado is one of the best."

Colorado is supposed to be just the first stop in a national roll-out of the devices -- and Reynolds representatives stress that it's not adaptable to pot, because the rechargeable cigarette is only operational with Vuse nicotine cartridges.

The small canisters aren't user serviceable and have a microprocessor inside that communicates with another processor in Vuse's battery.

Says vice president of operations Fred Ampolini, "This microprocessor is responsible for managing the entire operation of the e-cig, so that when the consumer grabs that e-cigarette and smokes it, he gets that perfect puff the first time and every time."

Wax Jones
The Vuse Solo, which comes with power supply, charger and one cartridge.
Reynolds executives see the processors as revolutionary. And they make the same claims about the assembly of Vuse -- by robots.

"Of the 250 or so different brands out there today, they all come from the same handful of manufacturers in mainland China, where these products are hand assembled by workers in rows in factories," Smith says.

But because they're handmade, he continues, the quality of other brands varies from cigarette to cigarette, which discourages smokers from their use. In contrast, Vuse e-cigs, manufactured in the United States, are supposedly made so that every drag is the same on every cigarette.

The device has a warning mechanism set up to tell users when the cartridge is running low or the battery is about to die, along with a couple other sleek features

Continue to read more about the Vuse e-cigarette.

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I am not into marijuana and things like these, was a smoker but gave up with the help of electronic cigarettes.


There are pros and cons to Big Tobacco getting involved with PVs.


*Big Tobacco has the financial and marketing infrastructure to POTENTIALLY create very good PVs, create very good ejuice and protect the legal status of vaping.


*Big Tobacco ALSO has the potential to equate vaping with smoking, which could see bans on vaping similar to bans on smoking. Vapor is not as harmful as second-hand cigarette smoke, but with the involvement of Big Tobacco, that fact could very easily be drowned in knee-jerk hysteria on the part of anti-smoking crusaders.

*Big Tobacco can't be trusted with the ingredients they use in traditional tobacco products, so how can we trust them not to similarly employ toxic additives in ejuice?

*Big Tobacco has the financial, marketing and legal resources to monopolize the American e-cigarette market. That benefits them, but could harm consumer choice.


Where can they be found locally ? As a smoker, who has attempted a number of times to quit, I've been trying ALL the E-Ciggs . I'm honestly looking forward to and w/ high hopes, the Vuse E-Cigg . It has more to do w/ HEALTH than the threat of R.J. coming to Colorado to grow buds ...


I thought those little personal vaporizers, vape pens etc, came after the e-cigs. People saw e-cigs and said, lets put weed in there, right? If anything, marijuana industry investors want to emulate R.J. Reynolds, not the other way around.

Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@Juan_Leg Ironically, I wouldn't use it for pot. I don't much like the way the material is processed (I.E. BHA.) If I were smoking, though, I'd consider it (I don't smoke anything.) I hope ecigs work for you. I've heard a lot of people have cut down or quit that way. Some brands are even designed to help quit or cut down.


@Monkey  I'm w/ ya . This is one went right over Max's head . The controversy WILL arrive but not in the form of a hardly used PROMO product . I have personally tried 6 different e-ciggs and will be buying the 'Fuse' A.S.A.P. 

W/ the nation's infatuation w/ prescription pills, WHY has there NOT been a REAL nicotine pill created and marketed ? Then of course, the THC one to soon follow ?


Because the THC pill has been on the market since the mid 1980s. It's called Marinol (dronabinol).

Look it up.

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