Vuse Solo and Vuse System Digital Vapor Cigarette
Giant tobacco company, RJ Reynolds have just launched the first run of their Vuse Solo and Vuse System Digital Vapor Cigarette ahead of a nationwide launch, backed up with extensive advertising, later in the year.
So, what are we to make of this latest entry by Big Tobacco?
Firstly, it must be noted that Reynolds behavior in the run-up to this launch has been despicable. They've been going from state to state sponsoring bills that would shut down vape stores and online retailers.
However, perhaps a new entry to the market is exactly what's needed, especially from a company with the R&D resources that Reynolds has?
It would be wrong to bad mouth the product before I've tried it. For all I know, it might be the greatest innovation in e-cigarette history - I just doubt it from the information released so far.
Why? OK, let's look at what it is:
The $10 Solo model appears to be a fairly unremarkable rechargeable/disposable, marketed with the claim that it lasts about as long as a pack of cigarettes. The $30 Vuse System Digital Vapor Cigarette (SDVC), however, is a kit with a rechargeable battery, 3 carts and a USB charger, and replacement cartos will retail at $6 for 2. The kicker, they claim, is a chip which monitors the heat 2000 times per second and delivers a perfect puff each time. Of course, they're already claiming that this is the first e-cigarette with a microprocessor, which is patently untrue! The DNA suite of devices from Evolv surely takes that mantle.
So, why the doubt?
The marketing clout behind Reynolds should make this a goer, and I'm sure they'll make spadeloads of $$s - but I don't think for most vapers this is going to be the product they want or need. Put simply, the carto system just doesn't offer people the superior experience. I think that's fairly clear now - you just can't get enough juice into a cart for a convenient/satisfying day-long vape.
It's also not flexible enough a system. You only have to look at the vast amount of innovation on the forums by DIY'ers and manufacturers themselves, and this is almost all now centered around tank systems.
The second issue is cost - $3 per day vaping sounds pretty appealing, doesn't it? But it just won't work out that way - it never does. I'm willing to bet that most smokers will end up using two or three of these carts, and at that point they'll start looking for something cheaper - e-liquid.
Of course, for some there's a wider political point as well - people are angry with tobacco companies because of their histroy, and would rather not purchase from them.
But the electronic cigarette market is very new, and many smokers won't yet have tried an e-cig, including those with loyalty to RJ Reynolds' brands.
You can bet your bottom dollar that Vuse will be the first that many try, and for that reason I do hope it is a good product. Nothing makes me more angry than the overpriced disposables putting people off vaping altogether.
In a sense, tobacco companies can't win at this game, so naturally they try to change the playing field to their advantage.
Their model requires unit sales of the type that cartridges and semi-disposable models can bring. E-liquid is just not profitable enough for them, and I doubt we'll see them enter this market any time soon. Of course, e-liquid is a threat to their model, both tobacco sales and their e-cig sales, and they're not going to stop trying to see them stamped out.
Reynolds will have put a huge amount of effort into making this a success. Their disastrous launch of the Premier 'safe cigarette' in the late '80s will haunt many of their executives (if you haven't read Barbarians at the Gate you must, if just for the account of the Premier development, launch and failure).
They'll want to make sure the Vuse Digital Cigarette is a success.
Only time will tell.blog comments powered by Disqus