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Wells Fargo Securities “Ecig Forum”

Wells Fargo Securities will hold an "Inaugural E-Cig Forum" in New York City on Thursday, November 21, at the New York Palace Hotel. Wells Fargo, a prominent investment firm, has been a major voice touting the investment potential of the electronic cigarette industry.

As might be expected, the Forum will have a different focus from the E-Cig Summit sponsored last week in London by the E-Cigarette Forum, which brought together scientists, regulators, public health advocates, and e-cig consumers for an informative series of panels on the shape and prospects for the industry. In keeping with its own special focus, Wells Fargo plans to bring potential investors into contact with industry representatives, with the goal of increased investment. With that aim in mind, they will be scheduling "one-on-one meetings" in 30-minute slots, between potential investors and industry reps.

Presentation topics will include: the evolution of e-cigarettes to date and into the future, consumer attitudes toward the burgeoning product and their behavior in response to these attitudes, pruduction and quality control, the changing retail landscape, and market potential.

Nine companies will be represented: Ballantyne Brands, LLC (Mistic, NEO e-cigs), E-Lites (UK), Fin Branding Corp, LLC, Johnson Creek Enterprises, LLC (e-liquids, flavors), LogicECig, Lorillard, Inc. (Blu), NJOY, Inc., V2 Cigs, Vapor Corp (Krave, Fifty-One, VaporX, Hookah Stix, Alternacig, EZ Smoker, Green Puffer, Americig, Fumare, Smoke Star).

A "Public Health Panel" and a "Regulatory Panel" are also scheduled. The regulatory issue is especially interesting, since the FDA has yet to issue its deeming regulations, promised in October, which will determine the future of the industry to a large extent. Wells Fargo and its customers seem undaunted by the prospect that excessive regulation will strangle the industry. They have even dubbed their forum and "inaugural" one, showing a clear intent to hold more such conferences in the future. It seems clear that Wells Fargo expects the industry to continue to thrive.

It is also interesting that only one Big Tobacco firm will be represented. The only firm present that also markets combustible cigarettes will be Lorillard, which bought Blu E-Cigs over a year ago and since then has made that brand the industry leader. All of the other firms present make only electronic cigarettes, a company profile that some consider to be threatened by the possibility of draconian regulation. Wells Fargo, their investors, and these eight companies do not seem troubled.

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