November 26, 2020
This has been a rollercoaster year for vape products and the rest of the next generation nicotine market. Tom Gockelen-Kozlowski picks out some of the most important products on offer
RRP: £25 (including three e-liquids)
Filtered vape was a new concept when Edge launched its Hybrid device back in July. The device is inspired by the fact that 37 percent of smokers who want to quit say that the feel of a traditional vape device’s unfamiliar mouthpiece is significant drawback as they transition away from tobacco. What bringing back the filter has also enabled, however, is the return of the capsule filter which ensures another element that is close to many smoker’s hearts has also been retained within the vape category. Flavours include menthol, tobacco and blackcurrant.
They say: “Born out of consumer demand, Edge Hybrid is a next generation vaping device that bridges a significant gap in the market, offering smokers and vapers a collective solution. The sleek and compact exterior houses a flavoured nicotine pod in varying strengths, specially designed to be leak-free. Vapour is then filtered through the filter tip for an authentic experience without the harmful effects of heating or burning tobacco.” Edge website
IQOS Menthol Starter Kit (Philip Morris)
RRP: £39 (including two HEETs packs)
Heat not burn in the UK began with IQOS and though a competitor has now launched – with more likely to come – IQOS remains both the bestselling and most widely distributed system on the market. As the ban on menthol tobacco neared this spring, IQOS’s brand owner Philip Morris brought a new starter kit to market – slashing the price of the device to below £40 (lower if you takeaway the price of the HEETs included. As 2020 arrived the company was rolling out initiatives to grow IQOS sales and user number with Bristol becoming the country’s first ‘Supercharged City
They say: “The ban on menthol cigarettes is a significant moment for many retailers with thousands of menthol smokers looking to switch to a better alternative if they’re unable to quit cigarettes altogether. To meet demand, retailers must be ready to offer their customers a wide range of alternatives, including menthol flavoured vapes and menthol heated tobacco products, which are unaffected by the ban.” Kate O’Dowd – head of field force, Philip Morris Limited
Ploom S (JTI)
£39 (including five EVO packs)
Probably the single biggest launch of 2020, the arrival of Ploom in the UK provides the first competition for IQOS in the heat not burn sector. Unlike IQOS, Ploom moves away from the cigarette-style stick shape allowing for a longer battery life compared to the entry-level IQOS devices. The system uses EVO sticks which include a berry mint flavour (Purple) alongside two tobacco strengths (Bronze and Sepia) and menthol (Emerald). The launch is currently London only – two dedicated ‘lounge’ stores have been opened in Soho and Westfield in White City – and an introductory deal means shoppers can buy the Ploom S device alongside five packs of EVO sticks for £39.
They say: “The time is right for JTI to enter this exciting growth segment in the UK with a proven product that continues to grow in markets in which we have already launched. We are focused on meeting the needs of our consumers and providing them with the quality products they want, both today and in the future. Ploom S offers adult smokers the ultimate heated tobacco taste experience and, as the leading Tobacco Company in the market by sales and volume, we are ideally positioned to meet their needs.” Dean Gilfillan, general manager, JTI
Nordic Spirit Elderflower
Another Major focus for JTI in 2020 has been Nordic Spirit, one of the leading brands to emerge in the fast-growing nicotine pouches market. As of this summer the brand represented more than nine in ten of the total UK nicotine pouch sales and the company has since launched updated pack designs and a £6.50 PMP across its range. Flavours include Mint, Bergamont Wildberry and Elderflower, all available at both 6mg and 9mg nicotine strengths. Alongside heat not burn, the nicotine pouch market will be one of the areas of the market that will develop fastest in 2021 so watch out for Vape Business’s up and coming nicotine pouch features in the next 12 months.
They say: “This is an exciting and innovative new launch into a category that is in its infancy, but one that we expect to evolve and show significant growth over the coming years. “Consumer demand for alternative nicotine products is changing, driven by the growing number of occasions in which it’s not appropriate or possible to consume nicotine by smoking or vaping. Nordic Spirit offers more choice in providing consumers with a discreet nicotine product that can be enjoyed, anytime, anywhere.” Stephane Berset – head of marketing, JTI
Vype Peppermint Tobacco (British American Tobacco)
The menthol ban provided a moment for every vape system to shine and there were menthol flavour launches from almost every big name in the run up to 20 May. British American Tobacco (BAT) went one step further, however, by launching three menthol capsule variants in one go. Alongside Peppermint Tobacco, the firm launched Creamy Mint and Just Mint – which joined three existing mint flavours, Crushed Mint, Chilled Mint and the bestselling Crisp Mint. Vype offers possibly the widest range of flavours of any of the big vape players and also recently launched the cocktail-inspired Tequila Sunrise vape.
They say: “In response to the menthol tobacco product ban we launched several new flavours for Vype, the leading closed system brand. These included Peppermint Tobacco and Just Mint for the ePen3, and Peppermint Tobacco and Creamy Mint for ePod, across various strengths. There has never been a better time for retailers to make sure that they take this new category seriously and stock our award-winning products and our innovative menthol vaping alternatives.” Fredrik Svensson – general manager, BAT UK & Ireland.
JUULpods Rich Tobacco
With the Rich Tobacco flavour, JUUL further extended the choice for its users and added to its existing Golden Tobacco offer. The Rich Tobacco arrived following the launch of a menthol flavour earlier in the year and both variants are designed to recreate the tastes that existing smokers are used to. In the case of Rich Tobacco, it more closely matches the flavour profile of the tobacco’s most popular in the UK. Globally, this has been a difficult period for the brand but the UK’s enthusiasm for vape products and its more science-based approach to policy has made this a core market the JUUL.
They say: “Rich Tobacco offers a more familiar flavour profile to that of Virginia tobacco, the blend used in nine out of every ten cigarettes sold in the UK, and we believe it offers a credible alternative for these adult smokers. Juul Labs and the vaping category exist to help end the era of combustible cigarettes and, as smoking remains responsible for one death every six minutes in the UK, – this goal is critical.” John Patterson – sales director, JUUL Labs
VELO Urban Vibe
One of a number of big brands to arrive in the nicotine pouch market this year, VELO is already an established brand in the USA and is the bestselling pouch in the spiritual home of snus, Scandinavia. Flavours available to UK consumers include Cool Ice, Polar Mint, Urban Vibe, Freeze, Ruby Berry and Tropical Breeze. Further big things lie ahead for VELO after the acquisition this autumn of Dryft, an American brand which immediately increased the range BAT offers its US pouch customers from four flavours to 28.
They say: “These products come in a range of different flavours and nicotine levels, designed and created to become market leader in this emerging category. We designed these tobacco-free pouches to be the easiest, most convenient nicotine pouch at our consumers’ disposal. There’s no mess, no smoke, no smell, which means VELO can go absolutely anywhere with you.”
Already a hugely successful brand in Asia, RELX arrived in the UK in 2020 with its two capsule devices RELX Essential and RELX Infinity. The devices utilise more than 170 globally-patented technologies including a SuperSmooth system which, the company says, provides users with a “rich and dense vapour”. Both devices also include ceramic coils which provide a cleaner and more consistent draw, according to the company. One of the biggest advantages, however, is the larger size of the system’s capsules – more than twice the size of many of its competitors. Meanwhile, the RELX Infinity wins additional points for its metallic finish and more satisfying weight.
They say: “Infinity and Essential ceramic pods offer 1.9ml nicotine and last around 500 puffs based on average consumption. They are the only pods in the market designed with the SuperSmooth feature which provides rich and dense vapour with just the right temperature, appropriate draw resistance and a quiet inhaling experience, giving users a consistently smooth and familiar experience from start to finish.” Micaela Sangiovanni – senior trade marketing manager, RELX
Dinner Lady disposable pens
While it has not been the easiest year for the vape category, there have been undoubted winners. Vape firm Dinner Lady is one example and, during the first lockdown (April to August), it saw sales of its disposable vape sales soar by 400 percent. When the UK vape category arrived a decade ago, much of the category’s sales came from disposables. Yet Dinner Lady’s disposable devices – containing nic salts and coming in flavours such as Lemon Tart and Pink Berry – shows that this sector is keeping up with wider vape trends.
They say: “Dinner Lady’s disposable vape pen, in a nine premium flavours, is a perfect choice for retailers, as consumers can simply grab one from their local store, unwrap and it’s ready to go. It’s a brilliantly simple way to transition to vaping, without compromising on quality, and there’s a flavour to suit for everyone’s taste.” John Taylor – chief marketing officer, Dinner Lady
Vpod Pro (Vapouriz)
RRP: £19.99 (including two e-liquids
The capsule market has been dominated by the emergence of a number tobacco company-backed brands but there are some other big names that also gaining a loyal following. One of the biggest examples is Vapouriz and, with its VpodPro it has straddles the e-liquid and capsules markets, allowing users to refill its pods with the e-liquid of their choice. The company itself produces dozens of flavours including a range of nic salt liquids to match the experience of the latest pod mod systems from Logic, Vype and Blu.
They say: “The Vpod Pro is also one of the most versatile vape systems ever made, allowing you to use most kinds of e-liquids, from Classic/High PG, 50/50, Nicotine Salts and even CBD e-liquids. With the Vpod Pro’s refillable pods, there’s no need to change fiddly coils, simply dispose of the pod at the end of its life and replace with a new one. Refilling the pod with your favourite e-liquid is as easy as releasing the sealed side port, topping up and replacing the seal.” Vapouriz website