E-cigarettes have the potential to create a breath of fresh air for the U.S. flavor industry, according to a range of experts.
“We think e-cigs are to tobacco what energy drinks are to the beverage industry,” says Bonnie Herzog, managing director, beverage, tobacco and consumer research at Wells Fargo Securities LLC. “In other words, similar to energy drinks, e-cigs are profitable, growing quickly, gaining shelf space and consumer acceptance.”
Touted as a healthier alternative to smoking tar-containing cigarettes (although some researchers debate this claim), e-cigarettes, which use atomizers powered by rechargeable or disposable lithium batteries that vaporize a liquid solution into an aerosol mist that’s inhaled, have presented a new opportunity for flavor companies working in the tobacco space. In fact, flavorists say e-cigarettes use a larger flavor load than their traditional cigarette counterparts. Still, despite many industry watchers’ strongly positive outlook on e-cigarettes and flavor, some challenges remain such as possible tighter regulation on the product. “If there is no prejudice shown against e-cigarettes versus tobacco in terms of regulatory authorities, there is no doubt that e-cigarettes within, let’s say, 10 years would be a significant part of behavioral activities of vaping or smoking,” says Roger Penn, director of Mane’s tobacco business unit.