The diversified ITC group has forayed into electronic cigarettes to offset shrinking sales of its conventional tobacco cigarettes due to recurrent price increases. The Kolkata-headquartered cigarettes to hotels group has launched two vaping devices, or e-cigarettes, under the Eon brand. The products have been designed in-house but are being manufactured in China, according to The Economic Times-India.
A spokesperson for ITC said the e-cigarettes have been launched in Hyderabad and Kolkata and will be rolled out pan-India in phases. They will also be sold online. Eon comes about 10 months after ITC forayed into the nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) market with “Kwiknic”. Analysts said ITC’s foray into e-cigarettes and NRT is to create newer consumption areas as growing health awareness, the government’s drive against tobacco products and rising cost of combustible cigarettes force consumers to look for alternatives.
Being tobacco-free, Eon and Kwiknic are not subjected to regulations under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act and can be consumed, marketed and sold like any consumer product. E-cigarettes are more popular overseas with the US and Europe being the key markets. In India, the category is still at a nascent stage with lesser known imported brands selling online, the ITC spokesperson said.