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| October 29, 2014

ITM automates e-cigarette production

| October 15, 2014

itm-e-cig-automationTDC, a member of the ITM Group, has introduced a fully integrated, modular e-cigarette automation platform. The technology generated such a level of interest that company had to extend its launch event in Kampen, Netherlands, by three weeks.

Currently, most e-cigarettes are assembled manually by Chinese subcontractors employing thousands of workers. Greater regulation and higher product standards are expected to drive manufacturing to end-markets such as the Europe and the United States, where labor is more expensive. Because of this and other factors, demand for automated solutions is likely to grow.

To proof its concept of fully automated production, TDC developed its own second-generation e-cigarette.

TDC aims to pursue an open source, platform-based strategy for e-cigarettes. “We want to be able to support our customers from the research and development phase of the product, to the production and delivery of total turn-key projects,” says TDC Managing Director Jeroen Slobbe.

VMR vaporizers under OCB brand

| October 6, 2014

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VMR Products, a leading e-cigarette manufacturer, has partnered with Republic Technologies International (RTI), a global distributor of rolling papers and smoking accessories, to create a new line of advanced vaporizers for the EU market. The new vaporizers will be developed by VMR and distributed by RTI under the OCB brand.

OCB is well established in the EU’s roll-your-own and make-your-own tobacco markets, with a strong presence in France, Spain, Germany and Austria.

Following the success of VMR’s recently launched V2 Pro vaporizer, the new line of OCB-branded devices will be designed for the emerging large vapor device category. Models will be able to vaporize e-liquid, loose leaf tobacco and essential oils.

VMR and RTI expect the multi-medium devices to be one of the most disruptive innovations to enter the vaporizer category in the EU.

The partnership marries VMR’s technology with RTI’s distribution network, which reaches more than 800,000 locations across Europe. The OCB vaporizer line will be gradually rolled out across that network over the next year, with 1 million devices expected to be sold by 2016.

“By partnering with RTI, we can quickly scale across the EU, bringing European consumers the first-rate technology and experience that VMR is known for,” said Jan Verleur, CEO and co-founder of VMR. “Abroad, we’ve seen consumers demand larger, open system devices that are naturally more customizable and powerful than their closed-system counterparts. We’re eager to meet that growing demand with RTI’s expansive distribution network and the OCB brand.”

The new OCB vaporizers will feature several industry innovations, such as a one-piece aluminum body with drop-in cartridges to eliminate the breakage and leakage that plague traditional large-scale devices.

The cartridges will couple to the vaporizers magnetically—rather than with threading—and will be “smart,” automatically controlling temperature. The vaporizers will also feature a breakthrough magnetic charger that permits usage of the devices while plugged into a power source.

“We’re combining VMR’s excellence in product design and manufacturing with RTI’s record of popular, world-class products in the roll-your-own and make-your-own markets,” says Santiago Sanchez, managing director of RTI. “Through the partnership, we can provide OCB customers who want high-performing vaporizers with a proven winner at both retail and online.”

The new line of OCB Premium Vaporizers was launched at the Inter-tabak trade exhibition in Germany, in September, and has already aroused great interest.


AHA: e-cigs could help smokers quit

| August 26, 2014

Medical professionals should support but not promote using e-cigarettes as cessation devices, according to recently released statement from the American Heart Association (AHA).

E-cigarettes should also be subject to the same laws that apply to tobacco products, and the federal government should ban the marketing and sale of e-cigarettes to young people.

The group also called for thorough and continuous research on e-cigarette use, marketing and long-term health effects.

“Over the last 50 years, 20 million Americans died because of tobacco. We are fiercely committed to preventing the tobacco industry from addicting another generation of smokers,” Nancy Brown, CEO of the AHA, said in an association news release.

The recommendations were published Aug. 25 in the AHA journal Circulation.

Altria ups dividend 8.3%, plans repurchase program

| August 25, 2014

Altria Group said that its board voted to boost the company’s quarterly dividend by 8.3 percent, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The largest U.S. cigarette manufacturer in sales raised the dividend to $0.52 cents a share from $0.48 cents, meaning its yield would be about 4.9 percent based on its recent closing price of $42.46. Its previous yield was about 4.5 percent.

The move comes as the tobacco industry in general contends with declining U.S. demand for cigarettes. Altria has gained market share thanks to promotional pricing for its cigarettes, although shipments have slowed.

The company, however, has posted stronger results from its smokeless products, such as its Copenhagen brand of chewing tobacco and its MarkTen offering in the growing e-cigarette market.

Altria said the dividend increase is part of its plan to return a “large amount of cash” to shareholders through dividend payouts. It also unveiled a $1 billion share-repurchase program last month.

Illicit cigarette smokers may find feces

| August 25, 2014

Illegal cigarettes could be filled with human excrement, dead flies and asbestos, consumers are being warned, according to a story in the U.K.’s The Independent.

The Local Government Association (LGA) says people should “think twice” before purchasing cigarettes from the black market as all three have been found in counterfeit cigarettes before.

The LGA said fake cigarettes also pose a fire risk, damage legitimate businesses and cost the U.K. economy about £3 billion in unpaid duty annually.

Officers from Trading Standards say they have found fake cigarettes hidden inside vacuum cleaners, under floorboards and in toilet cisterns.

Some have contained asbestos, mould, dust, dead flies, rat droppings and human excrement. Many feature much higher levels of toxic ingredients such as tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, lead, cadmium and arsenic than genuine cigarettes.