The makers of the electronic cigarette brand Blu are launching a nicotine salt-based device in a bid to compete with the popular JUUL vape pen.
Representatives for Imperial Brands, a tobacco giant based in the U.K., said Thursday they are introducing a next-generation e-cigarette device called the MyBlu that uses disposable pods containing a blend of nicotine salts, similar to the pod system manufactured by JUUL Labs, reported Bloomberg.
Fontem Ventures, a subsidiary of Imperial Brands that focuses solely on the vapor brand Blu, initially released the pod-based system earlier in 2018. Officials say they have since made slight changes to the technology to reduce manufacturing costs in preparation for their official product launch. (RELATED: A Majority Of Adult Smokers Now Believe Vaping Is More Hazardous To Their Health Than Cigarettes)
Data from Nielsen shows JUUL accounts for roughly 68 percent of sales in the e-cigarette retail market, aiding a drop in sales for combustible cigarettes, which remain the number one cause of preventable death worldwide.
“The type of experience JUUL delivered was definitely a step forward,” Alison Cooper, CEO of Imperial Brands, told Bloomberg. “Smokers weren’t switching completely in to vaping before because the experience wasn’t satisfying enough. That’s what we are trying to achieve.”
The emergence of JUUL in the U.S. over the past three years has caused retail sales of Imperial’s Blu products to slide by more than 50 percent. Imperial products represented 8 percent of the U.S. retail market for e-cigarettes in 2017.
JUUL Labs, whose product is currently only available in the U.S. and Israel, appears to be looking to expand their reach. The company is reportedly raising $1.2 billion for a global launch.
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