Customized E-Cigs

Meghan Neal records their rise:

Any self-respecting vaper has a PV (personal vaporizer), or Mod (personalized, or “modified” piece.) From there, you can customize basically every aspect of your vaping experience—the refillable cartridge or “tank,” atomizer or wick, nicotine level (samples at the Vaporium range from zero to 24 mg—the equivalent of a heavy smoker), mAhs (Milliamp per hour, an indicator of battery life), and the intensity of the TH (throat hit) when inhaling.

Then there’s the plethora of flavors of liquid, variously known as e-liquid, juice, e-juice, nic-juice, or ass juice if it tastes real nasty. You can vape a straight tobacco flavor, cotton candy, chocolate, or more stonerific varieties like “Hoops” and “The Dude.” Or DIY vapers will mix their own liquid recipes.

This is where vape shops come in. At first, these were places to sample flavors and try out equipment, then they brought couches and foosball tables and flatscreen TVs into the shops so you could vape in the comfort while perusing their products. Next came vape lounges with bars, cafe-style tables, juices, and snacks. And now, retail boutiques.

Economists are taking notice:

Goldman Sachs earlier this year pegged e-cigarettes as one of eight industry disruptions to watch in the coming years (others included 3-D printing and cancer immunotherapy). Goldman estimates that e-cigarette retail sales already totaled $1 billion last year and could reach $10 billion by 2020; by then it estimates e-cigarettes could account for 16 percent of the US tobacco industry’s profits. …

If e-cigs continue to grow in popularity, it could hasten the demise of traditional cigarettes. But e-cigs also promise fatter profit margins, because they are not taxed as aggressively as traditional cigarettes, nor do they have to fund legal settlements, Goldman says. Moreover, because e-cigarette devices are rechargeable, they can be sold in much the way that companies such as Gillette sell razor blades – subsidize the cost of the basic device but make a healthy profit on the cartridges. As a result, Goldman estimates that e-cig businesses could eventually achieve profit margins in excess of 50 percent, compared to 30 percent for traditional cigarette businesses currently.