E-cigarettes may surpass NRT sales

    Euromonitor International believes the value of the global trade in electronic cigarettes may soon exceed that of non-prescription nicotine-replacement products. In a recent report, the market intelligence provider estimated the worldwide e-cigarette market at $2 billion, compared with $2.4 billion for the NRT market, excluding prescription sales.

    The report also highlights the increasing involvement of traditional tobacco companies in e-cigarettes. As examples, it highlights the ventures of Lorillard, which acquired Blu eCigs for $135 million in April 2012, and Swisher International, which launched its own brands of e-cigarettes and e-cigars this year.

    Euromonitor predicts that by 2050, e-cigarettes and other non-combustible smoking alternatives will be worth 4 percent of the overall tobacco category.

    E-cigarettes are currently largely unregulated across the world, according to the report, although some countries, such as Argentina, have banned them, while others, such as the United States, have classified them as tobacco products.

    There is speculation that the EU is planning to ban e-cigarettes that are not registered pharmaceutical products, the article said.

    “Should any future legislation clamp down on e-cigarettes that are not registered pharma products, tobacco companies such as BAT with their pharma-approved devices and those companies with the financial clout to afford the approval process will be poised to pick up the slack,” the article said.