During the 97th annual meeting of the Tobacco Merchants Association, Ecig Advanced had a chance to sit down with Lorillard CEO Murray Kessler to discuss their purchase of Blu Cigs and their plans to market and sell the brand in the rapidly growing and changing future of electronic cigarettes:
Kessler gave the keynote speech at the event’s dinner in which he described Lorillard’s confidence in the future of harm reduction strategies and the active role that tobacco companies should take in implementing them, as well as working with regulatory agencies to ensure the best possible outcome. Kessler took the time to give us some great background on the Blu purchase, though we were certainly more interested in what he had to say in regards to the future of e-cigarettes and the role of Blu Cigs in it.
Kessler’s optimism towards the potential that e-cigarettes hold is encouraging. It’s certainly a great business decision for Lorillard- with ever-increasing numbers of tobacco companies entering the smoke-free market through products like snus and tobacco dissolvables, we have to believe that the company with the biggest stake in vaping will see the most success. The clearest takeaways are the statements Kessler makes on the ramping up of e-cigarette distribution and the need to make the product “relevant” in terms of being widely known, understood and compared to cigarettes.
But we were surprised to hear Kessler say he is more concerned about “knee-jerk state regulation”, in terms of states proposing bans or regulation of e-cigarettes without sound reasoning or an understanding of the product- a story we’ve already heard all too often in the e-cigarette world. By all means, a valid concern as so many members of the vaping community continue to put in countless hours battling proposed state regulation and bans. Of course, it’s also important to note that Lorillard has already made direct contact with the FDA regarding electronic cigarettes, especially in consideration of proposed regulatory guidelines for e-cigarettes as a Modified Risk Tobacco Product, or MRTP. Whether Lorillard can use its experience and size to work toward a better future for federal regulation with the FDA remains to be seen, but we have to say we like what we’re hearing so far.
See our first-take write-up on the Tobacco Merchants Association Annual Meeting here:
For more e-cigarette news and interviews from the Tobacco Merchants Association annual meeting, be sure to visit our News Home.
Disclaimer: Ecig Advanced has an affiliate relationship with Blu Cigs but is not influenced by this relationship in our coverage of news or product reviews.