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U.S. VAPE SHOPS AVERAGE $26K IN MONTHLY SALES, ACCORDING TO INDUSTRY INDEX

Economic Impact and Consumer Buying Trends Detailed In Independent Analysis of American Vape Shops  

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 16, 2015U.S. brick-and-mortar vape shops generate annual non-online sales of more than $300,000 per store, according to the 2015 Vape Shop Index, released today by ECigIntelligence, Roebling Research, E-Cigarette Forum and the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA).

The index, an ongoing study of U.S. vape shops as part of “Project Vape Manifest,” analyzed financial, product, and brand-level data, including trends, preferences and owner attitudes from 540 vape shops across 42 states.

“This really is the first time that the industry will have detailed independent data from vape shops, where much of the growth in the sector is now occurring, reaching more than $1.5 billion in annual revenue,” said Tim Phillips, CEO, ECigIntelligence. “As consumer preferences evolved toward open system tanks and e-liquids, we saw a need for accurate data to help shop owners better compete in today’s marketplace.”

The index also found that more than two-thirds of respondents (69 percent) were single-store owners, while 16 percent owned two shops and 15 percent had three or more stores.

Other findings include:

  • Sales of e-liquids account for nearly 60 percent of store revenues.
  • Fruit and dessert flavors were ranked as the top-selling e-liquids.
  • Fifty percent of e-liquids are sold in 3 mg/mL and 6 mg/mL nicotine concentrations.
  • Forty-three percent of brick-and-mortar vape shops sell online.

The index also revealed that nearly all respondents (98 percent) support appropriate and reasonable regulations. However, two-thirds (67 percent) of vape shop owners claim state regulations are/will be hurtful to their businesses, despite the fact that more than three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents are optimistic about the current state of the vapor industry.

“Our results show that the vape shop channel is primarily made up of sincere, hard-working small businesses that contribute significantly to the economy,” said Cynthia Cabrera, president and executive director of SFATA. “Results also point to the fact that regulations are a key concern and anything onerous, such as the FDA’s pending final rule, could seriously impact tens of thousands of jobs, as well as jeopardize the role vapor products play helping smokers switch to a less harmful alternative.”

Findings from the 2015 Vape Shop Index demonstrate retailers’ commitment to keeping vapor products out of the hands of minors, with 85 percent of respondents reporting the use of in-store signage to prevent underage sales. Similarly, more than half (54 percent) of vape shops do not allow minors to enter their stores and 92 percent always require ID at the point-of-sale.

The index also found that the e-liquid sector remains very fragmented and no one company dominates in terms of brand penetration, while the hardware sector is much more consolidated.

“As the vape shop channel continues to mature, we’ll probably see more consolidation as established vape shop retailers continue to grow and expand their businesses,” said Steve Hong, principal, Roebling Research. “There’s no doubt this channel is driving the broader category and we expect the channel to grow even bigger next year.”

Survey respondents will receive a free customized intelligence report. The full 2015 Vape Shop Index report is available for purchase at http://bit.ly/Project-Vape-Manifest-2015-Vape-Shop-Index.

About the Vape Shop Index

Project Vape Manifest is an ongoing joint project of ECigIntelligence, Roebling Research, the E-Cigarette Forum and SFATA. Data for the 2015 Vape Shop Index was collected from 540 vape shops during August 26, 2015 to October 19, 2015 by responding to a detailed survey questionnaire.

 About ECigIntelligence

 ECigIntelligence is the leading business intelligence and regulatory research resource for professionals in the e-cigarette and vapor industry, providing detailed market analysis and regulatory tracking across the globe through its online portal.

About Roebling Research

Roebling Research is a market research and strategy consultancy dedicated to the vape industry. Based in New York City, the company counts among its clients category-leading vapor companies, retailers, and professional services firms.

About E-Cigarette Forum

E-Cigarette Forum is the longest-running and largest e-cigarette community online. Founder Oliver Kershaw has worked behind-the-scenes for years to help ensure the future of the industry, including by co-founding the E-Cigarette Summit at London’s Royal Society.

About SFATA

The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association is the largest trade association in the vapor products industry with approximately 800 members and 16 chapters located across the country, representing online retailers, brick and mortar vendors, distributors, manufacturers, importers and wholesalers.

SFATA Encourages Maryland E-Cigarette Business Owners to Fight CB-91-2013

Following other counties and cities in the United States, a council member in Prince George’s County in Maryland has recently introduced a bill titled CB-91-2013 that would outlaw the use of electronic cigarettes in restaurants, bars and public and senior housing units.

Many outsiders are claiming because people are not allowed to smoke traditional cigarettes in public places (i.e. bars and restaurants), the same theory should apply for e-cigarettes. The Smoke Free Alterative Trade Association (SFATA) dispels this comparison by pointing out that e-cigarettes produce no smoke and do not possess tobacco or the nearly 3,000 known carcinogen chemicals that traditional tobacco cigarettes contain.

The electronic cigarette is an innovative technology that delivers nicotine from a cartridge in the form of water vapor. The e-liquid inside of an e-cigarette generally contains nicotine, Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerin (VG). Both PG and VG are FDA approved substances and can be found in several toothpaste and shampoo products at your local grocery store.

Prince George’s County Council Member Ingrid Turner is responsible for proposing this new Maryland bill, claiming that she is trying to make Maryland ‘more healthy.’ SFATA is encouraging County Council Member Turner to learn more about this innovative product and the overall industry before imposing severe regulation that could negatively affect her local constituents. If you are an e-cigarette business owner or advocate who lives in Prince George’s County, we encourage you to reach out to Ingrid Turner via email to express your concerns as to why this bill should be revoked. For more e-cigarette industry updates and news, follow SFATA on Twitter and “Like” the Official SFATA Facebook Fan Page.

More Medical Professionals Back E-Cigarettes As Reliable Adult Alternative

As electronic cigarettes continue to become more mainstream, the Food & Drug Association (FDA) is expected to announce proposed regulations on the industry as early as this month. In preparation for this legislative move, the Smoke Free Alternative Trade Association (SFATA) is urging elected officials and government agencies to consider respected medical professionals expertise on the e-cigarette field when creating recommendations.

E-cigarette advocates and business owners across the United States are concerned that the FDA will make the mistake of lumping e-cigarettes in with traditional cigarette regulation as part of its oversight. Such a move could impose severe restrictions on e-cigarette production, advertising, flavor selection and online sales. If this course of action becomes a reality, not only will access to e-cigarettes be severed, but economic growth will be negatively impacted.

SFATA is encouraging the FDA and elected officials to refer to research established by credible health professionals who offer scientific evidence proving that e-cigarettes are a reliable, adult alternative and that they are producing results that other smoking cessation methods are not.

Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health, is a prominent e-cigarette expert and a dependable source for information on why regulation under the tobacco act is inappropriate for these innovative products.  Through his Tobacco Analysis blog and 25 years of experience in the field of tobacco control, Dr. Siegel has learned the science and mechanics behind electronic cigarettes. In addition, he understands why e-cigs offer an alternative for adults looking to switch to a smoke-free lifestyle. Dr. Siegel spent two years working at the Office on Smoking and Health at the Center for Disease and Control (CDC), where he conducted research on secondhand smoke and cigarette advertising. With nearly 70 published papers related to tobacco, Dr. Siegel has the knowledge to assist the FDA in creating fair regulation that would not impede American’s rights or interrupt economic growth.

Dr. Richard Carmona, a former U.S. surgeon general who highlighted the dangers of secondhand smoke and supported a ban on all tobacco products, joined the board of directors of a prominent electronic cigarette company earlier this year. SFATA is hoping that this move will add legitimacy to e-cigarettes as a viable alternative to traditional cigarettes.

The latest medical professional to come out and support e-cigarettes as an adult alternative is Gilbert Ross, a medical doctor and the executive and medical director of The American Council on Science and Health in New York. In a recent Forbes article, Dr. Ross argued that e-cigarettes are actually helping individuals switch from a worldwide condemned habit that has killed millions of people across the world. Dr. Ross stated in Forbes that “e-cigarettes work by delivering a potent ‘hit’ of nicotine in water vapor, with flavorings and propellants of no significant health concerns — neither to the “vaper” (as they call themselves), nor to bystanders.’

If you are an e-cigarette business owner or advocate, make sure to share this blog post with your friends and family members in an effort to further educate & inform the public about electronic cigarettes. To receive further updates on the electronic cigarette industry, “Like” the Official SFATA Facebook Fan Page and follow SFATA on Twitter.

SFATA Member Debunks Common E-Cigarette Myths In NY Times

SFATA founding member and co-founder of VMR Products LLC, published a full-page ad in the New York Times on Monday, October 14th.

In an open letter to elected officials and FDA regulators, thought leader and CEO, Andries Verleur, dispelled common e-cigarette myths while encouraging fair and common sense regulation.

With anti-electronic cigarette and big tobacco groups pressuring the FDA to regulate the e-cigarette industry by the end of October, VMR thought it was imperative to get fact-based information to the officials in charge of monitoring and regulating the industry. In the letter, Verleur focused on three primary myths that are commonly misunderstood by many outsiders who are not familiar with electronic cigarettes, stating, “while the two look similar, their differences are tremendous.”

SFATA continues to promote this same philosophy– how can e-cigarettes be classified as a tobacco product if they do not possess any tobacco?  In addition, well-respected public health experts are advocating for the electronic cigarette industry based on the fact that e-cigarettes contain zero tobacco and are a truly reliable combustion-free, adult alternative.

Following an extremely misleading report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which falsely claimed the percentage of minors using e-cigarettes has more than doubled, Mr. Verleur also offered up facts as to how the e-cig industry purposely does not sell to minors. “We voluntarily label our products ‘Underage Sale Prohibited’ and fully support youth bans, the We Cart initiative and age verification laws for online e-cig sales in all 50 states.” In addition, VMR’s CEO stated that because there are almost 50 million active smokers in the United States, “the need to sell or market to the youth is not necessary.”  VMR, along with other industry leaders and other SFATA members do not conduct youth-oriented marketing promotions and continually enforce that policy.

Please share this blog post in an effort to promote the truth about electronic cigarettes and debunk inaccurate myths. As SFATA gears up for the first-ever Fly-In Event in Washington D.C. on November 4th & 5th, e-cig advocates are encouraged to contact their respected elected officials by telephone, email, standard mail and social media to tell them to not implement harsh regulations on the industry.  To take action, please retrieve the appropriate congressmen and women’s contact info from this post. Make sure to follow SFATA on Twitter and “Like” SFATA’s official Facebook Fan Page for daily e-cig industry updates and news.

The E-Cigarette Industry Achieves Regulatory Victory in Central Europe

Members of the European Parliament (MEP) in Strasbourg, France declined to impose stringent regulations on the electronic cigarette industry this week.  Although the law isn’t final, as it still has to be reviewed by other branches of the European Union’s government.  This is positive news for electronic cigarette business owners and advocates worldwide. While e-cigarettes will not be categorized as medicinal products, sold only in pharmacy’s, under this new regulation, e-cigarette companies in Europe will face stricter advertising regulations, which may prevent millions of people from learning about e-cigs as a reliable, smoke-free alternative.

Various groups spent millions of dollars trying to persuade the MEP to regulate e-cigarettes as nicotine replacement therapies (i.e. patches and gum), but those efforts were rejected. According to The Independent, a popular UK media outlet, the lack of tobacco in e-cigs is one of the main reasons the proposal did not move forward: “Cancer Research has proven that the lack of tobacco in e-cigarettes means they are ‘almost certainly’ a much safer way of getting a nicotine hit than smoking cigarettes.”

The MEP ruling resulted in a successful outcome for the e-cigarette industry because European citizens contacted their elected officials and let their voices be heard. Chris Davies, a Liberal Democrat MEP, told The Verge, another prominent UK media outlet, “E-cigs can be a game changer. Hundreds of former smokers have written to tell me that they have helped them give up cigarettes when nothing else worked. They are successful because they are not medicines but products that smokers enjoy using as an alternative to cigarettes.” Using this strategy in the U.S., SFATA is working to rally e-cigarette advocates to inform and educate elected officials.

Despite this apparent win, there are still many battles to fight in Europe and in the U.S. Individual nations in Central and Eastern Europe are free to impose tighter e-cig regulations, but must meet minimum standards set by the EU. Although the U.S. government is not looking to classify and regulate e-cigs as medicinal products, there is quite a lot of pressure to regulate them as if they were traditional cigarettes, which would be detrimental to the industry and consumers alike.

SFATA hopes U.S. regulators will look at Europe’s regulatory decision on e-cigarettes and use the same strategy for the U.S. It is inappropriate to categorize e-cigarettes as medicine or traditional cigarettes because this innovative technology is neither. E-cigarettes are a separate entity and deserve separate and sensible regulation. As a tobacco-free adult alternative, e-cigarettes are a useful option to people worldwide.

Help share SFATA’s message by sharing this blog post with colleagues, friends and family members. To get regular updates on the latest e-cigarette industry news, follow SFATA on Twitter and “Like” the Official SFATA Facebook Fan Page.