Anyone familiar with e cigarettes in the UK has heard of the electronic cigarette company Blu. They are among the largest e cig companies in the entire world. While you may not have known about them a few years ago since they were only selling in the US market alongside hundreds of other brands, you most likely saw their market entrance to the UK in 2013 (when they purchased SkyCig for close to $50 million USD). That was the e cigarette UK news of 2013.
Then, it seemed as if Blu, and subsequently SkyCig, fell off the map. SkyCig was a company that was doing over £20 million in annual sales. Almost two full years has passed since the sale and we are still left wondering: what is going on with SkyCig? This was one of the only e cigarette brands that saw massive growth year over year.
As it turns out, this was not the only up and coming e cigarette company to fall off the map. One of the biggest, if not THE biggest, name in the UK market was Green Smoke. Forget Blu for a minute. We have tested Blu – an above average product but nothing out of this world. You look at Green Smoke and, in our opinion, it is on a whole other level. Congratulations Green Smoke – free advertising from us. However, the truth is they deserve it. They have the best cig-a-like product, and they have the sales to show for it. Green Smoke was growing at a pace beyond all other brands, especially in the UK market. Their ads were everywhere. And now? You can find them on perhaps only four or five UK websites, with no other UK advertising to boot. So what happened? Why would two companies who experienced growth that penny stock winners would envy all of a sudden stop marketing themselves?
After looking through all of the garbage reasons such as “the e cigarette market is shrinking” or “new e cigarette brands are eating at their market share,” it is pretty easy to see what is going on. While most other companies with an advertising budget continue to grow, Blu and Green Smoke continue to shrink. The reason behind this is likely Big Tobacco. Lorillard purchased Blu and Altria (the parent of Philip Morris and Marlboro) bought out Green Smoke for $110 million plus $20 million in incentives. As long as you do not see a problem with Big Tobacco, it seems all is still okay and even looking better when these buy outs occurred right?
It would be logical to assume so, but the truth is there is a lot of things happening behind closed doors at Big Tobacco. For starters, Big Tobacco companies are directly responsible for millions of deaths per year. We here at E Cigarette Reviews UK even heard that there was a Congressional meeting with Big Tobacco executives and it was a blood bath for these executives, where Congressional figures were quite literally yelling at Big Tobacco executives “you are disgusting!”
Let that sink in for a minute. When you are directly responsible for millions of annual deaths worldwide due to your tobacco cigarette products, you will naturally be dealing with multiple lawsuits that can number in the BILLIONS of Pounds/Dollars. Big Tobacco is well aware of this and therefore there is a wild amount of compliance set in place within these corporations. Now, if you look at the advertising history, it becomes clear that the mass advertising stopped right at the time of these buy outs.
We tested out our theory and contacted some senior employees at these companies. It turns out that we were *somewhat* right, but not even close. Big Tobacco not only holds them back from advertising but also from creating new flavours, new designs, new everything! Due to the fact that there is little to no medical information on electronic cigarettes, Big Tobacco companies feel the need to set strict restrictions on everything.
So why did they purchase these e cigarette companies to begin with? Didn’t they know this would be a problem? These are great questions but should be answered in a separate follow up blog post (be on the lookout)! For now though, at least our theory was proven correct. It is beyond unfortunate that companies like Green Smoke and Blu will continue to dry up, which could lead to a slow and painful death for their business.