Electronic cigarettes – also known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs, hookah pens or vape pens – belong to the tobacco products segment. The smoking device is battery-powered, often shaped like a traditional cigarette and stimulates the feeling of smoking. E-cigarettes first hit the market in 2004 and have seen tremendous growth since then. Industry experts see high growth potential in this evolving business and assume the consumption of e-cigarettes to outpace the usage of traditional cigarettes within the next decade.
In the United States, retail sales of e-cigs totaled to about 795 million U.S. dollars in 2014. Broken down by channel, convenience stores (C-stores) were most likely to be the point-of-purchase for electronic cigarettes. The C-store channel accounted for about 81 percent of total U.S. e-cigarette dollar sales in that year.
The key to the future of e-cigarettes in the United States appears to be in how the tobacco category will be treated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).The industry is now awaiting the newly proposed plan of the FDA for how they are going to regulate the rising industry. The plan proposes having every e-cigarettes product approved by the FDA before being sold on the market.