Vuse Is 'Tobacco Product,' Not Cessation Device

Reynolds answers questions on its e-cig offering

Melissa Vonder Haar, Freelance Writer

NEW YORK -- Last week, Reynolds American Inc. announced the company would start selling Vuse in Colorado on July 1, representing the first step towards a national rollout of the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company's electronic cigarette. Attendees of the New York City press conference were curious about potential Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulations--something many expected to be announced in April.

"As a company, we believe deeming regulations [on electronic cigarettes] are imminent," said Reynolds' president and CEO Daan Delen, noting that they intend to be involved in conversation once a deeming announcement comes down. "We look forward to working with the FDA on regulations."

Although the FDA has not indicated what those regulations might be, many have speculated that age verification, flavor bans and manufacturing standards are likely. Because of Reynolds' own high internal standards, Delen believes Vuse is well prepared to face such potential regulations.

"We are in a great position," he said. "I am quite certain that if anyone can meet product standards, we can." 

However, this confidence in the product and willingness to work with the FDA does not mean that Reynolds will attempt to market Vuse as a smoking cessation device.

"Vuse is a tobacco product," senior vice president of research and development Daniel Herko said when asked about the product's cessation potential. "We are not making any health claims."

One thing Reynolds is making claims about is being environmentally friendly.

"We developed our [Vuse] portfolio providing only rechargeable technology," said Stephanie Cordisco, president of R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co.. "We were trying to minimize the environmental impact and ensure that consumers weren't throwing out lithium ion batteries."

Reynolds is also launching a prepaid recycling program--not only for Vuse, but for any electronic cigarettes consumers would like to dispose of responsibly. Cordisco said that smokers will be able to sign up either on Vuse's website or at retail locations to have a monthly prepaid envelope mailed out so they can return their used cartridges and batteries to be recycled. The company has partnered with a third-party recycling company in an effort to ensure that such products are disposed of responsibly. 

"Our goal is to make is very simple for smokers to recycle," Cordisco said.  "It's very important in terms of our corporate environmental program."