Ballantyne Brands Joins We Card Manufacturers Advisory Council

E-cigarette maker aims to "stay ahead of the curve" on regulation

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Ballantyne Brands LLC, manufacturer of the Mistic and NEO brands of electronic cigarettes, has become a member of the Manufacturers Advisory Council of The We Card Program Inc., a nationally recognized nonprofit organization aimed at preventing underage tobacco and age-restricted product sales.

Ballantyne Brands joins We Card in the wake of the potential U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) "deeming regulations" on e-cigarettes, it said.

The company's partnership with We Card reflects a commitment to the highest standards of business practice and community accountability, it added. Only 11 states presently consider e-cigarettes an age-restricted product, and the FDA does not currently regulate e-cigarettes.

"As a We Card member, we are demonstrating our responsibility on the part of the electronic cigarette industry in the absence of current federal regulation regarding the sales of electronic cigarettes to minors," said John Wiesehan Jr., CEO of Ballantyne Brands. "We know that FDA regulations are coming--and we welcome them. Our aim here is to stay ahead of the curve."

For more than 17 years, the We Card Program has worked to train and educate retailers in an effort to prevent the sale of tobacco and other age-restricted products to minors. Working with state coalitions, trade associations, individual businesses and chains, community groups and government agencies, We Card provides retailers with training and educational tools and services promoting both underage sales prevention and regulatory compliance.

"With electronic cigarettes being such a new industry, we are pleased to announce that Ballantyne Brands has joined our manufacturers advisory council," said Doug Anderson, president of We Card. "We are excited that they are taking part in the We Card mission and working to prevent the sale of their age-restricted products to minors."

Charlotte, N.C.-based Ballantyne Brands distributes NEO and Mistic e-cigarettes to thousands of retail outlets across the country. It offers rechargeable and nonrechargeable e-cigarettes in both traditional tobacco and menthol flavors at a variety of nicotine levels. The company is introducing Mistic Black, a "soft-tip" disposable e-cigarette with a paper wrap feel that it said more closely mimics the touch and texture of a traditional tobacco cigarette, in June 2013. It will enter the retail market at a $4.99 manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP).