FMCG-to-tobacco-to-hospitality major ITC has quietly forayed into the Electronic Vaping Device (EVD) segment with the launch of Eon. The category is also called electronic cigarette or e-cigarette though there is no tobacco or combustion process involved in it. Internationally, the category has been growing at a rapid pace, with growth rates projected at 40% for the next five years.
In 2013, globally, the industry size was estimated at $3 billion, with the US and Europe being the key markets. India, a late entrant and a nascent market currently, has seen numerous lesser-known imported brands, which are mainly being sold online. ITC with its strong strength in product quality, packaging and distribution is thus well poised to enter this category, said a senior official of the company.
Eon is available in two variants - Rich Flavour and Menthol. The EVD, while being manufactured in China, from where globally nearly all devices are sourced, has been meticulously designed by the product development team of ITC and manufactured in compliance with high quality standards. The e-liquid, which on being heated vapourizes, has been blended, using quality ingredients and flavours. The mouth-end has a "soft tip" enabling a superior vaping experience.
When contacted, an ITC spokesperson said it has launched Eon in Hyderabad and Kolkata at present. This EVD which has no tar, smoke and ash is available in two flavour variants - rich flavour and menthol. "The often-used term 'e-cigarette' is misleading, as the EVD, unlike a traditional cigarette, does not contain tobacco and there is no combustion. It is important that the Indian industry innovates and creates intellectual property for products such as EVD which will otherwise be imported involving royalty payments and outflows from the country. India should not be left behind in technology development," the spokesperson added.
Eon comes stylishly in a "trigger pack", which is convenient to carry as well. "The "pulse" effect of the appealing print graphics is in keeping with the "electronic" nature of the product," the spokesperson said.
Globally, many smokers have started using this category and India, where though legal cigarettes account for less than 12% of tobacco consumed, might have a similar experience. Each Eon gives 250 puffs, measured under standard laboratory conditions, and is priced at Rs 300/.
During the last AGM, ITC chairman Y C Deveshwar had said that the company was internally ready with the technology of e-cigarette but there was no policy of the government in this regard.
Eon is available in two variants - Rich Flavour and Menthol. The EVD, while being manufactured in China, from where globally nearly all devices are sourced, has been designed by the product development team of ITC.