Greensboro-based Lorillard Tobacco has acquired the British electronic cigarette company SKYCIG. Lorillard purchased the e-cigarette company for about $48 million.
The takeover marks the second significant purchase Lorillard has made of an e-cigarette company this year. Electronic, or e-cigarettes, come in an assortment of flavors and are becoming very popular. Analysts project the industry to have record sales of two billion dollars this year.
“And then there are some analysts that are predicting by the end of the decade at least in the US market, that they will surpass traditional cigarettes in terms of sales,” said North Carolina State Professor Blake Brown.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution in a disposable cartridge, creating a vapor that is then inhaled. Lorillard is the nation’s third largest manufacturer of cigarettes. Winston-Salem-based RJ Reynolds is number two, and also expanding its e-cigarette offerings. Because the product is so new, there aren’t many regulations.
“So a lot of the future of the market for e-cigarettes I think depends on where these regulations come out. And as anytime you have government policy there is an awful lot of uncertainty in that,” Brown said.
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has called on the FDA to regulate e-cigarettes and prohibit sales to minors. Currently there is no federal age minimum for buying the product. North Carolina does have a restriction to those under the age of 18.