Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Puritane e-cigarette, by Fontem Ventures.


On sale from Monday 24th Feb at Boots the Chemist

The Puritane e-cig has generated a lot of publicity recently, much more so than the average new e-cig launch. I think that this is for 2 main reasons. Firstly because the Puritane is made by a company called Fontem Ventures which is part of Imperial Tobacco and, secondly, because the Puritane will be on sale in Boots the Chemist.

Boots have a very high level of consumer trust, and so its says a lot for the quality of the Puritane.

I was lucky enough to receive some samples of the Puritane to try out and these are my first impressions.

Lets have a look at the presentation - The Puritane comes in 2 formats, a disposable and a rechargeable version.

The packaging is very neat and professional looking, with plenty of information and instructions on the back of the packet.

Here is a size comparison of the Putitane next to the Vype, one of its main competitors.

The Cartomisers are made in the UK. The Puritane holds 1.1ml of liquid and has a highest strength of 1.6% nicotine. Personally, I would prefer to use a higher strength of nicotine, especially in this form of e-cig, but I have to remind myself that this is just the first product from Fontem and I am fairly sure that there will be several variants available in the future.

Fontem appear to be approaching the e-cig market with a different strategy to BAT.

BAT have played a very slick advertising and social media campaign to make their product appeal to smokers as an alternative.

Fontem seem to be playing it in a more cautious, but well thought out, way. With total reassurance about quality at the forefront - and completely guarding themselves against false claims of providing any form of "gateway" or "marketing at kids" - by providing the product over the counter in a respected chemist.

The Puritane would not be suitable for me - but then again, it doesn't aim to be - I am not part of the target market. This product would appeal to someone who is a smoker and who would like to try an e-cig, but who has, so far, had various concerns about electronic cigarettes, a fear of the unknown. That it is available from Boots will provide a high level of reassurance about the quality and safety of the Puritane.

Will it be a success? Of course it will, but how much of a success depends on how it is advertised and marketed. Fontem do seem to play their cards very close to their chest, but I have a feeling that we will not have to wait very long for the marketing to begin.

This is just the first step for Fontem and Imperial, on what will end up being a very long journey for them.


Monday, 17 February 2014

the Vype national TV advert


The TV advert for the VYPE electronic cigarette, due to be shown from tonight (Feb 17th) until April 6th.

The advert uses the tagline “Experience the Breakthrough”  It shows a man and woman running through a city before passing through a cloud of vapour and being propelled into the air.

This version of the advert uses the words "satisfaction for smokers" - however the TV broadcast version will use the words "satisfaction for vapers"



Friday, 7 February 2014

Another e-cig fire scare story.

Another week, another piece of poor reporting about electronic cigarettes.

This time it is from Alison Stacey, the 'Health Reporter' in the Birmingham Mail.

I always thought that journalists were trained to check their facts and do some research before publishing a story, but some seem to think that they can write about a subject that they know nothing about in the hope that their readers will know even less and not notice.

E-cigs are under a political threat, and there is no shortage of stories about them - the news is being checked, daily, by hundreds of e-cig users and campaigners - so the days of poor reporting on the subject going un-noticed are well and truly over.

The original article appeared HERE on Feb 6th.

It is a fairly typical example of the "E-cig burst into flames and nearly burnt a house down" type of article.

As per usual, it completely fails to mention that the single most common cause of house fire deaths are tobacco cigarettes and therefore even with the occasional accident, e-cigs represent a much less risky option.

Lets have a look at the article itself.

It gets off to a bad start with an error in the opening sentence :

"The dangers of smoking were brought home to a Birmingham grandmother when her e-cigarette exploded ‘like a firework’ in her living room."

Sorry, I thought it was an article about e-cigs - and yet it starts out with the 'dangers of smoking' - electronic cigarette users are not smoking, they do not contain tobacco and they do not emit 'smoke' so with even very basic errors like this from the start then we know that the author is clueless on the subject.

The article explains that the person involved was
"charging the electronic device for the first time when it burst into flames at her house in Weoley Castle."
Luckily, nobody was injured - however the article continues in order
"to warn others about the potential dangers of the popular e-cigs."
And now we get to the account of what happened as the victim explains :
“I had nipped upstairs as I was tidying up and heard an almighty bang,”

Yes, that's right. She had put the e-cig on charge and then just 'nipped upstairs' and all of a sudden the device burst into flames.

The thing is, a slightly different story is told on the victims own facebook page, where several days earlier she told her friends that the e-cig was charging overnight and it was her husband that came home to discover the fire. No 'nipping' and no 'almighty bang'.

Next, the article goes on to describe the actual electronic cigarette itself, and Alison Stacey provides more evidence that she is out of her depth on e-cigs as she incorrectly calls it a
"Kangertech protank 3 cigarette". The e-cig had been purchased
"from a man in her local pub for £25"

Because Alison Stacey does not understand the subject that she is writing about and appears to have done little, if any, research - she clearly does not realise that the Kanger product was the ONLY component that has not caught fire - the Kanger tank that fits on to the battery appears to be untouched - which indeed it would be because the Kanger component would have to have been disconnected in order for the battery to have been charging up.

To anyone that knows about the subject, the battery is most certainly not a Kanger battery and neither is the charger. In fact, I recognise the charger, it is one of these :

The charger is designed to charge a different type of e-cig battery and has an output voltage of 5.0volts - which means that we might be getting to a, realistic, possible cause of the fire
- a 5.0v charger was used to recharge a 4.2v battery.
In other words the wrong charger was being used.

And this is why the whole story falls apart. You see Alison Stacey seems to have done no basic fact checking before publishing an article on a subject that she clearly knows little about.

She didn't seem to check any aspect of the story.

Instead of trying "to warn others about the potential dangers of the popular e-cigs", she could have done this :

- Advised readers to make sure that they are using the correct charger. Indeed this is the main piece of advice provided by the Fire Service about e-cigs.

- Encouraged readers to initially purchase from a reliable outlet.

- Explained to readers that these incidents are rare and considerably less frequent than fire caused by smoking

- Informed readers that care should be taken with all rechargeable batteries including laptops and mobile phones, which carry the same risks (especially if the wrong charger is used).

This really is another article written by someone that does not seem to understand the subject.
 As I said earlier, journalists have gone past the time when they can write about e-cigs without scrutiny. If they don't check their facts then they will be picked up on it.