Nearly all the cigarette companies are selling e-cigs now

By James Dennin for Kapitall.

The popularity of smoking electronic cigarettes—termed vaping by the already-initiated— has grown faster than anyone previously thought. 

For a product that didn't really exist four years ago, it has grown into a $4 billion industry, with many estimates suggesting that it could make up more than half of the global tobacco market within a decade. 

That rate of adoption has been so fast, it's beating regulators to the punch. Anti-smoking advocates went into a fury over an advertisement from the company Numark, a subsidary of Altria (MO)

The term's tagline is "Let it Glow," which consumer advocacy groups say is a pretty clear appropriation of the lyric "Let it Go" from the enormously popular Disney (DIS)  film  Frozen.

The major concern with e-cigarettes, aside from the fact that the health-claims might be unsubstantiated, is that the fun flavors make it easier to market them to children.

Many municipalities have already moved to treat e-cigarettes the same as combustible ones, but they are still allowed to advertise on TV and radio, while traditional tobacco is not. We decided to build a list of the cigarette companies and how much of this nascent market they've been able to snatch up.

Do you think they will benefit, or will regulations choke up the profits? Use the list below to begin your analysis. 

Click on the interactive chart to view data over time. 

 

1. Reynolds American Inc. ( RAI, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Through its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells cigarette and other tobacco products in the United States. Market cap at $32.37B, most recent closing price at $60.94.

Reynolds' brand Vuse is only available in two states, Utah and Colorado, but it built a 55% market share there in a manner of weeks

 

2. Altria Group Inc. ( MO, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Engages in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, smokeless products, and wine in the United States and internationally. Market cap at $83.37B, most recent closing price at $42.35. 

Altria's brand NuMark was rolled out in mid-June, so there is not much sales data available on it yet. 

 

3. Lorillard, Inc. ( LO, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Engages in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes in the United States. Market cap at $22.16B, most recent closing price at $62.27.

Owns Blue, which has a 33% market share

 

4. British American Tobacco plc ( BTI, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Engages in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of tobacco products. Market cap at $113.01B, most recent closing price at $120.99

BAT was one of the first major incumbents to attempt to break the European market with a mult-million dollar spend in February. In a young market where most products are still only available online, BAT dominates in terms of retail availability having partnered with Britain's two largest supermarkets. 

 

(List compiled by James Dennin. Returns sourced from Zacks Investment Research. All other data sourced from Finviz.)

Kapitall Wire is a division of New Kapitall Holdings, LLC. Kapitall Generation, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of New Kapitall Holdings, LLC. Kapitall Wire offers free investing ideas, intended for educational information purposes only. It should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell securities, or any other product or service provided by New Kapitall Holdings, LLC, and its affiliate companies.

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