Pilot Testing Electronic Smokeless Products

In an effort to boost sales in the smokeless category, Pilot convenience stores in the Knoxville, Tenn., market are testing the Vegas E-cigar, a product manufactured by Minneapolis-based Ruyan America Inc. that looks and feels like a premium cigar, but uses a microchip and nicotine-infused liquid to produce a vapor that provides its user with the experience of smoking without secondhand smoke.

The product has about 1,800 mouthfuls of vapor, roughly the equivalent vapor to the mouthfuls of smoke produced in a carton of conventional cigarettes. It’s meant to be disposed after it no longer produces vapor. Smokers who use as an alternative to smoking activity said it lasts as long as a carton of cigarettes, while smokers who only use it in places where
they can’t smoke said it lasts anywhere from three to six weeks.

Pilot stores are planning to offer the product for $29.99. Pilot is also planning to add Ruyan’s new disposable E-cigarette, the Ruyan Jazz. The Jazz is equivalent of four- or five-packs of traditional cigarettes. It retails for about $25.00 each.

“We have seen the research from Ruyan America and believe that this is going to be an exciting alternative to smoking that does not emit second hand smoke,” said Dan Fleming, Pilot’s vice president of operations.

In addition to its more than 300 travel centers nationwide, Pilot Corp. operates 45 Pilot Food Marts in the Knoxville, Tenn., market.

Earlier this year, the Vegas E-cigar was one of two Ruyan products to be honored at the 2008 Tobacco Plus Expo  The company’s E-cigarette was named 2008’s most innovative product, while the E-cigar was named the most marketable product of the year.

“Our products have the potential and the goal of revitalizing the hospitality industry, enabling smokers to enjoy nicotine in social settings without running afoul of smoking bans or restrictions or discomforting non smokers,” said William Bartkowski, president of Ruyan America, the U.S.-based partner of Ruyan Holdings Ltd. of Hong Kong.

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