|United States, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Russian Federation|
|Parent||Fontem Ventures B.V.|
blu is an electronic cigarette brand owned by tobacco giant Imperial Brands. The brand sells its products in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Russian Federation.
blu was launched in May 2009 by Australian entrepreneur Jason Healy and other investors in Charlotte, NC. Jason Healy is the founder and former president blu. Healy called blu "a lifestyle brand for smokers". Lorillard Tobacco Company purchased the bluCigs brand for an estimated $135 million in April 2012 and expanded into the UK market by taking over the existing Skycig brand for $48.5 million. This makes them the first of the Big Tobacco companies to enter into the e-cigarette market. Skycig was dissolved in March 2014 as Lorillard announced that all of its products would be sold under the blu brand. blu eCigs was criticized for selling the company. All the posts on the blu eCigs’ website criticizing the company were removed. blu eCigs went from 10,000 to 136,000 retailers selling blu after Lorillard acquired the brand. blu eCigs closed their Edinburgh site in 2015 in the US putting 55 jobs at risk.
When Lorillard was purchased by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, blu was sold to Imperial Brands as part of a $7.1 billion deal between the two companies, to avoid any potential inquiries from antitrust regulators, as R.J. Reynolds Tobacco already owned the e-cig brand Vuse.
In 2015 blu eCigs' website stated, "our position is that electronic cigarettes are addicting." In 2015 blu eCigs was the second most popular e-cigarette brand in the US with sales of 23.6% dollar, 17.3% unit. blu sells its products in the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy and Russian Federation.
blu eCigs were used in a health study involving other e-cigarette brands The study found that e-cigarette smoking and exposure to e-cigarette aerosol has risks of inducing gene-expression changes in bronchial airway epithelium in vitro although less severe than those of smoking analog cigarettes. It further found that these changes were more pronounced in products containing nicotine than those without nicotine. A 2015 study found the average amount of copper in blu eCigs aerosol was at 6.1 times higher than traditional cigarette smoke. A 2014 study tested 55 chemicals in e-cigarette aerosol for both blu and SKYCIG devices and found acrolein, acetaldehyde, and propionaldehyde at amounts 86 to 544 times less than in cigarette smoke.
Food and Drug Administration investigation
On September 12, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) issued letters to the manufacturers of the five top-selling national US e-cigarette brands, including blu, that made up a vast majority of the products illegally sold to minors as part of the blitz this summer. The US FDA asked each company to submit to them within 60 days plans describing how they will address the widespread youth access and use of their products. If they fail to do so, or if the plans do not appropriately address this issue, the US FDA will consider whether it would be appropriate to revisit the current policy that results in these products remaining on the market without a marketing order from the agency. This could mean requiring these brands to remove some or all of their flavored products that may be contributing to the rise in youth use from the market until they receive premarket authorization and otherwise meet all of their obligations under the law.
blu eCigs had the most advertising expenses, accounting for more than 75% of the entire e-cigarette advertising in 2012. More than 60% of 2013 expenses were for blu eCigs. Between 2011 and 2013, around 4 out of 5 of the e-cigarette TV commercials were viewed by young people were from the blu eCigs brand. blu eCigs puts restrictions on advertising placement in order for viewers to consist of no less than 85% adults "in an effort to minimize any potential exposure to minors," according to a company statement. Concerns arose from statistics that indicate minors who viewed e-cigarette TV commercials increased 250% from 2011 to 2013. "In 2014, Lorillard's blu eCigs ran a radio advertising campaign to oppose the effort to amend Los Angeles's existing smokefree law to include e‐cigarettes. The campaign urged users to attend city council hearings and testify against the ordinance, and blu eCigs retweeted posts, used similar hashtags to those of e‐cigarette user groups and trade associations, and encouraged its followers to retweet these messages," according to a 2016 report.
In January 2017, blu ran a "Cigarette Amnesty" campaign in the UK across three cities in which smokers were encouraged to throw their cigarette packets into a shredder. In June 2017, blu's parent company, Fontem Ventures, also ran a "Science Of Vaping" tour at the thecentre:mk in the UK which aimed to educate the public about e-cigarettes.
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- "Mayor of Milton Keynes officially opens Science of Vaping Tour". MKFM. 23 June 2017.