Even as RJ Reynolds pushed Vuse national to compete with more veteran e cigarette brands, they still found room to unveil Zonnic to their nicotine-laden lineup.
Zonnic is a nicotine replacement therapy that is marketed by Niconovum USA Inc., an RJ Reynolds subsidiary. The rollout of Zonnic represents the first time a tobacco company has begun selling a specifically stop-smoking aid.
RJ Reynolds breaks some new ground here with Zonnic, but it has some people scratching their heads at a possible “sibling rivalry” with Vuse and RJR’s e-vapor subsidiary, RJ Vapor.
Vuse is now in more than 100,000 retail locations while Zonnic is currently in 25,000. There is room for both as millions are seeking an answer to smoking but which one will be favored by the powers that be at RJ Reynolds? Time will tell.
Zonnic Nicotine Gum
The idea behind Zonnic isn’t new at all. The product is essentially a nicotine gum, something that has been around for a couple of decades now with marginal success among smokers looking to quit. It comes in three flavors (mint, cinnamon, and fruit) in two different nicotine levels.
The rollout into test markets in Iowa and Nebraska has just begun and the first stage will see Zonnic in about 25,000 retail stores.
This falls short of the 32,000 retail stores thatVuse was initially rolled out into, but we aren’t exactly comparing apples to apples now are we?
The release of Zonnic serves as a reminder of the many options that smokers have, ones that they are constantly being marketed about. E cigarette companies are part of that effort, perhaps a big part, but they aren’t the only ones looking to show smokers that there are other options available for them. As long as smokers are targeted as social pariahs, there will be a big industry that will be trying to play a part in that overall cultural change.
This cultural change is reinforced legally by indoor smoking bans, as well as many outdoor smoking bans. This isn’t just about that dirty look you get from lighting up a cigarette next to somebody. Frankly, it hasn’t been that simple in a very long time now.
So RJ Reynolds jumps in with Zonnic and joins the nicotine gum market, going after some of their former cigarette customers who want to quit. In some respect we can commend them for trying to put more than deadly toxins into their customers. But this is still business and that means it is mostly about money.
Nicotine Replacement Business
Traditional NRTs Have Limited Success Rates
If RJ Reynolds thinks they can be profitable with Zonnic then they go for it, and that is what they did. Yet we have to wonder if they are looking over the same data that is easily searchable on the internet.
This is to say that nicotine gum has been around for a long time yet doesn’t exactly have a stellar record of success with smokers. If they did, the entire e-cigarette movement would be a lot more understated.
Being that RJ Reynolds is a multi-billion dollar company and grew their own e-cig company “in-house” in Vuse, we think they know this too. That’s what makes the headline of this article which speaks to a “sibling rivalry” so comical to us. Sure, Zonnic is owned by the same conglomerate that owns Vuse, but it isn’t like the two are really competing with each other.
If you have tried nicotine gum and it hasn’t worked for you then you are just part of a big majority that has experienced the same thing. The e-cigarette movement has grown so quickly because of all of those people that are looking for a different way. E-cigarettes are about expanding that pool of options for smokers, not competing directly with what is already out there.
Zonnic steps into direct competition with nicorette and other nicotine gums and marks the first entry by RJ Reynolds into an FDA approved smoking cessation market. We don’t think they see this as competition with leading e cig brands and we agree with them. Vuse won’t be hurt by Zonnic because they are simply after a different type of consumer.
Now, it’s possible that the type of consumer that Zonnic is going after will later become a prime target forVuse and other e cigarette brands. But we don’t see a way that it will hurt their business and, more than anything, RJ Reynolds seems to be covering its bases as their primary business of traditional tobacco products continue to be on the way out.