One of the more appealing aspects of e-cigarettes, besides arguably being healthier than traditional smokes, is that the products are mostly independent of Big Tobacco corporations.

See also: E-Cigarettes' Nicotine Liquid Triggers Reefer Madness in the New York Times

There have been Big Tobacco – backed products (Blu) to be sure. But they've so far been a small minority in a market flooded with an array of vaporizers and flavored e-liquids. 

Today tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds announced it's coming to town in a big way, however:
On Monday, the company says, it's Vuse e-cigarettes will be available at 600 Los Angeles – area retailers, including 7-Eleven. The device is being called “the world's first and only digital vapor cigarette,” because it contains a microprocessor.

A spokeswoman told us the chip “measures the dose to get the exact perfect puff.”

Credit: R.J. Reynolds

Credit: R.J. Reynolds

That's tough competition. She said that, after an initial rollout in Colorado and Utah, Vuse was coming to L.A. and other markets throughout America.

About 15,000 retailers from coast to coast will carry it, the spokeswoman told us.

Another big difference between this and past Big Tobacco attempts to infiltrate the e-cigarette market (Blu) is that Vuse is not disposable. It's a USB-charged vape that uses replaceable cartridges. According to a company statement:

The Vuse Solo includes a flavor cartridge in original or menthol, a rechargeable Vuse PowerUnit and a USB charger. Replacement cartridges are sold in packs of two – each Vuse cartridge lasts about the equivalent of one pack of traditional cigarettes. Depleted cartridges and PowerUnits can be returned to RJR Vapor Company through a convenient prepaid mailer available at (access restricted to those age 21 and over) and are recycled free of charge.

Credit: R.J. Reynolds

Credit: R.J. Reynolds

Smart. It seems like the e-cigarettes that are getting the most traction are rechargeable vaporizers and not disposables. Vuse vapes come in iPhone-like packaging, too.

Stephanie Cordisco, president of RJR Vapor Company (yes, there's now an RJR Vapor Company), says:

Vuse will be a game-changer in the e-cigarette category, providing an innovative product that meets the expectations of adult tobacco consumers.

We'll see.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

LA Weekly