blu is an electronic cigarette brand owned by the Amsterdam-based company Fontem Ventures B.V., a subsidiary of Imperial Brands. The brand sells its products in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Italy.
blu was founded in 2009 by Australian entrepreneur Jason Healy in Charlotte, NC. Its founder, Jason 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.
The blu disposable model of e-cigarette.
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 August 2013, Fontem Ventures bought the e-cigarette company Dragonite, co-founded by Hon Lik, inventor of the modern e-cigarette. This $75 million purchase also saw Fontem acquire Dragonite's research and development facility in Beijing.
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, France and Italy.
In 2016, the e-cigarette brand JAI (also owned by Fontem Ventures) was discontinued to focus more attention on building the blu brand of e-cigarettes.
blu offers rechargeable, single-use and refillable e-liquid products such as blu PLUS+, blu PRO, and blu GO.
blu eCigs were used in a health study involving other e-cigarette brands. A 2015 study found the average amount of copper found in blu eCigs vapor were at 6.1 times higher than with a traditional cigarette smoke.
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. On September 28, 2017, blu officially launched its "Something Better" US advertising campaign which included stories from innovators, fashion designers, musicians, and consumers, according to a PR Newswire press release.
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