E-cigarettes are popular battery-powered devices that look, feel and taste like real cigarettes while delivering an experience similar to smoking.
Most electronic cigarettes consist of re-usable components. These include a flavored-nicotine cartridge inside the mouthpiece, a heating element that vaporizes the nicotine into a smokeless vapor similar to stage fog, a rechargeable battery and a light-emitting diode (LED) tip that mimics the glow from a lit cigarette.
Other e-cigarettes are one-piece disposable units. In the Los Angles Times article A high-tech approach to getting a nicotine fix, Barbara Demick reports that the Chinese company Ruyan will soon start selling its disposable Jazz e-cigarettes in Dallas-Fort Worth 7-Eleven stores. Jazz e-cigarettes cost US$24.95 for the equivalent of 5 packages worth of regular smokes.
E-Cigarette Supplier Listings
International trade portal Alibiba.com® lists almost 60,000 electronic cigarette products from 600 international wholesalers. Among e-cigarette suppliers, about 70% are from mainland China (225) and Hong Kong (115).
The United States has about 83 e-cigarette distributors listed on Alibaba while the count of suppliers from United Kingdom is 20. Nations with less than 10 listed trading companies include Vietnam, Canada, Israel, India and Cyprus.
Chinese E-Cigarettes Inventor
Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik invented the e-cigarette in 2003 with its patented ultrasonic technology. Hon Lik was a highly motivated inventor, given that his father was dying from lung cancer at the time.
Since then, most Chinese e-cigarette makers have replaced the ultrasonic technology with a heating element that vaporizes the nicotine solution in the e-cigarette mouthpiece so it can be inhaled. Another competitive advantage that explains why most electronic cigarettes continue to be sourced from the People’s Republic is the low-cost of Chinese labor required to assemble electronic cigarette components.
Chinese Suppliers of Electronic Cigarettes
Larger Chinese e-cigarette manufacturers like Shenzhen Smoore Technology Limited employ more than 500 workers with a 4,000-square-meter factory located on China’s south coast. After ramping up production in 2006, Shenzhen Smoore was the first company to produce e-cigarettes in Shenzhen. That Chinese city is now one of the world’s most productive regions for producing e-cigarettes. A hi-tech company, Shenzhen Smoore can supply each of its customers with 50,000 packaged sets of e-cigarettes per month. Each e-cigarette kit comes with a battery charger that plugs into a USB computer port.
Since 2007, many smaller Chinese manufacturers like Dongguan Yorkbenq Electronics have become electronic cigarette suppliers. Even though the company has less than 100 workers, Dongguan Yorkbenq generates more than $100 million in annual sales by specializing in e-cigarette products.
Whether shipped by big or small Chinese e-cigarette companies, over 90% of electronic cigarettes made in China are exported to overseas markets.
North American Suppliers of Electronic Cigarettes
Most of the electronic cigarette suppliers from the United States and Canada listed on Alibaba are distributors that direct import electronic products from Asian manufacturers. Given that Chinese manufacturers can require minimum shipping orders of 100 units or more, smaller businesses like family store owners or local distributors may find it economical to buy from a larger North American distributor that specializes in e-cigarettes. Larger distributors can often negotiate lower bulk shipping rates for a shipment that consolidates the supplies for a group of clients.
Davis Micro, Safety Shield Inc and Cross Section International ITrade are the only 3 North American e-cigarette suppliers listed currently on Alibaba as Gold Members and verified suppliers. Roughly 90 other e-cigarette companies from the U.S. and Canada are listed on Alibaba as unverified distributors of electronic cigarettes.
United Kingdom Supplier of Electronic Cigarettes
In early 2008, Super Dragon Group Eigarette designed and developed the Eigarette electronic cigarette. Super Dragon makes e-cigarette products at its factory in West Yorkshire, with a warehouse and administrative facilities in Leeds. The Eigarette is patent pending in the UK, with product certification that meets European Community health and safety standards.
Other International E-Cigarette Agents and Distributors
Other e-cigarette suppliers from the UK are agents or distributors representing an electronic cigarette manufacturer. Similarly, suppliers listed on Alibaba from other countries represent distributors for e-cigarette makers mostly from mainland China.
For example, S.P.K. Consumer Solutions and DrenchOnline are 2 trading companies located in India that specialize in the distribution of Chinese electronic products including e-cigarettes.
E-Cigarette Products For Sale on Amazon
Prospective importers should also research the used and new electronic cigarette products on Amazon. Often Amazon’s per-shipment cost of $4.99 plus discounted prices due to local competition can result in time and money savings when compared to imported e-cigarette supplies from mainland China.