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Cigarette giant to release its own e-cig in Portland

In another sign of the emergence of electronic cigarettes here, tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds American will release its Vuse “e cig” in Portland retail outlets, starting June 23.

Vuse, a product of R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co., has been sold in Colorado and Utah in a marketing test. Reynolds now is entering the national e-cig market by releasing Vuse in other states.

Smaller companies beat the big tobacco companies into the e-cig market, and some analysts say the big cigarette makers were reluctant to cut into their cigarette sales. But many predict e-cigs will eventually grab much of the cigarette market.

U.S. sales of e-cigs jumped from about $500 million in 2012 to $1.8 million last year, according to UBS and Wells Fargo.

E-cigs contain nicotine and are thus addictive, but do not include most of the harsh chemicals found in cigarettes that contribute to lung damage and other health ailments.

Steve Law can be reached at 503-546-5139 or stevelaw@portlandtribune.com.

Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/SteveLawTrib

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