RJ Reynolds might be the biggest tobacco company in the United States but that has not made them complacent. They can see how important e cigs are to America’s smoke-free movement and the US economy. They have watched electronic cigarette businesses chomp away at cigarette company profits like a giant Pac Man.

Since the FDA has not regulated e cigs yet and fears that vapers will lose their smoking alternative are just that, fears, it seemed a good time to get involved and create their own brand. Big Tobacco was buying e cig companies anyway. Owning their own brand appeared to be an even better move since tobacco companies, for all their apparent confidence and supposed authority, know they have a lot of enemies and a great deal to prove.

Vuse Review

Vuse is the result of many months of design and deliberation by RJ Reynold’s e cig department, but they do not call this an e cig. Vuse is a digital vapor cigarette. Their statement is designed to set Vuse apart from VaporFi, V2, South Beach Smoke, and others selling popular mini cigs. At first glance it would seem they mean business at RJ Reynolds.

Most e cig batteries are unregulated. They give out a certain amount of heat which dwindles over time until a charge is needed or the battery can no longer absorb a charge.

The Vuse uses a smart chip to regulate and monitor the battery, thereby ensuring a consistent flow of power and temperature so every puff is the same and, in their words, “perfect.” It’s impossible to make this kind of claim sound authoritative because perfect vapor is subjective. Their statement gains more credence if they just stop at “regulated” and “consistent.” That chip makes this perhaps the smartest e cigs of its kind.

It is also responsible for LED battery indicator lights which tell the user when his battery is just about to die and when he should attach a new cartomizer. These cartomizers are proprietary and connect with the battery by snapping into place. They recognize each other. One cannot attach a different model of cartridge or blanks designed for refilling with alternative flavors. This prevents the Vuse battery from being misused as a vehicle for vaping fruit and candy e juice.

Flavors of V-Liquid

V-liquid is just e-liquid with a different starting point. Vapers can choose menthol or tobacco flavors for their single rechargeable e cig, available from brick-and-mortar vendors around the country. There are no other flavors. RJ Reynolds is making a point, which we will get to later, and they don’t sell disposables, another point worthy of a separate paragraph. V-liquid is made from the finest ingredients but it contains nicotine.

Apparently, the flavor of both styles is excellent. RJ Reynolds has reproduced real cigarette flavors with all the best notes and without the burnt taste of analogs.

Only for Adults

The primary reason for all of their marketing strategies is to stress that if e cigs are to be legitimatized by the FDA, they must target smokers only. They should not be of interest to children. The way to prevent interest from children is to do two things.

One is to fill e cig cartridges with boring flavors (or boring in the eyes of a teen). Thanks to sweet e liquids, apparently, children are being turned onto e cigs before they are out of middle school. Whether this is true in huge numbers or more true of e cigs than cigarettes is difficult to prove. It probably is the case that sweet flavors attract youngsters, but cigarettes always did too.

But would-be vapers can usually buy those flavors over the internet and it is difficult to regulate those kinds of purchases when the vendor cannot see his customer. Brick-and-mortar vendors can see when customers are under-aged or ask for ID when they are in doubt. That is why the vaping system from Vuse is not available online. Accessories are, but that’s it.

No Disposables

RJ Reynolds goes green with their refusal to sell disposable versions of their product. In their view, one-time e cigs are cluttering landfills. If other companies won’t make a stand, they will.

At the same time, they use cartridges that are not refillable, and their life is not very long, and so you are still throwing away these, which are around 1/3 the size of a disposable e-cig. If they want to take another step towards going green, they can distribute their V-Juice and refillable cartridges/cartomizers.

RJ Reynolds has so far hit a good price point with their rechargeable e cig: $10 for the little kit which comes in an attractive plastic case. The package containing one battery, a charging kit, and three refill cartridges is priced $30 and, unfortunately, next to useless without a second battery. I will give the makers of Vuse credit for creating a more powerful battery than one would usually find in this format, but it’s still a mini cig battery.

Recent Controversy

Some reviewers are dubious about the “smart” technology which supposedly makes a Vuse digital vapor cigarette more consistent and complex than a V2 or G6. I would argue that microprocessors are tiny. They can produce amazing power in packages too small for human hands to pick up easily.

Variable wattage DNA box mods have proven what can be done with a high powered vapor device in a $100 or $200 package. There is every reason to suspect that RJ Reynolds is replicating this sort of technology in their mini cigs, just in a less powerful form. I can imagine it doing all the same sorts of things: monitoring temperature and output; regulating voltage.

But I do agree that the Vuse cannot be considered perfect in every respect. Because this is not a variable voltage device, Vuse had to come up with an average preferred output and apply this to all of their e cigs. It is probably fairly accurate; reports have been good. It’s just not personalized.