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E-cigarettes Sales hit $1 Billion, Double from 2012

Update Date: Aug 01, 2013 01:27 AM EDT

What hit the market just three short years ago has gone on to become a hit seller - e-cigarettes sales hit about $1 billion, according to Wells Fargo securities analysts, double that what it was last year.

According to the most recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2011 about 21 percent of adults who smoke traditional cigarettes said they had tried the electronic alternative, up from about 10 percent in 2010.

"Overall," says a CDC press release, "about 6 percent of all adults have tried e-cigarettes, with estimates nearly doubling from 2010."

While e-cigs are generating less than 1 percent of traditional cigarette sales, they are making inroads with consumers. In 2010, just 10 percent of adult smokers had tried an e-cig according to the Centers for Disease Control. By 2011, that figure had risen to 21 percent. A recent study the University of Hawaii Cancer Center Prevention and Control Program found that people who smoke e-cigarettes are young and used it as a smoking cessation tool. 

The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association predicts that within five years, between 30 percent and 40 percent of cigarette smokers will have made the move to e-cigs, pushing annual sales to between $15 billion and $20 billion a year.

"E-cigarette use is growing rapidly," said CDC director Tom Frieden in a February 2013 release announcing the survey's findings. "There is still we do not know about these products."

"The use of e-cigarettes in public areas in which cigarette smoking is prohibited could counter the effectiveness of [smoke-free compliance] policies by complicating enforcement and giving the appearance that smoking is acceptable," the CDC report says.

The CDC describes e-cigarettes as battery-powered devices that provide inhaled doses of nicotine vapor and flavorings. Since they do not produce smoke like regular cigarettes, their advocates consider them more socially acceptable than traditional cigarettes. 

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