As the new year begins, many of the estimated 45 million smokers in America are trying to kick the habit. It's a perennial New Year's resolution, according to an annual Marist poll, and the growing electronic-cigarette industry is poised to capitalize on it. Njoy, an independent company that controls about a third of the domestic e-cigarette market, targets smokers trying to quit and is courting them with television commercials touting the King, the first e-cigarette to (nearly) replicate the look and taste of the real thing at a fraction of the cost. (Each King sells for about $8 and lasts as long as two traditional cigarette packs.)
Sales of e-cigarettes, which vaporize nicotine without burning tobacco, are projected to reach $1 billion this year. While that's only a sliver of the estimated $80 billion cigarette market, analysts are bullish on smokeless cigs. Wells Fargo's Bonnie Herzog compares the category's potential to the past decade's energy-drink boom, which many big beverage companies were slow to acknowledge. "Consumption of e-cigs could surpass traditional cigs over the next decade," she says.