Russian and Ukrainian smokers will soon have an alternative. Vapestick is introducing its line of electronic cigarettes in Russia, according to The Wall Street Journal in the expectation of substantial market gains. Distribution will be handled, at least during the early stages, by a nationwide pharmacological supplier based in Moscow, which will distribute both disposable and rechargeable e-cigs to the pharmacy chains Aptechka, Gorzdrav, 36.6/A.V.E., Samson-Farma, and the Ukrainian chain Farmazevt. (The drugstore chain 36.6 – named after the normal internal body temperature according to the Celsius scale – recently merged with the chain AVE – whose letters originally stood for something, but which now is claimed to mean “Hello” in Latin.) The supplier will also distribute to exclusive grocery stores.
“I’m on the vapers’ map!” banner from Russian e-cig site.
The article in Wall Street Journal calls this move “one of the first international e-cigarette brands” to roll out products in Russia. It would be more accurate to say it is one of the first from the Western Hemisphere. Vaping is already quite popular in Russia, and has its own vapers forums and Russia-dedicated pages on international e-cig forums. E-cigs are available in Russia from seven or eight Chinese companies, and from local and regional companies such as Papiroska, Moimod (“My mod”), and Esiga (Belarus).