If you’re a vaper, you may have heard about or used Altria’s MarkTen e-vapor. This e-cigarette came with some amazing flavor options and a great cigarette-like experience. But as of last year, the MarkTen is no more.
Since Altria announced that they would be discontinuing MarkTen, vapers have been looking for good alternatives. What brands can live up to the premium experience and flavor that MarkTen offered? Below, we’ll tell you all about what made MarkTen special, what brought it down, and what brands you can turn to to get your vape fix now.
What Was MarkTen?
The now-discontinued MarkTen was a cig-a-like product made by Altria. Altria also makes Marlboro and Virginia Slim cigarettes and only branched into e-cigarettes in recent years. In addition to MarkTen, Altria also made the cig-a-like product Green Smoke, which it will also be discontinuing.
MarkTen came in a number of flavors, which we’ll discuss more in a moment. By January 2018, MarkTen held 11 percent of the market share for e-cigarettes in the U.S. Altria announced not long after the discontinuation that they had bought a minority stake in vape company Juul.
Cig-a-Like vs. Vape vs. Cigarettes
We’re all familiar with cigarettes, but what’s the difference between them and e-cigarettes? Well, for one thing, e-cigarettes don’t use actual smoke the way cigarettes do. Instead, they have a liquid that is turned into vapor before it’s inhaled.
Cig-a-likes and vapes are both forms of e-cigarettes, and their difference lies mainly in design. Vapes usually look like pens, lighters, or small boxes, nothing like a traditional cigarette. However, for reasons we’ll discuss in a moment, cig-a-likes are designed to look more like your stereotypical cigarette.
Why MarkTen XL Cig-a-Likes?
The MarkTen XL Cig-a-likes are popular among people who are trying to find a Segway into quitting smoking. Quitting cold-turkey is extremely difficult, and about 95 percent of people who try to quit without some sort of smoking cessation program fail. E-cigarettes can be a safer way to wean yourself off of nicotine while you try to quit.
Cig-a-likes in particular appeal to the ex-smoker crowd because of their design. They are roughly the shape and size of a cigarette, which can provide that familiar sensation of smoking. This comfort measure can be helpful when you’re trying to quit since you get some of the experience of smoking without as much danger.
Health Impact of Each
We all know smoking is bad for us, and in fact, 70 percent of current smokers say they want to quit. Cigarettes contain more than 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic. Nearly a third of deaths related to heart disease are caused by smoking and second-hand smoke.
E-cigarettes, whether vapes or cig-a-likes, expose you to fewer of these chemicals and so are safer than cigarettes. But they can still be dangerous; as of last month, the CDC confirmed fifty-seven deaths related to lung injuries associated with vaping. They can be dangerous for your heart and lungs, and they can be addictive, so do your research and talk to your doctor before you choose vaping as a way to quit smoking.
MarkTen first appeared on the market in August 2013, when it was test-marketed in Indiana. Customers responded well, and by July 2014, Altria debuted the cig-a-like product nationwide. It was an immediate success, cornering more than 10 percent of the e-cigarette market within its first four years.
But as vaping became more popular, media hysteria started centering on vaping. Parents worried that their teenagers were using vaping as a gateway to smoking, and soon the White House got on board. We’ll dive into the specifics of this controversy in a minute, but this spelled the beginning of the end for MarkTen.
MarkTen Elite Flavors
One of the things customers liked best about MarkTen Elite was the many flavors it came in. The cig-a-like had fifteen different flavor pod options, which were part of the target of the regulation overhauls. People worried that because there were so many flavors, MarkTen and other e-cigarettes would appeal more to children.
The MarkTen flavors included traditional flavors like Bold, Smooth, and plain Menthol, as well as Bold, Smooth, and plain Classic. The brand also offered Winter Mint, Smooth Crème, Vineyard Blend, and Spiced Fruit, as well as Strawberry Brulee, Glacier Mint, and Apple Cider. And back on the more tobacco-flavored end, you could get Dark and Sweet Original flavors.
In 2018, the FDA began a crackdown on e-cigarette makers in order to stop a perceived vaping trend among younger children. This came amidst a lot of political controversies, and there’s still some debate about whether this trend actually ever existed. But nonetheless, the FDA gave companies like Juul and Altria sixty days to propose plans to decrease this epidemic themselves.
Facing a threatened ban on flavored vape liquid if they couldn’t come up with a different option, Altria CEO Howard Williard decided to discontinue the MarkTen. He emphasized that he didn’t believe the company had a problem with kids using their products. But the company would rather be safe than sorry, and so MarkTen had to go.
The vaping panic came at a politically controversial time. Trump announced his support of the vape ban in September 2019, a time when there were two shootings in Washington, D.C, and another in South Carolina in the course of three days. Four people were killed, and fifteen were injured.
Also in September, the first evidence of Trump’s damning call with Ukraine came out. Given that this has now resulted in him being impeached and standing trial in the Senate, the timing of the vape ban seems curious. Some might say the president was trying to draw attention away from his criminal activities by stirring up controversy over vaping.
After the initial controversy and a trending hashtag #IVapeIVote, Trump declined to sign an anti-vaping ban. So for the moment, there is no national policy change regulating vaping use. But there are some additional regulations that we may see show up in the coming months.
There has been some discussion about raising the legal age for tobacco use to 21. Altria CEO Howard Williard says he would support this legislation and that he wants to make sure America’s children are safe. As of now, there is no official bill introduced to make this move, so we’ll have to see what politicians decide to do in the coming months.
You may not be surprised to learn that in the weeks following the media frenzy and Trump’s discussion of a vape ban, vape sales slowed down. Juul in particular saw decreases in sales, a shock after a few months of growing markets. In the quarter leading up to September 2019, the company saw a 48 percent growth in e-cigarette sales.
But Juul sales slowed down after the September frenzy, dropping from a 56 percent growth to just 31 percent. The brand was still growing, but the media circus was taking its toll. And for companies like Altria, which didn’t hold as large a share of the e-cigarette market as Juul did, this drop in profit growth hurt.
Given the combination of media hysteria, policy change pressure, and financial decline, Altria announced at the end of 2018 that it would be discontinuing MarkTen and its other cig-a-like products. The products were available for a few months after that as the company worked to get rid of their excess stock. And then some lingered in stores around the country for a few months after that.
But now, more than a year out from the discontinuation announcement, all MarkTen pods left to be had are long gone. If you had a stockpile, chances are you’ve used them up by now. So what’s a vaper in search of that Sweet Crème flavor to do?
If you’re looking for alternatives now that the MarkTen is gone for good, you’re in luck! There are a lot of great cig-a-like products out there, and many of them offer the amazing flavors you came to enjoy with the MarkTen. One such brand offering great cig-a-likes is Premium E-Cigarettes.
Premium E-Cigarettes have a sleek design that you’ll love showing off. Their cig-a-likes come in white and black with the Premium logo at the top and the slim design mimicking a cigarette silhouette. The brand offers three flavors, menthol, tobacco, and premium tobacco, and you can get a starter kit with the cig-a-like, a charger, and five cartridges in the flavor of your choice for just $30.
Mig Vapor also offers a few great options for people in any stage of their vaping life. One of their coolest features is the dry herb vape pens. This option allows you to heat up any number of natural substances without worrying about them combusting, and the pen comes with an adjustable wattage feature so you can get the perfect temperature for your dry herb, tweaking the taste to suit you.
But Mig Vapor also offers traditional e-cigarettes that imitate the look and feel of regular cigarettes. You can get tons of flavors, including Red Zeppelin, which imitates traditional tobacco; Sahara, which is light and smooth; and Methol Cool Blast for those who love that menthol taste. Their Starter Kit comes with ten different flavor pods, as well as five levels of nicotine content, a battery charger, a rechargeable battery, and a warranty.
V2 Cigs also used to offer some great alternatives to MarkTen with its Standard E-Cig. The design was sleek and remarkably similar to a regular cigarette, complete with the slim white body and a red tip that will look like the coolest cigarette you’ve ever held. Each of their flavor cartridges was about equal to a pack of tobacco cigarettes, and people loved their Red flavor, which mimics traditional tobacco. Now the majority of users switched to the better quality line of Premium eCigarettes which you can find here.
The V2 Cigs Starter Kit has everything you need to start exploring the world of vaping. You can choose from five flavors, including V2 Red, Sahara, Menthol, Congress, and Coffee, as well as a range of nicotine strength from none up to 1.8 percent. You’ll also get an automatic battery, a manual battery, ten flavor cartridges, a wall adapter, a smart charger, and a portable charging case to keep you powered up all day long.
If you’re looking to transition to a regular vape now that MarkTen is off the market, there are also a ton of options you can explore. Of course, the Juul is one of the most popular options on the market, and for good reason. Its sleek design and smart interface make it one of the most enjoyable vapes to use and recharge.
V2 also offers a few different vape options, ranging from their sleek Pro Series 3X to their Pro Series 7. Vapor2 has a great vape with an engaging design, and PAX has vapes that mimic the sleek elegance of the Juul pen. Yocan’s Evolve vape pen looks like something straight out of the future, and APX and SLJ offer gorgeous models.&
If none of those suit your fancy, you can also get a straight-up electronic pipe that will allow you to rock that Gandalf/Sherlock Holmes vibe while enjoying all your favorite vape flavors.
Find A Good MarkTen Replacement
The MarkTen had a good life, but now that it’s shut down, vapers are turning to other options to meet their needs. Vaping remains a good option for transitioning away from cigarettes, and companies Premium eCigarettes offer fantastic alternatives to the Altria brands. If you’re looking to transition into other kinds of vaping, Premium eCigs is the place to start.
If you’d like to take the next step on your vaping journey, check out the rest of our site at The Ciggy. We have products ranging from vaporizers and refill cartridges to vape juice and chargers. Check out our vape juice offerings to find your new favorite flavors today.
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