Sales of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) could outstrip traditional tobacco cigarettes within the next 10 years, it has been claimed.

Bo Ekberg, senior vice president of US electronic cigarette company Njoy, which is launching its newest product Njoy King in the UK this month, believes that e-cigs will eventually render traditional cigarettes “obsolete”.

Njoy was founded in 2006, and currently has a 49.7% share of the $300m US e-cig market, which has experienced rapid growth in the last two years.

Ekberg believes that the UK market is about 18 months behind the US, and expects the market to double in 2013 from its current estimated value of around £150m.

His claims have been backed by analysts from US financial services company Wells Fargo.

“Consumption of e-cigs may overtake traditional cigarettes in the next decade,” analyst Bonnie Herzog recently told Time magazine. “They’ll only evolve and improve as time goes forward, and at far less risk. The technology portion of it is sort of like Apple. This is just Version 1.”

Growth, Ekberg believes, will be driven by a number of factors, namely increased availability at retail, lower price points than traditional cigarettes, and an array of social drivers including the fact that they can be smoked indoors and do not smell.  

“The smell of smoke has been denormalised since the smoking ban and people don’t want to smell it anymore. The fact that our products are odour-free is a huge selling point,” he said.

“Traditional cigarettes are in irreversible decline and in our opinion e-cigs can, and will, replace them. We don’t view our competitors as other e-cig companies – our competitors are traditional cigarettes. In fact, our mission statement is to make traditional cigarettes obsolete.”

Bo Ekberg will be addressing the crowds at The National Convenience Show’s Live at The Counter session at 15.15 on Sunday April 14.