Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution, creating vapor that users inhale. Devotees say e-cigarettes address both the addictive and behavioral aspects of smoking. Smokers get their nicotine without the more than 4,000 chemicals found in regular cigarettes. And they get to hold something shaped like a cigarette, while puffing and exhaling something that looks like smoke.
More than 45 million Americans smoke cigarettes, and about half of smokers try to quit each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Mark Ten is a disposable e-cigarette but can be reused by buying a separate battery recharging kit and additional cartridges. The company said the e-cigarette's "Four Draw" technology is designed to give users a "more consistent experience." The e-cigarette, made in China by a contract manufacturer, is expected to sell for about $9.50. Prices for additional cartridges and recharging kit were not available.
Last week, Reynolds American, owner of the nation's second-biggest tobacco company, announced that it is launching a revamped version of its Vuse brand electronic cigarette in Colorado in July, with its sights set on expanding nationally. Lorillard, the nation's third-biggest tobacco company, acquired e-cigarette maker Blu Ecigs in April 2012 and has expanded to more than 80,000 retail outlets.
(Read More: Reynolds American Sees E-Cigarette Launch as a 'Game Changer')
The market for e-cigarettes, which includes more than 250 brands, has grown from the thousands of users in 2006 to several million worldwide. Analysts estimate sales could double this year to $1 billion. Some go as far as saying consumption of e-cigs could surpass consumption of traditional cigarettes in the next decade. Tobacco company executives even noted that e-cigarettes drove total industry cigarette volumes down about 600 million cigarettes, or about 1 percent, during the first quarter, excluding Internet sales—a major avenue for e-cig purchases.