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Issue Date: Vol. 49, No.5, May 2009, Posted On: 6/4/2009


Rudowicz Teams Up With Freedom Smokeless To Build Worldwide Distribution Network For Tobacco-Free Alternative Smoking Items


by Staff Reporter
Freedom Smokeless, Mike Lewis, Mike Rudowicz, American Amusement Machine Association, Entertainment Connections LLC, electronic cigarette, coin-op, tavern products, bars, vending, vending machine, vending business

HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL -- Mike Rudowicz, former president of the American Amusement Machine Association, has formed Entertainment Connections LLC. He plans to work with carefully selected companies as a coin-op specialist to explore opportunities for new product development, licensing and market analysis.

His first venture will be the establishment of an international network of distributors for a line of tobacco-free alternative smoking products manufactured by Freedom Smokeless Corp. (Dana Point, CA). Freedom's Electra Smoke system makes use of cigarette- and cigar-shaped battery-powered vaporizers that deliver a fine aerosol mist free of particulate matter and other combustion products. They contain no tobacco, generate no smoke ("second-hand" or otherwise) and present no fire hazard.

Mike Lewis, the chief executive officer of Freedom Smokeless, welcomed Rudowicz to the team. He and Glenn Kassel developed the "electronic cigarette" to meet growing international demand for something to satisfy the desires of cigarette smokers while not violating clean-air laws. The design, now available in cigarette and cigar form, consists of an atomizer cartridge with an orifice at one end mounted inline with a long-life battery. Creating a low-pressure zone around the orifice causes the battery to atomize a liquid medium in the cartridge; the low pressure pulls it through the orifice. In practice, this is effected by picking the assembly up and taking a drag.

The cigarette-styled model's cartridge can generate a volume of mist equivalent to 50 conventional cigarettes -- and, unlike a cigarette, it does not present the need to consume the entire payload at one time. It presently is available in four flavors -- tobacco, menthol, apple and vanilla -- with either regular or light nicotine, or no nicotine at all.

The cigar simulator contains enough medium to produce mist equivalent to nonstop smoking of about eight cigars. Cartridges are available in Cubana and Vanilla flavors, with or without nicotine.

Freedom Smokeless regards vending as a prime market for the line, and offers machines for the cigarette and cigar surrogates. The wall-mounted venders feature traditional solid wood or conemporary stainless cabinet styling, with a large merchandising window. The "Electra Smoke" cigarette-sized devices are supplied in packages that can be vended through any cigarette machine accommodating 100mm. styles.

According to Lewis and Kassel, the concept has done extremely well in tests, and they are confident that it will prove very successful in vending because it meets a widespread demand that continues to grow as more and more jurisdictions outlaw indoor smoking. This has proved especially problematic in bars, taverns and clubs, traditionally the core of the cigarette vending business.

Rudowicz's Entertainment Connections organization will assist in acquainting operators with the line and setting up distribution. "Having an experienced, well-respected guy like Mike on our team will help us immensely," Kassel predicted.

Information may be had by contacting Rudowicz at (847) 828-7828 or emailing him at m.rudowicz@comcast.net.


Topic: Music and Games Features

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