Sometimes it's easy to recognize when "the future" is on its way.
For example, think back to the time you received your very first email. For many of you, that was probably around 1990. A few of you may have gotten emails in the workplace earlier than that.
Before that moment, it could have taken weeks to mail someone something as simple as a one-page note. All of a sudden that same note could be sent in less than 30 seconds.
Once you got that first email, it probably didn't take long before you realized the way you've been doing things for decades was about to change forever.
I'm talking about electronic cigarettes (or e-cigs) -- the product that could change America's oldest industry, Big Tobacco, forever.
Before I go on, we know many of you may scoff at such a suggestion. We recognize a lot of people have reservations when it comes to investing in tobacco companies. We also understand that in today's environment, where the number of smokers shrinks by the day, many believe Big Tobacco's best days are behind it.
But before you write off the industry entirely, hear me out. E-cigs are changing the old game of cigarettes.
That's exactly what Game-Changing Stocks editor Andy Obermueller believes. In the December 2013 issue of his premium newsletter, our resident expert in "The Next Big Thing" called e-cigs just that -- "The Next Big Thing" in the tobacco industry. As he wrote in his issue:
If a company could deliver nicotine without the downside of pulmonary and other cancers and diseases like emphysema, then it would present a unique selling proposition to some 40 million U.S. smokers -- as well as everyone else in the country who quit for health reasons.
Talk about scale. Build a better buzz, and the world will beat a path to your door.
That's where e-cigs come in. Andy goes on to explain how these special cigs work:
An electronic cigarette is a polycarbonate tube the approximate size of a cigarette... Inside the tube is a small cartridge of liquid, which contains nicotine. A lithium ion battery heats the liquid to about 180 degrees, turning it into vapor. Some electronic cigarettes are refillable and rechargeable, others are disposable...
As he mentioned, e-cigs contain nicotine, which makes them addictive. But because there is no tobacco, tar, paper or fire involved, e-cigs lack many of the harmful side effects of normal cigarettes.
That's what's leading many cigarette smokers to make the switch. After all, if you already smoke and don't want to kick the habit completely, then why not try a less harmful alternative?
That being said, many non-smokers are also starting to give them a try. As Andy explained:
In addition to a cadre of celebrity users (from actor Leonardo DiCaprio to singer Bruno Mars) the industry has a number of health nuts, including former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, touting e-cigs as a better alternative...
Perhaps [No. 3 U.S. tobacco company] Lorrilard's CEO Murray Kessler put it best: 'I don't want to emulate a cigarette,' he said. 'The big idea isn't to try to keep people in cigarettes, but to normalize smoking e-cigarettes and vaping as the next generation.'
I'm not trying to convince you to try e-cigs, that's up to you. But it would be a mistake to ignore the potential gains that could come from this investment opportunity.
So just how fast are e-cigs growing? According to Bloomberg, last year's e-cig sales were $1.7 billion -- up from just $20 million in 2008.
And that explosive growth is unlikely to let up anytime soon.
In fact, Forbes recently gave a shining outlook for e-cigs: "In the United States, e-cigarette sales have grown at an annual rate of 115% in the 2009-12 period... Some analysts even predict that e-cigarette use will eclipse that of combustible cigarettes in 10 years."
Other experts share that bullish sentiment. Leading Wells Fargo tobacco analyst Bonnie Herzog expects U.S. e-cig sales to reach $10 billion by 2017. That's nearly 500% growth for the industry just 3 years from now.
Big Tobacco is taking this trend very seriously. Major cigarette producer Altria (NYSE: MO) recently purchased e-cig manufacturer Green Smokes Inc. in February to expand their reach into the market. Lorillard (NYSE: LO) -- the third biggest player in the industry -- offers the premium e-cig "blu" (pictured above) along with several less-expensive brands.
Andy says big Tobacco stocks are "particularly attractive now," given their relatively low prices for a sector that tends to outperform the S&P. And both large tobacco companies offer investors a way to gain exposure to e-cigs and even collect solid dividend yields from 3.8% to 4.5% -- more than twice what the typical S&P 500 stock pays in dividends.
While Andy thinks either of these companies would provide valuable exposure to this booming e-cig trend, he's spotted an even better investment opportunity with much higher gain potential.
This $121 million Florida-based firm is the only publicly-traded company that specializes in selling e-cigs. The stock has already jumped more than 20% since it was freshly listed on the Nasdaq last month, but it's still virtually unknown to most investors. And despite its small size, its e-cigs are being sold in 6,600 Family Dollar stores. To get more details about this company and 10 other triple-digit gain opportunities like it before the crowd catches on, you'll want to see Andy's brand-new research video.