Ballantyne Brands’ new closed system simplifies sub-ohm vaping and confidently confronts FDA vapor regulations.
By Timothy S. Donahue
Sub-ohm vaping just became affordable. Ballantyne Brands, the creator of the Mistic and Haus lines of vapor products, has launched Mistic 2.0, the first sub-ohm vaping system for the big-box and convenience store markets. Not impressed? It’s also the first closed-system sub-ohm vaporizer available in any U.S. retail market.
The innovative device uses a 1,700 mAh battery that works with a uniquely designed e-liquid “pod” that provides vapers with a new atomizer (with a coil that fires at 0.3 ohms) and 10 mL of fresh juice every time a pod is replaced. Only 4 inches tall and less than 2 inches wide, Mistic 2.0 weighs just over 4 ounces, which is relatively light for a sub-ohm-capable device.
Mistic 2.0 has been under development for more than a year. Its design was finalized in January, and the company has been working closely with its hardware manufacturer in China. Production began in early May, and Ballantyne received its first production run for retail in early July. The device is expected to be available in as many as five national retailers. “It is going to be in drug, mass and convenience stores,” says John Wiesehan Jr., CEO of Ballantyne Brands, adding that Mistic 2.0 will launch nationally in more than 20,000 different stores throughout 2016.
There were two prevailing reasons behind the creation of Mistic 2.0, according to Wiesehan. Firstly, the company wanted to make the transition from combustible cigarettes to a quality vaping experience as simple as possible. “I wanted everyone to have the same experience as if they walked into a vape shop and purchased a $100 to $200 vaporizer,” he says. Mistic 2.0 will be available as a kit on retail shelves (with battery, charger and two pods) for about $39.99, making it one of the most affordable sub-ohm-capable devices on the market. “The MSRP [manufacturer’s suggested retail price] on the pods is between $17.99 and $19.99,” he says. “If you put two pods in the kit with a battery and charger, you are essentially getting either the battery and charger for free or the two pods for free, depending on how you want to look at it.”
Retailers are excited about the latest product in the Mistic line, according to Wiesehan. Mistic 2.0, he says, is finally going to give the combustible cigarette smoker, as well as the beginner and experienced vaper, a product that provides definitive gratification. “It’s a great vape, and you don’t have to switch or clean tanks,” Wiesehan says. “You don’t have to fill a tank. There are no messy bottles and droppers—just grab your pod, pop it into the device and vape. You’ll always have a brand-new tank and atomizer providing the ultimate satisfaction.” The pod also includes a new mouthpiece for each session.
The second reason for Mistic 2.0’s development is regulation. Ballantyne believes it is exactly the type of vaporizer that can comply with the deeming U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations concerning vapor products and survive the FDA’s premarket approval process.
“We see the closed system as a great form factor for the future based on how the deeming rules have been written,” says Justin Wiesehan, vice president of regulatory affairs for Ballantyne Brands. “Mistic 2.0’s closed system offers greater control. “There is no exposed liquid, and we believe that if we can replicate the experience of an open system into a closed system, that would be a better way for the industry to move forward, based on the ease of use and simplicity of the product.”
Using a closed system would also save the manufacturer the hassle of showing the FDA how a juice behaves in different devices under varying settings. The Mistic 2.0 pod works only in the Mistic 2.0 device at a set wattage (30 watts/3.7 volts) and temperature. “It makes studies a little easier,” says Justin Wiesehan. “We will have the ability to bridge studies because every liquid performs the same in the device no matter the flavor.”
Sub-ohm vaping—vaping with coil resistances below 1 ohm—is often thought of as being too complicated for the average user looking to quit combustibles. This is what makes Mistic 2.0 stand out, according to John Wiesehan Jr. “When vaping with a sub-ohm atomizer, you’ll be using a bigger wick and coil. Basically you’ll be using much more battery power to spread heat over a larger surface of the cotton wicking absorbing the e-juice. This causes more vapor to be produced with each puff,” he says. “For the same reason that sub-ohming tends to produce larger clouds, it also tends to unlock much more flavor.”
Mindful of regulations, Ballantyne Brands has avoided using any kid-friendly flavor names, instead opting for simplicity with styles such as tobacco, menthol, mixed fruit, strawberry and cherry. The pods are designed so that they can’t be opened or refilled and are extremely difficult to break. They have been put through a scrutinizing quality-control process, according to Justin Wiesehan.
The company is releasing 10 flavors in total, each containing 4 mg of nicotine. The additional flavors will be coconut cream, creamy cantaloupe, java, mango and watermelon. Ballantyne Brands’ liquids are produced at two separate U.S.-based e-liquid manufacturing facilities in ISO certified labs. Liquids produced in these labs never touch human hands.
The liquid used in Mistic 2.0 pods was specially designed for the new device too. At a ratio of 80 percent vegetable glycerin to 20 percent propylene glycol, the new juices are less dense than Ballantyne’s other juice brands. This allows the liquid to move more fluidly through the coil, according to Justin Wiesehan. “It’s the same experience from the first vape of the pod until the final vape,” he says. “That was important to us; we wanted a high level of consistency. The battery, size of coil, the wattage—everything is at the perfect settings to get the best vape from the liquid in the pods.”
Mistic 2.0 has the potential to change the vaping experience for vapers who can’t afford the often high start-up costs of sub-ohm vaping. While nobody knows yet what exactly the FDA will want in a vapor device, Ballantyne Brands sees Mistic 2.0 as the best overall vaping experience for the everyday vaper. The only questions left are, will the market respond to the new device and can it compete with the higher-end vape shop products? John Wiesehan Jr. believes he already has those answers. “The Mistic 2.0 is one of the best vaporizers on the market,” he says. “Case closed.”