The Electronic Cigarette Industry Group, one in a small group of trade associations for the fast-growing e-cig industry, is ramping up its PR as nicotine vapor devices explode in popularity.

finnThe ECIG has brought on Norwalk, Conn.-based ICR to guide ongoing communications, said account rep John McKenna. The firm also counsels founding member, FIN Branding Group, an Atlanta-based e-cig maker.

The group made a splash in late September when it hired former American Lung Association CEO Charles Connor as a consultant to serve as liaison between the industry and the public health sector.

ECIG chief Eric Criss told the Washington Post this month that the industry wants to distinguish itself from cigarettes and not as a tobacco product. "We believe the product is a good alternative, and the goal should be to move people down the risk ladder from cigarettes," he said.

The e-cigarette industry is bracing for proposed FDA rules to govern the sale of the devices, which deliver nicotine as a vapor without the smoke and tar of normal cigarettes. States are also weighing various measures to regulate and rein in e-cigarettes.

Industry estimates peg 2013 sales of the devices topping $2B.

ECIG is one of a handful of trade associations that have popped up to represent the sector, including the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association and the Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association.

Downey McGrath 'Vapes' NJoys

njoyDowney McGrath has picked up NJOY, a leader in the burgeoning electronic cigarette business, regarding White House and Congressional activity regarding federal regulation.

NJOY and the e-cigarette business maintain their products are safe alternatives to conventional smokes.

CEO Craig Weiss wants to remove the stigma, associated with smoking, according to the Oct. 26 New York Times.

Critics say an end to the demonization, however, would trigger an acceptance of cigarette smoking causing more lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema.

The American Lung Assn. is concerned about the safety and health consequences of e-cigarettes and claims that they may wrongly marketed as ways to help smokers quit the habit.

The Food and Drug Administration is accessing the need to regulate e-cigarettes products.

Former Congressmen Tom Downey and Ray McGrath are working the NJOY business.