by Kevin Chong
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Kardinal Stick Kurve

Having consumed enormous amounts of cigarettes on a daily basis, three chain-smoker friends set out on a mission to find a safer alternative to traditional smoking. These individuals were out to make an example of themselves, and help those who suffer the same addiction by introducing them to e-cigarettes that are designed to accommodate the needs of smokers. This humble deed by three friends birthed – Kardinal Industries (M) Sdn Bhd (Kardinal), an e-cigarette and e-liquid manufacturer that has made its way across the globe and landed themselves the “Best SME of Innovation and Technology Design” award at the SEBA 2022: Northern Edition.

Kardinal’s journey began in 2015 when the three friends gathered at a vape shop that one of them owned. At the time, vapes were in huge demand, however, it became clear to these innovators that there were many clear areas to improve on from a smoker’s perspective if there was any chance for them to convert smokers into a safer alternative. Thus, they began making “DIY” vape juices to suit their taste and requirements as a smoker and discovered that their vast knowledge can make a big difference in the market while developing a product that smokers find easy to transition to.

Hence, in 2017, the brand Kardinal was co-founded by these three friends, selling e-liquid bottles to all of Southeast Asia almost immediately upon launching. The brand grew quickly, making its way to retail stores in the Middle East and Europe less than 2 years after its commencement. However, there were still many issues with vapes systems at that point in time, many would agree that vapes tend to leak, and refilling the device can sometimes be messy and even annoying. Taking this into account, Kardinal went on to focus on convenience for smokers, developing its very own electronic device called the “Kardinal Stick” in 2019.

Group Photo

When asked about the controversy surrounding the vape industry, Erwin Teow, Operations Director of Kardinal Industries (M) Sdn Bhd, commented saying, “In the era that we live in today, where information travels quickly through social media, we have seen some bad publicity on vape even from the earlier stages. Even before we started our business, people have been doubting if vaping is more harmful than cigarettes or vice versa because it was a subject that was yet to be studied on. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) could not define this clearly, because it would require them at least five to ten years to collect sufficient data to make a concrete conclusion on this subject matter.”

Then added, “Take the United Kingdom (UK) for example, one of the first countries to regulate the use of vapes. This regulation comes from a medical standpoint as an initiative to reduce the medical costs that the government will have to bear, by introducing vaping as an alternate solution. At the same time, it was also made clear that vaping was not a healthy option or one that is good for people; merely a less harmful product would be a substitute for cigarettes. Over the years, doctors have also proven that vaping is about 95 percent less harmful than traditional cigarettes themselves. Plus, as of now, where there aren’t many viable substitutes for smoking, vaping has proven itself to be the best solution. I say this because the possibility of one turning to vape is way higher than that of nicotine patches, etc.”

The company claims that there is a big grey area in the industry that they hope to bring light to, as even the government has yet to come up with a quick solution for this confusion. This has definitely posed many challenges for the industry; most other business sectors worry about how their products should be marketed, the vape industry, however, is on a constant need to worry if they are up to date on the ever-changing set of rules. For this reason, with their astounding success at the SEBA 2022, Kardinal invites all industry players to follow in the same footsteps to strengthen the industry as a whole.

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