NUNICA, Mich. (WZZM) -- It's a revolutionary product that's been lighting up news headlines around the country; Electronic cigarettes. WZZM 13 is taking a closer look at a West Michigan company that's one of the top players in the up and coming industry.
Brent Willis isn't blowing smoke when he says his product is helping to electrify a new industry.
"It actually isn't smoke, it's water vapor," says Willis, chief executive officer of Victory Electronic Cigarettes. "Cigarettes have like 4,000 chemicals in it and these only have four ingredients."
Willis has a personal reason to push for the healthier option.
"My dad died of smoking," says Willis. "When I was with him the day he died, he had to sneak out and have another cigarette."
Willis' company began selling electronic cigarettes in Nunica last year. Since then, sales have skyrocketed across the country and around the world.
"I was even in Columbia this past week and we signed an exclusive deal to launch the products in Columbia," says Willis.
Victory shares about 50 employees with another Michigan company in the same building.
"We're giving people that are good at a certain function the opportunity to do more of the same thing," says Mark Schroeder, owner of Versatile Wood Solutions.
"I've grown up in Michigan my whole life and its nice to have a job that means something for the state of Michigan," says employee Dustin Kolberg.
E-cigarettes come in several flavors and have no tobacco, but they do have nicotine. One of the criticisms of electronic cigarettes is that they may target younger and new users, but Victory executives say 99% of their customers are existing smokers.
"We haven't seen any evidence that we're bringing in new users, but at least if they're going to smoke, this product won't cause them to have cancer," says Willis.
The four ingredients in Victory's electronic cigarettes are water, propylene glycol, nicotine, and a scent that imitates tobacco flavor.
Company executives say one electronic cigarette lasts as long as two packs of regular cigarettes, at about half the price.
Later this month, the company plans on giving away one million electronic cigarettes in 50 cities in what they call their Save a Life tour.