I spent five minutes thinking to myself: was the live alpaca the weirdest thing I saw at TPE today?

And with that, a few thoughts about Tobacco Plus Expo (TPE) after my first day on the show floor.

1. It’s like mini-Dortmund, in Vegas — If you’ve never been to InterTabac, I suppose this will be of zero help, but it truly is like a a tiny version of the Dortmund trade show. InterTabac is the European tobacco trade show—hosted in Dortmund, Germany—that is both larger in size and attendance than the annual IPCPR Convention & Trade Show. However, cigars are just a small piece of InterTabac.

TPE is similar.

Vapor products, hookah, cigarettes, alternative tobacco products and a host of other random things from stickers to sexual enhancement products make up much of the TPE floor. Cigars are a small part and now that TPE has segmented the items into specific areas of the show, it feels even more like InterTabac where the different categories are largely put in the same halls. There’s of course a lot of tobacco products, but just like in Dortmund, there’s a host of companies selling things that genuinely confuse me.

2. Cigar Companies Are Here Because? — There aren’t many cigar companies, but cigars are here. The real reason for attending this show is quite the opposite of the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show where a quantity of orders from small to large accounts is what companies hope for. There are a handful of extremely large distribution companies, notably Phillips & King International—which hosts TPE—and then there’s some very small accounts.

From what I gather, no cigar company was writing much business today, particularly quantity-wise, but a couple of big orders from the distribution companies will justify the trip out to Vegas. Beyond that, there’s a bit of networking as this is the first industry event of the year—and the only one for a few months outside of the Dominican and Nicaraguan festivals.

3. Cannabis at TPE 2018? — Barring a reversal of the FDA regulations, I have to imagine many of the companies exhibiting at this year’s TPE will not be here in a few years. The process of PMTA, which is what almost all of the vapor companies are expected to be subject to, will be long and extremely expensive with estimates in the millions of dollars. There are a lot of vapor companies here and the FDA impacts are seemingly going to be felt by some, particularly the smaller companies, shortly. That being said, legalized marijuana is a much bigger business and Nevada will have legalized recreational marijuana come this time next year.

While I haven’t spoken to Phillips & King about their plans, there seems to be a pretty large belief that the marijuana-related businesses will be at TPE shortly. I don’t know if that means legitimate marijuana products, but certainly many of the marijuana accessories, many of which are already here.

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.