Nicotine-Free SENSA Disposable Vape from R.J. Reynolds

R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company (RJRVC), a subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc. and the BAT Group, has recently launched the Sensa disposable vape. It was designed to skirt FDA regulations while appealing to the booming adult disposables market.

The move to sell flavored vapes is a sign that Reynolds intends on expanding their vapor portfolio. The addition of a nicotine-free vape in popular adult flavors is never a bad thing either. 

Vape flavor bans have been shown to increase cigarette sales but there is far more growth potential in alternative nicotine products. Nicotine pouches for example have surged in popularity as they scoop up adult customers denied access to the flavors they prefer. 

Unfortunately, the very existence of the Sensa highlights a troubling pattern of regulatory manipulation and anti-competitive practices that have significant implications for the vaping industry.

What are SENSA Vapes?

Sensa is positioned as a premium, zero nicotine vapor option, aimed at adult tobacco and vapor consumers seeking flavor, choice, and flexibility. The Sensa line features popular flavors and claims to be designed to appeal to adults while avoiding targeting the underage demographic.

The flavor selection and appearance are essentially identical to hundreds of disposable vapes already on the market. The nicotine-free option is also not novel, as vape juices have had this option for a decade and several best-selling disposables have a zero-nicotine option. 

Sensa Vape

While the Sensa cannot make any claims satisfying cravings, adult nicotine users are the intended audience. The style of artificial fruit flavorings they use are found in nearly every vape. There is good reason for this, as these are the most popular flavors. 

There are already equivalent nicotine free vapes on the market. The Flonq Disposable vape collection has received rave reviews and allows vapers to enjoy zero nicotine. It is available in a 2 and 5 percent nicotine strength as well.

Flonq Max Pro Banner

The Sensa appears akin to a Flonq Max, rather than the more sophisticated Flonq Max Smart and Flonq Max Pro which offer advanced mesh coils and smart displays that monitor battery life and e-liquid levels.

To avoid giving your money to Big Tobacco, check out the Nicotine Free Disposable Vape collection at Mi-Pod. This concept is not so revolutionary as RJR claims, Lost Mary and the oft-vilified Elf Bar both offer zero nicotine disposables. 


Pros and Cons

Pros: With hardware benchmarked off an older Elf Bar design, the tobacco industry is acknowledging adult vapers prefer flavored vapes.

Cons: Manufactured by the tobacco industry in China, this product contains zero nicotine and is therefore not a viable disposable vape alternative.  

Sensa Vape Features

  • 10ml Capacity
  • Puff Count: ~5000
  • Boost Mode Button
  • 0mg Nicotine
  • On-Off Button
  • 3-Click "Child Proof" Lock
  • Removable Battery
  • USB-C Charging
  • LED Battery Life Indicator

R.J. Reynolds made a big deal about the "Child-Proof" fencing of the Sensa. This is simply clicking a button multiple times to lock and unlock the device, a technology found on nicotine vapes for a decade. For whatever reason, they chose three clicks rather than the industry standard five. 

The Sensa holds 10ml of e-liquid, made from vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol and flavorings just like any standard vape. Early versions of the packaging show a puff count of up to 5000.

Puff count numbers are often dubious, but that e-liquid capacity puts the Sensa in the ballpark of a zero-nic Lost Mary OS5000 and the famous BC5000. They seem to have been the performance benchmark for this device.

A Flonq Max Smart holds 14ml in comparison and the Flonq Max Pro Zero has nearly double the capacity at 18ml. 

No complaints here about the removable battery, although a reusable device like a Caliburn, Mi-Pod or Smok Novo with nicotine-free vape juice is still a far more environmentally friendly option. The company offers a battery recycling program through Call2Recycle to promote responsible disposal.

The Sensa also has a boost mode. To activate the Sensa Boost Mode or switch back to the regular mode, simply hold the button on the base for 1.5 seconds. The Sensa also has a super basic LED display that informs the user about battery life. 

  • Pulsing Red: Below 50% Charge
  • Pulsing Light: 50-80% Charge
  • Solid Light: Above 80% Charge
  • No Light: 100% Charge

Sensa Disposable Vape Appearance

For being a device touted as so upstanding compared to its nefarious rivals, this product is indistinguishable from many adult-appealing disposables currently on the market.

It has a hard plastic mouthpiece and the only innovative feature is a battery that can be easily removed. This is a good idea and one that could easily be adopted if not for the capricious and arbitrary restrictions placed on ENDS devices by the FDA.

On a level field of play, sales of the Sensa will require retailers to provide customer education. This is a product that cannot be honestly referred to as a nicotine alternative. 

As Big Tobaccos vapor products are generally quite expensive to purchase. Tracking the million R.J. Reynolds spent on lobbying states to bar disposable vapes, it seems that heavy restrictions on the availability of nicotine vapes were expected to do the heavy lifting when it came driving sales.

The Sensa can offer the ritual of vaping. But if the quality of previous Big Tobacco vapes are any indication, it will be interesting to compare it to the competition to see how it really stacks up. Zero nicotine and low-nicotine disposable vapes are a great idea, which is why the Flonq is featured so prominently here. Now let us see what flavors RJR brought to the table. 

Sensa Vape Flavors

  • Berry Fusion
  • Berry Watermelon
  • Blueberry Frost
  • Mint Frost
  • Passionfruit Frost
  • Watermelon Frost

The fruit flavor fallacy is the misplaced belief that the widely available artificial fruit flavors used in vapes were selected because they appeal to children.

The rather obvious explanation is that fauxbacco artificial tobacco flavors simply don't taste as good to the typical human palate, regardless of age. If you have ever been to grocery store, it is easy enough to discover that these artificial fruit and beverage flavors are actually found in nearly every consumable product, whether it is breath mints, kombucha or hard seltzer. The science on this is beyond the scope of this review. 

What matters is that the nicotine-free Sensa is designed to deliver the feel and flavor of a disposable vape and is clearly targeting the adult vaper market. The flavors they have chosen are the top-sellers in the nicotine disposable vape industry. All that is missing is Miami mint, blue Razz and mango. 

Because they are nicotine free, the SENSA will be available in flavors that are no longer allowed in the pre-filled artificial tobacco-flavored pods that are sold by RJ Reynolds.

In other words, RJ went with the same vaping flavors that they have tirelessly attempted to drive from the market through their nationwide campaign to pass PMTA Registry bills. And their chosen delivery system is a Chinese-made draw-activated disposable vape that is nearly identical to the products they have spent millions to destroy. Interesting. 


R.J. Reynolds Discusses Their New Flavored Vape

“Adult tobacco and vapor consumers across the retail marketplace are looking for more options,” said Valerie Mras, Senior Vice President, Vapor within the Reynolds American organization. “Adding a zero nicotine product to our growing vapor portfolio is driven by deep adult vapor consumer insights and enables us to responsibly compete within a category that is already well established in many countries.”

Will RJR Profit From Vape Bans They Promoted?

The Sensa launch occurs amidst controversial legislative efforts spearheaded by R.J. Reynolds that have severely impacted small businesses in the vaping industry. This year, R.J. Reynolds has been instrumental in pushing Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA) bills across various states, a move widely seen as a direct attack on smaller vape businesses. For more information on these practices, do not miss our feature: Big Lies by Big Tobacco. 

These bills claim to target “Chinese Illicit Vapes”, but it according to their own website and the manual in each box, SENSA products are made in China. RJ Reynolds' Vuse hardware is also made in China, although the final e-liquid product is "blended in America", whatever that means.

PMTA Registry Laws

The PMTA process, mandated by the FDA for any new tobacco products, involves rigorous scientific review and significant financial burden. For smaller companies, the costs associated with PMTA compliance are often prohibitive, effectively squeezing them out of the market. R.J. Reynolds, with its vast resources, has supported these stringent requirements, which critics argue are designed to stifle competition and consolidate market share among the largest players.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Reynolds says “it doesn’t intend to seek federal clearance for SENSA. Because the devices contain no nicotine and aren’t compatible with any other tobacco products, they don’t fall under the jurisdiction of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.”

The FDA, in response to questions from The Wall Street Journal, declined to add if nicotine free vaping products like Sensa collection fell under the purview of the regulatory agency.  

Will Sensa Sales Benefit From Anti-Competitive Practices?

In the past, RJR has been aggressive in its push to remove competitors in the nicotine space from shelves. Throughout the winter and spring of this year, they pushed hard to have disposable vapes driven from the market.

No one should be surprised to discover that their nicotine free disposable vape arrived hot on the heels of these expensive efforts. We will soon discover if adult customers will enjoy the Sensa or are willing to make the switch to nicotine free vapes.

R.J. Reynolds' support for harsh PMTA regulations has been viewed by many as a strategy to eliminate smaller competitors. By backing legislation that smaller businesses cannot afford to comply with, R.J. Reynolds is effectively ensuring its dominance in the market, leaving limited room for competition. Their core business remains cigarettes, whose sales benefit when desirable alternative products are not being sold. This behavior raises serious concerns.

Sensa: A Strategic Expansion Amid Controversy

Despite the controversy, the introduction of Sensa aligns with RJRVC's goal of offering innovative alternatives to traditional cigarettes. By entering the nicotine free market, the RJ Reynolds addresses a growing demand among adult nicotine users for flavorful and flexible vaping options that are sold in brick-and-mortar locations.

The lack of access and a market stripped of viable options, the FDA has approved only a handful of obsolete cigalikes and an NJOY Menthol vape, is why the Center for Black Equity called on the FDA to approve a wide range of e-cigarettes to ensure marginalized Americans can access alternative products. 

RJ Reynolds says that Sensa products will be marketed responsibly and sold only to adults 21 and older. Like every vaping website with any meaningful traffic, their web properties will be age-gated. Their PR release claims that all "touchpoints" are geared towards an adult audience. This aligns with the company's stated commitment to responsible marketing practices.

The release of Sensa by R.J. Reynolds marks a significant development in the vaping industry, offering a nicotine free option from a well-established company. However, this launch also underscores the ongoing issues of regulatory manipulation and anti-competitive practices that have plagued the industry.

Yes to Nicotine Free, No to Big Tobacco's Sensa

While Sensa offers another option for vapers, it is essential to recognize that there are many zero nicotine on the market that are not made by big tobacco companies. The availability of this product is a net positive in terms of consumer choice but there are nicotine-free disposable vapes with superior performance. And they do not have the baggage of supporting a company engaged in controversial and harmful practices against small businesses. 

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