Prof. David Yunqiang Xiu, Inventor of the Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS), the Modern Electronic Cigarette. have won 6 international gold awards 2011
Published onYorkshire Post on Tuesday 6 December 2011 06:00
ENTREPRENEUR Dr David Xiu has his sights set on supplying the NHS with his creation, the electronic cigarette, which he says could save the public body £440m a year, prevent deaths and rapidly increase the size of his business.
Dr Xiu is managing director and founder of Leeds-based Superdragon Group, which, as well as e-cigarettes, supplies acupuncture needles, herbal and healthcare products. The e-cigarette is a battery-powered device that provides inhaled doses of nicotine by way of a vaporised solution.
While no tobacco, smoke or combustion is involved in its operation, it claims to still have the feel and taste of the real thing. The product now has six patents, including China and the UK.
Superdragon Group currently has six full-time employees, with one to two part-time workers. But it plans to take on at least another 15-20 salespeople to cover the UK market next year.
Last year, its turnover was £500,000, with pre-tax profits of around £30,000, said Dr Xiu, who added that money had been spent on development and patents. He expects turnover to hit £700,000 for 2011, predicting a jump to £1m-£3m for next year.
The company has recently set up a manufacturing site in China, which he said means reduced costs for the firm. Superdragon Group already supplies wholesalers and consumers with e-cigarettes in countries including the UK, France, Spain and Germany. But Dr Xiu, who has also established ECigy.com, an internet shop selling the e-cigarettes, said: “In the future, we are going to supply all the European countries, Canada, Australia, India and Brazil.”
Dr Xiu’s next plan is to apply for a manufacturer and assembly licence from the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency), which would allow him to supply the NHS, chemists and private clinics nationwide.
Dr Xiu, who trained as an engineer in his native China before qualifying as a doctor, said: “If we had the licence, we would need 100 staff to manage the company.” Its turnover would shoot up to £10m-£20m, he said.
Dr Xiu said: “The average number of people who die in England annually from smoking is around 80,000.” The e-cigarette could save the NHS in England over £440m a year on treating smoking and passive-smoking related illnesses, he said, claiming it is “much better” than current nicotine replacement therapy.