Last updated on December 15th, 2015
Is Big T Really In the ECig Business for Profit?
The tobacco industry is heavily invested in first generation “stick” style e-cigarettes (a/k/a cig-alikes); in fact, they currently make about 50% of the cig-alike brands sold, but are they in it because of the profits and because smoking is on the decline? I think not.
Some products (like those from Altria’s Green Smoke), are still popular, but most of Big T’s products (according to educated vapers and reviewers) are inferior. You’ll find most of those sub-standard packets of ecigs lining the shelves of drug stores, gas stations and convenience stores. Smokers buy them; try them, and quickly go back to smoking killer cigarettes. I hear that story again and again from smokers I interview.
The Innovative ECigarette Companies
In case you haven’t noticed, most independent on-line e-cigarette companies are offering more than just quality-tested “stick” style e-cigarettes; they’re now offering products like e-liquids, personal vaporizers and other higher end tank systems, while tobacco owned companies like Green Smoke still have the same first generation cig-alike line up. It’s not that Atlria, and the rest of the Big T boys lack the skills or funds to improve their product; they do. But that would mean even fewer tobacco sales.
They have good reason to fear e-cigarette innovation.
The tobacco industry is well aware that they sell an inferior product, one that will insure vapers go back to smoking tobacco. What's more, if the innovative second and third generation e-cigarettes are not heavily regulated, the tobacco giants will lose.
The Current State of the Market
E-cig personal vaporizers (second and third generation ecigs) give vapers more control, more flavor, more vapor and they are becoming extremely popular; in fact, the market for e-cigarettes is now split between first generation cigs-a-likes and vaporizers. Statistics now show the scales are tipping in favor of the second generation products.
According to V2Cigs, sales of their Pro3 Vaporizer have surpassed their once #1 selling first generation ecig. Halo Cigs’ Triton Tank System is outselling their award-winning cig-alike, the G6. It’s one reason both companies have introduced an intermediate vaporizer, the mini e-liquid tank that fits perfectly on their 1st generation “cig-alike” models.
Wells Fargo confirms that the “stick”, first generation e-cigarette market is not growing nearly as fast as the second (and third generation) line of vaporizers and MODS.
That means the tobacco giants are losing the e-cigarette race while their tobacco sales continue to diminish. Time for dirty corporate tactics.
The Tobacco Industry’s Self-Serving Agenda
Big Tobacco is pressuring the FDA to create stricter regulations on e-liquids, crucial to 2nd generation ecigs, and they support deeming regulations that include costly, unreasonable filings from private e-cigarette companies every time a new product is introduced. E-cigarette companies must also file for approval of the first ecig products created before February 15th, 2007.
Dr. Michael Seigel, tobacco control specialist at the Boston University School of Public Health, said the FDA’s deemed regulations requiring these filings appears to be a victory for Big Tobacco.
“Smaller players in the industry could be driven out of business because of the cost of earning FDA approval for new or existing products, which would have two years to win the FDA stamp or be removed from shelves. That could check the growth of e-cigarettes, fueled in part by variety, and drive sales toward the three tobacco industry giants, which have invested in developing their own e-cigarettes or acquiring existing lines, and which would be better able to afford the application process.”
Critical Mass to the Rescue
While the big boys lobby to save their shirts and the FDA drags its feet, the private e-cigarette industry continues to grow exponentially.
Innovative, safety minded companies like V2Cigs, South Beach Smoke, Apollo and Halo (to mention some of the top ecigarette innovators), continue to release improved, more sophisticated and more satisfying vaping products. They adhere to strict safety standards and they are preparing for deeming FDA regulations.
CASAA – The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association has made it easy for all vapers to contact their state representatives and senators to request they vote for fair regulations that focus on quality e-cigarette production and age restrictions and less on costly, unreasonable new product filings that will stifle ecig innovation.
Smokers who have tried pharmaceutical nicotine replacement products and failed, continue to be attracted to e-cigarettes; the smoking alternative more doctors are recommending; one that offers the physical sensation of smoking without the tobacco combustion, tobacco smoke, flame or toxins of tobacco cigarettes.
In September of 2014 the CDC reported that e-cigarette use by American smokers and former smokers increased nearly fourfold from 2010 to 2013 going from 9.8 percent in 2010 to 36.5 percent in 2013.
The End of the Tobacco Industry?
The Chairman of the Tobacco Control Task Force, Dr. Joel Nitzkin has said,
“If we get all tobacco smokers to switch from regular cigarettes to electronic cigarettes, we would eventually reduce the US death toll from more than 400,000 a year to less than 4,000, maybe as low as 400.”
E-cigarette use is a consumer phenomenon that has been called a “revolution” against tobacco. It is consumer driven. The tobacco giants know that once ecig use hits critical mass, it will become unstoppable and tobacco smoking may very well become a thing of the past. Perhaps then they will truly embrace the industry and will join the ranks of e-cigarette innovators.
It’s easy to stand up for fair FDA regulations. Sign the CASAA petition now.