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Rise of the E-Cig

Posted: April 24, 2014 | tobacco | e-cig, electronic cigarette, tobacco | 0 Comments

Thanks to public health knowledge expanding over the past few years, cigarette sales have been steadily declining by up to 4% per year. This is good news in terms of health but for big tobacco, this means a decreasing paycheck and that is bad for business.

E-cigs have been gaining popularity recently and it’s really no wonder. The products are marketed as a “healthier” alternative to traditional cigarettes due to the absence of carcinogens that physically smoking requires you to inhale. While little to no carcinogens is definitely a good thing, the truth is that E-cigs haven’t been around long enough for anyone to fully understand the risks involved with their use. Make no mistake about it, using an E-cig still puts quite a few unnatural chemicals into your body. They could very well be healthier but that doesn’t make them healthy.

 

Aside from the health-marketing angle, E-cigs are allowed to use marketing avenues that have been long shut off to traditional smokes: TV, radio, events. Because the laws that have been prohibiting big tobacco from a lot of traditional marketing only apply to regular cigarettes, E-cigs can go places that normal cigs have been banned from for years.

 

The newly reopened marketing channels have triggered big tobacco to invest more heavily in E-cigs. Currently, the Blu E-cig is the number one seller in the U.S., taking up 49% of the market. Lorillard, the company who owns Blu, has also recently bought up SKYCIG, Europe’s best selling E-cig, an in attempt to rule over the market worldwide. They aren’t the only game in town though. Reynolds recently unveiled their new E-cig, VUSE in Colorado over the summer and have already taken the #1 selling spot from Blu in the state. Altria will roll out its E-cig, MarkTen, in Arizona this December.

 

E-Cigs also allow manufacturers to compete on a technological level that traditional smoking doesn’t allow. E-cigs are being made with smart technology that helps the user personalize their flavor, usage and intake amounts The smart technology will enable big tobacco to continuously upgrade their product in much the same way phone companies unveil a new phone model each year. When paired with (currently) open marketing opportunities, it’s very likely that we’re just seeing the tip of the E-cig iceberg and until the U.S. government can fully assess the dangers of E-cig usage, it could be years before we see any heavy marketing restrictions.