The war on ecigs is at a fever pitch. The negative media stories are a daily event. The battle for the hearts and minds of the American public is being waged in headlines that are full of scare tactics and misinformation.
Right now, the ecig related articles that are trending the most online are negative, scary stories. We all know that a scary headline travels like wildfire and that is what’s happening.
By far the single ecig story that is being most shared online right now is the claim that ecigs have 10 times more carcinogens that cigarettes. This claim is a prime example of the war on ecigs. This article has been shared on various social media posts almost one million times. The idea that ecigs produce more toxins than cigarettes is a ludicrous claim.
If you actually read the article, you don’t find out very much. You have to dig deeper, make inquiries and do a lot of searching find the real details behind the outrageous claim that is scaring people about ecigs and vaping. That’s when you really see the war on ecigs.
When you do do the job that journalists are failing to do, you find out that 13 ecig types were tested and only one of those ecigarettes tested produced formaldehyde at a level over 30 micrograms and that device was used in an unrealistic fashion. If you overheat an ecig, you will change the chemistry. It’s like anything else, if you set your furniture on fire and the glue and plastic components burn, toxins will be released. In that sense, your patio furniture may be ten times more dangerous than cigarettes.
There is more to the story than that. The researcher involved in the study that led to the claim that ecigs have ten times the formaldehyde was asked to furnish his actual results. Just to give you a comparison, cigarette smoke produces 200 micrograms of formaldehyde.
The worst, low quality ecig that produced 34 micrograms is still 6 times less than a tobacco cigarette. How in the world they came up with a statement of ten times more formaldehyde than a cigarette is a complete mystery. The claim is totally unfounded.
The formaldehyde in ecigs claim has been debunked by responsible scientists and true study. Even staunch anti-vaping people like Tom Frieden at the CDC and the American Heart Association admit that vaping is safer than smoking.
Still, the scary headlines grab the attention of the public and smokers are suffering from the misinformation.
Basically, in order to get formaldehyde out of an e-cigarette you have to find a cheap, low quality brand and you have to manipulate the experiment to expose the ecig to extreme conditions that are not realistic.
The vaping community and Expert Vaping are deeply concerned about low quality electronic cigarettes. There are way to many of them and, unfortunately, cheaply made ecigs have the biggest profit margins so you are going to find them in retail locations everywhere. That’s why Expert Vaping works so hard to help you identify the best vape brands that you are going to be happy with.
The Impact Of The War On Ecigs
I have spoken with smokers and asked many of them if they have tried ecigs. Very commonly, they tell me that ecigs are worse than cigarettes. One can only hope that they do not feel discouraged and will find a way to quit.
The misinformation is having the consequence of keeping people addicted to deadly tobacco.
It is unfortunate and one can only hope that those who have written off ecigarettes will find some other way to quit.
Electronic cigarette advocacy groups and American e-vapor businesses are fighting back but they do not have the resources or access to your taxpayer dollars to counter the war on ecigs. The war on ecigs is a David vs Goliath scenario.
American ecig companies are not giant corporations and they are not Big Tobacco. They are engaged in a very competitive field as the evapor business has hundreds of entries. The best ecig brands do stand out and are thankfully achieving the most success but in order to succeed they need to dedicate their resources to R&D and making the highest quality products.
Everything is working as it should in a capitalist, competition-based system but even the emerging evapor leaders like Apollo eCigs or Halo do not have the resources to combat the misinformation occurring in mainstream media. While the CDPH can spend millions on TV commercials and the CDC can do the same with billboards and radio ads, how can emerging businesses fight back? The war on ecigs is being waged by powerful forces.
Big Tobacco expects to make billions from their e-vapor brands like Vuse and Mark Ten. That begs the question, as the war on ecigs rages, why is Big Tobacco silent? They have resources, they have clout but they are sitting out the fight. That’s because the more negative public opinion that exists the chances are better for more oppressive regulation. Strict FDA ecig regulation will potentially translate into a monopoly.
There is an irony here that stands out. Health organizations like the CDC and the California Department of Public Health are using taxpayer money to spread fear and misinformation about ecigs and vaping. If they are successful in diminishing the potential of vaping and achieve oppressive regulation, Big Tobacco will be the big winner.
How Big Tobacco Is Going To Get You Money
Since Mitch Zeller has become the director of the FDA’s Center For Tobacco products a few interesting things have happened. The first thing that happened was an increase in stock prices for Big Tobacco.
Next, the FDA announced their proposed deeming regulations for tobacco products, including electronic cigarette that included a grandfather date set for February 2007, a time when very few ecig companies existed. That triggered another stock price increase.
Now that the war on ecigs is heating up as the powers that be drive public sentiment to negative, stock process are at an all-time high.
Big Tobacco stock prices were relatively stable for years but began climbing after new leadership at the FDA Center for Tobacco Products and the war on ecigs really began.
Big Tobacco stock prices since the FDA Center for Tobacco Products came under the leadership of Mitch Zeller and the effort to regulate ecigs as a tobacco product began in earnest:
Altria stock prices went from $33.51 to $38.40 when proposals announced and is now sitting at $51.78.
RJ Reynolds went from $43.27 to $53.81 and now sits at a record high $76.08.
Lorillard prices went from $38.34 to $54.01 and now has hit a high of $72.00
Thanks to Bill Godshall of Smoke Free Pennsylvania for picking up on this trend. It raises very interesting questions.
Both the market and Big Tobacco are behaving as though the war on ecigs will lead to oppressive FDA ecig regulations that will level the bulk of the evapor industry and leave Big Tobacco in the driver’s seat.
The Predicate Product
A couple of months ago Expert Vaping covered the story of the predicate product. At that time, we learned that Altria had made a 7 figure offer to acquire the predicate product.
The importance of the predicate product cannot be overstated. What it all boils down to is the April 2014 announcement of the proposed FDA electronic cigarette regulations.
The proposed regulations would require any new tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, marketed and sold in the United States after February of 2007 would have to go through a lengthy and expensive FDA approval process.
There was an electronic cigarette be marketed and sold in the United States prior to April 2007. Any electronic cigarette company that could prove that their particular ecig product was “substantially equivalent” to the ecig device being sold prior to the February 2007 grandfather date would enjoy an easier path to market.
All evapor products will be required to disclose all ingredients and meet certain standards but new products launched after February 2007, which is about 90% of all ecigs, would have to go through the entire at the approval process which comes with it cost that would easily run into the millions of dollars.
Most electronic cigarette companies do not have the resources to go through the approval process. Those same companies are more than capable of complying with any FDA regulation but going through the process would be prohibitive if not disastrous from a financial standpoint.
Who could afford the FDA ecig regulation approval process? That is a much easier question big tobacco has the resources to sail through in the approval process. Altria’s head of regulatory affairs used to be an FDA director. Big Tobacco and the FDA are familiar with each other. The Big Tobacco ecig brands will have no problem going through the approval process. The war on ecigs works for them.
Does Big Tobacco Know What FDA Ecig Regulations Will Be?
Let’s look at the big tobacco strategy for the evapor industry. So far Big Tobacco electronic cigarette products have relied on a retail strategy only.
In fact, Big Tobacco supports banning online ecigarette sales.
Big tobacco has the retail distribution that no independent American electronic cigarette company could compete with. It is little wonder why they want to ban online sales of electronic cigarettes.
Tobacco owned electronic cigarette brands like Mark Ten and Vuse have made no effort to establish online sales. Does this indicate an expectation on their part what the final FDA electronic cigarette regulations will look like?
Big Tobacco electronic cigarette companies have likewise made no effort to develop open tank electronic cigarette devices that use refillable ecig tanks and separate eliquids. Considering that ecig tanks now make up roughly half of all electronic cigarette sales it is rather interesting that big tobacco has decided to not get involved in the portion of the evapor business that accounts for half of revenues.
Once again it kind of makes you wonder if they know what’s coming. Big Tobacco electronic cigarette brands have developed closed tank systems with disposable ecig tanks. The Blu Plus and the Logic Pro are examples of closed tank systems. Not only have they not developed any open ecig tank systems but RJ Reynolds is actively lobbying for the ban of open systems. Could this be because they know but the FDA is going to ban open tank systems?
If ecig companies that sell open tank systems and every single eliquid flavor and every single nicotine level have to go through the entire if the approval process, many of them would be forced to shut their doors overnight. Some of the larger companies may be able to go through the process and have a few devices and eliquid flavors approved but over all the options available to smokers would be greatly diminished. While that may not be the goal of the war on ecigs hopefully it won’t be the outcome.
If this were to come to pass, the electronic cigarettes that would be widely available would be the ones owned by Big Tobacco and sold in retail stores. Could this be the end game of the war on ecigs? It could be a monopoly.
The key summary points here are:
- Big Tobacco expects billions in future evapor sales
- Tobacco companies fight to ban online sales and open ecig tanks
- Massive increase in the value of Big Tobacco stocks
- Big Tobacco not fighting back against misinformation
- Altria tries to acquire predicate product
- Big tobacco makes no effort to develop popular ecig products, no effort to offer a wide range of flavors, and no effort to offer a range of nicotine levels
It could be that Big Tobacco is just gambling that the final outcome of the war on ecigs will work out in their favor. It could also be that their lobbying expertise is behind the war on ecigs and they expect the finalized regulatory climate to be in their favor.
In either case, they are hoping that the war on ecigs will lead to an evapor monopoly that they will control.
Health organizations, federal, state and municipal governments as well as concerned citizens would be better served working with the vaping community to ensure reasonable regulation, honest inquiry and accurate reporting. The war on ecigs simply plays into the hands of Big Tobacco.
As for the tobacco companies, establishing a monopoly is how they plan to get your money. While it is a sound, shrewd business strategy, a monopoly could limit the potential of vaping to save lives.
Ideally, FDA ecig regulations will not be influenced by the war on ecigs. Ideally a balance will be found that eliminates the low quality ecigs and eliquids that are out there while allowing the high quality products to thrive and serve smokers desperately seeking an alternative.
There are bills in congress that serve both sides of the fight. There is a bill that calls for the FDA to keep the February 2007 grandfather date and there is a bill to change the grandfather date to allow existing ecig companies a reasonable opportunity to comply with FDA standards.
If you want to get involved, contact your member of congress and ask them to support changing the grandfather date and allowing responsible American ecig companies to continue to offer smokers a wide range of less harmful options.