The Push by Big Tobacco to Get Rid of the Little ElectronicCigarette
In 2014, the tobacco industry made over $4.6 billion in profits which would seem to be a strong number. However, with declining sales and increased competition from electronic cigarettes, Big Tobacco is heading towards a showdown with their non-competitive counterparts.
The use of traditional tobacco cigarettes around the world and in particular North America has declined considerably over the past 60 years. What was once a market that consisted of nearly three-quarters of the adult population has now shrunk to less than one-quarter and that number is falling rapidly thanks in part to the rise of the electronic cigarette.
The e-cig as they are sometimes known managed to rake in roughly $1.5 billion in profits last year and they are sold in over 5,000 specialty retail outlets or “vape shops” across the US. These new businesses have helped to boost an economic revival in some parts of the US by taking over otherwise empty retail areas. However, because the e-cig product does not fall under the same laws, rules and regulations as their tobacco counterparts, they are now coming under increasing fire from Big Tobacco.
At first, the tobacco industry rather belatedly entered the electronic cigarette market with their own brand known as “Cigalike”, but that didn’t produce the type of results needed in large part because the overall cost was higher and a lack of flavor options. So now, the industry has turned its sights away from competition and instead is trying to have the e-cigindustry regulated just like they have been for more than a half-century.
However, despite being a nicotine-delivery device, the e-cig does not use tobacco which means that there are none of the carcinogens present that would be found in tobacco when it is burned like in a traditional cigarette. Still, the fate of the electronic cigarette industry would seemingly be in the courts as Big Tobacco makes one last push to put down its biggest rival.
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