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Tobacco Companies Follow Old Tactics in Marketing E-Cigarettes

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Tobacco companies are using marketing tactics for their e-cigarettes that are similar to the ones they have used for regular cigarettes, including sponsoring race cars, using cab-top and bus stop displays, and buying TV ad time to tell smokers to take back their freedom, the Associated Press reports.

“Right now it’s the wild, wild west,” Mitch Zeller, Director of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products, told the AP.

The second-largest tobacco company in the United States, R.J. Reynolds, is launching an e-cigarette called Vuse. The company plans print, TV and direct mail marketing. Altria, which owns Philip Morris USA, the country’s largest tobacco company, has its own e-cigarette brand. The nation’s third-largest tobacco firm, Lorillard, will spend $40 million on marketing its e-cigarette, Blu.

E-cigarettes are not regulated by the FDA, so tobacco companies can market them through television ads. Traditional cigarette television ads have been banned since 1971. Tobacco companies have cut back on magazine ads since the Master Settlement Agreement of 1998 established broad restrictions on cigarette marketing.

Some convenience stores and gas stations display e-cigarettes at the front counter, which is off-limits for regular cigarettes, the article notes.

The tobacco industry is awaiting the FDA’s decision on how it will regulate e-cigarettes. Some experts say any regulations would likely result in a court battle, which would delay the regulations from going into effect.

Public health groups are concerned the companies’ marketing tactics will lure young people to start using e-cigarettes. It is unclear how safe they are, the groups note.

Sales of e-cigarettes could reach $2 billion by the end of 2013, according to analysts. E-cigarette use could surpass that of regular cigarettes in the next decade, some analysts predict.

2 Responses to this article

  1. Zach / September 5, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Ahh…the old, little kid & candy argument. I see this is still alive and well. Pathetic.

    And what about these pills called “Chantix”? It functions similarly to an SRI antidepressant and comes with a black box warning. There have already people that have committed suicide while taking this. Pharmaceutical companies are almost as bad as Big tobacco.

    In essence, I completely agree with the poster above. As a heavy smoker I have finally been able to stop smoking cigarettes and I’ve been able to smoke less nicotine progressively which will enable me to quit soon. Researchers have already shown that the carcinogen level is infinitely lower than smoking tobacco. And I feel great as well! By the way, the devices are called “vaporizers,” not cigarettes. They produce vapor, not smoke. Hopefully the name will be changed soon in order to avoid more taboo nonsense.

    The largest incentive of all has been the cost. Vaporizer “E-cigs” save you thousands of dollars per year (if you’re a heavy smoker). My fear is that Big Tobacco and privatized health care lobbyists will soon make sure the cost is equivalent to those of tobacco possibly putting ex-smokers back onto the tobacco market.

  2. Avatar of Laurie Carlson
    Laurie Carlson / October 26, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    First, why is the electronic cigarette not embraced! HOORAY! It’s about time! I say this from my own experience and from what I understand by “many” former smokers who have successfully quit smoking tobacco cigarettes! They finally have a tobacco harm reduction product that works! It’s not a pill with possible severely harmful side effects, no nasty tasting (even though flavored with fruit, mint and other flavors that are tasty and yummy sounding to everyone, young and old!) gum, and no sensitive skin problems! Electronic cigarettes don’t even contain the 4,000 carcinogens in every puff as a regular tobacco cigarette does! These should be advertised like crazy!
    So, what is the problem with these then? We live IN the digital world, is it any wonder these electronic cigarettes were invented and WORK!
    Second, what I really don’t understand is the name of these electronic “cigarette” IMPLIES this product IS a “cigarette” which minors are NOT allowed to purchase! Point made! I’ve seen some cities go out of their way to make these illegal for minors to buy them – WHY? They are already illegal!
    Third, what is all this hoopla with these electronic cigarettes appealing to children? WHY would they when they cannot smoke, have not smoked, cannot purchase these, NOR would they appeal to children ‘just because electronic cigarettes are flavored”. Children have hundreds if not thousands of candies and other tasty things available to them they LOVE to eat already, and you cannot even eat these! Taste alone for children is not good enough when they can actually otherwise ‘eat’ something!
    ANY information needed can be found at CASAA.org

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