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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.

1 Response to this article

  1. 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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