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Tobacco Companies Move into E-Cigarette Business


Tobacco manufacturers are moving into the manufacture and sale of electronic cigarettes, according to CNBC. The business, which brought in $400 million to $500 million in sales in 2012, is expected to at least double this year, one expert predicts.

“We’re actually predicting that consumption of e-cigs could surpass consumption of traditional cigarettes in the next decade,” said Bonnie Herzog of Wells Fargo. Last year, tobacco giant Lorillard paid $135 million for the e-cigarette company Blu, while RJ Reynolds created its own e-cigarette brand.

E-cigarettes are designed to deliver nicotine in the form of a vapor, which is inhaled by the user. They usually have a rechargeable, battery-operated heating element, a replaceable cartridge with nicotine or other chemicals and a device called an atomizer that converts the contents of the cartridge into a vapor when heated. E-cigarettes often are made to look like regular cigarettes.

John Cameron, CEO of the e-cigarette company Safecig, says people who want to quit smoking often are not satisfied by using nicotine gum or patches, because they miss the act of smoking.

E-cigarettes do have potential downsides, Herzog notes. She says some critics are concerned there could be potential health risks.

The products can also be expensive. One e-cigarette made by the company Njoy cost almost $9 at a California convenience store. The product claims to be the equivalent of two packs of cigarettes.

Correction: January 14, 2013: The original version of this summary erroneously stated that Bonnie Herzog of Wells Fargo added, “The products are expensive.” The error, which we regret, has been corrected in the above synopsis.

14 Responses to this article

  1. ian johnson / July 6, 2014 at 7:46 am

    E Cigs contain nicotine and are, therefore, addictive. The tobacco companies are interested in keeping smokers addicted so will tell all sorts of statistical lies as to how much nicotine is actually in the cig. Such companies are corporate sociopaths and do not give a damn about anyone’s health. I know someone who has been on E cigs for 3 years – she’s somewhat deluded in thinking she has chosen the healthy option.

    • Ted Tripp / July 31, 2014 at 10:13 am

      Try, a “healthier option.”

  2. Avatar of Dennis
    Dennis / June 21, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    This will get people that would normally not smoke to try these. They will get addicted to the nicotine, and eventually go with the real thing. That is in the interest of tobacco companies very much. They might help people quit, but they are going to get twice as many people to start smoking.

  3. Avatar of kevin tito
    kevin tito / April 30, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Screw the big tobacco companies ! I got news for them …..I wouldnt buy anything with there name on it . There chemical and no care for life is why I am on e-cig. Yes it was my choice , but im done supporting those thieves. I cant stand cigs now and I love it . Smell is back and just feel so much better and I love not giving them or the government my hard earned money . They will just damage the e- cig and probably put chemicals in it . I dont trust them and would never buy anything with there name on it . They are now on my most hated list and they should have thought about this first when they were killing people …..cigarette companies are cowards and they can take the cigarettes and put them up you know what . So cig companies you can have my middle finger …..because thats what I think of you . You will never get my money and I hope u go broke !!!!!!!

  4. Avatar of Tyjohn
    Tyjohn / February 9, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    It sounds like conflict of interest if the cigarette manufacturers want to own e- companies. This brings up a trust issue for people who use e-cigs as a means to quit smoking. Can they actually trust them to be helpful when it would cut into their profit?

  5. Avatar of joy
    joy / January 19, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    I just hope the tobacco companies AKA snakes in the grass, don’t start poluting the cartomizers with deadly chemicals just to make theirs taste more like cigarette smoke at the expense of our health. I don’t trust big tobacco to do anything that isn’t underhanded. I think I would just stick to those e-cig companies that are NOT owned by tobacco companies.After all, they lied to the public about the safety of their product for decades untill they were backed into a corner and had no choice but to admit that YES, they were putting chemicals in the tobacco that is dangerous, all for the almighty dollar.Love my Greensmoke e-cig, hope they don’t sell out, I would hate to have to find a new one.

  6. Avatar of elektronisk cigaret
    elektronisk cigaret / January 15, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    I really hope that the big tobacco companies, get in on the electronic cigarette market, and make them better not that i think they are bad now, but with the healp from them im sure they will get even better..

  7. Fr. Jack Kearney / January 11, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    I think it is important to note that tobacco companies are now moving into the ecig business; they did not start it. The force behind ecigs has been smokers who want to quit smoking. If Big Tobacco wants to help move this process along then it is a good thing: less smokers, more vapers.

  8. Avatar of Annie R
    Annie R / January 9, 2013 at 10:38 am

    I disagree, e-cigs are just as addictive as a regular cig! BIG TOBACCO wants to keep their hand in keeping smokers addicted! I smoked for 38 years, quit 11 years to date. WAKE UP !!!!! TOBACCO KILLS, its a fact.

  9. Leslie Basden / January 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    E-cigarettes don’t have to be that expensive. Do some digging on the Internet, and you’ll find that they can cost as little as 10% of what one pays for tobacco cigarettes.

  10. Carolyn Moore / January 11, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Electronic cigarettes or e-cigs, as they are often called do not have any tobacco in them at all. The only similarity between and e-cig and a tobacco cigarette is the nicotine. The patch and gum used to help smokers quit, also contain the same nicotine. The idea of the patch and gum, etc. is to start with the higher amount of nicotine (21 mg.) then after a few weeks go to a lower dose (14 mg) and then again a few weeks go to 7 mg. The e-cigs have a vapor that is created by oils and other non tobacco substances that are safe( see FDA approval). They come in different strengths as well; 1.8%, 1.2%, and so forth and then there are 0% cartridges as well for those that just have the need for the feel of the cigarette. It does eliminate all the tar and other bad things, as well as second hand smoke. I quit smoking once with the patch but it didn’t work for me again so this time I tried the e-cig and now I haven’t smoked a “real”cigarette in well over a year. I am weaning myself off of the e-cig as well. My family members do not mind me smoking around them at all now; they can’t even tell that I am. It all seems crazy maybe but I figure who cares? I am not polluting the air for others anymore or ruining my health with cigarettes. My doctor actually recommended a company to me. I am so glad I did this and feel so much better. Do some research before you judge, please Annie. I know more and more people are quitting this way and I think that is wonderful.

  11. Avatar of Anne Nitopi
    Anne Nitopi / July 1, 2013 at 10:55 am

    The flavors, PG and/or VG in e-cigs are GRAS by the FDA when taken by MOUTH- the FDA does not regulate the e-cigarette industry – and does not say that it is safe to actually INHALE flavors and PG or VG into the lungs. No one has done those studies. It will take decades of usage before we see the harmful effects of that- just as with regular cigarettes. My Dad smoked KENT because of their micronized filter- turns out it was asbestos. So don’t assume that e-cigarettes are safe. It would be a good think actually- for the users- to get the FDA involved and have such a growing industry regulated and supervised.

  12. Avatar of vicki
    vicki / February 8, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Joy-Big Tobacco already bought Greensmokes. And Dennis when a smoker becomes a Vaper, the smell of cigarettes and the taste becomes sickening. I smoked for over 40 yrs and tried every manner of quitting. Until e-cigs came along, that is. I am a Vaper and tobacco free for 6 yrs.

  13. TaDow / June 19, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    OK. So now the studies have been done. (See Rutgers University ecig study. Also recent London University study). And if you’ll do some further research of your own, you’ll find that you have ingested EVERY single ingredient contained in eliquid. You not only EAT them, but you also INHALE them. That is unless you eat all your food cold. What’s the difference between inhaling it when it’s cooking or baking and steaming off your plate at a high temperature?

    I know my smokers cough is gone. That’s all the evidence I need.

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