Big Tobacco Wants A Piece Of The E-Cigarette Action!

Vapor like smoke on a dark background

The beauty of vaping is that it allows all of the satisfaction of smoking while dramatically reducing the health risks. While people take up vaping for a variety of reasons, it’s hard to imagine them wanting to go back to cigarettes. Why would you turn your back on the range of flavors and opportunity for customization that vaping provides?

It’s easy to see why the nascent vaping industry has been slowly taking coins from the coffers of big tobacco, and now it seems that finally, the electronic industry has awakened the sleeping giant of the tobacco industry.

Altria Making Multi-billion Investment

Late last December, Altria the manufacturer of Marlboro brand cigarettes, announced that it had invested a staggering $12.8 billion in Juul Labs, a major name in the electronic cigarette industry.

While this is a sizable investment, it makes Altria a minority shareholder. The tobacco giant now owns a 35% stake in Juul Labs. This investment has proven fantastic news to anyone with stock in Juul as the purchase has increased Juul’s valuation by over 100% as of summer 2018. The electronic cigarette titan now has a net worth of $38 billion.

Of course, a pairing of this kind is bound to meet some controversy. Critics claim that the partnership will increase the appeal and social acceptability of tobacco consumption all over America. Juul, however, claims quite the reverse.

A Purer, Safer Alternative

Vaping enthusiasts may raise an eyebrow at the claims that Altria’s stake in Juul will legitimize tobacco use in the eyes of the nation. After all, the whole point of vaping is to move away from tobacco use. While some use it as a stop-gap solution to help them to quit nicotine for good, others see vaping as a way to add a sense of culture and community that has been absent from smoking for decades. And pretty much everyone wants to enjoy safer vaping.

Juul would seem to concur. The San Francisco-based business has built its name and its reputation around providing a healthier and less socially taboo antidote to tobacco products and that its partnership with Altria represents a significant step forward in its core mission rather than a deviation. In a recent press release, Juul’s chief executive Kevin Burns sought to allay public fears, drawing attention to the decline in tobacco consumption that has facilitated the rise of vaping.

  • Burns made it very clear that a partnership of this sort would need to follow strict criteria.
We understand the controversy and skepticism that comes with affiliation and partnership with the largest tobacco company in the U.S. … But throughout the last several months we were convinced by actions, not words, that in fact, this partnership could help accelerate our success switching adult smokers.”

With Juul retaining a controlling interest in the company, it seems unlikely that Altria’s investment, though sizeable, will deter Juul’s ability to bring safe and attractive alternatives to tobacco consumption to the nation’s adults while keeping their products out of the hands of kids.

FDA “Hopping Mad”

According to a recent article by The Motley Fool, the FDA is “hopping mad” about the partnership. They fear that tobacco industry giants have insidious motives for joining forces with the emerging electronic cigarette industry, using it as an opportunity to renege on their pledge to keep smoking products out of the hands of teenagers.

The FDA has noticed the rising trends in teen e-cigarette use and responded accordingly with a range of precautionary measures. The fruit and dessert flavored vape juices which might be tempting to younger consumers are no longer available in convenience stores and gas stations and can now only be sold at dedicated vape stores.

However, the article is quick to point out that despite the FDA’s misgivings, the e-cigarette industry has proven highly effective in reducing the nation’s consumption of tobacco;

The problem with the FDA’s criticism of e-cigs is that they are doing exactly what manufacturers and proponents have said they would — reducing cigarette smoking.”

How Will This Affect The Vaping Industry?

While the Altria / Juul case is perhaps a higher profile instance of tobacco taking a monetary interest in the vaping industry, it is not the first of its kind. British American Tobacco bought Vype in 2013, and popular brand VUSE is owned by the tobacco giant Reynolds America.

It’s understandable that anti-tobacco groups may harbor concerns that tobacco companies’ growing interest in the now multi-billion dollar electronic cigarette industry may derail the goals of vaping companies. As Erika Sward, assistant vice president of national advocacy for the American Lung Association (ALA) told Healthline at the time of the deal; “This is part of an ongoing strategy in the Big Tobacco playbook,” Could the tobacco industry affect a move away from the goal of bringing safer vaping to the masses?

Possibly. But it seems unlikely. Here’s why…

Big Tobacco Can’t Change The Fact That Vaping Is Safer Than Smoking!

Since electronic cigarettes are the new kid on the block, it’s understandable that there has been less research carried out on their effects than there has on cigarettes. It is impossible to carry out long term studies when vaping is such a new phenomenon. Nonetheless, there’s a growing body of evidence that vaping is a much safer alternative to tobacco use;

recent study, funded by British American Tobacco (BAT) used 3-D modeling software to compare the inflammation in the lungs from e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes, demonstrating a dramatic drop in lung inflammation with e-cigarettes.

Could Big Investment Lead To Big Strides In Safety?

If we look at big tobacco’s growing interest in e-cigarette from a “glass half full” perspective, it’s easy to see that the influx of capital investment from the tobacco industry can only be good for consumers. Vaping companies can use the wealth and resources of the tobacco business to carry out more research into the health effects of vaping and develop safer formulas increasingly to give consumers all of the pleasure with none of the health risks.

By working collaboratively with authorities, the combined forces of both industries can work together to make vaping products safer for adults and harder to access for minors. It’s an essential and necessary balancing act. As Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement last December;

Combustible cigarettes remain the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and providing an effective off-ramp for adults who want to quit using them is a public health priority. But we cannot allow e-cigarettes to become an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for younger Americans.”

  • We remain hopeful that between the wealth of big tobacco and the ethical focus of the vaping industry we can work towards achieving both.

Does Big Tobacco Need Electronic Cigarettes To Survive?

Tobacco use is at an all-time low in the US, and even the harshest detractor of the vaping industry should consider this a huge win for public health. As the electronic cigarette industry grows and evolves, let’s hope that it increases by the principles of companies like Juul Labs and leads to a future in which consenting adults can enjoy vaping in an atmosphere of safety and happiness!

So we invite you to try our products, you will notice the great quality of them and you will find the experience really satisfactory. At Burst e-liquid, we offer you an alternative to tobacco, vaping can not only change the way you smoke but also your life! Check out our variety of juice flavors for you to try in our site. You will not regret the change!

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