With the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still trying to figure out how to regulate electronic cigarettes (e-cigs), the relationship between big tobacco companies and e-cigs will be put to the test. For one thing, no tobacco is present in the overwhelming majority of e-cigs on the market. The thing that both traditional and electronic cigarettes share in common the most is that both have nicotine within them, but since there’s no tobacco, the FDA has been having a very difficult time on regulating the products.
In addition, the popularity of e-cigs has exploded since 2008, providing both tough competition for big tobacco companies and pressure on the FDA to craft new regulations.
– One proposal put forth by the Food and Drug Administration would be to require both tobacco and electronic cigarette manufacturers to fill out a long piece of paperwork for each new product. However, the argument against this is that despite filling out the paperwork, both e-cig and tobacco companies would only see a very small percentage of their products becoming actually licensed, meaning that only the larger companies could survive. Since the tobacco companies are much larger and more established than the younger and smaller e-cig companies, this means that the tobacco industry could essentially buy out a sizeable percentage of the electronic cigarette industry since it couldn’t reach FDA regulations.
* Big Tobacco
– In the event that this happened, the tobacco industry would essentially get to decide whether the e-cig industry lived or died. They could continue selling e-cig products and enjoy the massive revenue that is received from the popularity of e-cigs, or they could view the e-cig market as a threat and opt to phase out production of e-cigs entirely.
– At that point, the only e-cig companies that would remain would be the few who survived the FDA regulations, making them a much smaller industry than the big tobacco industry. To put this in other terms, the tobacco industry would gain a monopoly over the electronic cigarette industry and then decide its fate.
* What’s More Appealing?
– The stated purpose of electronic cigarettes is to mimic smoking. E-cigs heat up nicotine that’s in liquid form in each device, resulting in vapor smoke being released. While scientific research is not yet complete, it has been suggested that e-cigs are a much safer alternative to actually smoking tobacco, which are known for being toxic and resulting in health issues with smokers. This makes e-cigs much more appealing to a larger crowd; people who want to smoke but who don’t want to run the risk of smoking can then turn to e-cigs.
– Already, there are hundreds if not thousands of e-cig companies and the industry is booming. The total value of the e-cig industry is expected to triple in as little as five years.
There is an ongoing debate about whether or not e-cigs should be regulated, but many feel that people need to know they are purchasing safe items. As long as future FDA regulations do not cripple the e-cig industry, it’s heavily likely that the tobacco industry will be given a run for its money. Tobacco companies will likely either have to start rolling out e-cigs of their own, or hope that the FDA comes to their rescue.