Vaping is just the newest tool in big tobacco companies’ toolboxes, and it’s clear that big tobacco hasn’t learned their lesson.
With big tobacco being hit over and over again with lawsuits, bad press, and public realization of the dangers of smoking, the future was looking quite bleak, until the vaping industry came along. Instead of “smoking,” e-cigarettes, vape pens, and personal vapors (MODS) are “vaped,” the act of inhaling and exhaling aerosol (i.e. vapor).
Many vaping (or e-cig) companies have sprung up in the past five years as the “cure” for cigarette addiction, offering a similar high, but allegedly without the same health risks of cigarettes. Instead, they are causing disease, mysterious illnesses, and even death, as reported recently. The Centers for Disease Control is urging people to stop vaping after multiple deaths and hundreds of mysterious lung illnesses.
How did this all happen? Well, e-cigs do not have the same level of chemical toxins as traditional cigarettes, making them “safer.” Well, you can play with a loaded gun with the safety on. It’s safer than if the safety is off, but you’re still asking for trouble. According to research out of the University of California-San Francisco, smoking e-cigarettes daily doubles your risk of a heart attack and when combined with traditional cigarettes, your risk increases five-fold.
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And here’s the kicker, study after study has shown that while using e-cigs is not as bad as smoking traditional cigarettes, they are just as addictive.
That is precisely what the big tobacco companies are after. A new generation hooked on nicotine, delivered “healthily” through e-cigarettes, to replace the lost generation of smokers who are no longer lining their deep pockets.
Study after study has shown that while using e-cigs is not as bad as smoking traditional cigarettes, they are just as addictive.
Here’s what happened.
Between 2003 and 2017, global cigarette volume sales decreased by 1.3 percent and industry analysts predicted that by 2022 the global cigarette volume would decrease by 8 percent. In the United States alone, the decrease in smokers is incredible: in 1965, 42.4 percent of the population smoked, down to 20.9 percent in 2005, and even further to only 14 percent in 2017.
The big tobacco companies were scared.
What do they do? They buy (and create) a new product, a “safer one,” to sell, but not under their own tarnished brand.
Five e-cig companies dominate 95 percent of the market (JUUL, MarkTen XL, Logic, Vuse and Blu). While those names don’t sound like big tobacco, 35 percent of JUUL is owned by Altria Group (maker of Marlboro cigarettes), and MarkTen XL is also owned by Altria. Vuse is owned by British American Tobacco, Logic by Japan Tobacco Inc., and Blu by Imperial Brands. Altria and Philip Morris are also partnering to sell a new brand of e-cigs called IQOS.
Big tobacco has simply repurposed themselves, under new brand names, to continue to profit off the pain and suffering of millions of people.
And they are profiting. In 2016, e-cigs took in $8.6 billion. In 2017, $10 billion, with that number projected to be double by 2023.
But while the numbers for big tobacco are looking up, the numbers for the American people are looking worse. It’s not just those trying to quit that are getting hooked.
More than 2 million high school students used e-cigarettes in 2017. The U.S. Surgeon General reported that e-cigarette use among high school students is up dramatically with more of them vaping than smoking.
With more than 13.8 million people in the U.S. using nicotine e-cigarettes, according to Altria, we have a new generation of lives destroyed by the tobacco industry, all based on false promises, again.
They say you can’t quit, but you can. And you don’t need e-cigarettes to do it. Each year 1.3 million smokers kick the habit. There are many resources to help, including free ones. If you want to avoid being one of the 480,000 annual deaths caused by big tobacco, then you can quit, too … and don’t let your kids start.