May 19, 2015
“There is more to the story.”
The date is July 1, 2015. FDA has deemed electronic cigarettes as tobacco products. The Tobacco Control Act (TCA), including its February 15, 2007 grandfather date, now applies across the board to e-vapor products. What happens now?
- Big Tobacco’s absolute dominance of all tobacco products is assured. BT will continue to market their cigalike products.
- Product innovation slows to a crawl. Cigalike sales will, by design, remain a tiny fraction of BT combustible tobacco product revenues.
- Big Pharma nicotine replacement therapy products will regain lost market share. Billions of dollars of pharmaceutical sales will be secure.
- Public Health will spin the deeming as the beginning of the end for e-cigarettes. We’ve saved our children! No more teen gateway to smoking! The public has heard our warning – vaping is not “harmless”! Total nicotine abstinence is the only option! The threat of renormalizing smoking has been neutralized! This “shocking” and “alarming” threat – eliminated!
- Politicians will double their efforts toward taxing e-cigarettes exactly the same as tobacco cigarettes. Federal and state governments, hopelessly addicted to tobacco sin tax revenues, will move quickly to capitalize on the FDA decision. New sin taxes on cigalikes will ensure that any tax revenue reductions from the declining sales of combustible tobacco will be not only be replaced, but increased to new levels. Regardless of the direction the market moves, all roads will lead to tax revenue nirvana.
That is the story that will be repeated by every newspaper, magazine, TV news broadcast, radio news broadcast, Public Health press release, medical journal, politician, doctor, lawyer and Indian Chief in the U.S. And around the world.
But there is more to the story. The part that won’t be the subject of the media feeding frenzy. That politicians won’t brag about. Public Health won’t talk about. And both will deny.
- Cigarette sales will increase.
- BT will protect their cigarette sales at all costs. They will continue to market cigalikes – telling the world how committed they are to a safer product. And they will continue to ensure those products are unsatisfying to smokers interested in quitting combustible cigarettes.
- Product innovation will be relegated to BT. The only ones, under the provisions of the TCA, with the financial resources to bring new, safer products to market. And the only ones with the financial incentive, for ensuring that does not happen.
- Small business vape shops, estimated at 16,000+, will close their doors. Tens of thousands of employees will be left jobless. Hundreds of thousands of invested dollars, much of it from life savings and 401k’s, will be lost.
- While Big Pharma sales of FDA approved nicotine replacement therapy products will increase, their nine out of ten failure rate – will not.
- Vapers will go back to smoking combustible tobacco. Teens will go back to smoking combustible tobacco. Historic, unprecedented declines in smoking – will all go up in smoke.
- 540,000 annual smoking related deaths – will continue.
- Astronomical smoking related health care costs – will continue.
- A black market for vaping products – will be created. Virtually overnight. Family owned businesses started by hard working entrepreneurs – replaced by “criminals” willing to accept the risks in exchange for millions in profits. Tax free profits.
Science, though not perfect, remains our most reliable source of truth. When all is said and done, vaping should not be a question of ideology, regulations, or who has the most money. Vaping should be a question first of science. And then of choice.
“If the perfect defeats the good, then bad prevails.”
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Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.