Is The Vaping Industry Under Threat?

Theo Mead | Contributor

Kind Of (But The Shoe Is On The Other Foot)

If you’re an ex-smoker turned vaper, you’re probably used to something sweet in your mouth. With over half of the 2.9 million vaping Brits claiming to be ex-smokers, that’s a whole lot of cloud. Getting your head around something that’s 95% safer than smoking and now officially endorsed by the NHS was probably the no-brainer that made you switch.

Whether you’re vaping with a #StubbedOutForGood or you just took it up for the sheer pleasure, you probably weren’t expecting this. A bit of a sour taste.

Vapers have been so busy giving Big Tobacco the middle finger, they haven’t noticed: Big Tobacco Is Becoming Big Vape

Big corporations have a knack for keeping under the radar. Pret-A-Manger did a good job of hiding that they were 60% owned by McDonald’s. Did you even know that Facebook owns Instagram? If brands like Vype, Blu and Nicolites sound familiar, you might want to sit down. Yup, they’re owned by Big Tobacco.

Regulations – What, Where, Why and When?

If you were vaping in 2017, you’ll likely remember TPD. If you’re vaping in 2018, you’ll know that everything you buy is “TPD-compliant”.

TPD: In A Nutshell:

  • What is TPD? The Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) was a giant bill passed by EU law that came into effect in May 2017. Limiting everything from tank size (2ml max) to e-liquid containers (10ml max), the law also enforced safety and awareness elements, like addiction warnings, nicotine strength limits and ensuring bottles are leak-proof.
  • Why Did TPD happen? The official reason? “To make vaping safer.” The real reason? A sore loser was not happy that they’re no longer the most popular kid in the sandpit. The solution? Take two fat suitcases of cash, throw them at the government (that’s called lobbying) and do everything in your power to make vaping more expensive.
  • How did people react? Grumble. Vapers used to buying 120ml bottles were looking at price increases. If you’re getting hand cramps from squeezing out those 10ml bottles, you aren’t alone. Angry as vapers were, they accepted the law. Our range is fully TPD-compliant.
  • Is there a way around TPD? Meddling with an industry as innovative as vaping? Please. Big Tobacco had no idea who they were messing with. While tanks, warnings and strengths didn’t have any wiggle room, size did. Short Fills a.k.a the lightbulb moment are 60ml bottles filled to 50ml. They come with a free nic shot. Mix them up, and you’ve got your bigger (and cheaper) bottle. Zero percent nicotine liquids aren’t affected by TPD laws.

What About Outside The UK?

TPD laws affect 28 countries across the EU in various ways. Over in the US, things are dealt with by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). This is where it gets kind of funny. FDA rulings for anything remotely as strict as TPD have been pushed forward to 2022. The most Americans have at the moment are some 2016 laws.

Banning sales of e-liquids to under 18s, requiring photo ID and making manufacturers display their ingredients on bottles is what the US have. That, and not being able to taste in-store. All vendors must also apply to the FDA to sell their stuff.

Big Tobacco Joined A Party They’re Just Not Welcome To

While Big Tobacco swooped in with TPD over in the EU, there’s speculation over why they’re dilly dallying in America. The biggest suspect? The fact that the last few years have seen major tobacco brands buy into the vaping industry. Big Tobacco weren’t going to smack themselves with their own restrictions.

  • In 2012, the third biggest tobacco manufacturer in the US, Lorillard bought BluCigs for $135 million.
  • Lucky Strike owners, BAT (British American Tobacco) jumped on the bandwagon in 2013 with the purchase of Vype. Then Imperial Tobacco bought Von Erl and rebranded it as MyBlu.
  • If you’re buying BluCigs, Vuse, Puritane, Vype, Ploom, E Lites, MarkTen, or Nicolites, you’re captive to Big Tobacco. That said, it looks like vaping will come out on top.

“Heat Not Burn” Devices. Big Tobacco Tries To Hoodwink Us

If you’ve read the news lately, you’ll have seen some major vape-related headlines. The May 2018 news reporting the first US death from an exploding vape was as tragic as it was misleading. As soon as we read the headline, we knew it was another poor donut attempting to use a mech mod without the advanced knowledge of physics that requires. For the full low-down debunking the myths of exploding vapes, read this.

The other big story? Big Tobacco’s New Year’s Resolution was to quit smoking. Haha, except not.

Philip Morris (that’s Marlboro and Chesterfield to you) have officially announced that they’re going to stop making cigarettes, and they’ve spent £2.5 billion designing their stuff.

The Devil Is In The Detail

“Philip Morris is known for cigarettes. Every year, many smokers give them up. Now it’s our turn.” Nice ad. But what are they going to replace them with?

IQOS – The “Heat Not Burn” Device, Explained

Philip Morris are encouraging something new. Their pen-shaped IQOS device is already available in 29 countries. While it’s definitely “smokeless”, it isn’t “tobacco-less”.

What’s The Difference? (Tiny, Yet Huge)

Enough for the chief executive of charity, Action on Smoking and Health to describe Philip Morris’ ad as “a PR stunt”.

  • E-cigarettes (vapes) are this: Slender, battery-powered devices that vaporize a liquid (which can contain nicotine). Users inhale from the mouthpiece, the device powers up and vaporized liquid nicotine is the result.
  • “Heat Not Burn” are this: Slender, battery-powered devices that vaporize the one thing people don’t know is still a giant killer- tobacco. While cigarettes burn tobacco, the IQOS heats it. Vaping tobacco is safer than burning it, but the word to take away here is “tobacco.”

Why “Heat Not Burn” Is  More Dangerous Than Standard Vaping

We’re always baffled by the stats on smokers still not realizing which part of their habit is dangerous. A staggering amount still think that nicotine causes cancer. It doesn’t. Nicotine is simply an addictive chemical found in tobacco. In e-liquids, it’s what makes the three ingredients of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and flavoring rise to four.

The biggest danger from smoking is the actual burning of tobacco. Combusted tobacco causes incredibly complex changes in the already harmful 7000 chemicals you’ll find in cigarettes. The “safer” aspect of the IQOS comes from heating rather than burning the tobacco.

Problem is, people are getting clued up. Tobacco doesn’t need to be burned to become harmful. Just look at anyone chewing the stuff. While tobacco chewers aren’t anywhere near the risk level for lung and other cancers than smokers, they’re still up there.

Tobacco-specific nitrosamines might sound like a nerdy term to you. It is. But we aren’t here to fill your head with fluff. Tobacco-specific nitrosamines are cancer-causing chemicals. You’ll find them in any form of tobacco (chewing, shisha, cigarettes). They are the reason tobacco chewers still get mouth and esophagus cancer.

Part of the research proving that vaping is 95% safer than smoking came from proof that tobacco-specific nitrosamine levels in vapers were 40 times lower than in smokers.

So What’s The Overall Picture?

For the moment, the feeling is that the threat is there – just not a massive deal. Here are the main talking points:

  • Power – Just like McDonald’s or Pepsi, Big Tobacco have way more money (and way more power) than the vaping industry. We’ve already seen how they can employ the world’s top talent for their ads – “Our New Year’s resolution is to quit smoking.” Gotta admit, it’s clever. Expect a lot more from them.
  • Market share and availability – Over in Japan, where the IQOS was first introduced, Philip Morris are already claiming that 72% of IQOS users quit smoking and that the device has taken over 1/10th of Japan’s tobacco market. While you have to go to a vape store (or online) to buy your gear, Big Tobacco are already conquering availability. Expect the “I can get it in Supermarkets/petrol stations” to go up.
  • A fight – The vaping industry will do whatever it can to survive. Not for money, but for the concept on which it was founded in 2003. Did you know that the inventor of the e-cig was trying to save his dying dad from lung cancer? If Big Tobacco are weighing in, the vaping industry will be armed and ready.

This is a sponsored post. 

Theo Mead

Contributor

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