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Big T Vape Takeover

The tobacco industry is reported to believe the conditions are ripe for a push for total vape market dominance.

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The tobacco industry, and British American Tobacco in par.ticular, are reported to be accelerating their push to fight for total dominance of the global vape markets. Through acquisitions, British American Tobacco is establishing itself as the major Big T player and has announced plans to double the size of its electronic cigarette business

Of course, when you are being told something it is always wise to pay attention to who the messenger is. The first person speaking on this subject to Healthline is Jeff Drope, the vice president of economic and health policy research for the American Cancer Society (ACS). The ACS is staunchly anti-vape and it serves their purpose to have vaping portrayed as a Big Tobacco product.

He welcomes the technology as being “the most disruptive change in the tobacco market, there is no parallel. Big Tobacco is now dominating in dollars in sales, but we don’t know the long-term effects.”

When Drope stops, Erika Sward picks up the mantle. She represents the American Lung Association, another resolutely anti-ecig entity. “This is part of an ongoing strategy in the Big Tobacco playbook,” she adds; people campaigning against harm reduction love to refer to the playbook. “Being less deadly than regular cigarettes does not make your product less safe to use.”

Sward then goes off on a flight of fancy and makes up some alternative facts: “There is a strong association between e-cigs, cigarettes, and other burned tobacco products by young people. There is not a safe level of nicotine use for kids until the age of 24.”

Drope grabs the baton to give his impression of what is going to happen to the vape market: “I can imagine them being a niche market. I can see them being just another product. If tobacco industry decides to throw their might behind it, I could really see them taking off.”

It’s organisations like the American Lung Association and the ACS who have driven the demand for a legislative environment that positively discriminates in favour of the Big Tobacco sector they are so opposed to.

It’s a political environment that, when combined with a plunge in sterling (according to the Financial Times), has created an opportunity for British American Tobacco to target a two-fold increase in the volume of its vape business and to quadruple the number of markets within which it operates.

The paper cites a market analyst: “Masses of regulation and taxation initiatives around the world have failed to dent BAT’s extraordinary profitability and look likely to continue to do so, especially as it pivots towards the US, which is still one of the most attractive markets in the world for tobacco companies.”

When the industries biggest enemies (in the form of public health organisations) fight to clear the field for their most feared business in British American Tobacco, it must make independent ecig businesses wonder if the experts had thought it through. 

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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