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Vapers Switching Back To Smoking

The USA’s crusade against tobacco harm reduction is winning, but the only people benefitting are the tobacco companies

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Worshippers in the United States’ anti-tobacco harm reduction religion have been spouting lies for years – and it’s paying off for them. Cigarettes manufacturers are reporting growth in sales during the COVID outbreak as a smoking generation is being told to fear vaping.

Americans are smoking more during the coronavirus pandemic because they are spending less on travel and entertainment and have more opportunities to light up,” says the Wall Street Journal [link], but the truth of the matter is that smokers are being forced to fear the safer alternatives.

In 2019, the 12 months up to March showed a clear and accelerating decline in the sales of tobacco products in the United States. Over the same period, Juul’s sales grew by 154%. It was a glorious example of how vaping was proving to be a disruptive technology and drawing smokers away from their high-risk products, delivering nicotine in a far safer manner.

Billy Gifford, Altria’s chief financial officer, said at the time that the company expected further annual falls of up to 6% due to adults switching to safer alternatives [link]. Altria has just announced that it now expects to see just a 2-3.5% decline in product sales over the whole of 2020 – as it’s cigarette product lines boom.

How can this happen? We can thank a couple of individuals, as highlighted by the Science 2.0 blog, writing about ex-smokers being the victims of this quasi-religious war: “Failed presidential candidate, prolific nanny-stater and billion dollar donor to anti-vape campaigns Michael Bloomberg wrote in the New York Times that ‘banning flavored e-cigarettes is the most important thing we can do to reduce use among young people.’  Bloomberg and his co-author Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, claimed tobacco companies were ‘making huge investments in nicotine-loaded e-cigarettes and selling them in a rainbow of sweet and fruity flavors’.” [link]

What we are looking at is a massive onslaught, a tsunami of misinformation” - Professor David Sweanor

Professor David Sweanor recently commented: “We have older consumers, those most at risk, returning to cigarettes from vaping, and that coincides with all of the scare stories about vaping.”

Sweanor added that the significant majority of Americans no longer believe that cigarettes are more dangerous than vaping – a ludicrous state of affairs – “and in many circumstances that cigarettes are less hazardous than vaping because of all of the publicity about vaping, all the scare stories.”

What we are looking at is a massive onslaught, a tsunami of misinformation, that has scared people from using lower risk products back into using lethal cigarettes,” he continued.

As the expensive deadline looms to register products for sale in the States, threatening to shut down the bulk of the vape industry, the situation looks set to get worse.


  • Science 2.0 – [link]
  • Seismic Switch, cig sales rebound as vaping gets hammered – [link]

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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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