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Can Electronic Cigarettes Challenge the Tobacco Industry?

tobacco industry

Influential political and social commentary magazine TIME has championed the rise of the electronic cigarette industry. The world’s best-selling weekly news magazine has witnessed the product and industry grow significantly in the decade or so since its inception and questioned whether it can truly challenge the mammoth tobacco industry.

After witnessing the product entering the psyche and consciousness of the public with the aid of high-profile marketing campaigns; TIME magazine suggests that electronic cigarettes may be more suited to the modern day marketplace than their more traditional tobacco counterpart.

It is almost 48 years since the last cigarette advert was aired on UK television. For nearly half a century, the cigarette industry: electronic or tobacco, had no representation on UK television until the last few months. Recently e cigarettes have started to be advertised on television as the product grows in popularity and the industry grows more fruitful.

In the USA alone, the sales of Electronic Cigarettes have more than doubled every year since 2008. This exponential rise looks set to increase as greater exposure is afforded the industry. Personal and business banking group Wells Fargo has highlighted the potential of the electronic cigarette industry and the threat that it carries to the traditional tobacco manufacturers of the world. Wells Fargo analyst, Bonnie Herzog, revealed: “Consumption of e-cigs may overtake traditional cigarettes in the next decade. And they’ll only evolve and improve as time goes forward – at far less risk.”

Wells Fargo continued to compare the recent successes of electronic cigarettes to the energy drinks market. The energy drinks market was an unprecedented success and caused a major headache for the established beverage companies. An amazing 660 million litres of sports and energy drinks were consumed in the UK along during 2011.

The big threat to the tobacco companies is the sheer number of people who long to give up their product. The Centres for Disease Control reports that a staggering 69% of smokers want to quit completely and find suitable alternatives. The electronic cigarette has aligned itself perfectly as a suitable alternative. The product mimics the physical act of smoking a cigarette and can contain nicotine which many cigarette quitters struggle to cope without.

TIME reporter Josh Sanburn has lauded the benefits of electronic cigarettes: “But this much is clear: e-cigarettes are healthier than traditional cigarettes, and the three companies comprising Big Tobacco are beginning to either buy up electronic-cigarette companies or create their own versions.”

25th February 2013, 10:03