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Big Tobacco’s fight back in the e-cig market

Electronic Cigarette

An interesting article has appeared in Newsweek regarding the ‘fight back’ of Big Tobacco after the introduction and phenomenal rise of e-cigarettes.

Keen to avoid their Kodak moment, and to quote Clive Bates  ‘to have a dog in the fight’, the tobacco companies may have been late to the party, but they might just end up the winners.

Apparently uninspired by the first e-cigarettes on the market and convinced that they would be regulated as medicinal, BAT teamed up with another company to create the first medicinal e-cigarette of sorts, and in 2014 have been awarded a medicinal licence for their nicotine inhalator.

This new device is not a true e-cigarette as it does not involve heat, there are no electronics and it is more akin to an inhaler than an e-cig. There is also no visible vapour.

However, to seriously keep in the game, BAT have also bought an e-cigarette company and now sell their own e-cigarette that has the feel and look of a hybrid mix of a cigarette packet and a zippo lighter, and is one of the cigie-likes that many start vaping with.

Interestingly, and a note aside, BAT now employs the man that is credited with creating the modern day e-cigarette, Hon Lik.

Big Tobacco is trying to take a hold of what is becoming a maturing market, though an incredibly fast paced one, but they are encountering much scepticism from vapers who feel that BAT products are not sophisticated enough, and the price point is far too high.

The Newsweek article concludes that ultimately the future of e-cigs lies with the regulators, and the current design of the regulations will in fact hand the e-cigarette market over to Big Tobacco, which is an irony not lost on many.

Professor Peter Hajek, Director of Tobacco dependence Research Unit at Barts School of Medicine in London said,

“I fear the irrational view that the main priority is to eradicate nicotine use, even if it means that smokers are going to continue to die unnecessarily, is going to win, he says in an email. Im doing what I can to make regulators realise that they are in danger of repeating the serious mistake made previously with banning Snus.

29th May 2015, 14:27