E-cigarettes are undoubtedly the most revolutionary invention to hit the tobacco industry in recent years. The market is growing and has found millions of consumers who have turned their backs on cigarettes. Due to a largely non-existent regulation, electronic cigarette manufacturers are able to engage in intensive marketing. This is a huge thorn in the side of the multi-billion dollar tobacco industry, so the fight is intensified year after year with sometimes desperate means and statements. And then there are three other parties who would like to cut a piece of the pie.

Tobacco Industry

The tobacco industry and its fight against the e-cigarette could be the title of a best-selling book. As if the companies in this branch of the economy did not have to fight sufficiently against the decline in cigarette consumption caused by rising taxes and the smoking ban, see Federal Statistical Office, the enormous boom in e-cigarettes and barely adjustable nicotine substitutes are also the cause of the “smokers’ heads”.

Cigarette manufacturers

The fact that more and more cigarette manufacturers are turning to the production of electronic cigarettes shows how the market for electronic cigarettes is putting the tobacco industry under pressure. The Altria Group, formerly known as Phillip Morris and one of the world’s leading tobacco manufacturers, has launched the “MarkTen”. 

This is an ordinary electronic mini-cigarette that offers every imaginable inconvenience of such a model, low vapor emission, an extremely small battery with a short lifespan and a taste that also leaves something to be desired. American Reynolds, the second largest tobacco manufacturer in the United States, also wants to enter the market. 

The nicotine content of the liquid in this e-cigarette alone, 4.8%, shows the extreme extent of the competitive drive. This corresponds approximately to the nicotine content of 260 % of a normal cigarette.

Pharmaceutics industry

The nicotine replacement industry is a multi-billion dollar business. Not only do the many objective studies that cast doubt on the long-term effectiveness of nicotine replacement products cause problems for manufacturers. It is mostly consumers who see the electronic cigarette as a much better alternative to the tobacco cigarette. 

In its lobbying work, the pharmaceutical industry therefore tries to present the electronic cigarette in the worst possible light. An example of this commitment: An unofficial communication from the world’s sixth largest pharmaceutical company, “GlaxoSmithKline”, was leaked to politicians, in which it is emphasized that the electronic cigarette is the gateway to tobacco consumption and that these products should therefore be classified as drugs.

 This statement is absurd, if it were nevertheless true, it should be welcomed by pharmaceutical companies, because that is exactly where the target group is.

And the WHO?

The tax share of a packet of cigarettes is more than 70%, i.e. it accounts for almost three-quarters of the total price of the packet. Tobacco tax is more than 56% and VAT almost 16%. This unimaginable sum alone explains why governments are also interested in regulating e-cigarettes. 

The lobby of smokers even calls for the introduction of a tobacco tax, the exact meaning of tobacco is always written in the stars. The tax policy has every interest in collecting a lot of money for the tax authorities through smokers. But what is permanently hidden are the costs incurred by the consequences of smoking: medical treatment, early retirement due to illness, reduced performance, etc. 

Projections have shown that the costs are several billion euros higher than tobacco tax revenues. Assuming that there are three million active steamboats in Germany, which is no longer a utopian figure, which have switched from tobacco to e-cigarettes, a small calculation can be made. This is to the detriment of active smokers, who have to make a profit from tax increases. 

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which was established to protect present and future generations from the consequences of active and passive smoking, comes at the right time, one might think? But even the World Health Organization disagrees with the enormous popularity of the e-cigarette. This can be seen in a simple report, which was leaked after a conference of several. It deals with all the concerns about “electronic nicotine delivery systems”.

It deals in detail with these three points:

– it is not surprising that what follows is a detailed warning about the potential dangers of electronic cigarette consumption, most of which are probably still unexplored. In the end, the members come to the possibilities of regulation.

– It would be possible, for example, to prevent manufacturers from advertising the promises of electronic cigarettes as a healthy and proven means of smoking and nicotine cessation, to ban electronic cigarettes in public, to effectively regulate advertising, promotion and sponsorship for the protection of youth and non-users. It would also be possible to protect society from the hidden commercial interests of the online cigarette and tobacco lobby, introduce regulations, such as banning fruit, candy and alcoholic liquids until empirical evidence is provided that young people are not attracted, prohibit health warnings, comprehensive monitoring and controls, and sales to minors.

– These sometimes very confusing demands prompted even the leading tobacco experts to issue a statement a few days after publication, criticizing excessive panic. Concerns about potential risks are understandable, but it is important that health experts separate their subjective opinions from the scientific evidence and present the latter as objectively as possible.