The FDA may snuff out e-cigarette ads
Big Tobacco's return to TV commercials that push the electronic variety may not last long.
Other FDA proposals may include a ban on sales to minors, warning labels and restrictions on consumers' ability to purchase e-cigarettes online.
If this ban occurs, it would be bad news for TV networks that have benefited from increased spending by e-cigarette makers. Those companies are also shelling out big bucks on other types of ads such as sponsorships and celebrity endorsements that they can't use to sell conventional smokes.
Those message seem to be reaching consumers.
Sales of e-cigarettes are expected to hit about $1 billion this year, twice what they were in 2012. That's only 1% of the total U.S. cigarette market, which indicates that demand could rise much higher. Not surprisingly, public health advocates are plenty worried in light of the industry's stepped-up marketing.
Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, recently told The New York Times, "The real threat is whether, with this marketing, e-cigarette makers will undo 40 years of efforts to deglamorize smoking."
Actress/Playboy Playmate/"The View" panelist Jenny McCartney is appearing in TV commercials for Lorilard's (LO) Blu e-cigarette, which Ad Age says has 40% of the market. Lorilard acquired Blu for $135 million last year.
Reynolds American (RAI) is set to begin a new campaign for its new Vuse e-cigarette. A Reynolds spokesman told Ad Age the company won't change its marketing plans until the FDA takes action to restrict its efforts. Altria Group (MO), the largest tobacco company and the maker of Marlboro, plans to sell e-cigarettes under the brand name MarkTen.
The American Lung Association and other groups critical of Big Tobacco are skeptical of industry claims that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to regular smokes. No e-cigarettes have been approved by the FDA as a means to help people quit smoking, something that consumers seem to think they can do.
"Any time you see big tobacco jumping into something with both feet, it should be cause for concern," said Erika Sward, the association's assistant vice president for national advocacy, said in an interview with MSN Money in June.
Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
I'm a convert to them. And why the hell not? The only sembelance to my former cig is Nicotene, which by the way does NOT cause lung cancer, etc diseases. I still blow the unsmellable, indistinguishable "vapors" away from people, so as to not offend the ignorant and intolerant.
And the FDA is, well, worthless. duh.
I don't see myself or my hubby going back to "real" cigs. Those now taste like crud. And these get rid of damn near all carcinogens and have no tar...isn't that a good reason to switch to them? Jeez, why do government regulators and busybodies need to get involved. I'd rather watch an E-Cig commercial vs. a Viagra commercial.
They should advertise the hell out of them. At least when people smoke them there is no secondary smoke like cigarettes. So at least they are killing themselves and no one else.
Smoking related deaths are at nearly 450,000 per year. Welfare recipients are buying cigarettes by the truck load on tax payers dime. You have leaders who want to make it illegal to buy big cups of soda. We have to wear a stupid helmet on a motorcycle when we ride to the ball field.
Big Money tobacco OWNS BOTH PARTIES.
Now they want to stop the advertising with hopes of banning these fake cigs.
USA is going down the crapper.
I would say what I think, but when I did that last week on newsvine about a legal product and how some made a fortune, I got put on 'striction for 7 days.
I hope newsvine is prepared for tomorrow!
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