The FDA may snuff out e-cigarette ads

Big Tobacco's return to TV commercials that push the electronic variety may not last long.

By Jonathan Berr Sep 4, 2013 3:12PM
NJOY electronic cigarettes (© Steve Helber/AP Photo)Will the sales boom in e-cigarettes turn into a bust? In the view of their fans, they're less harmful than conventional cigarettes, but the Food & Drug Administration is expected next month to propose a ban on TV advertisements for the battery-powered devices, according to an analyst report from CLSA Americas cited by Advertising Age.

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.

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79Comments
Sep 4, 2013 3:37PM
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We have been bombarded with the message "Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals" for years. Now when a way is found to eliminate 3999 of them, somehow that not a good thing. Makes no sense.
Sep 4, 2013 3:53PM
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How about banning perscription drug ads from TV. More pills we don't need. Why don't they ban GMO foods that are poision, and are banned in other countries? Food dyes ect? they aren' t stoppins things that matter.
Sep 4, 2013 3:35PM
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MORE government CONTROL - we don't NEED it !!!!!!
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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.

Sep 4, 2013 4:01PM
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Of course they will ban them they been trying to do that from the start. The FDA has to do what the cig. companies payed them to do. Its not about the health of the e-cig. its about the money that the FDA took from the tobacco companies.
Sep 4, 2013 4:58PM
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This makes absolutely no sense.  It's a way for smokers to get their nicotine hit without all the harmful chemicals (which I'm fully convinced are the actual cause of cigarette-related lung cancer, NOT the tobacco itself), and without endangering everyone around them with second-hand smoke.  So why the ban?  Even though I'm a non-smoker, I don't believe in campaigns designed to force smokers to quit.  If they want to smoke, that's their right.  The only thing banning something ever does is make people want it more.  Just look at Prohibition.  It didn't work with alcohol; what makes you think it's going to work with tobacco?  Did we learn NOTHING from that fiasco?
Sep 4, 2013 5:06PM
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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.

Sep 4, 2013 4:39PM
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OK if we. Ban that can we ban tampon ads and ads for Viagra hell all the drug and feminine products ! Oh yea and fast food ads they contribute to obesity !
Sep 4, 2013 3:48PM
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The all taxing big gov isn't getting there cut yet.
Sep 4, 2013 3:32PM
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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.

Sep 4, 2013 5:13PM
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I have been using the DuoPro e-cigarettes since January 17th and haven't had a cigarette since.  The e-cig has helped me to quit the more harmful "butt".  There's no smelly smoke and my lungs are no longer being damaged.  The FDA and government should back off this product if it really wants the US to be "smoke free" ...  which I doubt since tobacco products brings in mega revenues for all.
Sep 4, 2013 5:34PM
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I began to use e-cigs  to stop cigarette smoking, and today is the 11-month anniversary of no regular cigarettes. They DO work, as advertised. I feel better, smell better, and taste food and beverages better. My clothes, car, and home do not stink any longer. I love them.
Sep 4, 2013 5:22PM
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We ought to ban the FDA instead.  Talk about a agency out of control.  Ever notice the products they approve of.  A lot of the so called approved products cause more problems than products they disapprove of.  It isn't a stretch to realize that their endorsements are politically and profit  motivated.  We were better off without them than with them.  I was always suspicious when the surgeon general came on the scene wearing a uniform.  History of control over the masses is as old as mankind.  The warrior, witch doctor, and medicine man and this country is no different even though we used to have a constitution that was designed to protect US from such tactic's.  "Fear",  what a great weapon. 
Sep 4, 2013 5:20PM
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 Why don't you Nazi freak losers get a real job you worthless leach government loving scum bags.
Sep 4, 2013 5:56PM
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On what basis is the FDA banning e-cigarette ads?  

They're, technically, not a 'healthy alternative' to smoking, but they are certainly not as dangerous as smoking real cigarettes and inhaling real smoke.

The only side-effect I can see is the nicotene addiction, but with e-cigs, you can adjust the amount of nicotene you want.  You can't do that with real cigarettes.  Besides, nicotene is in almost everything we consume.

The only 'real' reason I can see why the FDA want these e-cigs banned is that the guv't is losing massive amounts of tax revenue because people are using tobacco products anymore.  The guv't doesn't like the competition and isn't concerned about health, but your money.

Try telling the truth for once...
Sep 4, 2013 5:34PM
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Propaganda - a one sided argument.  Allows no rebuttal, discussion or debate, only the party line.  Think about it.
Sep 4, 2013 5:16PM
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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! 

Sep 4, 2013 5:06PM
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This is good news for me!  However, I have to believe e-cigs are not sellilng well and therefore, are not making a lot of money, unlike the "ask your doctor" ads.  If the FDA were truly here for the people, they would ban all "ask your doctor' ads.  IF I have to "ask my doctor" or "tell my doctor" what I need or want, I just need a new doctor.  If I could do it, the FDA would have locked doors by 5 PM to never open again.  Maybe the US will attack Syria, then Russia will send a balnket of missles that might take out all legal drug dealers!!  Nobody hurt, of course!!  Then , maybe America could get healthier!  I looked at the local legal drug dealer distributorship today, on September 3, nice weather and though "how can all those people be sick" and how healthy they might be if they didn't take FDA junk, addicting, side effecting pills.
Sep 4, 2013 6:40PM
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I'm not a smoker,and do not like it, but government has no business in our business. I'am sooooo very tired of big government up my nose in my mouth, and up my ****. They always know whats best for all of us. In addition they want to be in all other countries business. It is time to take our Republic back. Forcibly remove them all.
Sep 4, 2013 6:33PM
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I have used the e-cigarettes for about a year.  In that time I have gone from a two pack a day smoker to using only the e-cig.  I find them hard to "smoke" as they weigh more and really are not like a real cigarette at all....Which is good for me because now I keep one with me and only take a puff when I really feel like I need the calming effect of the nicotine.  I breathe better, can smell better, and am well on my way to quitting whenever I get darn well ready to.  I know a lot, and I mean a lot, of smokers who are doing the very same as I. 

 

These things are not cheap but I have saved considerable money just by the cutting down.

 

The FDA should be out there monitoring generic drugs and the harm many of them are doing instead of going after something that people are using to try to get away from the harmful chemicals tobacco growers use on their crops. 

 

To those that say nicotine is a drug....when was the last time you saw someone kill someone over a cigarette?  Or have a wreck because they were under the influence of nicotine??  Your valium and such is much worse than my nicotine.  I know it is addictive but so are video games to some people.   All I am concerned about is keeping them away from kids the same as cigarettes (yeah, like teens can't buy anything they want).

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