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.
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!
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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