E-cigarettes attract big money and more scrutiny
While major tobacco companies and investors such as Sean Parker are piling in, critics warn that high-tech butts may be no safer.
The battery-powered devices create vapor by heating nicotine-laden liquid and are, according to their fans, less harmful than conventional cigarettes because they spare users the toxins found in tobacco smoke. Sales of e-cigarettes are expected to hit $1 billion this year, according to The Wall Street Journal. That equals just 1% of the U.S. cigarette market, but it's twice what it was in 2012.
Altria Group (MO), the largest tobacco company and the maker of Marlboro, on Tuesday announced details of its e-cigarette plans under the brand name MarkTen. Rival Reynolds American (RAI), which makes Camels, plans to sell e-cigarettes in Colorado before starting national sales. And Lorillard (LO) acquired blu eCigs for $135 million last year.
In addition, big-name investors such as Sean Parker, an early backer of Facebook (FB), are pouring money into the sector. He's part of a group that's investing $75 million in e-cigarette maker Njoy. Parker, who has supported cancer research, told The Wall Street Journal, "There's a huge opportunity to transition the entire world away from dangerous, carcinogenic, combusting cigarettes."
Experts are skeptical. The American Lung Association argues that the high-tech alternatives may do more harm than good and recommends people avoid them until more is known about their safety.
"We want to see (the) FDA move forward with regulating them as tobacco products," Erika Sward, the association's assistant vice president for national advocacy, said in an interview with MSN Money, adding that the Food and Drug Administration hasn't approved any e-cigarettes as a means to help people quit smoking.
Sward pointed out that "not a lot" is known about what's in e-cigarettes. "We know the vast majority of them contain nicotine," she said. "Any time you see Big Tobacco jumping into something with both feet, it should be cause for concern."
Other medical professionals have also raised some flags. "When the FDA analyzed samples of two popular brands, they found variable amounts of nicotine and traces of toxic chemicals, including known cancer-causing substances," according to Mayo Clinic physician Lowell Dale.
Unlike regular smokes, e-cigarettes aren't federally regulated. And they come in flavors that make them more palatable to young people, such as chocolate and pina colada, which raises even more alarm bells.
Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
Experts are skeptical. This is crap. I smoked for 10 years and I could feel my body shutting down, hard coughs, chest hurting, spit up black stuff. I have been using the V2 electronic cigarettes for about 5 months. My chest feels a 100% better, no hard coughs and no black stuff. It cleaner and better for you. I would recommend it to any smoker. Also I have known people that quit smoking by using E-cigs.
Hmmm...suck on a KNOWN cancer stick, full of carcinogens, tar, and God only knows what else, OR go with an e-cig. Yes, they do haev nicotine in them (though you can go with the non-nicotine cartridges if you like), but if you're going to do one or the other, I'd have to say the e-cig is better than smoking a KNOWN cancer-causing cigarette.
Ideally, you wouldn't use either one, I know. I know. But thanks to e-cigs, I haven't had a cigarette since September 4, 2011, and I don't plan on EVER going back. I hope to quit the e-cigs one day, as well, but in the meantime, at least I don't wake up coughing myself to death every morning, and I feel better than I ever have!
Standard cigarette packs don't show a list of ingredients on the label. Why is that? Yeah, I know you don't eat cigarettes, but you don't eat shampoo, and there's a list of ingredients on every shampoo bottle.
Do e-cigarette packs have a list of ingredients? If not, why?
I believe that e-cigarettes are the future of smoking as all of things I hated most about smoking (odor, yellow teeth, ashtrays, lighters etc.) are a thing of the past. However, I do take exception to terms that e-cigarettes are tobacco products. They are not. Nicotine is NOT tobacco and can be derived from several sources other than tobacco, therefore the laws and taxes associated with tobacco DO NOT apply.
E cigarettes for the most part is just nicotine and cooking oil. That's right good old fashion Crisco liquid not lard and YES it satisfies the craving for a cigarette, but takes getting used to just like any thing else. It is not FDA approved so Quality control is an issue. Having said that, I have been puffing them for a while now and they work for me. Yes, they save me tons of money.
What vaporizes the nicotione and oil is a battery and an ATOMIZER. Basically a little small electronic mechanism with VERY LITTLE charge that vaporizes the liquid you put in the unit. IT really VAPES or as smokes say...smokes like a haystack while delivering nicotine. Looks and feels just like smoking without the SMOKE, Smell, and DAngers of Cigarette smoke.........IT is almost too good to be true.......of course if you leave it up to Big Tobacco...who makes a lot of money selling cigarettes...you will never hear the FULL truth!
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
More Market News
The stock rises 9% after the company reveals strong second-quarter results.
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'