Last Updated on November 14, 2019 by

What’s Really Going On Behind The Scenes?

There has been speculation for some time now that the big tobacco companies in America are looking to influence state authorities, regulators and the federal government. The ongoing popularity of electronic cigarettes and the various vaping devices available today has made a major dent in the finances of the big tobacco companies. While they still have billions upon billions of dollars in their war chests it looks as if they have had enough of the “new kids on the block” and are now ramping up the pressure.

Over the last 12 months we have seen the electronic cigarette market change dramatically with the introduction of an array of big tobacco companies taking major stakes. So, if the big tobacco companies are entering the electronic cigarette market why would they be looking to influence state authorities to limit future growth?

The FDA grinds to a halt

The FDA has huffed and puffed but so far failed to blow the house down in relation to gaining the upper hand over the electronic cigarette industry. There has been constant speculation that tobacco companies are lobbying behind the scenes for a significant increase in regulatory costs which would in effect leave many small to medium-size electronic cigarette companies financially destitute. This has not been confirmed by the FDA but the constant speculation about lobbying behind the scenes just will not go away.

It may seem bizarre to suggest that big tobacco companies are effectively looking to increase regulatory charges relating to markets in which they operate. However, the fewer major players in the market in the medium to long-term the more influence big tobacco companies will have, with less impact on their overall profitability and balance sheets. It is literally survival of the financially fittest!

Why no campaign against cigalikes?

When the electronic cigarette industry moved away from the niche tag of years gone by it was the introduction of cigalikes which had the greatest impact. Cigalikes allowed tobacco cigarette smokers to switch to what many deemed to be less harmful products while still undertaking the same physical actions they experienced with tobacco cigarettes. In many ways this was seen as the perfect scenario and prompted many tobacco cigarette smokers to switch products.

If you look back over the last 12 months you will see significant investment in so-called cigalikes by the big tobacco companies. While they also participated in the general vaping industry it seems that some of the larger tobacco corporations would prefer to see open system vaping devices banned. It is common knowledge that they have lobbied for significant regulations and restrictions on open system vaping devices and e liquid. A host of arguments have been introduced although the vast majority revolve round perceived safety issues and whether some e liquids are being used to attract a younger audience. Will this be enough to kill the open vaping systems which are so popular today?


On the surface it seems bizarre that many people are suggesting that big tobacco companies are in favour of increased regulatory costs and far-reaching conditions on the sale of vaping products. There has been speculation for many months now that big tobacco companies are lobbying behind the scenes to protect their own interests and indeed recent speculation suggest that they are targeting open system vaping devices.

The attractions of so called cigalikes to the cigarette industry are obvious as they limit the number of potential tobacco cigarette users moving to a very different type of device – i.e. open systems. The latest bout of speculation suggests that state authorities across the US are being lobbied in favour of vaping taxes which would reduce the attractions of vaping products compared to the cost of their tobacco counterparts.

Would it not be better to discuss the pros and cons of electronic cigarettes, vaping devices and tobacco products in the open? Will we ever get full transparency?

Mark Benson

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