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When you consider that the electronic cigarette industry in the US alone is expected to turnover in excess of $2 billion during 2015, you could easily argue it is becoming one of the largest business sectors in the US. Even though this sales figure is dwarfed by the tobacco industry, not only in the US but around the world, surely electronic cigarettes could survive as a standalone business arena?
Unfortunately, it seems as though the tobacco companies around the world have a very different idea of where the electronic cigarette industry will stand in the future. While initially ignoring the sector as a “niche market” they have very quickly reacted to growing demand and there are very few major electronic cigarette companies that have not received overtures, wanted and unwanted, from tobacco cigarette giants.
Will the sector ever break free of the tobacco industry?
There is an obvious crossover between electronic cigarettes and their tobacco counterparts in the form of nicotine. However, if you put aside the nicotine issue then electronic cigarettes contain but a minute fraction of the alleged 4000 toxins in a modern day tobacco cigarette. So, surely there is an argument for separating these particular products?
The world of business is cutthroat, governments and regulators can often be very heavy-handed and this is something which the electronic cigarette industry is currently experiencing. There are a number of issues which have come to light in an attempt to entwine the electronic cigarette industry with its tobacco counterpart for ever and a day.
It is no secret that tobacco cigarette companies around the world have been trying to pull electronic cigarettes under tobacco cigarette regulations. This is something which many companies have been open about, it was probably to be expected and unfortunately for the vaping community it seems that regulators are more onside with the tobacco companies. While nothing has been set in stone by the European and US regulators, it does seem as though there will be some crossover between regulation of the electronic cigarettes market and the tobacco industry.
At this moment in time little has been made of the growing influence which tobacco cigarette companies have over their electronic cigarette counterparts and as a consequence this new and growing industry. This issue will come to the fore in years to come amid concerns that tobacco cigarette companies will effectively dominate both sides of the market. If, as looks likely, more and more electronic cigarette companies fall under the spell of the tobacco billions where does this leave the industry going forward?
A chance missed?
It is too soon at this moment in time to write off the electronic cigarettes industry as it falls further and further into the clutches of its tobacco counterpart. The regulations as they stand are different, with tobacco cigarette products more heavily regulated, although there has been a groundswell from the tobacco cigarette industry to bring the regulations more closely together. Many experts have suggested electronic cigarettes offer the best opportunity to tackle growing tobacco addiction around the world. These same experts have also questioned various health scares, many of which are corrected at a later date after the damage is done, and they are certainly fighting the corner of electronic cigarette companies and their potential impact going forward.
Only time will tell but we may well rue the moment that tobacco cigarette companies and their electronic cigarettes counterparts jumped into bed together. Short-term financial reward could well seriously impact the long-term benefits of electronic cigarettes especially if they continue to fall under the spell of their tobacco counterparts. Surely governments and regulators need to ensure no undue influence from tobacco cigarette companies over their electronic cigarette counterparts?
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