Is there anything Big Tobacco and electronic cigarettes have in common? Are they at opposite sides of the fence, in conflict with each other, or can they work together? The fact is that they are on opposite teams, yet they also work together already.
Big Tobacco and E Cigs
A few of the big electronic cigarette firms have been bought by or have partnered with tobacco companies. Green Smoke was bought by Altria which also makes Marlboros and an e cig called the Mark Ten. V2 Cigs partnered with Zig Zag. BluCig was purchased by Lorillard. There are many other companies in talks with e cig firms, but those are the biggest such partnerships today in the United States. Reynolds, makers of Camels, owns Vuse of the UK.
Big Tobacco Makes E Cigs
Some of these companies are putting out their own e cig brands, the Mark Ten by Marlboro being one such. It’s hardly a surprise: if they can’t beat e cigs, tobacco companies must join them. They are not known for making the best electronic cigarettes, however.
Independent American companies like Halo do a much better job. And when they produce their goods, tobacco companies do not offer as many options as products like Green Smoke or South Beach Smoke. Flavors are usually unappealing. It’s as though the design is meant to make consumers think twice about vaping and keep smoking instead. There aren’t extensive e-liquid choices or a number of starter kits. The menu lists menthol and tobacco.
What if Big Tobacco Companies Merge?
What will happen to e cig companies that are owned by Big Tobacco?
In the news recently, it sounded as though Lorillard and Reynolds American were going to join forces, in which case two competing brands of electronic cigarettes that were pitted against each other would become part of the same family.
The business could become very complicated if this was to happen, but in some ways that is already happening. Vaporfi, South Beach Smoke, and Eversmoke are all sister companies belonging to International Vapor Group and they manage to successfully market all three, plus a disposable called Nutricig.
Big Tobacco Hard on Little E Cig
It’s funny that with the FDA giving electronic cigarette companies something to sweat about, these impending regulations could have a positive effect on profits for tobacco firms. It seems to go against everything the Food and Drug Administration stands for that big businesses will win when small ones lose.
The FDA is going to impose regulations. E cig and e-liquid companies are going to have to make changes to comply with regulations if they don’t already have all of the hygiene safeguards and minimum standards in place.
Some of those companies will not manage to afford the necessary changes so they will cease to operate. Others will accept offers by Big Tobacco to be bought out just so they can keep going. Still others will struggle on without the financial backing of major corporations, and they could suffer for a while before succeeding.
Only those giant companies have the kind of money one needs to renovate operations so they can be acceptable to the FDA without suffering too much, and you can bet there are many firms not operating to high enough standards right now.
Result for Smokers
So, although the FDA is there to protect the well-being of Americans, they might inadvertently make it harder for smokers. Right now they have many alternatives to cigarettes; lots of brand choices. Instead, regulations could enhance the fortunes of tobacco companies that could dominate the industry with their versions of the e cig.
Meanwhile, this market shift could possibly promote smoking again when so much of the electronic competition falls away. If there is less competition, prices for e cigs will probably rise again. Smoking will gain popularity once more in spite of everything the public and the Food and Drug Administration has done to prevent such a turn of events.