Hello again, Dawn here, your loyal A Clean Cigarette blogger. Before we get started I would like to give a shout out to you guys. The truth is I could type a billion blogs and none of them would mean a thing without you. Regardless of why you are reading this, thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to be informed and helping me, and A Clean Cigarette, spread as much information about the electronic cigarette industry as possible. So whether you are a smoker who has made the switch, a loved one of a smoker who wants facts, an A Clean Cigarette team member who is looking to stay up to date, an interested bystander who just wants to know what’s going on, or even a naysayer intent on finding out as much bad about this industry as possible, Thank you. Without all of you, none of this would matter.
Alright, so you may remember about two weeks back we did a blog about a brand new scientific document commissioned by Congress, sponsored by the FDA and completed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. If you have not had time to read about it, and you would like to, then you can check it out HERE.
In that blog, I go over a few very impressive findings as well as some not surprising but negative findings about electronic cigarettes. Overall, as you could probably tell from my blog I was very excited at the results. I mean, yes it was worded in a way that tried to highlight the negative while brushing over the positive and they focused on things like how minors may start smoking and how e-cigarettes are not completely harmless versus talking about how in all cases the findings were that e-cigs are less harmful than burning tobacco. But that negative and fear-mongering spin is no surprise and nothing new.
What is surprising is how many news outlets and headlines are so misleading about what the report actually says. It’s like they read the press release and never opened the report. Instead, counting on the tone of the lawyer approved press release to decide the opinions of the scientist who did the report. Why not depend on the findings of the report to do the tone setting?
The “powers that be” have not hidden the fact that they do not like this industry. From the negative and strait out misleading propaganda campaigns that they have run, to the very fact that they deemed the electronic cigarette a tobacco product almost two years BEFORE their own research was even in, it has always been painfully obvious that as a whole the 1%ers in this world would have liked e-cigarettes to have stayed buried. Keep in mind e-cigs were invented here in the US in the 1950’s and this technology was untouched for over 40 years.
Why? You might ask. Why are the powers that be so against this technology and this industry? Well, that is a great question and there are many theories that revolve around it. Depending on who you talk to fingers are pointed at the Big Pharma and Big Tobacco industries as well as at Federal and State governments. Regardless of who they think is the main culprit behind the unjust and unreasonable persecution of electronic cigarettes, the one thing most theories agree on is that blame falls on the all mighty dollar in each case.
Do any of these theories hold water?
Big Tobacco Theory: Okay their reasons to not like us are pretty obvious. We are the first real competition they have EVER experienced. Kinda crazy eh? Many theories revolve around these guys being an intricate part of why the FDA deemed e-cigarettes as tobacco. If we look at the bottom dollar, wouldn’t creating costly barriers to enter the market make a ton of sense to an almost monopolized industry? Less competition, more market share.
Let’s break it down: It is common knowledge that the big tobacco lobbyist worked side by side with our policy makers when the Tobacco Control laws first took effect. That was before e-cigarettes were available on the American market. While these regulations were sold as a way to protect the public from the deadly harms of burning tobacco, they actually were intended to keep other upstarts in the tobacco industry from gaining entering. They did that by requiring a few things from the new entrance to the market that the existing tobacco companies did not have to do in order to enter the market initially:
- 5000+ Clinical research hours and proof positive that the new tobacco product would in some way benefit public health more than tobacco products already on the market.
- Completion and approval of the Premarket Tobacco Application (PMTA)
- Millions of dollars in fees and cost outside of the clinical trials per new tobacco item.
The idea sounded great, kind of a win, win situation. Big Tobacco gets to restrict competition while protecting the public from deadly products. Problem is it did more of the first part then the second part. Which is why American Spirit Tobacco had such a hard time staying on the shelves. Because they decided to make a more “natural” cigarette they had to endure the entire PMTA process. It even had them struggling to get the funds together. Think about the cost this process must have if it makes an Indian Nation backed brand have a hard time affording it. Big Tobacco knew that no other group could step up and that means any new tobacco products will have to have the backing of big tobacco level money.
So then fast forward to the moment the FDA “deemed” electronic cigarettes a tobacco product. Does that seem convenient or what? (I have yet to find a single piece of tobacco in my nicotine, ya know, kinda like how I never find orange peels in me vitamin C tablet. Vitamin C is in an Orange, Potassium is in a Banna and Nicotine is in tobacco.)
Big Pharma Theory: According to various reports, Pharmaceutical Companies have experienced somewhere between a 4 and 6% decline in smoking cessation sales in the last few years. But is that enough of a loss for them to be worried?
Let’s break it down: What does the math say about what 5% would look like for just the top 4 Big Pharmaceutical companies here in the US?
Aprox top 4 revenue: $190 Billion a year 5% of $190 Billion
= $9.5 Billion Dollars!!
Is nine billion five hundred million US dollars enough dollars to put up a fight over? Can I say for sure how much of this is directly linked to the electronic cigarette industry? No, there is no way for me to confirm what caused the decline, I can say that it has been a trend since e-cigarettes have been around and if even a third of that number is e-cigarette related it would be a big number. So no, I can’t give you a for sure answer, but these are the facts in dollars and cents.
US and State Government Theory: We all know that both the Federal and State Governments make money off of each smoker via the tobacco taxes. Well, e-cigarettes are not yet taxed like tobacco so with each new switcher there is a $$ loss to both branches. But there is more to the story.
This is where it gets kinda interesting. Remember a while back when the States won a huge lawsuit against the entire big tobacco industry? The basis for the lawsuit was that big tobacco had such a high level of negative health impact on society that the cost of smoking-related health care was costing the States millions of dollars a year. Since big tobacco knowingly and willingly continued to harm the public for a profit, they should have to foot some of the healthcare cost. It was such a logical case that the States not only won they were able to have a settlement decided on called “The Master Settlement” that made big tobacco pay each state a dollar amount for each of the smokers currently residing in that state as well as other health care costs.
These windfalls of money go into trust funds. Based on the one-time projections of smoking rates a certain amount of money was expected each year. In theory, the interest on these accounts would keep growing and with the added yearly revenue the States would have funds in which to battle smoking-related illness.
The Problem: As we can imagine our government has run into a few tight budget years. It’s also no surprise that someone amongst them thought, no problem we have this trust here, we can borrow a little on the interest and we will be able to put the funds back in when the next deposit is made and that will cover the entirety of the loan. Great plan, and to be fair it was working just fine. In most cases, if there was a decline in smoking it was minor and new smokers were happening every day so there was no risk in the Master Settlement moneys going anywhere. Enter the E-cigarette. Record levels of people switched from burning tobacco to electronic cigarettes. Fewer smokers mean less settlement money. But the loans have already been taken out, so …..uhm….now what?!
The State of Michigan alone is reported to have lost around 16 million in total settlement funds and interest in just the first 5 years of electronic cigarettes being on the market. I can not say whether this loss in funds is worth the fight, but it’s been four years since those reports, I doubt highly the situation has gotten better for our States in this instance.
So why all the negative and misleading headlines about electronic cigarettes at a time when the world should be celebrating? The jury is still out on this why, but the facts are simple. If you want to know what this study said, don’t take anyone’s word on it, take a look at yourself. Keep in mind who it’s from and read what they found vs what they think and I bet you will see what we at A Clean Cigarette are really excited about this report. Click Here to find the blog post that will link you to the report and a link to the press release.
I hope you enjoyed this blog, I also hope that it has enough information to help you find the facts behind whats going on in this industry. Things are starting to move again and based on what I am reading and seeing reported it will not surprise me if we have to do another call to action very soon. Please keep your eyes peeled to our Facebook page for announcements on how your voice may be needed to fight for the rights of smokers everywhere. Thank you again for visiting and if you are a current smoker and would like more information on A Clean Cigarette brand electronic cigarettes please visit our website at www.acleancigarette.com.