I am sure that even if you are not a vaper yourself you know at least a handful of people who use e-cigarettes and other electronic vaping devices and you have also come across some pretty chuffed folks who have managed to seriously cut down smoking real cigarettes through vaping and even some who have succeeded in quitting cigarettes altogether through the help of an e-cigarette. Some remain occasional vapers, while others have managed to overcome their nicotine addiction and are now both smoke and vapor free, and most of them vow that they would never have done it if it wasn’t for the e-cigarette.
If this is true, and we know it is because we are surrounded by living examples of this, then isn’t this good effect of e-cigarettes highlighted and promoted? Why are we instead being bombarded every day with surveys, findings and opinions all aiming at defaming e-cigarettes and trying to overplay their dangers, similarities to traditional cigarettes and all that?
Well, we believe that it is high time for some honesty on the topic of e-cigarettes. They have been around since 2007 and the truth is that they have revolutionized the situation in a way that was pretty much unexpected by all the stakeholders in the world of smoking. But, let us see who the principal stakeholders are, besides of course the smokers, and how each of them was affected by the sudden and ever increasing success of cigarettes, in an attempt to explain why e-cigarettes have so many hidden and obvious opponents.
No one can deny that governments are an important stakeholder when it comes to smoking. Governments try to get you to quit smoking because if you get sick then you cost a lot to the healthcare system, but even if you decide to keep the habit they don’t mind that much because they can keep taxing you and are very happy to increase their revenues through the excessive taxes placed on cigarettes and tobacco products in general. Therefore, governments don’t really like e-cigarettes because they were taken aback by their appearance and fast success. They don’t like them because they cannot vilify them as easily as they can with other traditional tobacco products and because they cannot tax them as heavily, since they cannot easily class them as tobacco products and they don’t like them because they cause an additional hassle since they need to understand them and device and implement rules and regulations to regulate their sale and usage.
Obviously the main stakeholder when it comes to smoking are the big tobacco and cigarette manufacturers. These were also not very happy when an alternative to their products came up in the shape of an e-cigarette and they got increasingly frustrated so see how successful and popular e-cigarettes became in a short period of time. Seeing that they could not win by competing, most of the big cigarette makers decided to jump on the vaping bandwagon and starting either taking over smaller e-cig manufacturers or creating their own electronic vaping products or cigarettes that use the “heat not burn” concept. Indeed they are even now spending vast amounts on advertising campaigns for e-cigarettes, since these are still unregulated and advertising is still allowed, unlike the very strict bans on normal cigarette advertising. However, many believe that deep down the big tobacco manufacturers would rather that people continued to smoke traditional cigarettes and that they are only using e-cigs in order to lure people, especially the youngsters, and make them nicotine addicts through e-cigs in the hope that they will later convert into smokers of real cigarettes more easily.
Last but not least and perhaps less obvious is another stakeholder when it comes to the habit of smoking. These are the big pharmaceutical companies which produce and market all sorts of nicotine products, such as gum, patches etc, as well as dedicated medication which is designed to help people quit smoking. Therefore, they were not very happy to see e-cigarettes and vaping rise nor are they pleased with the fact that many ex-smokers have indeed found the use of an e-cigarette much more helpful in quitting smoking than the products produced and marketing by the big pharmaceuticals.
Some might think that all the above is a product of cynical thinking, but if the matter is approached with a cool head then all the arguments presented here make sense and they do explain why e-cigarettes attract so much bad press even though very little solid evidence against them actually exists and why the positive contribution they have had in the lives of many people who managed to quit smoking through the use of e-cigs is almost entirely underplayed or ignored.