An article in the N.Y. Times Business section highlighted the marketing tactics of the e-cigarette business, and the sub-headline should have been “Guilty, by association.”
Not that the real headline was any better: “E-Cigarette Makers’ Ads Echo Tobacco’s Heyday.” The “news” article featured quotes from the omnipresent foe of this technology and harm reduction, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids’ Matt Myers, who never met a cylindrical object he could trust. His take on the skyrocketing marketing campaigns and the commensurate accelerating sales of e-cigs — now expected to soar past the $1.7 Billion mark this year — went like this: “It is beyond troubling that e-cigarettes are using the exact same marketing tactics [employed by Big Tobacco in the last century]…”
The writer also gets input from e-cigarette marketers and that includes a representative of R.J.Reynolds’ new product, Vuse (an e-cig). Impressive investments in different advertising spheres are mentioned, of course. There are no comments from any professional involved in public health.
ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross’ perspective: “Nowhere is the big monkey in the room mentioned: cigarette-related disease and death. Why does the Times and Matt Myers and his acolytes in the government and nonprofit world feel the need to single out e-cigarettes’ marketing for attack? The writer of this piece takes pains to point out that e-cigs’ tactics are redolent of the nefarious seductions of Big Tobacco of the 1950s. But there is a big, big difference between then, and now.
“It seems that the e-cigarette marketers are doing their jobs well,” Dr. Ross continues. “So what? If Chevy and Nike can do so, why not e-cigarettes? No one involved in this article bothers to pay even casual attention to the public health miracle these little devices seem to be responsible for: cigarette sales are in historic declines in parallel with the upsurge in vaping. Meanwhile, 45 million Americans keep on smoking and dying, the latter at a rate of over 400,000 deaths yearly, from tobacco cigarette smoke. Vaping has harmed no one that we can identify, as of today. So, I must ask again, and not for the last time: why do Mr. Myers, Tom Frieden’s CDC, Harold Wimmer’s ALA, the FDA, all stand in the way of smoker’s getting off deadly cigarettes via e-cigarettes? Why do they tell desperate smokers to stick with the approved NRTs, when they do not work?”