The hatchet job on e-cigs continues.
Leading ecig manufacturer Lorilard has announced a 10.5% decline in sales this quarter. Investment strategy magazine The Motley Fool chalks this up to a combination of people switching to more personal vaporizers as well as the constant stream of unfounded negative press from the FDA and CDC.
Making inflammatory remarks that run contrary to the results of their own research is becoming a pattern for these organizations. These remarks have transcended due diligence and caution about an emerging technology and are starting to look like a targeted attack. If the agenda is to stifle innovation and keep people smoking cigarettes, then their plan is working perfectly.
Like The Motley Fool, we are sure this is a bit of a bump in the road. Any emerging technology has to face some kind of roadblock on its way forward, and e-cigs are no exception. In fact, there is still plenty of ‘road blocking’ in the years ahead, as people become even more adept at finding their perfect vape instrument, and chop and change until they do.
Unfair pot-shots at e-cigs by two familiar beasts
This is all natural stuff then. But this article is more interesting for one simple reason. The article actually points to the fact that the media, or rather two authorities, has been taking unfair pot shots at the e-cig industry for some time as one of the reasons why the e-cig industry giant may be teetering a little.
Lorillard has had it’s fair share of issues in the e-cig world, and perhaps it hasn’t had the worst of it yet. What The Motley Fool is trying to say is that the industry as a whole has suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous media.
That media has consistently tried to paint the e-cig industry as an evil, calculating machine, and one that is aimed at involving children in tobacco usage. The children issues has come up time and time again precisely because the media is very good at seeing a weakness, and then exploiting it to the hilt.
Articles like this one here generally tend to show that e-cigs are nothing more than an entrapment vehicle for poor, unwilling teenagers who don’t have a mind of their own. But this kind of argument falls down deeper still into the well of despair when a certain Tom Frieden gets involved.
Your friendly neighbourhood Frieden strikes at vapers again
The head of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Mr Frieden has waged nothing less than a crusade against e-cigs. Bestowed with a mandate that ostensibly protects America’s health, he has stopped at nothing to smear the e-cig industry, and routinely talks about the ‘poor youth’, who have absolutely no way, allegedly, of avoiding tobacco use if they vape.
The Motley Fool article talks about the ‘significant amount’ of negative information on e-cigs, and points the finger of blame at the FDA and the CDC. We are not that clear ourselves on which body has caused the most problems for e-cigs, but we think even the FDA has kept quite some of the time.
The CDC, which should know more than any other organisation about the value of long-term public health, has:
- Through Frieden, consistently put forward the gateway argument
- Celebrated a fall in teenage smoking by saying e-cigs are still a problem
- Linked e-cigarettes to poison
This, to us, looks like a concerted campaign to bring e-cigs down a notch or two.
There may well be a lurch towards personal vaporisers. This may well happen. The Fool could be right on this, and they are pretty good at spotting industry trends, so who knows.
The CDC finally wins against electronic cigarettes?
What is worrying here is that the CDC may well have got its wish. It has consistently wanted to get rid of e-cigs, to squash them and effectively ban them (conversely, it hasn’t said anything really even remotely as vitriolic about tobacco cigarettes recently) and now it looks like it’s campaign is affecting sales figures for a large scale manufacturer of the devices.
We will listen to rules and follow them, protecting the rights of non-vapers while at the same time enjoying our drug of choice.
In the end, the media (or just the CDC in fact) may have struck a huge and damaging blow, and we know it may not necessarily be over yet. And that is something that the e-cig industry should never forget.
Oh, and one last thing. Take a look at the article again and note just how much Lorillard’s marketing and admin costs jumped over the same period. Ouch.
Could have saved some money there, and offset that saving against the $11 million perhaps?