Welcome everyone to your Friday and another e-cigarette news roundup. Boy do I have a jam-packed edition of the news for this week! Most of the news comes from the recent flurry of ads being put out by just two e-cigarette companies. Don't worry, there's some of the usual stuff as well. Better get comfortable for this one. Let's start our e-cigarette news for the week.
New York Times eCig Ads Coverage
The New York Times ran an article on the new age of e-cigarette advertising. Specifically, two companies, nJoy and blu Cigs are putting up big money to run ads in print and on television. The article can't help but draw parallels to the heyday of cigarette advertising. For once, I'll resist the urge to throw in a Mad Men reference here. Instead, here's an example of the kind of money the article is talking about.
The attention these companies are bringing to e-cigarettes is great. But, I think these ads will also draw attention from the wrong people. Prohibitionists are already using this to bolster their delusions of e-cigarettes being a trick to lure non-smokers. I'm also fairly certain these ads all but guarantee the FDA will put some hefty restrictions on advertising whenever it gets around to pushing out regulations for other tobacco products.
Well, That Didn’t Take Them Long
Remember what I just said above? I said that flashy new e-cigarette ads are likely to anger prohibitionists. Sure enough, BBC News posted an article about prohibitionists getting their knickers in a knot over e-cigarette television ads. Specifically, the idea that e-cigarette ads glamorize something that looks like smoking is horrifying to some groups, particularly since this flies in the face of the WHO’s declaration that the appearance of smoking is just as bad as actually smoking regardless of health risks.
At the risk of repeating myself here, I think the e-cigarette companies that can afford it are getting in on the advertising thing while the getting's good. I think chances are pretty good these types of ads will get banned in pretty short order.
What Doesn’t Kill You, Makes You Nerdy-er
It seems like just everyone is jumping on the e-cigarette media campaign bandwagon… bandwagon. Now it's Gawker’s turn. The famous tech gossip blog published an article claiming e-cigarettes will never been cool. It's actually not quite what you'd think. I'm sure you've heard haters talking about how dumb e-cigarettes are, mostly people who have no clue what they really are or what they're for. This article's thesis was basically that e-cigarettes are too safe to be cool.
When your argument is you aren't spitting at death every time you light up an e-cigarette, I can't really counter that. Then again, I do kind of feel e-cigarettes, particularly the larger devices I prefer are indeed a little… dorky. And you know what? I'm totally cool with that.
Outsiders Confused by eCig Ads
Business insider put out a piece about the e-cigarette industry. Specifically, the article was focused on ads and marketing materials put out by some of the major players in the electronic cigarette industry. The verdict was that the ads weren't that great. However, there's a twist to this plot. What the writer would like ads to say, can't be said by e-cigarette companies if they'd like to stay in business.
Since the writer isn't really making any judgements about e-cigarettes, I suppose its understandable he isn't entirely familiar with the political climate surrounding them. Basically, companies simply can't do ads like he's suggesting. The author also seems to be under the impression a large percentage of the industry is owned by big tobacco, which it's not. I do agree with him that there are quite a few ecig ads that look like bad infomercials.
Buyout Rumors Still Rampant
Bloomberg ran an article focusing on the e-cigarette industry. The article looks at Arizona e-cigarette company nJoy as they are set to kick off their King disposable e-cigarette at a lavish party in New York City. The article reaffirms the popular belief that nJoy is likely an attractive takeover target for a big tobacco company. Altria is the odds-on favorite since RJR is doing its own thing, and Phillip Morris and British Tobacco are dabbling in other alternative products.
It is important to note that the speculation seems to come from the same analyst each time. I can, however see the logic since so far it looks like Altria is the odd man out in the tobacco alternatives game at this point. Also interesting is the huge marketshare these two ecig companies have. Think about it, that probably means whichever shop is your favorite probably has about 0.001 percent of the market.
Call for the EU to Get it Together
Despite saying in an interview he wasn't going to focus on tobacco issues, former head of ASH UK Clive Bates posted another harm reduction article on his blog. The article was actually a copy of a letter Bates sent to the new head of the EU's tobacco directive. The letter was similar to the one he sent to the WHO not too long ago. In this letter, he provides 5 suggestions the EU should take when considering the topic of harm reduction. The suggestions are essentially asking the EU to reverse course from the plan the previous commissioner intended to force upon European citizens.
It appears that the ousting of the previous head of the EU's tobacco policy only granted our friends in Europe a temporary reprieve from the insanity. According to Bates, it's highly likely the new version of the directive floating around internally is very similar to the old version. Hopefully, a leaked version of that draft will make the rounds so everyone can see what the EU is up to.
The Fool Chimes in on eCigs
It seems now that the e-cigarette market has been valued at 2 billion dollars, people are starting to take notice. The Motley Fool recently ran an article on its blog analyzing the industry. Mostly the article covered stuff you probably already knew, with special attention paid to the Lorillard acquisition of blu Cigs. Interestingly, however, the article reveals that Altria was an also-ran for blu's hand.
It still amazes me how quickly things have gone from a sort of cottage industry to a market that nearly rivals smoking cessation products ($2.4 bn). Of course with a bigger profile, that does make ecigs a bigger target as it becomes more of a viable threat to competing industries.
Study’s Findings Don’t Match the Data
Dr. Michael Siegel recently took on a new study about electronic cigarettes. The study, as the doctor pointed out was full of questionable tidbits. For example, the study pointed out that e-cigarettes have a high concentration of propylene glycol and glycerine. That makes perfect sense since e-liquid is mostly made of those components and are generally regarded as safe, something the study failed to point out. There were other findings that weren't explored as well, but the biggest issue was with the study's actual findings that e-cigarettes somehow kept its users on tobacco. There was apparently nothing in the study to actually support the claim.
What I find interesting is how neatly the study's findings fit into the latest tactic taken by prohibition groups. Many of these organizations have dropped the argument that e-cigarettes are actually dangerous and are instead clinging to the notion that e-cigarettes are somehow a gateway drug to actual e-cigarettes.
Concerned Misguided Citizen
St. Louis Today published a letter to the editor from a disgruntled holiday shopper. The writer wants an indoor e-cigarette ban in the city because of the e-cigarette sellers at his local mall. Apparently, he is confusing vapor from the mall rats' e-cigarettes for actual smoke and arguing this can confuse stupid smokers who will suddenly think it's 1963 and they are Don Draper or Peggy and blaze up their Lucky Strikes right next to the Mrs. Fields. Oddly, for someone that isn't aware of the difference between vapor and smoke, the writer did seem to do enough research to not there's not many studies out about the efficacy of e-cigarettes as a cessation tool.
I'm not assuming the guy is a plant or anything, so I wonder if the kiosk vendors of the world deserve a little of the blame here. I mean let's face it, we've heard stories of obnoxious mall vendors, so maybe they aren't exactly helping themselves here.
Joye’s Latest Brand Protection Idea
Joyetech, the company behind some very popular standards in the electronic cigarette industry issued a press release announcing a new initiative. The company will launch its own Joyetech branded store in the UK. The store will actually operate via an unnamed third party. In its release, Joye claims this move is two-fold. First, the company believes it will provide customers a better experience. Second, and likely the primary reason, the company sees this as a step to combat counterfeiting.
Joye has long been plagued by other companies knocking off its venerable eGo e-cigarette. I've owned many of devices that are designed on the eGo standard not made by Joyetech. The company has tried in the past to do things to cut down on knockoffs including etching its logo on every piece of hardware, to a new initiative where the company puts barcodes on all its products so consumers can verify via the web they have a genuine Joyetech product.
Deal of the Moment
White Cloud Electronic Cigarettes is running a coupon code good for $20 off its Cirrus 2 starter kit. The kit is priced at $39.95 with the discount. The Cirrus 2 kit includes 2 extended batteries, a 5-pack of cartomizers and a charger. If you aren't familiar with White Cloud, you can check my review right here to learn more. Click here to check out the Cirrus II kit and use coupon code CIRRUS39 at checkout.