Big Pharma vs. Big Tobacco: Which is the bigger enemy in the War on Vaping?
Vaping technology and electronic cigarettes give smokers that much-needed nicotine fix without the dirty ashtrays, stinky clothes, and thousands of toxic chemicals found in conventional cigarettes. They are a cheap and easy way to quit smoking. So, most people would assume that Big Tobacco is a key player behind the surge in negative propaganda being spewed forth by government agencies like the FDA and the CDC.
In reality, Big Pharma is a far more devious and formidable enemy.
Big Tobacco companies like R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard, and Philip Morris have already jumped into the e-cigarette game several years ago. While they are not actively opposing e-cig regulations as aggressively as the vaping industry (the big guys rarely do), Big Tobacco is targeting its energies towards eliminating some of the most restrictive rules instead.
Big Tobacco sees the writing on the wall. Conventional cigarettes are out. And e-cigs are in.
Tobacco companies already know that they either need to change with the times or risk having their revenues eliminated completely. It’s the “Kodak Principle.” Had Kodak Film successfully adapted to the changing times and the rise in popularity of the digital camera, the company might still be a leader of industry today.
(Related Article: Big Pharma knows the future of vaping…and it’s terrified!)
Big Pharma also sees the writing on the wall. Vaping and e-cigs are the single, largest threat to more conventional nicotine replacement therapies – namely Nicorette gum by GlaxoSmithKline and “the patch” by Johnson & Johnson. Unlike Big Tobacco, Big Pharma has very little to gain by entering the electronic cigarette market. The competition is already so fierce that the major pharmaceutical companies could never catch up.
Big Pharma is the real enemy of e-cigs, and Big Government is its weapon of choice.
No industry spends more time and money on lobbying U.S. politicians than Big Pharma. Without the efforts of the drug lobby, Obamacare would have never been passed. It would have essentially died during the summer of 2009.
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And the greatest expansion of government by the George W. Bush Administration was in the creation of the Medicare prescription drug benefit, legislation that the drug makers pushed for very aggressively. Meanwhile, several politicians have been on the payroll of Big Pharma for several years in the form of campaign contributions.
- Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein has received approximately $119,250 from Big Pharma since 2009.
- Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has received approximately $238,646 from Big Pharma since 2009.
- Democratic Patrick Leahy has received approximately $76,200 from Big Pharma since 2005.
- Democratic Sen. Jack Reed has received approximately $137,700 from Big Pharma since 2007.
- Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has received approximately $118,650 from Big Pharma since 2005.
- And many more.
Big Pharma companies manufacture multiple medications that cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars per pill. Comparatively, the cost of a pack of cigarettes is but a tiny fraction. As a result, Big Pharma makes more money than Big Tobacco, and can therefore afford to pay off as many politicians as it wants to win the War on Vaping.
Is President Obama in the pocket of Big Pharma?
Many in the vaping industry view the Obama Administration as the quintessential lapdog on the leash of the pharmaceutical industry. If Obamacare is to continue, then the collective ego of Big Pharma must be consistently and steadily stroked by Democratic officials, like a poodle begging for a treat from its Master.
If Big Pharma were to bail on Obamacare, the President’s legacy would be in shambles. This is one of the primary reasons for Obama’s appointment of Mitch Zeller, a long-time consultant for GlaxoSmithKline, to become the head of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, the agency responsible for implementing the FDA deeming regulations that threaten to wipe out the entire vaping industry by 2018.
(Related Article: BIG PHARMA AND THE FDA DEEMING REGULATIONS: A HISTORY OF CORRUPTION)
Zeller has made millions by promoting FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapies, and the elimination of the vaping industry through new FDA deeming regulations will guarantee the Zeller household a healthy income for decades to come, well beyond his temporary tenure at the FDA.
But the recent election of a new Republican Administration run by President-Elect Donald Trump threatens this Obama-Big Pharma relationship. Trump is threatening to “repeal and replace” at least parts of the Affordable Healthcare Act, which gives the vaping industry new hope and a new surge of energy to continue fighting the War on Vaping just a little bit longer.
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The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the viewpoints, policy or company position of Vapes.com, the rest of our staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.