Big Tobacco’s Imperial enters HnB and vaping markets amid concerns by FDA
Big Tobacco has directly contributed to one of the most catastrophic health crises of the past century. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease control and Prevention (CDC), smoking is still the number one killer in the world. Vaping does not even make the list.
Yet somehow, individual players in the cigarette manufacturing industry fail to be held accountable for their actions by actively suppressing scientific evidence, flooding mainstream and social media with false facts, and contributing billions of dollars in campaign contributions to state and federal politicians.
So when Ms. Alison Cooper, the CEO of Imperial Brands tobacco products, took to Bloomberg TV last week to announce the company’s entry into the Heat-not-Burn (HnB) aand vaping markets, many in vape advocacy circles immediately took notice. While HnB technology is a very different animal than vaping, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) technically classifies both as “tobacco products.”
Imperial Brands: Pulze HnB and MyBlu vaping products
Imperial plans to launch a new Heat-not-Burn product names Pulze which will become an instant and direct competitor with the iQOS systems by Big Tobacco’s Philip Morris International. Both Pulze and iQOS systems involve the heating of tobacco leaves rather than the lighting of them on fire, thus the name Heat-not-Burn. Research is already showing that these types of devices are less carcinogenic than smoking, but these very same studies almost always indicate that tobacco-free vaping is by far the less carcinogenic alternative overall.
In the Bloomberg interview, Ms. Cooper makes clear that just because Imperial Brands is a tobacco company does not necessarily mean that it will be focusing a majority of its resources on the tobacco-required HnB device Pulze. Instead she states that the company is also very interested in tackling the vaping market, too. In fact, Imperial is already test marketing a non-nicotine vaping device named MyBlu in Japan and elsewhere, and according to Cooper, it’s selling “fantastically.”
Possible implications for the American vaping industry
At first glance, the announcement that Big Tobacco is entering the vaping industry might appear as good news or a sign of defeat within the vaping community. But ultimately, this sort of market shift could potentially cripple the industry overall.
Most vape companies are independently owned and are much smaller in size and political stature than those of Big Tobacco. If Big Tobacco takes over the vaping industry, then the chances of smaller brand names being kicked out of the marketplace altogether rise significantly. And most likely, the prices of vaping devices, e-liquids, and replacement parts will rise along with them.
Furthermore, vaping already has a bad name. The general public largely considers vaping and smoking to be one-in-the-same, even though reams of scientific evidence refute these misguided beliefs. Many polls also indicate that “Joe Average” also seems to equate HnB systems with vaping devices, as well – even though vaping is 100% tobacco-free. With BIg Tobacco now jumping on board the vaping bandwagon, vape enthusiasts should probably expect a renewed resurgence in negative public support and further attacks on vaping by the FDA.
Related Article: Is HnB technology giving vaping a bad name?
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