War On Vaping: Big Tobacco & Big Government Snuffing Out CompetitionPosted: January 16, 2015
It’s lobbying state governments to impose taxes and regulations on its competitors.
Gregory Conley writes: When the success of America’s largest companies is threatened, they often turn to the government for a helping hand. They have been doing that for at least the past century. In recent years Congress gave more than $1 trillion in bailouts to banks, car companies, and credit lenders in the midst of great financial turmoil. But that kind of generosity isn’t the only way Uncle Sam has helped many of America’s biggest companies maintain market share. Using the growing bureaucracy’s powerful regulations, many corporations have worked hand in hand with government to snuff out competition.
“In Big Tobacco’s war on these innovative technology products, it’s not just adult smokers and ex-smokers who will suffer at the hands of misguided regulators and lawmakers.”
A recent example of this offensive is Big Tobacco’s actions against the thousands of small startups that are helping people quit smoking. Cigarette companies are spending millions of dollars to push product bans, higher taxes, and expensive regulations on their competitors.
“Reynolds’s push for more-coercive taxation, burdensome regulations, and even bans on their competitors make sense, as no company wants to see its consumers switch to products it doesn’t sell.”
The cigarettes sold by Reynolds American Inc. and Altria (formerly Philip Morris) are highly taxed and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and over the past several years cigarette consumption has declined more rapidly than forecast by analysts and shareholders. Electronic cigarettes (“e-cigs,” or “vapor products”) have accounted for a significant portion of this reduction. These battery-operated and smokeless devices represent a free-market solution to a grave public-health problem. As alternatives to cigarettes, which kill more than 400,000 people each year, vapor products are far less hazardous.
When Reynolds and Altria decided belatedly to enter the e-cigarette market last year, the two companies chose to develop and manufacture only e-cigs that are known as “cigalikes.” Cigalike e-cigs are designed to look, feel, and taste like traditional cigarettes. These products have cartridges that are pre-filled and sealed and must be thrown away or recycled after several hours of use. Cigalikes work for some smokers, but they generally suffer from poor battery life, inadequate nicotine delivery, a lack of flavor options, and high prices that make switching to vaping with these products nearly as expensive as smoking cigarettes or even more so… (read more)
— Gregory Conley is the president of the American Vaping Association, a nonprofit that advocates for and is partially funded by small- and medium-sized businesses in the vapor-product and electronic-cigarette market.
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