This Could Be Bad! Big Tobacco Once Again Makes It Clear They’re Coming For Vaping

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In a recent interview with Bloomberg News Japan, Philip Morris CEO indicated they’re gearing up for iQOS in America

The fight for vaping rights is one that is near and dear to the hearts of many in the vaping community. This battle has been raging ever since vaping first hit the scene as a popular harm reduction and smoking cessation tool. Vapers point to the clear benefits of e-cigarettes as the reason to support them, while critics are so concerned with the potential risk that they opt to equate smoking with something proven to be at least 95% safer. But things have only gotten murkier as Big Tobacco companies like Philip Morris International enter the market ready to stake their claim.

These moves clearly indicate that not only is vaping a useful smoking cessation tool but so much so that Big Tobacco companies are terrified about what happens when more people understand the relative risk. They can see that it’s only a matter of time before combustible cigarettes are extremely rare, so they’re planning on moving into a nearby industry. Philip Morris was one of the first to be open about their plans to eventually stop selling cigarettes altogether. But they’re not letting up as a recent interview with their CEO on Bloomberg News Japan clearly indicates.

The Latest Development

Earlier this month, CEO of Philip Morris International, Andre Calantzopoulos appeared on the morning edition of Bloomberg News Japan to discuss their expansion of iQOS to other markets, including the US. He said that he firmly believes that the FDA will approve their iQOS device to be sold in America at some point this year. Their heat-not-burn device is already available in several countries throughout Asia, but PMI has been clear that these markets are only a testing ground.

Calantzopoulos points to the massive success of iQOS in Japan as proof that other countries should soon follow suit. Japan has historically been one of the last developed nations to have widespread formal bans on public smoking, and as such had traditionally higher smoking rates than other countries. According to Calantzopoulos, the nearly 20% drop in smoking rate among Japanese adults over the last three years can be directly correlated with the uptick in vaping. In fact, he said that with standard restrictions alone it would likely have taken around 20 years to drop the smoking rate that far.

Big Tobacco’s True Motives

While it’s always good for vaping to gain more acceptance as a harm reduction tool, we must be careful about giving Big Tobacco too much sway in the vaping industry. Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease around the world, and a large portion of this can be traced back to Big Tobacco companies suppressing the research on smoking for as long as they did. These same companies are now seeing the writing on the wall for their industry, as fewer people are picking up cigarettes every year. As a result, they’re all looking for ways to remain viable into the smoking free future, and vaping is a clear target.

PMI has already pledged $80 million a year for the next 12 years to start a non-profit foundation aimed at researching smoke-free alternatives like iQOS. This pledge was accompanied by an update of their policies to reflect their new mission to help rid the world of cigarettes. If there’s still doubt in your mind that their ultimate goal is taking over the vaping industry, Andre Calantzopoulos has even gone on the record to say that PMI is actively planning for a future in which they no longer sell combustible cigarettes at all. So while it’s always great to see progress in the fight for vaping rights, we must remain cautious about what we’re supporting.

Implications

The bottom line is that we cannot allow Big Tobacco to swoop in and steal a large portion of the vaping industry. They’ve already proven that they don’t have the safety of their customers at heart, and we shouldn’t allow them to jump ship right as things are starting to change. Countless people have died as a direct result of the misleading information spread by companies like PMI, so why should we give them another shot at survival? Ending the smoking epidemic once and for all remains the primary goal of the vaping industry, but that being said we must be very careful about how we reach those goals. Otherwise, we may wake up one day and find the same companies are once again hiding the truth.

Are you glad the FDA may soon approve heat-not-burn devices like iQOS? Do you worry that these moves will help Big Tobacco take over the vaping industry? How can we support vaping without lending a hand to Big Tobacco as well? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.

Dustin has been vaping for almost a decade. He found e-cigarettes in 2008 and quickly became drawn to them as an early adopter. He's been writing reviews ever since and has established himself as a well-versed authority on the subject.

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