New Report Uncovers Conspiracy That Could Seriously Damage The Vaping Industry
According to a recent investigation, over 100 think tanks worldwide are working together to fight increased tobacco regulations
Vaping and smoking have always been intrinsically intertwined, as modern e-cigarettes were only invented as a way to combat the ever-present tobacco epidemic. Despite this base connection, evidence shows that not only is vaping safer than smoking, but it’s approximately 95% safer, resulting in a 57,000 times lower excess lifetime cancer risk between demographically similar smokers and vapers. Making matters worse, Big Tobacco has been weaseling their way into the independent vaping market, further strengthening the connection between vaping and smoking to the average person.
A new report found that over 100 think tanks worldwide are actively receiving donations from Big Tobacco in exchange for help fighting a wide range of regulations. Making matters worse, the perceived connection between e-cigarettes and smoking is having a negative impact. This couldn’t come at a worse time for the vaping industry, as they’re already facing increased scrutiny from the FDA, in what many experts are calling a “make or break” year. Regardless, it’s now clear the extent Big Tobacco is willing to go to stave off extinction.
Think Tank Trouble
The British newspaper, The Guardian recently published the report which detailed an extensive list of instances Big Tobacco paid for help fighting laws around the globe. Battling a near constant attack from legislators around the world, thanks to killing more people every year than any preventable cause, many Big Tobacco companies sought to even the playing field by using less than ethical means. According to the report, British American Tobacco (BAT), Philip Morris International, Altria, Reynolds American, and Japan Tobacco all gave significant donations to free-market think tanks, some of which wielded incredible influence in their respective countries.
Things remained relatively innocuous in countries like the US and UK, although still quite questionable. Donations to groups such as the Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, Adam Smith Institute, and the Institute of Economic Affairs bought opposition to plain packaging laws and even some increased taxes, arguing they’re ineffective at dissuading use. But in some countries, their lies were as blatant as they were harmful. For instance, in at least one case an African-based group argued about the actual link between cancer and smoking, going as far as to ask if it “was yet to be empirically established.” The Guardian report finished up by calling into question the difference between lobbyists and think tanks, especially when they’re often used for the same ends.
The Impact On Vaping
While the report is undoubtedly damning for Big Tobacco, it also presents a severe challenge for the vaping industry. The public perception of vaping is already woefully low, with only around 13% of adults understanding that vaping is much safer than smoking. At the same time, a significant portion of the general population remains convinced that vaping and smoking are very similar or at least vaping leads to smoking. Despite evidence disproving both these claims, the issue persists. With Big Tobacco proving once again how untrustworthy they are, it undoubtedly will have a similar impact on the significant portion of people who still see vaping and smoking as basically the same.
However, that’s not the only reason this news is likely to hurt the vaping industry. It’s clear Big Tobacco is eventually planning on jumping ship from combustible cigarettes to vaping if you just take a second to look at the evidence. Philip Morris has even gone on the record to say they’re planning for a future in which they don’t sell traditional cigarettes at all. Altria recently bought their way into the world’s biggest vaping company, Juul Labs, with a deal for a 35% stake worth an estimated $12.8 Billion. These moves should make it clear Big Tobacco may not be genuinely tied to vaping yet, but they absolutely aim to be.
This report proves once again the danger of Big Tobacco extends further than just their cigarettes. The companies themselves are more than willing to use unethical means to ensure they always turn a profit. After all, if we let Big Tobacco into the vaping industry, it won’t be long before the same types of shady business practices run rampant here too. Despite what the majority of the general public thinks, the vaping industry currently deserves no blame for what Big Tobacco chooses to do and vice versa. That said, it’s clear Big Tobacco wants to take over vaping and is willing to use any means necessary. So if we’re going to ensure we keep our vaping rights, we must fight against misinformation and prove the harm reduction and smoking cessation value of e-cigarettes once and for all.
Do you think the Guardian report will have a negative impact on the vaping industry? Is it a big deal if Big Tobacco gets more heavily involved in vaping? What’s the best way to spread positive information to those around us? 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.