Published on November 8th, 2012 | by Tyler Bullock0
New E-Cigarette Lawsuit Brings Up Questions of the Future
Big news on the electronic cigarette front today. Reynolds American, one of the Big Tobacco behemoths, is suing an electronic cigarette company for supposedly infringing on their branding rights for “Camel” and “Winston” cigarette brands. The interesting thing about this lawsuit is that it comes right after the recent news that Reynolds American would be releasing their own e-cigarette, branded as Vuse. The company in question is SAS Technologies, a company that sells their MaxxVapor Pro e-cigarettes at SaveaSmoker.com. The issue is not with the e-cigs themselves, but rather with their line of e-liquids, which contains flavors such as “Winston” and “Camel Tobacco”.
This interesting turn of events really raises some questions, questions about Big Tobacco and questions about the future of the electronic cigarette industry. How far are Big Tobacco companies willing to go to squash existing electronic cigarette powerhouses? How good will their electronic cigarettes actually be? And, most importantly, how will the e-cigarette experience be for the consumer in future times? Let’s take a look at two possible outcomes, the first one devastating to the industry and the second one that will create a fantastic market for e-cigarettes.
Situation Number One: Big Tobacco Takes Over
In this situation, Big Tobacco wins out (as they usually do) and takes over the burgeoning electronic cigarette industry. They would probably do it by exerting their power and control over the FDA and other important health and human rights groups to make electronic cigarettes available everywhere you look. They’ll be able to market them as devices that help people quit that other product that they sell, tobacco!
They may find success by offering both products. By getting people hooked on tobacco then helping them get off with electronic cigarettes, they are able to add significant amounts of money to their income because it’s not a two-tiered process. However, they will lose some of the money they make on lifetime smokers because more people would quit and e-cigarettes are less profitable than tobacco cigarettes.
But they may find that electronic cigarettes don’t have nearly the profit margins of tobacco cigarettes. So they would either kill the whole thing and use their power over the FDA to ban e-cigarettes forever, or charge consumers exorbitant rates for low-quality e-cigarettes. Would the e-cigarette population as it is be able to stand up to this sort of future? I think so, it’s a very devoted group. However, I would obviously prefer that Big Tobacco loses out.
Situation Number Two: A Competitive Group of E-Cigarette Corporations Emerge
The current group of big e-cigarette companies are able to use the jump start they have on the industry to stay solvent and profitable in the face of Big Tobacco’s Washington lobbying and pressures both legally and financially. Consumers stick with these brands because they know that they will always strive to produce the best e-cigarettes rather than only concentrate on the profit margins. They want to be able to refill their own cartridges, they want to be able to buy mods, they don’t want electronic cigarettes to become tobacco all over again. But who will step up?
We are already seeing V2 Cigs start to really dominate the e-cigarette industry. They have what is generally considered to be the best electronic cigarette and they know how to sell it. As they continue to grow, they could reach behemoth status, like the Coke or Pepsi of soda. But hopefully some other companies will also grow to create a competitive market in which the best e-cigarettes the companies can produce are sold for the lowest prices they can sell them at.
This would be the ultimate world for the e-cigarette consumer, and one that I hope ends up happening as electronic cigarettes move from niche status to mainstream status.
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