Bye-bye Big Tobacco. Hello Big Vape?

According to Markets Insider magazine, “Global E-Cigarette and Vaporizer Market are poised to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 20.8% over the next decade, reaching approximately $61.4 billion by 2025.” Yowzers that’s a lot of money! It seems like “big tobacco” may be becoming “big vape”?

First of all, according to the online publication, The Conversation,

“the e-cigarette industry has been increasingly viewed as one of the most disruptive changes in the tobacco market, with vapes now commonly perceived as an alternative to traditional tobacco products.”

Public Health England (PHE), the United Kingdom’s version of the FDA, continues to advocate for e-cigarettes as opposed to traditional cigarettes, stating that e-cigarettes are around 95% safer than smoker’s tobacco and should be used as a tool for smoking cessation.

Furthermore, a recent survey comprised of 781 adult vapers, 83% of whom were enthusiasts, found that 90% were ex-smokers and viewed e-cigarettes as a tool to help them quit smoking.

Yet, with scientific evidence backing and supporting the use of e-cigarettes as a better option than traditional cigarettes, lifelong smokers are waking up to the newfound possibilities and the chance to possibly regain their health. And so is big tobacco.

Trying to control it’s own competition… by buying it.

If there existed a term to define Big Tobacco’s buying up and taking ownership of major e-cigarette brands across the country and around the world, essentially controlling its own competition (the vape industry); Big Vape would probably be it.

For decades, traditional cigarettes cornered the market on nicotine, and based on annual earnings, they still do. However, with government agencies like Public Health England, siding with vaping, not to mention the e-cigarette industry transitioning into a multi-billion-dollar phenomenon, big tobacco is feeling the hit financially and are none too pleased.

As a result, what does a global industry with a market value of $770 billion U.S. dollars do when they don’t like what they see taking place? They buy up the competition of course.

Some noteworthy acquisitions by Big Tobacco

  • * 2010— Altria acquires Blu, a major supplier of e-cigarette products.
  • * 2012— Altria divested itself of Blu, which R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (formerly Lorillard) bought for $135 million dollars.
  • * J. Reynolds sells Blu to Imperial Tobacco for $7.1 million dollars.
  • * Altria (formerly Philip Morris) owns MarkTen
  • * 2013, British America Tobacco (BAT), the largest cigarette company in Europe, launches its own electronic cigarette called the Vype.
  • * 2015— Japan Tobacco enters into an agreement to acquire Logic Technology, a leading U.S. e-cigarette company. This agreement comes just shortly after Japan Tobacco’s acquisition of UK based Zandera Ltd.

Suffice it to say, the list of e-cigarette companies controlled by Big Tobacco stretches on. While one could look at this shift as merely a sign of the times, is Big Tobacco becoming Big Vape a positive change or a negative one? What are your thoughts?

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Andrew Figgs

Photography Major from Western Washington University . I joined MBV back in December 2014 and am happy to be working in an industry focused on helping others.

  • evan says:

    interesting article. Vaping is healthier than smoking. PERIOD!! 🙂

  • kahuna says:

    agree vaping is currently healthier than smoking. However, I cannot believe “big tobacco” controlling vaping is a good thing. Big Tobacco has chemically changed nicotine to make it more additive and lied to the public for decades concerning the affects of smoking. Can they honestly be trust not to do the same when it comes to vaping?

  • I am happy to see the UK give the green light on vaping. We need that in the USA.

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