Big Tobacco - Altria

Big Tobacco Companies Investing in Vape Shop Chains 

Published On November 22, 2017 | By Nicole | About E-Cigarettes Articles

Most people began vaping as a way to escape from smoking. Tobacco companies always seems to be one step ahead of the game when it comes to people trying to quit. With that in mind that last thing you will have wanted to hear is that big tobacco companies are investing in vape shops. 

Is it All Negative?

While the tobacco industry has a bad name in the world currently is their investment into vape shops definitely a bad thing? The vaping industry is disconnected from the tobacco industry in one specific way, the use of tobacco. While vaping doesn’t always use nicotine in the vapors it produces, tobacco always uses nicotine. This means that the tobacco industry is always using an addictive product, no matter what. Altria, who are the biggest tobacco company getting involved with vape chains, seem to be aware of the fact that you, the consumer, is aware of the dangers of tobacco these days though. A quote from the Altria CEO says  

“Of course Altria is ready for the introduction of innovative reduced-risk products.”  

This shows that the move by Altria and potentially other tobacco companies into the vape industry isn’t necessarily a backwards step. The vape chain, Avail, that Altria have invested in do not see the move by the tobacco company as a negative. They feel that while the end game of the tobacco chain will be to try and take some of their vape customers the increased investment will allow them to expand enough to help more smokers than ever before transition to vaping. 

Are They Moving Into Vaping?

Currently tobacco companies are not moving into vaping. Their move into vape shops is an attempt to cut into the vape market, which is showing significant growth year on year. You have to be aware of the differences between an e-cigarette and the reduced-risk products that the tobacco industry are starting to introduce. 

iQOS by big tobacco

The current innovation that Altria are pushing hard is their heat not burn product, iQOS. It is being pushed as a safer alternative to smoking, but it is important to understand that heat not burn products are not e-cigarettes and do not have the proven decreased health risks that vaping does. The World Health Organisation recognises that while it is possible that they do decrease the health risks there is currently no evidence and independent studies are required.  

This move into vaping shops shows that the tobacco companies finally see vaping as a viable alternative to smoking and are worried about the effect their increased popularity will have on their sales.  

How Will It Affect You?

Realistically it will only affect you if you allow it to. Moving away from vapes and towards heat not burn products is what the tobacco companies expect people to do. This would be a reckless move while these products do not have the proven safety levels that vapes do.  

Altria already have an e-cigarette on the market which shows that tobacco firms are definitely taking the current cultural shift towards vaping seriously and intend to try and gain a foothold in the market. 

What Is Coming Next?

The investment from tobacco firms into vaping shop chains means that in the future the development of less harmful alternatives to smoking could well be coming from the tobacco industry. While you are right to not completely trust tobacco manufacturers due to their long track record of falsifying studies to play down the harm that tobacco causes, they are at heart a business and it appears that they are becoming aware of the public shift in attitudes.  

You, the consumer is becoming more wary of looking after your health. This, coupled with the statistic that 70% of smokers actively want to quit, means that the vape industry is only going to keep growing while the tobacco industry will begin to fall. The tobacco industry will be acutely aware of this and will want to continue to be profitable. 

This means that there is a distinct possibility that in the future all innovations by the tobacco industry will be in a less harmful direction. It may be difficult for you to trust an industry that has consistently lied to you, just like it is hard to take back that ex that sent way too many texts to your best friend, but with the money that is behind the tobacco industry they could achieve some truly great things if they began to move towards even safer vape technologies. 

While currently the investment in vape chains is purely as a distributor for their e-cigarettes and heat not burn products, in the future tobacco companies could be the leading champions of vaping. We just don’t know yet whether their influence will be positive or negative. 

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