When asked if regulations were to force electronic cigarettes off the market entirely, 49 percent of U.S. respondents to a recent poll said they would go back to combustible cigarettes.
V2, one of the U.S.’ leading brands of electronic cigarette and vaporizer products, yesterday announced the results of a commissioned study examining electronic cigarette users’ reactions to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision last month to extend federal regulatory control to electronic cigarettes (and other products). Three hundred adult vapers across the U.S. were polled between May 16 and May 20.
As part of the FDA’s ruling, government approval of all electronic cigarette products and related consumables introduced to the market after February 15, 2007, such as e-liquid, is now required. These products must go through a formal approval process if they are to remain on the market and reports estimate that submitting an application for a single product approval could cost the applicant more than $1 million.
“Big Tobacco companies, with their virtually unlimited resources, benefit tremendously from an onerous and costly application process,” said Adam Kustin, V2’s vice president of marketing. “They have the ability to do it. And while our company is also well positioned, the smaller players in our category aren’t as fortunate. Some simply won’t be able to bring their products to market, while others will be forced to raise prices, further diminishing their competitiveness.
“Lastly, it’s important to recognize that Big Tobacco is under no obligation to submit any products for approval. They could accelerate the demise of the industry by simply withholding products from submission. Given the relative size of the e-cig industry to combustibles, I would say their motivation is low.”
When the survey respondents were asked what they would do if electronic cigarettes and e-liquid became harder to buy or more expensive, 36 percent said that ‘nothing would change’ and that ‘as long as they are available, I will buy them’. However, 34 percent said that they would vape less, while 18 percent said they would ‘vape less and smoke combustible cigarettes more’, and eight percent said they would switch back to smoking exclusively.
When asked if regulations were to force electronic cigarettes off the market entirely, 49 percent said they would go back to combustible cigarettes. Twenty-eight percent said they would stop consuming nicotine or tobacco products of any kind, and 17 percent said they would move to a smoking cessation method.
“E-cigs are ground-breaking technologies that offer an alternative to combustible cigarettes, which are harmful to millions,” said Kustin. “Almost half of respondents reported they’d return to combustible cigarettes if e-cigarettes were no longer available. The remainder said that they’d either use a cessation therapy such as nicotine gum, which we know doesn’t work; or they’d quit nicotine entirely, which is unlikely and unprecedented.
“In other words, if the FDA’s ruling hampers access or forces higher prices, it threatens to eliminate 99 percent of the industry, essentially driving vapers back into the eager arms of Big Tobacco. Such an outcome would be tragic, not to mention entirely inconsistent with the FDA’s earlier ‘continuum of risk’ rhetoric.”