Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Yankee Doodling

The battle between big tobacco and vape shops

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 26 September 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5810
  1. Douglas Kamerow, senior scholar, Robert Graham Center for policy studies in primary care, and associate editor, The BMJ
  1. dkamerow{at}

Despite vigorous promotion e-cigarette sales seem to be going down

Electronic cigarettes seem to be everywhere. Characters on the US television show Saturday Night Live smoke them to look cool1; the movie The Hangover Part III portrays mob kingpins as e-cigarette users; and e-cigarette companies are now paying for product placement in movies (which manufacturers of conventional tobacco cigarettes are not permitted to do).2

As the debate continues about whether e-cigarettes are a threat to public health or, paradoxically, our best hope to rescue the world from the death and devastation of tobacco products,3 big tobacco continues its relentless march to take over the e-cigarette market.

Lorillard was the first of the “big three” tobacco companies to enter the e-cigarette business in 2012. Its Blu brand disposables are the best selling of the first generation e-cigarettes, which contain a non-rechargeable battery, a vaporizing system, and a disposable cartridge of liquid nicotine, and are sized and shaped to look like a tobacco cigarette. These “cigalikes” even glow at …

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