Often called Big Tobacco, the 5 leading tobacco manufacturers (Philip Morris, British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, Japan Tobacco and China Tobacco) have been quite unhappy with the development of the e-cigarette market over the last few years. For the first time in their history, tobacco manufacturers have had to face true competitors but also communication campaigns to reduce tobacco use led by public health agencies. These large companies have thus faced steady sales decreases.
The risks linked to nicotine have been in the spotlight over the past 10 years or so, and have alerted public authorities, which are now taking numerous initiatives to discourage smokers. This created particularly favorable conditions for the development of e-cigarettes, which are used as nicotine substitutes by former smokers. Electronic cigarettes are an even bigger threat for the tobacco industry since they benefit from a more favorable image. With their modern lines and almost infinite choice of flavors, vaping devices have succeeded in turning cigarettes into obsolete items, especially among young adults.
During 2009 alone, Big Tobacco companies have seen their export sales record their largest loss. This trend was confirmed in the following years, alongside the growth of the e-cigarette market. In 2013, tobacco cigarette sales decreased by 1 billon dollars in the US, while e-cigarette sales experienced a two-fold increase.
Big Tobacco had to react to this threat and decided to enter the e-cigarette market by purchasing several independant manufacturers (Blu-cigs for the US brand Lorillard, CN Creative for British American Tobacco, Nicocigs for Philip Morris, Zandera for Japan Tobacco).
The risk is that the tobacco industry will little by little dominate the vaping market and offer lesser-quality products.