Responsible advertising will make the electronic cigarette industry better


If those who use electronic cigarettes answer the question on what draws them to the devices, many would respond in a similar way that Heigl Katherine, a globally known actress, did. The actress, in an interview, told David Letterman, that when one is using electronic cigarette, water vapour which is harmless to the user and others around is inhaled. Though these words can be considered acceptable especially when coming from a TV star, manufacturers of electronic cigarettes are barred from presenting claims that their products are healthier.

One of the U.S advertising campaign that has a US $ 30 million budget is mainly set on two buddies who grow together. The buddies play together in school, move to a shared apartment, getting into a brawl in a local bar, and even delivering a wedding speech. During the speech, a voice at the background indicates that friends never allow friends to smoke, and proceeds to persuade them that they should only give friends NJoy King which is the option worth turning to. This ad campaign is aired on television and even radio, and further targets potential clients in the print and digital media. It further holds a U.S $ 50 million additional cash to promote electronic cigarette abroad.

While NJoy product is not marketed as a direct aid for people to quit smoking or referred to as a healthier alternative, it nearly passes the fine red line.   Craig Weiss the Chief Executive Officer of NJoy, who previously worked as a patent attorney dismisses all allegations that this advertisement is in anyway secretly conveying any healthy associated message. Weiss does not smoke of vape.  He further claims that the advertisement cannot in anyway be read to have a health claim. In one of the interviews, Weiss emphasised that any health claim requires a direct affirmation that an individual’s health would be improved as a result of using the product. He adds that the advertisement does not in way discuss health related considerations.

Craig Weiss, Njoy’s Chief Executive Officer, who previously worked as a patent lawyer and who does not vape or smoke, dismisses the allegation that the ad is designed to surreptitiously convey a health-related message. He states that the ad could in no way be interpreted to be a health claim. In an interview he points out that a health claim has to be a direct assertion that a person’s health can be improved by using the product. He reiterates that their campaign does not discuss health at all.

Proponents of electronic cigarettes argue that million of tobacco users can be effectively saved by switching to the device. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) strongly believes that additional research is crucial before safety as well as efficiency can be penned. In 2010, FDA warned manufacturers of electronic cigarettes not to claim that the devices helped to stop smoking before getting approved.   Electronic cigarettes are apparently the safer alternative compared to tobacco which is linked to millions of deaths annually. Weiss posits that manufacturers of electronic cigarettes do not have to make any claim on health benefits from devices. He argues that they should tell people that they are simply shifting to a device that is likeable to the public and not quitting smoking. The devices can be promoted as a better substitute to tobacco cigarettes.

The electronic cigarette industry does not have strict regulations as it happens to other health related products that are carefully regulated as medicinal and drug devices. Therefore, NJoy is not marketed as one of therapies to aid in smoking cessation such as Nicorette and Nicoderm. In addition, no electronic cigarette is approved by FDA as a treatment device.  Weiss argued that their main goal is coming up with the best products that are satisfying as a remedy to drive sales and success. In his view, the product is satisfactory if the user prefers it and cannot tell the difference with the conventional tobacco cigarette. NJoy targets giving clients total pleasure and not intended for healthy benefits.

E-cigarettes are not grouped as tobacco products and consequently fall outside the FDA strict tobacco products restrictions. FDA is currently considering a change in its rules in order to classify e-cigarettes as part of tobacco products. Big brands such as Blu (LO) has welcomed the move and indicated to support it fully in order to promote greater responsibility in the marketing efforts.  Weiss further calls for regulations that are reasonable because they are unavoidable at some point.


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