The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

State & National News

October 20, 2013

E-cigarette marketing seen threatened under FDA scrutiny

Sunday, October 20, 2013 — The $1.5 billion U.S. electronic- cigarette industry has tripled sales this year with the help of TV ads, Nascar sponsorships and product giveaways. Government regulation may now threaten those marketing tactics.

The FDA is set to decide this month whether to lump e-cigarettes in with conventional smokes as part of its oversight of the $90 billion U.S. tobacco market. Such a step would set the stage for greater restrictions on production, advertising, flavorings and online sales.

With at least 40 U.S. states seeking stricter rules and federal health officials raising the alarm about e-cigarette use by children, manufacturers of the smokeless devices are preparing for a FDA crackdown.

"We do anticipate becoming a regulated industry, so it is very possible the way in which we advertise will change," said Andries Verleur, co-founder of e-cigarette maker VMR Products.

E-cigarettes heat liquid nicotine into an inhaled vapor without the tar of normal cigarettes. For the moment, marketers operate with few, if any, of the regulatory limits that apply to tobacco companies such as Philip Morris USA and Reynolds American Inc. TV advertisements by tobacco companies were banned in 1971, and in 2010 the FDA eliminated cigarette sampling. Sporting leagues such as Nascar also have severed ties.

With the FDA seeking to expand its regulatory authority beyond conventional cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, some e- cigarette companies are opening up the marketing spigot while they still have a chance.

Victory Electronic Cigarettes, run by the same marketing executive who helped build InBev NV into a dominant brewer, is handing out 1 million e-cigarettes starting this month at events in 50 U.S. cities. There will be a traveling van and tents at Nascar races, said Chief Executive Officer Brent Willis, who was once the president of InBev's Asia-Pacific operations and helped introduce the Kraft brand to China.

Logic Technology, which makes up 17 percent of industry sales, plans a push in Manhattan bars and nightclubs this year or early 2014.

"You go where adult smokers are," said Miguel Martin, president of Livingston, N.J.-based Logic, in an interview.

The industry says e-cigarettes are a healthier, cleaner alternative to traditional smoking. Many disagree. At least 40 U.S. state attorneys general on Sept. 24 urged the FDA to immediately regulate the sale and advertising of electronic cigarettes in a letter that said the products are appealing to youth and no one is "ensuring the safety of the ingredients."

That followed a Sept. 5 report in which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised an alarm about children getting hooked on nicotine. The CDC found the share of U.S. students in middle school and high school who used e-cigarettes doubled to 10 percent in 2012 from 4.7 percent a year earlier.

By comparison, adolescents who reported smoking regular cigarettes daily or more casually, declined to 8.3 percent in 2010, from 11.9 percent in 2004, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration said earlier this year.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and 11 other Democrats, seized on the report to call for immediate FDA regulation and to demand that e-cigarette companies provide documents related to sales, labeling and marketing of their products to children.

"Despite claims from some e-cigarette makers that they do not market their products to youth and that kids should not have access to their products, e-cigarette manufacturers appear to be applying marketing tactics similar to those used by the tobacco industry to hook a new generation of children," the senators wrote in a Sept. 26 letter to e-cigarette companies.

The FDA has oversight over the cigarette market under a 2009 law that gives it sway over manufacturing, marketing and other tobacco industry practices. The law permits the FDA to determine whether it will extend its reach to related products.

In a government catalog of upcoming federal regulatory actions, called the Unified Agenda, the FDA lists October 2013 as the deadline for issuing a notice for proposing such rules.

The FDA has sent a proposal to the White House Office of Management and Budget, seeking to expand its regulatory authority beyond cigarettes, Steven Immergut, a spokesman for the agency said in an e-mail Wednesday. "Their review will begin when the government shutdown ends," he said.

Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said everyone is watching to see precisely what the FDA has proposed.

"Sometimes OMB takes weeks and sometimes OMB sits on things for a very long time," he said in an interview. "I don't think this is something the OMB plans to sit on."

E-cigarette companies are on board with manufacturing standards and age restrictions while saying advertising limits shouldn't be on the table. VMR's Verleur said his company, which makes the V2 Cigs brand, and his competitors have asked the FDA for meetings to give their side of the argument.

"One thing that would be very bad is to lump us in with traditional cigarettes and apply some of the same standards," he said.



 

1
Text Only
State & National News
  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    WASHINGTON - The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • NCSU Study: People Pay More Attention to the Upper Half of Field of Vision

         A new study from North Carolina State University and the University of Toronto finds that people pay more attention to the upper half of their field of vision – a finding which could have ramifications for everything from traffic signs to software interface design.

    April 23, 2014

  • NC State Receives $25 Million NNSA Grant to Develop Leaders, Improve Technological Capabilities for Detecting Nuclear Proliferation

    NC State today was awarded a five-year, $25 million grant by the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development to develop the next generation of leaders with practical experience in technical fields relevant to nuclear nonproliferation. NC State was selected by NNSA over 22 other proposals following a competitive process that began in May 2013.

    April 23, 2014

  • Winter created urge to get out of town

    This year's harsh winter contributed to an exodus of travelers seeking refuge from the weather by booking tours, cruises and hotels in record numbers, according to AAA Carolinas Travel Agency. Trips taken by those booking through AAA, the largest leisure travel agency in the Carolinas, showed an increase in tours (15 percent), cruises (12 percent) and hotels (33 percent) over the first quarter of 2013.

    April 22, 2014

  • NCSU Study: The Trials of the Cherokee Were Reflected In Their Skulls

    Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee have found that environmental stressors – from the Trail of Tears to the Civil War – led to significant changes in the shape of skulls in the eastern and western bands of the Cherokee people. The findings highlight the role of environmental factors in shaping our physical characteristics.

    April 22, 2014

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    NEW YORK - Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 22, 2014

  • NCSU STUDY: Impurity Size Affects Performance of Emerging Superconductive Material

    Research from North Carolina State University finds that impurities can hurt performance – or possibly provide benefits – in a key superconductive material that is expected to find use in a host of applications, including future particle colliders. The size of the impurities determines whether they help or hinder the material’s performance.

    April 22, 2014

  • U.S. Archivist to Speak at NC State Commencement

    David S. Ferriero, archivist of the United States, will deliver NC State’s commencement address on Saturday, May 10, at 9 a.m. at the PNC Center in Raleigh.

    April 22, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 20, 2014

House Ads
Seasonal Content