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Tobacco Companies Try to Win Consumers’ and Regulators’ Trust by Placing Lengthy Warnings on E-Cigarettes

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Bigger, direr health warnings are appearing on e-cigarette labels these days.

The warnings on electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are getting longer and more serious compared to the warnings on packages of traditional tobacco cigarettes, The New York Times (The Times) recently pointed out. Per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), tobacco cigarettes are only required to have short warnings. A 2009 push by federal regulators to require tobacco companies to create bigger, graphic warnings failed after a successful court challenge from several Big Tobacco companies, according to The Washington Post (The Post).

The Times said in a report cited by The Post that Big Tobacco experts believe the extensive e-cigarette warnings “are a very low-risk way for the companies to insulate themselves from future lawsuits and, even more broadly, to appear responsible, open and frank.” The companies do this, according to The Times report, to gain the confidence of consumers and regulators and earn a degree of long sought-after legitimacy. “Plus, they get to appear more responsible than the smaller e-cigarette companies that seek to unseat them,” The Times wrote.

Big Tobacco produces many of the most popular e-cigarette brands, including Blu, which was acquired by Lorillard, then purchased by Imperial after Lorillard merged with tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds. The biggest players in the cigarette industry are competing with smaller companies, many of whom produce “vape” pens, for regular cigarette customers and future customers – those who have not even begun to smoke yet, especially teenagers and young adults, according to The Post.

E-cigarette makers want consumers to believe their products are safer than traditional cigarettes because e-cigarettes heat up nicotine-containing liquid that produces a vapor instead of regular smoke. There is, of course, very little data to back up the companies’ claims. Tobacco firms also say their products help tobacco cigarette smokers to kick the habit. According to the FDA, the full risks of e-cigarettes have not been determined. The results of a French study released in April 2013 found that e-cigarettes contain a significant amount of carcinogenic molecules. In three of the models, the levels of formaldehyde and were found to be almost identical to what is found in a traditional cigarette. Acrolein, an extremely toxic molecule, was also found in the vapors.

Columbia University Medical Center researchers released the results of a study earlier this month that found that e-cigarettes may serve as a “gateway drug” for teenagers and increase the risk for substance abuse. Teenagers that used e-cigarettes were found to be more likely to try other drugs, including marijuana and cocaine, scientists said. disclaimer: This article: Tobacco Companies Try to Win Consumers’ and Regulators’ Trust by Placing Lengthy Warnings on E-Cigarettes was posted on Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 at 2:41 pm at and is filed under Misleading Information Lawsuits, Product Liability Lawsuits.

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