E Cigarette News Round Up – 5th January 2012

Banned in Canada?

The spread of e-cigarettes and the practice of vaping have been recently dealt a serious blow in Canada by a renewed crackdown on e cigs and cartomizers by Health Canada and the RCMP. Several smokeless cigarette manufacturer start ups have been forced to shut down under threat from these entities, and even online/mail order of e-cigs and cartomizers from the U.S. and elsewhere is prone to search and seizure at the borders.

Health Canada has long stood in opposition to the practice of vaping and sales and distribution of e-cigarette technology within the country’s borders. In 2009 Health Canada declared in an official statement that the products fall under the federal Food and Drugs Act, and therefore are subject to government approval before being legal for sale in Canada. As a result there have been no market authorizations for e-cigarettes and associated products in the country to date. Health Canada maintains a steadfast anti-e-cigarette stance, even in the face of increasing evidence that it is a much safer alternative to smoking traditional tobacco products.

Not surprisingly, and similarly to the political situation in the United States, it is not difficult to trace Health Canada’s intractability—Big Tobacco once again rules the game. It is in the public record that the Canadian Government collected upwards of $20 BILLION worth of tobacco taxes in the period from 2001-2008. It is one thing to stand for the public health in a spirit of genuine altruism, and quite another to block a more healthful alternative with a proven track record of smoking cessation success because the money generated by Big Tobacco is just too irresistible.

Medical Cannabis E Cigarette one step closer to realization

As previously reported in this column, Medical Cannabis Management has been involved in the process of developing existing electronic cigarette technology as a delivery device for the active chemical agent in medical cannabis: THC. Distillation of the highly effective analgesic into cartomizer e-liquids will revolutionize the Medical Cannabis movement by eliminating the need for the marijuana plant to be acquired by the end user. Prescription strength e-solutions are seen as a more effective and ultimately manageable method to aid the chronically ill in pain and nausea management resulting from cancer and HIV treatments and chronic pain.

The producer of the THC e-cig has yet to be announced pending final trademark legalities being researched and cleared, but Medical Cannabis Management is expecting that the product will be ready to market within the next month. The product will not be available for the general public to purchase—but rather is slated to be presented to doctors and medical entities as a prescribed alternative to existing side effect laden narcotics and other drugs.

Canny Marketing Strategy for E Cigarettes

A former high level Proctor and Gamble marketing executive has entered into the e-cigarette manufacture and sales arena with an clever strategy to do precisely what the US Food and Drug Administration forbids—extol the virtues of e-cigs as a smoking cessation method.

The US FDA does not recognize e-cigs as a “drug delivery device”—which on one hand is only correct and true—nicotine not being federally acknowledged at a class “A” drug—and which further helps the e-cig industry escape oppressive regulations that could end up requiring a doctor’s prescription for their purchase and use. On the other hand, this lack of said recognition also prevents e cigarette manufacturers from claiming the device can help smokers quit.

Former P&G marketing maven, Jeffrey Hill launched the Spire E-Cig brand in October of 2011 with a stated intent of spreading the good news about e-cigs as anti-smoking aids by a targeted marketing approach. Mr Hill is making his case to those on the front lines of the detrimental health effects of traditional tobacco smoking—oncologists—the medical professionals who treat the cancers that the combustion of tobacco visits on millions of smokers each year. In addition Hill is also reaching out to municipal officials across the US in an effort to establish public-private agreements that would make e-cigs and accessories available for sale in public locations—and is meeting with some success on that front even in these early days. Hill is further selling his Spire product to corporations in a few cities—pitching statistics that show the loss of productive employee time (an estimated 15 %!) to the forced habit of having to go outside of office buildings to smoke. One of the corporations he’s already struck a deal with is a “top five” health care company, which cannot be named for obvious reasons, but which offers the e-cig products to existing smoking employees as an alternative option to smoking tobacco.

This is very intelligent and incisively targeted marketing—and will likely go a long way in furthering the cause of e-cigs and vaping industry wide. We may find other e cigarette manufacturers and retailers are soon following his lead.