E-Cigarette More Costly for US Gov than Twin Towers Attack
by Edwin Estioko
Watch out, almighty tobacco, the electronic cigarette has arrived. The billion dollar cigarette industry is now threatened by a lowly Chinese invention that is supposed to be safer, better and more modern than smoked tobacco leaves.
Its potential attack on the tobacco industry, and, as a result, American tax revenue, could be more devastating than the taking down of the World Trade Center.
What is it?
The electronic cigarette or e-cigarette (and also sometimes called personal vaporizer) is a battery-operated nicotine delivery device that delivers out doses of nicotine using a vaporized solution without the burning of leaves or paper. There is no real smoke, which makes the e-cigarette perfectly harmless to passive smokers.
Big Sales - Big Enemies
In 2006, sales of the e-cigarette reached USD37 million in China alone. Yet there is still much debate on whether the e-cigarette should be allowed into mainstream American market. The Food and Drug Administration’s ruling on the e-cigarette’s safety is preventing it from reaching a potential popularity that could very easily topple the cigarette’s billion dollar market control.
A Threat to Established Industry
SBT Ruyan, the Beijing-based manufacturer of the e-cigar, claims that its product is an acceptable alternative to smoking which is both cheaper and more pleasant than traditional 'analog' cigarettes. If this was true, the e-cigarette could send the tobacco industry crumbling down, and the stakes are higher than when the World Trade Center fell.
The tobacco industry is worth several times more than what was lost in the 9/11 nightmare. A number of reports from private and government research places global tobacco revenue at more than USD200 billion dollars.
A huge amount of this money is taken in government taxes - taxes which, in America, have been earmarked for health reforms.
In contrast, economic losses from the Twin Tower were estimated at $1.1 billion, a huge amount but tiny when compared to what’s at stake in the smoked cigarette - electronic cigarette war.
Big Tobacco's Allies
Yet the tobacco industry is so huge that it will be very difficult to take down.
For now, several groups including the World Health Organization and the Food and Drug Administration are stopping the e-cigarette from being legitimized, and from officially taking on the Big Bosses of tobacco.
And since the tobacco industry is global, the fight against the e-cigarette rages in different countries. In Australia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, and Singapore, the sale and use of e-cigar is prohibited. The United Kingdom, Denmark and the Netherlands currently allow people to try e-cigarette as an alternative to smoking tobacco - but for how long, who knows?
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