Electronic cigarettes are likely to be banned from television advertising just like their paper counterparts. About four decades ago, tobacco cigarettes were banned from the airwaves. However, with these new products free from regulations, what was taboo for Big Tobacco is now an unregulated pleasure it is very much enjoying.
Marketing Freedom Might Be Over Yet Too Soon
Apparently, these good days are somewhat already numbered. The FDA or the Foods and Drugs Administration is expected to announce its decision about electronic cigarettes by October this year. It is anticipated by many that this proposed FDA regulation will include television advertising of electronic cigarettes.
This was based on a report by CLSA Americas, a financial services group. With this looming ban, the emerging revenue source for TV networks will be curbed too soon. From 2011 to 2012, the amount of money spent on commercials for the category has increased by 17.9%, Citibank reported.
The electronic cigarette market is currently not bound by regulations. A fact that many believe makes electronic cigarettes more attractive to Big Tobacco.
With their typical cigarette products, Big Tobacco became like an amputee as it lost a very useful advertising means to promote cigarettes and reach more potential consumers. Yet, they are making a comeback with renewed print ad that has declined since the signing of Master Settlement Agreement or MSA back in November 1998.
Many prohibitionists are worried that viewers who can see these commercials are possibly not just adults. If kids see these adverts on television, they young ones might think it is cool to smoke and would be tempted to try the products.
Making The Most Out Of Regulation Absence
David Howard, Reynolds American spokesperson, said that they are actually looking at various mediums by which more adult smokers can be reached and introduced to vaping, including TV commercials, point of sale, radio advertisements and direct mail.
Lorillard, one of the three Big Tobacco giant companies in the US was the first to move in the electronic cigarette market. It acquired a well-known brand of electronic cigarettes, Blu cigs, last April 2012. Now, it is reportedly claiming 40% of the market share.
Blu Cigs also aired its first TV commercial under Lorillard’s management last year that featured Stephen Dorff. Recently, Blu also launched a television and web campaign where the endorser is another celebrity, the former Playboy playmate Jenny McCarthy.
Non-Tobacco Electronic Cigarette Companies
Meanwhile, other electronic cigarette makers already said that they have no plans of continuing their marketing tactics on various media until the ban is announced. There are other manufacturers and companies of electronic cigarette devices that are not affiliated or connected to any tobacco firm and yet are doing well in the industry
Among the major market players are Fin and Njoy. Both companies also launched their individual television commercial. NJoy is said to rank next to Blu ecigs in terms of market share. It is said to have 1/3 share of the market.
After FDA Announced Its Proposal
It is anticipated that after FDA announced its proposed regulations, it will still take some time before any policies are enforced. The proposal is to be presented openly in which the public is welcome to make comments. This public commenting would most likely take several months to conclude.
According to Jenny Haliski from the FDA, further research is necessary to accurately assess potential risks and benefits of this category. Yet, she said that the agency intends to expand its authority on tobacco products to electronic cigarettes. She refused to comment further about the contents of this proposed regulation.
There are other assumptions included in the CLSA report as to what other components the proposal might contain like prohibition of sales to minors, warning label requirement and online sale restriction.