British American Tobacco is the fifth largest tobacco company in the world today. After recently growth of the ecig industry, BAT decided to invest in Nicoventures, a new vaping subsidiary. As they work to open doors for their own ecig brand to succeed, the tobacco giant is pushing Australian authorities to regulate electronic cigarettes as medicinal products.
So why is BAT suddenly interested in how lawmakers handle ecig regulations? First and foremost, it is because they have a stake in the industry now that they are handling their own line of ecigs. But more specifically, they are looking to influence Australia’s authorities because they want to get in the door early if ecigs are accepted under medicinal licensure. This would give them prime market placement to lead the industry and have a leg up on any competitors.
But even with their own Nicoventures line at risk, BAT’s sudden interest in regulations does bring up some serious questions. Why would BAT want ecigs treated as medications if that would only expand their reach? Keep in mind that this is a company that depends on smokers using tobacco in order to make billions of dollars in revenue each year. It is simply illogical to expect the same company that is getting rich off of cigarettes to offer a product that will help people successfully quit for the long term. The would essentially be putting themselves out of business.
Instead, it seems that BAT and other tobacco companies would be more interested in regulations that would limit ecig reach so they could preserve their current customer base. It makes you wonder if the tobacco companies are purposefully manufacturing ecigs that will be less effective to help smokers stop using tobacco products. At very minimal, they want vapers to stay hooked to their ecig line so they don’t lose any customer for a lifetime.
In your opinion, what is BAT’s motive for pushing Australia to add ecigs to current medical regulations?