The tobacco industry is taking a big hit this year with an increasing number of smokers making the switch to electronic cigarettes. Prestigious Japanese bank Nomura has weighed in on the situation with new projections for the future of tobacco. Nomura predicts that tobacco cigarette sales will fall 3.8 percent and e-cig sales will skyrocket 15 percent by 2023. Can the tobacco industry continue to sustain these huge losses or will e-cig finally overcome tobacco use for good?
The Economist says that e-cigs are a game-changer for the big tobacco, calling them a “Kodak Moment” for the smoking industry. Wells Fargo also predicts that e-cigs will soon outshine their tobacco-laden predecessors, going so far as to predict that ecig sales will top tobacco sales within a decade.
The increase in e-cig use is a worldwide phenomenon with the UK reporting a 340 percent increase in ecig sales last year. There are a reported 1.3 million people in the UK that use e-cigarettes. It’s a global trend that continues to power forward and overrun the declining tobacco industry.
The response to the continued growth of ecigs has been mixed and in many cases, quite controversial. Some anti-smoking advocates were quick to endorse electronic cigarettes as a good alternative for smokers that couldn’t quit. Clive Bates, the former director of Action on Smoking and Health has repeatedly backed e-cigarettes and supported vaping as a positive choice for smokers.
However, e-cigs have also faced some major opposition. Recently, the European Union voted to accept new e-cig bans that will limit the concentration of nicotine in e-liquids to just 20mg/ml. Some fear that this could deter heavy smokers from using ecigs as the nicotine content is far less than their usual consumption from cigarettes. London Economics condemned the ban, saying it could cost 105,000 lives in Europe each year.
Ecigs are also facing tremendous criticism in the United States, with rumors of FDA regulation circulating each month. So far, the FDA has not made any official move to restrict ecigs, but it is certainly a possibility. In recent years, the FDA has been focused on eliminating menthol cigarettes, which they claim will provide a major public health benefit. Japanese bank Nomura said they didn’t think menthols would be banned anytime soon, however they projected that the FDA would push for harsh age restrictions and higher taxation on menthol cigarettes. Nomura also mentioned the possibility that the US would require graphic warning labels like those used in European countries to deter smokers.
Ultimately, Nomura believes that the tobacco industry has hit a wall and reached their pinnacle. The future will be a steady decline. While smoking is still a major problem in today’s world, these predictions give us hope that e-cigs will rise to the top and tobacco use will one day end for good. Do you think we will continue to see a decline in smoking as ecigs become more widely accepted?