Tobacco companies are the last people you would expect to give warnings against nicotine and tobacco products when they don’t have to. However, tobacco companies seem to be showing great concern for consumer health when it comes to their e cigarette products.
According to the New York Times, major tobacco corporations, such as Reynolds American and Altria, who produce Camel and Marlboro, are putting health warnings on their e cigarettes that in some cases go beyond what they would put on their tobacco cigarettes.
The companies are branding their electronic cigarettes and related products with warnings about the risks and dangers of using nicotine. It is worth mentioning that the companies are not under any legal obligation to do so, and seem to be doing it completely off their own backs.
In some highlighted cases, these companies are using even scarier warnings than they use on their traditional cigarettes. For instance, take a look at Altria’s MarkTen warning as compared to a pack of traditional Marlboro cigarettes.
The Warning on their E Cigarettes
The MarkTen package has a large sticker that warns consumers that the product is not a smoking cessation device. It also says that the device has not been tested for the same purpose. The warning says that the e-cigarette is intended for use by people of legal age and older. It should not be used by pregnant women, children or people at risk of high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes. The warning also says that electronic cigarettes shouldn’t be used by people taking medicines for asthma or depression.
It also goes on to say that it is important to understand that nicotine is very addictive. Moreover, it is toxic when it is inhaled, swallowed or comes in contact with your skin, and nicotine can also increase your blood pressure and heart rate. It also states that the e cigarette can cause nausea, stomach pain and dizziness. Inhalation of the product can aggravate respiratory conditions. Moreover, ingestion of non-vaporized concentrated ingredients in the e cigarette cartridges can be poisonous. All this information is included in warning.
The warning also says that the product contains nicotine, and it is a chemical known to cause reproductive harm and birth defects. It even asks the consumer to keep the product out of children’s reach, and promises some more safety information inside the package.
The Warnings on their Tobacco Cigarettes
In contrast their Marlboro Lights pack only features one warning. It says that smoking by pregnant women may cause premature birth, low birth weight and foetal injury.
In complete contrast to their electronic cigarette products, their warnings on traditional tobacco cigarette packs are concise and straightforward. They are neither detailed nor dramatic.
In the United States, tobacco cigarettes are required to carry either the warning mentioned above regarding pregnancy or one of the following listed below :
- Quitting Smoking Can Reduce The Risks To Your Health
- Cigarette Smoke Contains Harmful Carbon Monoxide
- Smoking Causes Heart Disease, Lung Cancer and Emphysema
- Smoking May Complicate Pregnancy
Recently, tobacco manufacturers in the US, in contrast to the UK have avoided having to put ugly, dramatic and colourful graphic warning labels on tobacco cigarette packs. These include images of diseased lungs, and an individual with a hole in the throat.
Why Are They Using These Warnings?
According to experts who have been studying tobacco company behaviour for many years, these companies have ulterior motives. Experts believe that the primary motive of these companies is to insulate themselves from any lawsuits in future. Moreover, they also want to appear responsible.
When companies give warnings, they’re able to seek trust from regulators and consumers. They earn some sort of legitimacy that tobacco companies have craved for many years. In addition to this, since they appear responsible, they’re able to avoid the strong competition from smaller electronic cigarette companies.
E Cigarettes Are Safer: Fact
Regardless of the warnings, it’s important to understand that electronic cigarettes aren’t as bad for people as traditional cigarettes. However, admittedly the maximum extent of their effects on health is still unknown.
Experts expect consumers to understand that nicotine is addictive. Withdrawal effects from nicotine include depression and irritability. Since it’s a stimulant, it can be quite dangerous for people suffering from heart problems. However, nicotine isn’t a carcinogen.
According to the American Cancer Society, tests on animals reveal that tobacco can cause chemical changes. However, these changes aren’t fully related to nicotine. It’s worth mentioning that nicotine is the primary substance that makes cigarettes addictive.
It’s also worth mentioning that most brands of electronic cigarettes contain propylene glycol. This substance can be quite dangerous. However, it’s only dangerous when you’re exposed to levels higher than vaping. On the other hand, traditional tobacco cigarettes are proven to be much more harmful, and may lead to cancer, heart disease and emphysema.
Maybe the tobacco companies are just being responsible by putting all of these excessive warnings on their e cigarette products. But it makes you wonder that if they want to be so responsible, then why aren’t they putting more information on their tobacco cigarettes about how dangerous they are? A conspiracy theorist may say that they believe the tobacco companies are trying to use scare tactics on electronic cigarettes to put people off making the switch from tobacco. But who knows?
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