It’s easy to understand why some smokers feel that e-cigs are destined to go the way of the oxygen bar, the Atkins diet and countless other fads which inexplicably drum up fleeting support despite their inherently flawed premises. If you find yourself in a debate as to whether e-cigs are just a passing fad, the first thing you need to do is empathize.
E-cigs look like sci-fi technology, an early arrival from an uber-safe future in which cigarettes are all but extinct. With the overtly negative image of smokers in the public consciousness, their expulsion from bars, clubs, restaurants and public spaces, e-cigs are another thing that understandably makes smokers feel as though they’re being left behind. In this situation, it’s much easier to brush the idea of e-cigs aside as a novel piece of technology that will disappear faster than the mini-disc player than to contemplate why you’re stuck using an anachronistic form of nicotine consumption.
The argument is easily addressed without touching on these more personal issues, but if you encounter this point, the person in question is clearly being driven to hold their opinion by something other than an appraisal of the situation. The premise of the technology should have been enough to convince them otherwise – all people have ever smoked tobacco for is the nicotine, so how can an alternative method of nicotine consumption ever really be a fad? Gums and patches are nothing like smoking, yet even they can’t be considered a fad because they've been around for so long.
Explain how e-cigs have actually been around for a decade – being invented in 2003 by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik – and their sales have been rapidly rising since being introduced into the US in 2007. In 2007, sales were around $5 million per year and that figure has more than doubled every year since. In 2013, they hit over $1 billion in sales before September, looking set to reach around $1.7 billion by the end of the year. There is no sign that this is slowing down, and that’s why big tobacco is getting in on the action.
Lorillard has purchased blu Cigs, and Reynold’s American and the Altria Group are producing their own e-cigs. If anyone should be concerned about whether or not e-cigs are merely a fad, it’s big tobacco, and they've roundly come to the conclusion that they are worth the investment. If you’re talking to a smoker who thinks e-cigs are just a fad – check which cigarettes he or she smokes – if it’s Marlboro, Parliament, Chesterfield, L&M, Camel, Pall Mall, Winston, Newport or Kent, point out that the company who makes their cigarettes doesn't agree.