Big Vape is in trouble, according to a new report from the New York Times. In September NJoy, one of the United States’ biggest e-cigarette manufacturers, filed for bankruptcy amidst falling sales and use of the smoking alternative.
The issue? Americans are hesitant to accept vaping as a healthier alternative to smoking. “The country’s top public health authorities have sent an unwavering message: Vaping is dangerous,” the New York Times reports. This is supposed to discourage young people from starting to vape, because the government is still anti-nicotine addiction. To me, that makes sense.
Vaping, nevertheless, is far healthier than smoking, although many of its long term effects have yet to be tested. A British medical organization found in one study that vaping is 95% healthier than smoking. But in the United States, it’s illegal for e-cigarette sellers to advertise their products as healthier than analog cigarettes.
Daniel I. Wikler, an ethicist at Harvard, told the New York Times, “When they are regulated just like tobacco, people draw the conclusion that they are just as dangerous. You didn’t say it, but you didn’t have to. People make that assumption and you don’t try to disabuse them of it.”
So what’s the solution? Deregulate vaping? Grover Norquist and Gary Johnson would surely be fans of that. Philip Morris and other big tobacco companies are also developing more devices to get that sweet nicotine fix that aren’t vapes or cigarettes.
But really, Big Vape, here’s something you have yet to consider: Maybe people don’t like vaping because they think it’s lame. I mean, nothing can replace a classic cigarette, especially when clutched between the fingers of a teen who’s dying to look cool. If vaping is going to flourish, it needs to rebrand into something sexier than the original thing.