I was quite taken by the notion - expounded in https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288920005_Big_Tobacco_E-Cigarettes_and_a_road_to_the_smoking_endgame - that the big tobacco companies probably ought to be encouraged to move into Ecigs in a big way, such that they could run down their combustibles business as a "more profitable" ecig business arose. There are, of course, certain caveats placed on the idea - the major one Bing that legislators would have to construct whatever envorinment they produced to encourage this in such a way that the Big Tobs couldn't just buy independent ecig companies out - they'd have to grow their ecig companies at arm's length from their current core operations and more or less from the ground up.
I sat and thought about all of this. It's a very, very good idea. But I can't see certain folks in the Tobacco Control Industry (TCI hereinafter) wearing it. Neither can I see it making prices particularly attractive for we punters. Here's why.
TCI is composed largely of "Dragon Slayers" (H/T David Sweanor) who see anything that produces a cloud, big or small, as sinful, disgusting and so on - we all know the drill here. They have a deep distrust of tobacco companies (and that's putting it mildly), and want to see them punished, killed, manacled, shackled, hung, drawn, quartered, flogged, whipped and then punished, killed, manacled, shackled, hung, drawn, quartered, flogged and whipped all over again, just to be on the safe side. It's about the only prospect they're gleeful about. I believe they refer to this as "The End Game".
If, however, the big tobacco companies are to be, as it were, "helped" to "rehabilitate" and move away from combustibles, where's the punishment in that? Will the TCI mandarins accept that? WHO knows!?!?
Moreover, what will it all mean for we punters? Well, price-wise, it's all going to fall down hard.
Put yourself in a tobacco company CEO's shoes. They currently know that their product, taxed at 85% in the UK (more or less) is still quite profitable for them. But Ecigs. FIrst, I don't see our CEO trusting TCI one small step. Not at all. While past performance is no guarantee of future actions, we who Vape are able to predict to uncanny levels what TCI will do next. They're like a stuck record. We Deja Vu ten times a day, so predictable are they.
So, our CEO is likely to do what Big Pharma has done with NRT, and price it maybe just a little south of what the average 20 a day smoker pays (for something they think will satisfy a 20 a day smoker).
That, basically, means that the BT version of, say, an EMOW or EVOD would end up costing three times as much from our CEO as it does from Bill and Ted's Ecig Shoppe on the high street. Same with the juice. And why would they do this? Precisely because they know that TCI will fight them every step of the way, and they'll need to be able both to fund the inevitable court cases and also to keep their investors happy with dividends.
So, it seems to me that this is going to be a fight. I think it's a damned good idea, but I also think that the folks standing in the way will be the dragon slayers of the TCI who will scupper it. But hey! I'm up for a fight! Are you?