Georgia announced a ban on all tobacco use on university campuses, effect next fall. Meanwhile, CVS Caremark Corporation recently announced plans to discontinue tobacco sales, with an intended start date of October 1, 2014. Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) businesses and “vaping lounges,” as salons that sell the product, and invite people to try the latest flavor are called, can profit from these upcoming changes.
In an effort to improve its brand as a provider of health and minor medical care, CVS Caremark, the nation’s second largest drugstore chain by revenue, will cease all tobacco sales by October 1, 2014. The company expects this will increase its revenue long-term, and increase the value of its brand. As the company stated, “Removing tobacco will help grow the company’s business of working with doctors, hospitals and other care providers to improve customers’ health”. In an effort to develop their own image as purveyors of genuine health, competitors such as Rite Aid may soon follow suit. This move opens an excellent vacuum for vaping product companies such Frii to develop a distribution channel; drugstores can sell a product acknowledged as a smoking alternative or cessation, and more enjoyable than nicotine gum.
Georgia plans to institute its no smoking policy on all college and university campuses, beginning in the fall of 2014. The ban is set for 31 public campuses across the state. Georgia schools will join over 800 other educational institutions across the country that have already prohibited tobacco use on campus.
Curiously, the campus tobacco ban is currently set to include electronic cigarettes. Apparently CVS Caremark will likewise include electronic “vaping” goods in its discontinuation of tobacco product sales. While on the surface these measures appear to be a blow to e-cigarette companies and retailers, this is not necessarily so. Vaping industry players need to strongly communicate that the product does not contain tobacco. Instead, it provides the consumer with “juices,” as the flavored liquids are called; some of which contain no nicotine. Unlike classic cigarettes, there is no burning or smoke in e-cigarettes. Rather, an atomizer heats the juice and transforms it into a vapor, hence the term “vaping,” instead of smoking. While some remain concerned about the possible effect of second “vape,” there is no evidence that its’ results are anywhere as dangerous as second-hand cigarette smoke. Businesses that cater to vaping enthusiasts can develop profit while they assist in the weaning of people from cigarettes during the upcoming tobacco ban and discontinuation. Vaping lounges and e-cigarette manufacturers have the opportunity to present their service as a smoke and nicotine free alternative to cigarettes during the transition.
The Huffington Post reports that smoking contributes to almost half a million deaths in the U.S. each year. The medium went on to quote a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that an additional 42,000 people die from secondhand smoke. Meanwhile, vaping, which none of the toxins in cigarette smoke, should be promoted at least almost much as nicotine patches by the medical community.
The decision by CVS Caremark to discontinue selling tobacco products is an intelligent business move for a company wanting to profit from a health-affiliated brand. Vaping product manufacturers and distributors can assist the company with this objective by promoting e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco, similar to nicotine patches. Vapor lounges in and around college campuses can also help ween students from cigarettes by offering the healthier alternative when the upcoming bans occur next fall. E-cigarette industry could be the best thing to happen to smokers since not picking up the habit in the first place.
By Ian Erickson
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