You probably don't need printed warnings to know that tobacco is bad to your health. But there they are, a warning from the surgeon general himself on every single pack of cigarettes: "Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and may complicate pregnancy." That certainly doesn't mince words — but now, Big Tobacco companies are putting out severe warnings on their e-cigarette products that are even more cumbersome than the ones on their tobacco products.
The New York Times noted that the warning labels take pains to cover the effects of e-cigarette consumption. For example, Altria, which makes Marlboro's, prints a 100+ word warning on the side of its MarkTen nicotine cartridges, including caution about the possibility of nausea, dizziness, and stomach pain.
This product is not a smoking cessation product and has not been tested as such. This product is intended for use by persons of legal age or older, and not by children, women who are pregnant or breast feeding, or persons with or at risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or taking medicine for depression or asthma. Nicotine is addictive and habit forming, and it is very toxic by inhalation, in contact with the skin, or if swallowed. Nicotine can increase your heart rate and blood pressure and cause dizziness, nausea, and stomach pain. Inhalation of this product may aggravate existing respiratory conditions. Ingestion of the non-vaporized concentrated ingredients in the cartridges can be poisonous.
Vuse, which is produced by cigarette giant Reynolds American, also prints a lengthy warning label on its product. Both note that e-cigarettes are not a smoking cessation product, although smaller privately-owned producers still champion them as a healthy alternative to cigarettes.
So, has Big Tobacco suddenly developed a soul? No, probably not. As The New York Times noted, medical experts largely suspect that this is an engineered PR move that will allow giant companies to shirk off some of the guilt of creating one of the world's most deadly consumer products.
If they trick consumers into thinking that they care about their lungs, it's easier for them to gain customer rapport, something that has previously only be achieved via addiction in the tobacco industry. Though tobacco companies don't see e-cigarettes of much as a threat, they are gunning for market shares in the burgeoning business. Three Big Tobacco companies have made forays into the e-cigarette industry thus far.
The lengthy warnings are designed to cover the tobacco companies' bases legally, too. The tobacco industry permanently branded its own reputation when it marketed its product as safe or even good for your health when tobacco first hit the market, much like smaller e-cigarette companies are doing now.
Don't let Big Tobacco trick you into thinking that they actually care about your health or well-being. If they did, they'd just stop making cigarettes altogether. These lengthy warnings are just a way for them to build a false sense of trust and dive into yet another facet of nicotine peddling.