V2 Reveals Consumer Response to Federal E-Cig Regulation

vape and cigaretteNearly half of vapers would turn back to combustible cigarettes if e-cigarettes were taken off the market.

A new commissioned study by V2, an e-cigarette retailer, has revealed the reactions of e-cigarette users to the recent decision from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to extend federal regulatory control to e-cigarettes.

The survey polled 300 adult “vapers” across the U.S. between May 16 and 20.

The results of the survey are as follows:

44% had never heard of the regulations
When asked when they first heard about the FDA’s proposed regulations:

  • 44% said that “this is the first I am hearing about this”
  • 30% said they had heard about the regulations some time since the FDA’s decision
  • 18% heard about the regulations on May 5th, the day of the decision
  • Just 9% said that they had heard about the proposed regulations prior to the FDA’s ruling in May

“The industry missed a giant opportunity to inform and inspire vapers to take action ahead of these regulations,” said Adam Kustin, vice president of marketing, V2. “It’s unfortunate that the industry and its customers will only be able to coalesce around this issue after the barn door closed.”

74% believe e-cigarettes should be regulated
Among e-cigarette users surveyed, three-quarters (74%) believe that electronic cigarettes “should be subject to some sort of regulatory process.” However, in an April survey by V2, which polled 600 vapers, 57% said that they were against any federal regulations by the FDA. Of that 57%, 27% said regulations should occur locally (state, municipality, etc.) and 13% said the industry should self-regulate.

“Vapers want common sense regulations to ensure consumer protection and product standards,” said Kustin. “But what they fear is overregulation, which would stifle product access and innovation.”

Without e-cigs, 49% would go back to smoking
As part of the FDA’s ruling, government approval of all e-cigarette products and related consumables introduced after 2007, such as e-liquid, is now required. These products must go through a formal approval process to continue to be sold. Reports estimate that submitting an application for a single product approval could cost more than $1 million for the applicant.

“Big Tobacco companies, with their virtually unlimited resources, benefit tremendously from an onerous and costly application process,” said Kustin. “They have the ability to do it. And while our company is also well positioned, the smaller players in our category aren’t as fortunate. Some simply won’t be able to bring their products to market, while others will be forced to raise prices, further diminishing their competitiveness. Lastly, it’s important to recognize that Big Tobacco is under no obligation to submit any products for approval. They could accelerate the demise of the industry by simply withholding products from submission. Given the relative size of the e-cig industry to combustibles, I would say their motivation is low.”

When the survey respondents were asked what they would do if electronic cigarettes and e-liquid became harder to buy or more expensive, 36% said “nothing would change” and that “as long as they are available, I will buy them.” However, 34% said that they would vape less. Another 18% said they would “vape less and smoke combustible cigarettes more,” while 8% said they would switch back to smoking exclusively, if e-cigarettes and e-liquid became more expensive or more scarce.

When asked if regulations were to force e-cigarettes off the market entirely, 49% said they would go back to combustible cigarettes. 28% said they would stop consuming nicotine or tobacco products of any kind and 17% said they would use a smoking cessation method, such as the patch, mints or gum.

“E-cigs are groundbreaking technologies that offer an alternative to combustible cigarettes, which are harmful to millions,” said Kustin. “Almost half of respondents reported they’d return to combustible cigarettes if e-cigarettes were no longer available. The remainder said that they’d either use a cessation therapy such as nicotine gum, which we know doesn’t work; or they’d quit nicotine entirely, which is unlikely and unprecedented. In other words, if the FDA’s ruling hampers access or forces higher prices, it threatens to eliminate 99% of the industry, essentially driving vapers back into the eager arms of Big Tobacco. Such an outcome would be tragic, not to mention entirely inconsistent with the FDA’s earlier ‘continuum of risk’ rhetoric.”

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