Tobacco companies are expected to spend millions of dollars on e-cigarette advertising this year, Ad Age reports. The U.S. market for e-cigarettes is projected to double this year, to about $1 billion.
The second-largest tobacco company in the United States, R.J. Reynolds, is launching an e-cigarette called Vuse. The company will begin marketing the product in Colorado next month, with print, TV and direct mail marketing.
Altria, which owns Philip Morris USA, the country’s largest tobacco company, is expected to unveil its own e-cigarette brand today at an investor event. The nation’s third-largest tobacco firm, Lorillard, will spend $40 million on marketing its e-cigarette, Blu.
E-cigarettes are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so tobacco companies can market them through television ads. Traditional cigarette television ads have been banned since 1971. Tobacco companies have cut back on magazine ads since the Master Settlement Agreement of 1998 established broad restrictions on cigarette marketing. Philip Morris USA does not advertise in print.
Earlier this year, R.J. Reynolds began advertising in magazines again, with ads for Camel Crush cigarettes. Health groups including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Legacy and the American Heart Association are asking several attorneys general to investigate the ads, arguing they target young people.
So far, tobacco companies have been marketing e-cigarettes to existing adult smokers who want an alternative to regular cigarettes, the article notes.
The tobacco industry is awaiting the FDA’s decision on how it will regulate e-cigarettes. Some experts say any regulations would likely result in a court battle, which would delay the regulations from going into effect.