In recent years, electronic cigarettes have become more and more popular in the world, even labeled as less harmful to health and a substitute for tobacco.
However, on Wednesday, April 3, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a statement that it received 35 reports of epilepsy among young people after using electronic cigarettes, spanning 2010 to 2019. Because of the limited sample size, it is not clear whether the epilepsy is caused by electronic cigarettes, but the FDA encourages the public to submit relevant reports.
After the announcement, shares of famous tobacco companies such as Altria Group and Anglo-American Tobacco Group fell sharply.
Altria fell 4.78% to $53.98 on Wednesday, while British and American tobacco fell 2.29% to 3,105.77 pence.
Recently, FDA has paid special attention to the potential hazards of e-cigarettes. On April 1, FDA Director Scott Gottlieb and Deputy Executive Director Amy Abernethy published an article discussing the potential hazards of e-cigarettes.
Scott Gottlieb said:
The popularity of e-cigarettes has risen dramatically, partly because they are touted as safer products than flammable cigarettes because they are inhaled by users of e-cigarettes (often referred to as vapors) rather than smoke. For adults who are already addicted to smoking, e-cigarettes may be less harmful than cigarettes, but this does not mean that e-cigarettes are safe. We are working to fully describe and quantify the potential hazards of e-cigarettes.
In addition, the FDA noted that existing scientific research has provided clear evidence that some hazardous chemicals in tobacco smoke can also be found in the aerosols of some electronic cigarettes:
Studies have shown that in addition to propylene glycol, glycerol and flavoring agents, electronic aerosols also contain formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and unstable atoms (free radicals), which can damage cells and cause disease and accelerate aging. Previous studies have shown that substances found in e-flue aerosols may lead to pulmonary hypoplasia, dyspnea, decreased defense against bacterial and viral pathogens, and may induce inflammation or cancer.
At the end of last year, US tobacco giant Altria Group paid $12.8 billion to acquire a 35% stake in JUUL Labs, an electronic tobacco startup, which raised the valuation of JUUL Labs to $38 billion.
At the end of 2017, the market share of JUUL brand in the same type of electronic tobacco products in the United States reached 47%, which rose to about 70% in 2018. JUUL sales are expected to reach $1.5 billion in 2018.
JUUL surpasses the long-standing leading Vuse brand in the US market, and its share in the steam smoke category also surpasses the highest market share (46.2%) of the Marlboro brand of Philip Morris International USA in the traditional cigarette category.
British and American tobacco, which owns 555, Dunhill and other famous brands, began to distribute the new generation of tobacco products (NGPs) in 2010, and its extension strategy began to incline to the field of electronic tobacco.
Up to 17 years, the company has acquired Protabaco, CNCreative, CHIC, TenMotives and other electronic cigarette enterprises, plus Renault, a total of six electronic cigarette enterprises. Meanwhile, Anglo-American tobacco continued to increase NGPs research and development, and related R&D investment (including Renault) totaled more than $2.5 billion.
At present, Anglo-American tobacco NGPs products include VUSE series, Vype series, Chic, glo and so on. Glo is a heating non-combustion electronic cigarette. In 2017, Anglo-American tobacco NGPs contributed about 500 million pounds, accounting for about 2.5% of the company's sales, of which Renault contributed about 100 million yuan.