Why did the Big Tobacco companies put warning labels on their products?
Big Tobacco companies Altria and RJ Reynolds have taken another desperate step to bolster their image by placing excessively long warnings on their products.
These warnings include information that the vaping devices are not smoking cessation products, are intended for use by persons of legal age or older, and are unsuitable for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or people at risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. The warning then proceeds to inform the reader that nicotine is, in fact, addictive and can form a habit and mentions the adverse side effects of the substance, including increased heart rate, dizziness, nausea, and stomach pain.
RJ and Altria defend their decisions by explaining that this is a way to achieve “open and honest communication” with their users. Part of the reason is that this makes them appear more reasonable and worried about the health of their users.
The truth is, however, that most people ignore these warnings. And combustible cigarettes don’t have nearly as long warnings on them! So, what is the real reason behind these excessively long and informative “warnings” on e-cigarettes?
In short, the policy protects against potential lawsuits and is a clever PR ploy. The open-system products offered by the smaller independent companies are attracting more and more vapers and present a significant risk to the Big Tobacco business. Altria and RJ Reynold’s desire to create more cigarette-like products has led to them selling ineffective devices.
As a result, they need some way to promote their business, and their latest move is by posing to be concerned about public health. Of course, most users will see right through this PR move, but until then, the big tobacco companies will try to make as many sales as possible.