Vape up in smoke: Is global e-cigarette industry on edge of collapse?
Shares in British tobacco giant Imperial Brands plunged to their lowest in a decade on Thursday after the company warned of a slowdown in the US vaping market after several state bans.
“The US next-generation products environment has deteriorated considerably over the last quarter with increased regulatory uncertainty,” Imperial said in a statement.
It added: “This has prompted a marked slowdown in the growth of the vapor category in recent weeks, with an increasing number of wholesalers and retailers not ordering or not allowing promotion of vaping products.”
Regulators in the US have been cracking down on vaping due to reports of deaths potentially linked to the tobacco alternative.
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Vaping deaths have risen to 11 across the United States, with more than 500 people falling ill with a mysterious lung disease after smoking e-cigarettes. Officials said hundreds of additional cases had been reported in the past week alone.
Following the reports, Walmart said it will no longer sell e-cigs in its stores. CBS, Viacom, and AT&T’s WarnerMedia have announced they will stop running ads for electronic cigarettes on their television stations.
Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump said the US Food and Drug Administration would ban all flavored vapes. Last week, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention advised people to avoid vaping until possible health risks were better understood.
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E-cigs were introduced in 2003 as a means to wean smokers away from the deadly effects of traditional cigarettes. Since then they have grown into an $11 billion global market. Most of that growth occurred in the past few years, and sales were expected to hit over $18 billion by 2024.
Several countries, including India and South Korea, have just banned all e-cig sales. Juul Labs e-cigarettes mysteriously disappeared from all e-commerce sites in China just days after they were launched.
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