Thursday, May 23, 2024

Date back to 2012: Life and death of e-cigarettes

Looking back on the history of e-cigarette development, this is not the first time it has faced the Hamlet question of survival or death.


Recently, electronic cigarette has become the focus of global attention, standing at the forefront of public opinion. In fact, from a more macro perspective, when we review the development history of e-cigarettes, this is not the first time that this product with the original intention of health faces the “Hamlet question” of survival or death.

In 2012, the life and death time of electronic cigarettes is still fresh in many people’s memory. And looking back on the choices people made at the beginning will make us more rational when looking at e-cigarettes today.


In 2012, the “end of the world” predicted by the Mayan civilization: in the eyes of these ancestors, the calendar will suddenly stop on December 21 of this year, and there is no next page.

Roland Emmerich, the Hollywood “disaster master” who directed classic films such as “the day after tomorrow”, brought the Maya’s prediction to the screen.

After the global hit of the movie 2012, there was a great discussion about “the end of the world”, and even some rumors about the end of the world were revived.

2012 is also an unusual year for the electronic cigarette industry: it is the third year that the FDA has passed the ban, the global regulation is getting tighter and tighter, the whole industry has reached the bottom, the voices of questioning, opposition and pessimism are constantly heard, and a catastrophe has reached the final moment of life and death

It has been proved that on December 22, 2012, the sun will rise as usual, and all the predictions and rumors about the end of the world broke themselves.

Through the time of life and death, this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the FDA banned the import and sale of electronic cigarettes but failed.

As FDA regulation has a demonstration role in the world, the electronic cigarette industry has ushered in a “second curve” of rapid growth.

History will not repeat itself, but it will always be surprisingly similar.


Vape Golder Age

Today, the United States is the largest consumer of e-cigarettes, accounting for nearly half of the global market share. Such a reality, if the time goes back to 2012, Americans may be hard to imagine this.

At that time, Americans were unfamiliar with and on guard against what was called “vape”. Even in 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a comprehensive ban on the import and sale of e-cigarettes. This kind of “vape” that does not need to be ignited is just about to be banned in the U.S. market.

In fact, the United States has a deep relationship with “vape”.

The earliest tobacco was born in the United States; the earliest concept of vape was also born in the United States.

Thousands of years ago, Native American Indians at that time accidentally found that tobacco has a unique smell, which can refresh mind and relieve fatigue. As a result, they began to use tobacco in many ways, and eventually developed a portable traditional cigarette.

For a long time, people knew nothing about the harm of traditional cigarettes. Until the middle of the last century, a large number of clinical trials have proved that there are 69 kinds of carcinogens in cigarettes, which can cause lung cancer, oral cancer, laryngeal cancer and other diseases.

Subsequently, the harm of “second-hand smoke” to public health has gradually become a public consensus. Countries around the world began to seek a delicate balance between the protection of civil liberties and health by raising tobacco taxes and launching tobacco control campaigns.

In 1963, Herbert A. Gilbert, an American, developed a “smoke-free, non-tobacco cigarette” device, which can simulate the feeling of smoking by heating the nicotine solution to generate steam gas. But with the rapid development of traditional tobacco in the United States, Herbert A. Gilbert’s invention met with difficulties everywhere and finally disappeared in the long history.

Hon Lik, a pharmacist in China, was an old smoker. He began the research devices of “replacing cigarettes” in the early 21st century. His father died of lung cancer from smoking, which hurt him deeply. Since then, he has been more devoted to his research.

Sometimes, Hon Lik, who forgot to take off the nicotine patch, would have nightmares all night, dreaming that he was drowned in the sea, and then turned into a mass of vapor.

This gave Hon Lik inspiration.

“The reason for smoking addiction lies in nicotine, but the most harmful is burning products such as tar. If we can remove these harmful substances and only keep nicotine, the harm of smoking will be greatly reduced.”

Hon Lik, who used to work in Liaoning Institute of traditional Chinese medicine, soon found the “know-how” and began to develop new substitute products. After numerous experiments, in 2003, the world’s first electronic cigarette product based on nicotine was officially born.

It is composed of three parts: device, atomizer and e-liquid. Liquid nicotine can be changed into vapor by means of atomization, so as to avoid the harmful substances produced in the process of traditional tobacco combustion.

In 2004, Hon Lik registered the patent and began to be fully commercialized. In 2005, Ruyan entered the market with the concept of “quit smoking new products”. At its peak, the annual sales volume reached 1 billion yuan. In 2008, Ruyan successfully listed in Hong Kong, with a share price of HK $116 and a market value of nearly HK $120 billion.

This sunny day belongs to the “golden age” of e-cigarettes, but a huge crisis is also brewing.

And it was the United States that gave the electronic cigarette a fatal blow.


“Tsunami” suddenly arrived

The growth of new things is going through difficulties and twists, as is the case with traditional cigarettes and electronic cigarettes. However, no one had thought that the storm would come so fierce and relentless.

First, the media made efforts to question the effectiveness of e-cigarettes in smoking cessation, and pointed out that there are potential safety hazards; then, the manufacturers in a cluster are mixed with good and bad, and the problem products appear from time to time.

The biggest blow came from the US FDA.

In 2009, FDA issued a new regulation to suspend the import of electronic cigarette products, because these electronic cigarette products are unauthorized nicotine delivering devices. In the same year, FDA seized 2000 batches of electronic cigarette products including njoy and other brands in the customs.

In 2009, Jordan, Canada, Hong Kong, Panama, Israel and Brazil banned the sale of e-cigarettes; in 2010, Chile and Singapore banned the sale of e-cigarettes; in 2011, Argentina and Venezuela banned the sale of e-cigarettes

Affected by this, in 2009, Ruyan lost as much as 444 million yuan; in the first seven months of 2010, Ruyan was suspended in stock market eight times.

For a long time, FDA’s regulatory cases have a global effect, and every move of electronic cigarette regulation in the United States has attracted the world’s attention.

In 2009, Smoking Everywhere, an electronics dealer, took the lead in bringing a lawsuit to the FDA in the District Court of the District of Columbia. Later, njoy, an e-cigarette brand, filed a lawsuit, making it clear that it is illegal for FDA to manage e-cigarettes as drugs or facilities.

In 2010, the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia issued a judgment on the FDA’s suspension of the import of electronic cigarettes, saying the agency has no right to prohibit the import of electronic cigarettes. At the same time, the U.S. Supreme Court also ruled that under the food, drug and Cosmetic Act, Congress did not authorize FDA to manage tobacco products and drug delivery deices.

To better “define” e-cigarettes, FDA also held a public meeting in 2010 to discuss technical issues related to e-cigarettes. John Boehner, then speaker of the house of Representatives, wrote to FDA officials to express his concerns about the FDA’s regulation of e-cigarettes.

These proposed regulations could “impede industry innovation and impose an unnecessary burden on the e-cigarette industry,” he wrote.

The dispute lasted until 2012.

This year, after a long three-year judicial run, FDA finally lost the lawsuit. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that e-cigarettes can be regulated as tobacco products and “are not drugs or devices.”.

“The sale of e-cigarettes should not be banned,” judge Leon, who is in charge of the case, said in an interview He agrees with dealers that e-cigarettes contain almost no carcinogenic chemicals from traditional cigarettes.

The global e-cigarette industry, which experienced the “end of the world” catastrophe, is finally reborn.


Enter the “new era”

“Not everyone trapped in the cold winter suvive until the spring comes.”

Once the electronic cigarette giant Ruyan, did not survive this “battle of life and death”.

In 2012, Ruyan’s share price hovered around HKD 0.1 for a long time; in 2013, after years of losses, Ruyan was purchased by Imperial Tobacco, the world’s fourth largest tobacco company, for us $75 million. With the end of Ruyan, there are many counterfeit brands and small and medium-sized manufacturers that lack of quality assurance ability.

As the Maya civilization predicted in 2012, everything will be purified and renewed, and then human beings will enter a new era.

In the first quarter of 2013 alone, about 600 million e-cigarettes were consumed in the world, and the market scale in the United States increased rapidly from $1 billion in 2013 to $2.5 billion in 2014. As a rising star of e-cigarettes, njoy obtained US $70 million in financing in 2013, becoming the unicorn of e-cigarettes industry.

More and more big players began to enter the game: in 2012, British American Tobacco acquired CN e-cigarette company, officially laying out e-cigarette business; in 2013, Renault, the second largest tobacco manufacturer in the United States, purchased Blu e-cigarette with us $135 million, officially entering the e-cigarette market

In 2018, global sales of new tobacco products reached US $24.7 billion, up 45.8% year on year. Among them, the sales volume of e-cigarettes is about US $14.52 billion, with a year-on-year growth of 27%. It is estimated that by 2022, the scale will exceed US $40 billion, surpassing tobacco and cigars, becoming the second largest category of tobacco products after cigarettes. At the same time, statistics show that the proportion of global smokers decreased from 29.4% in 1995 to 15.7% in 2018.

In the past five years, the sales volume of traditional cigarettes has been decreasing at the rate of 1% – 2% per year.

People pay more and more attention to health. Many traditional smokers need to replace cigarettes safely and healthily. Electronic cigarettes play an important role in this field. In the United States alone, 60% of traditional smokers attempt to replace traditional tobacco with e-cigarettes, and about 6% of traditional smokers have successfully switched to e-cigarettes.

After the invention of nicotine salt, the conversion rate of vapes in the United States increased five times, reaching nearly 30%.

In July this year, WHO released the global tobacco epidemic report 2019, which shows that compared with traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes are less harmful. If fixed smokers can use well regulated e-cigarettes to completely replace cigarettes, the toxicity impact may be less.

According to the UK Research Institute, e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than traditional tobacco. It will play an important role in the improvement of social public health to realize the effective substitution of electronic cigarettes for traditional cigarettes among smokers.

Date back to 2012, e-cigarettes have gone from “doomsday” to rebirth. But until now, the controversy around e-cigarettes has always been, the fate of e-cigarettes is still difficult to see through.

Looking back at the history, make e-cigarettes truly for health, this is the original intention of the Hon Liks. It’s also the position of the Supreme Court of the United States when it made a judgment in 2012, and the idea that the vape industry should continue to move towards the future.

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