E-cigarette makers warn consumers about their own products

Is there anything more alluring?

Is there anything more alluring?

In Dire Warnings by Big Tobacco on E-Smoking, the New York Times examines the perplexing case of tobacco companies makers like Marlboro’s manufacturer, Altria, voluntarily placing extensive warnings on their electronic cigarettes. The author and experts find themselves scratching their heads about tobacco company motivations. Their consensus is that the strategy is cynical and probably designed to protect the companies from future lawsuits. In any case, “many people don’t read the warnings anyway.”

There’s some truth to these interpretations, but I would go further and take an even more cynical view. Consider:

  • Before the 2000 stock market crash, financial analysts with clear conflicts of interest put out biased “buy” recommendations for companies they wanted to pump. Disclaimers within the reports cited the conflicts, but somehow people just read right past that or even considered it a positive. Surely if someone was disclosing a conflict of interest they wouldn’t be so brazen as to actually put out biased information! But the analysts were more cynical than that.
  • Mortgage documents are filled with so many protections these days that they have become simply too lengthy to read, and borrowers’ eyes glaze over as they apply their initials and signatures to page after page after page.
  • Plenty of anti-smoking ads (often paid for with tobacco settlement funds) inadvertently or intentionally glamorize cigarette smoking with their edgy, youthful appeal. I saw one recently while at the gym –called “Unpaid Tobacco Spokesperson”– that typified the genre. The ad itself seems to do everything it’s telling people not to. I think it’s absurd.

So basically my opinion is that the e-cigarette ads are intended to lull people into a false sense of safety about these products by warning against them in so much detail.

photo credit: alexanderferdinand via photopin cc

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams of the Health Business Group

One thought on “E-cigarette makers warn consumers about their own products

  1. Steven Lesser

    Hi David:
    I totally agree with you. You could also include drug companies who stick scary warnings in the middle of their otherwise upbeat ads.
    When legal disclosures first started, some companies used to joke about them, even saying “here’s all the stuff we have to say to keep our lawyers happy” or “get ready, here comes the legalese.” It’s not surprising that consumers have become desensitized to the warnings. It’s unfortunate that this marketing tactic has succeeded.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s