E-cigs: blessing for tobacco industry?

tobacco industry

Does the tobacco industry need to fear E-cigs?

Electronic smoking is a blessing in disguise for tobacco farmers. With time it may see many of the farmers who have moved away from tobacco farming make a return. It’s ironic to think that amid panic over the future of tobacco. This reflected on stock markets around the world. Could this new form of electronic smoking offer a potential revival for tobacco farmers?

How can e-cigs help tobacco farmers when electronic cigarettes do not burn tobacco?

The reason of course is the nicotine, the addictive compound produced commercially. Nicotine is extracted from the Nicotinia tobacum and Nicotina rustica plants. Nicotine only accounts for about 5% of the tobacco leaves by weight. It is this 5% that is used by the electronic smoking industry to make e-liquids for vaporizers and E-cigs.

A farmer growing tobacco for the e-liquid market, so the nicotine can be extracted, bottled and sold. Throws away around 95% of their harvested crop. During the extraction process some of the nicotine will be lost resulting in a lower final yield.

Synthetic and natural nicotine

There are types of synthetic nicotine that have been made in labs for years. Alarms have been raised about the safety of synthetic nicotine. The synthetic has been linked to the plight of the honey bee population. Synthetic nicotine is manufactured for use in pesticides. With several chemicals in the manufacturing process are listed carcinogens.

The preferred method of obtaining nicotine is extraction from cultivated tobacco plants. This the firm favorite in terms of use by e-liquid manufacturers.

Tobacco industry growth

It is predicted that in 2021 the number of e-smokers will surpass that of traditional tobacco smokers; will the current nicotine extraction process be able to keep pace with the rise in nicotine consumption?

Will the rise in nicotine consumption result in more land being required to grow tobacco crops?  And will this effect the price of other types of produce in the future?

Early signs are showing possible rejuvenation and predicted re-growth in the tobacco industry. This aided by a device that many people thought would bring around its demise. Electronic smoking poses no threat to tobacco farmers, to the contrary – it offers them a future, a future that will be structured by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other governing bodies.

A healthier alternative?

The early research studies suggests vaporising offers a healthier alternative to smoking tobacco, so is this all that is required for corporations to push out a semi-socially accepted, legal, addictive drug or should we be striving to ban the use of nicotine in its recreational form?

A ban on nicotine would certainly be bad news for tobacco farmers but is extremely unlikely to happen. Following more research and the planned regulation of e-cigarettes in the UK in 2016, health officials in the NHS are considering prescribing  e-cigs as an aid to quitting smoking.

This adds weight to the debate that electronic smoking has a positive health effect compared to tobacco smoking. If this is the case it will all but cement the well-established roots of the tobacco industry. Stock markets will reveal this information as the number of electronic smokers increase and the demand for e-liquid rises.


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