Not everyone thinks that s such a good thing. It s a new product with the same tobacco industry and the same tobacco industry tactics to get people to try them, says Erika Seward, assistant vice president for national advocacy at the American Lung Association. Indeed, e cigarettes are such a hit, some worry that Americans will get hooked before all the risks are known much as happened with regular cigarettes. They re certainly taking a page out of Big Tobacco s playbook, Seward says. Big 3 companies, however, say their only target customers are adults who already smoke, and they support more scientific studies on e cigarettes. Altria, the manufacturer of Marlboros and the largest of the tobacco companies, for one, says its own research shows that 50% of adult smokers are interested in innovative types of tobacco products (such as e cigarettes, which vaporize tobacco derived nicotine). The company is exploring how to best meet their needs, says spokesperson Brian May Time will tell.

But even e cig proponents object to Big Tobacco s involvement, though from a different perspective It s not helpful to the acceptance of e cigarettes by the public health community, says Charles Connor, former president and CEO of the American Lung Association who is consulting with the Electronic Cigarette Industry Group, or ECIG, a trade association representing e cig makers. It s an optics problem for sure, and it will certainly raise a lot of caution flags among those who have to promulgate regulations. The second largest of the Big 3, Camel cigarette makerReynolds American, however, says it, along with its vapor subsidiary, are leading the transformation of the tobacco industry, producing high quality e cigarettes while also meeting societal expectations, according to spokesperson David Howard, Adds ECIG president Eric Criss, We don t want to be anything like the bad old tobacco industry in our product, or in our sales and marketing. Our goal is complete transparency. We re not interested in sugar coating things.

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