How Big Tobacco is Reacting to the Rise of Disposable Vapes

How Big Tobacco is Reacting to the Rise of Disposable Vapes

Posted by ART / ITM on Jul 1st 2023

How Big Tobacco is Reacting to the Rise of Disposable Vapes

Over the last decade, the landscape of nicotine consumption has undergone significant change. The rise of e-cigarettes, particularly disposable vapes, has disrupted a market that was once dominated by traditional tobacco companies. But how is 'Big Tobacco' responding to this shift? This blog post aims to shed light on how traditional tobacco companies are reacting to the rise of disposable vapes.

The Emergence of Disposable Vapes

Disposable vapes, sleek devices that come pre-charged and pre-filled with e-liquid, offer a hassle-free entry into vaping. They require no maintenance or refills, and once the battery or e-liquid is depleted, the entire unit is disposed of. They have become increasingly popular for their convenience, variety of flavors, and as a perceived less harmful alternative to smoking.

Big Tobacco's Initial Reaction

When vaping first hit the scene, many traditional tobacco companies were skeptical, dismissing it as a passing trend. But as e-cigarettes started to gain traction, these companies found themselves facing a market shift that could potentially upend their longstanding dominance. It became clear that dismissing the vaping industry was a strategic misstep.

Adapt and Evolve

Recognizing the rising popularity of vaping and the threat it posed to traditional cigarette sales, many tobacco companies have since moved to invest in or acquire e-cigarette companies.

Several major tobacco companies have launched their own lines of vaping products, including disposable vapes. They're utilizing their extensive resources, distribution networks, and marketing expertise to make a mark in this new landscape.

In addition to creating their own vaping products, some big tobacco firms have strategically invested in existing vape companies, allowing them to tap into the burgeoning market without having to build a brand from scratch.

Regulatory Navigation

Traditional tobacco companies are no strangers to navigating complex regulatory landscapes. With new regulations being introduced around vaping products, these companies are using their experience to work within the new guidelines. For instance, they've been involved in advocacy and lobbying efforts around e-cigarette regulations, aiming to shape policies in ways that can accommodate their entry into the vape market.

A Dual Strategy

While diversifying into the vape market, big tobacco companies have not abandoned their traditional cigarette businesses. Instead, they are maintaining a dual strategy – continuing to sell cigarettes, particularly in markets where smoking rates are still high, while also exploring and investing in reduced-risk products like e-cigarettes to cater to the changing preferences of consumers in markets where smoking rates are declining.

Controversy and Criticism

Big Tobacco's foray into the vaping industry has not been without controversy. Critics argue that these companies are merely seeking to create a new generation of nicotine-dependent individuals. Others express concern that tobacco companies may use their marketing prowess to downplay the potential risks associated with vaping.


The rise of disposable vapes and e-cigarettes, in general, has caused a seismic shift in the nicotine consumption landscape, prompting big tobacco companies to adapt and evolve. While this allows them to remain relevant in a changing market, it also raises questions about the future of nicotine consumption and public health.

The task ahead for regulators, public health advocates, and the vaping and tobacco industries is to ensure that these products are marketed and regulated in a manner that maximizes their potential benefits as harm-reduction tools for adult smokers while minimizing their appeal and accessibility to non-smokers and young people.