Business Unusual

Is the cigarette about to be extinguished by an electrical version?

(Click here for more from "Bruce Whitfield's The Money Show".)

So humans have been using burning leaves for over 1000 years to deal with a tough day at the office or to enhance a good time.

And amazingly placing the burning leaf in something to make that easier (a cigarette) is almost as old.

Europe got in on the act after long visits to South America with the Turkish being the early adopters.

The Crimean War was the perfect opportunity to entrench the idea among soldiers that tried to kill others with weapons and themselves with cigarettes (the French coined the term). Those that survived took the habit back to their home countries.

Comedian Bob Newhart imagines how the English learnt about cigarettes.

Fast forward a couple of hundred years and even addicts have to acknowledge that smoking cigarettes is bad for you.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says 5 million people die annually as a direct consequence. One in seven people on the planet smoke and half of them are destined to end their life as a consequence of it.

Even so, it is still a R8 trillion industry.

The principal danger in cigarettes is not the active ingredient nicotine, but the various additives to ensure the nicotine containing tobacco leaves burn evenly.

So the solution would be to turn the nicotine into a vapor by some other means - say electrically.

In 2004 a device using a heating coil to turn nicotine oil into a vapour was introduced.

Vaping, as is it often referred to, is now a recognised word. Google’s Ngram viewer which indexes the presence of words in English since 1800 lists “cigarette” first appearing in 1859 and peaking in 2003, one year before the personal vaporiser hit the shelves.

Even so, they did not become a thing in SA until a few years ago. Now, you would be surprised to find someone over 40 that has not quit or switched to the little metal tube.

The "genius" that conceived the e-cigarette is Hon Lik who created it in 2003.

The idea though can be credited to the creators of Robo-Hunter in the comic 2000AD. They created an electronic cigar called Carlos Sanchez Robo Stogie in 1978! The idea was that the robotic cigar with plenty of attitude and a Mexican accent would slowly reduce the nicotine intake of its owner. In reality, that part remains to be developed.

Besides older smokers switching as a way to kick the habit, the nifty gadgets have been compelling accessories for millennials wanting to experience the buzz but not the hazard (not that there are not risks).

The new industry has grown from effectively zero to R35 billion in seven years.

That has lead the tobacco industry to have a Kodak moment. No, not a selfie moment, but the chance to review what their real business is and if they will try beat the new kid on the block or buy it. They chose to buy it.

It might be a great idea as the younger users are not only keen but, like most “new” industries, the regulators are scrambling to keep up and that regulation vacuum is rapidly filling with vapor.

The footnote is that while the electronic cigarette popularity has been fueled by tobacco, the recent legalising of marijuana in the US has seen hash oil become a very popular alternative for vaporizers.

Smokers might be dying but it appears the market for smoking thanks to these new devices is set to grow.

Subscribe to our Business Wrap Newsletter


This article first appeared on 702 : Is the cigarette about to be extinguished by an electrical version?


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
The 5th Industrial Revolution sounds as scary as hell

The 5th Industrial Revolution sounds as scary as hell

Predicting the future is easy, that is why anyone can do it.

Let me tell you a story, its about how you are being manipulated - all the time.

Let me tell you a story, its about how you are being manipulated - all the time.

Entertainment and news are being used to change the way you see the world and not always truthfully.

Drones are really taking off, here are 7 things you thought you knew about them.

Drones are really taking off, here are 7 things you thought you knew about them.

You are either planning to buy one or willing to destroy the next one that comes near you. Love or hate them, the drones are coming.

How camera maker GoPro became a hero

How camera maker GoPro became a hero

What started as a desire to get a good, cheap picture while surfing has turned into a verb for capturing extreme sport action .

Google working on immortality (and a host of other weird and wonderful projects)

Google working on immortality (and a host of other weird and wonderful projects)

In the last 24 hours you probably used services created by Google more often than you realise and there are more coming.

How ride-sharing companies such as Uber are changing transport forever

How ride-sharing companies such as Uber are changing transport forever

Tech such as GPS navigation on smartphones have made possible the creation of companies that are revolutionising transportation.

Popular articles
Can you 'affair-proof' your marriage?

Can you 'affair-proof' your marriage?

Sexologist Nikki Goldstein says there are steps you can take to cut the risk of infidelity in your relationship.

Stadium riot: 'It's just inexplicable and unacceptable by all means'

Stadium riot: 'It's just inexplicable and unacceptable by all means'

Minister of Sports and Recreation condemns this weekend's violence by Kaiser Chiefs fans.

'He raped me every day for a year when I was 8 years old'

'He raped me every day for a year when I was 8 years old'

A woman has penned her triumphant story of survival after being sexually abused by an uncle as a child.

Euphonik (one of South Africa's top DJs) opens up about money

Euphonik (one of South Africa's top DJs) opens up about money

Bruce Whitfield talks to Euphonik (aka Themba Nkosi) about his attitude to money (hopes and fears, successes and failures, etc.)

This is how much you should be paying your domestic worker

This is how much you should be paying your domestic worker

Stephen Rathai, director of employment standards at the Department of Labour talks on the new national minimum wage.

Madiba’s private secretary Zelda la Grange opens up about money (hers and his)

Madiba’s private secretary Zelda la Grange opens up about money (hers and his)

Bruce Whitfield interviews La Grange about her and Madiba's attitude to money (hopes and fears, successes and failures, etc.)

Mugg & Bean agrees to pay medical bill of customer

Mugg & Bean agrees to pay medical bill of customer

Mugg & Bean has agreed to pay for customers medical bills after a month of being in pain and pestering the chain to pay the bill.