The e-cigarette is a new, controversial and booming device. Manufacturers are racing to become the biggest in the market. What is the truth behind the device, and why is the tobacco industry looming to take over? An investigation into the politics, lobbying strategies and profits behind the e-cigarette.

The e-cigarette has broken through. Sales are estimated to already be around two billion dollars a year. E-cigarette companies are also spending an increasing amount of money on advertising. According to the New York Times, the Blu e-Cigs brand alone increased their marketing budget from $2.7 million in 2010 to $20.8 million in 2012. In parallel, lobbyists are approaching national governments and the European Commission to push for e-cigarettes as the new healthy alternative to smoking.

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health reported that 44.5 per cent of smokers think e-cigarettes can help people quit smoking. However, scientific evidence for this claim is still lacking. A recent review published by the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg even stresses the potential health risks of e-cigarettes. Furthermore, the American Center for Disease Control reported that young people who didn’t smoke are increasingly trying the e-cigarette. E-cigarettes come in bright colours and sweet flavours like strawberry, vanilla and cooky & cream milkshake, specifically targeting young people.

A new era of smoking appears to be arising. Ivo van Woerden and Astrid Viciano had a long look behind the scenes of the e-cigarette industry.

(Illustration © Stefan Dimitrov / Photo © Kiril Rusev)

Team members

Ivo van Woerden

Ivo van Woerden is a Dutch journalist.


Astrid Viciano

Astrid Viciano is a German journalist and MD who works as a staff reporter at the weekend science section of Süddeutsche Zeitung in Munich.

€5.984 allocated on 17 /12/2013



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