The vaping industry is unlike any other in many ways, and that uniqueness extends to the idea of competition. The entire independent vapor industry shares a camaraderie that makes the news of NJOY’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy unsettling. NJOY and White Cloud occupy a similar space in the vapor industry. We both focus on entry-level devices that appeal to smokers looking to make the switch from tobacco, and we both are free from any ties to big tobacco or pharmacy.
Advocating for the entire industry
In many industries, the faltering of a competitor would be cause for rejoicing. That is not the case in the vapor industry. In addition to being the largest independent e-cigarette manufacturer, NJOY is a tireless advocate for the entire industry. When they were known as Sottera, they won a landmark case against the FDA that helped pave the way for the industry we all enjoy today.
Much has already been written about the reasons for NJOY having to declare chapter 11, and it is apparent that the reasons are not directly tied to the recent FDA regulations, but rather the failure of their King 2.0 to catch on, diminishing market share and mounting financial losses. However, NJOY has also cited the cost of regulations at both federal and state levels as an issue for the brand.
A wake-up call
If NJOY’s financial difficulties aren’t directly associated with the recent FDA regulations, the same may not be said about the scores of other independent businesses that will close because of them. Without some significant changes, the American vapor industry is on the precipice of massive contraction that could result in the end of the medium to small-sized businesses, leaving only companies with the backing of big tobacco or pharmacy to compete for market share.
In the past 5 or 6 years, very few industries have evolved and innovated as much as the vapor industry. This level of innovation means that products continue to improve and with refined products, more consumers can successfully switch from tobacco to e-cigarettes. As more market share is lost to big money interests and the costly PMTA process remains, that innovation will cease to be and will be quite damaging, as, an open and independent e-cigarette industry is much more beneficial to public health than a market controlled by a few well-heeled corporations.
While most of us in the vapor industry are shocked by the news from NJOY, this should also serve as a wake-up call. Without a coordinated effort to repeal or change these overly burdensome regulations, a well-respected and well-loved company closing its doors will no longer be news. It will simply be a matter of course. NJOY, as Sottera, showed us all that a fight against the FDA can be won. As they figure out what is next for them, we should take the lessons from their past and work to preserve the industry. There are options open to us, be they judicial or legislative, and if we do not get involved and attempt to craft the direction this industry is going to take, there may not be an industry left to fight for.
Steve Miller works in the marketing department for White Cloud Electronic Cigarettes. White Cloud is an independently owned manufacturer based out of Tarpon Springs, FL, and has been in business since 2008.