Could court action block development of the vaping industry?

Here’s another guest post from regular contributor Mark.  As always, all opinions in this piece are those of the author.

If we look back at the history of the tobacco sector it is littered with court cases which often last years and ultimately decide nothing. Hundreds of millions of dollars has been spent by tobacco companies in courtrooms across the land and this appears to be something which supporters of the vaping sector are considering. On the surface it seems to be a very sensible way in which to challenge the myths, untruths and blatant lies spread as “fact” about the industry but is it really the best course of action?

Support groups looking to the courts

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos / Stuart Miles
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos / Stuart Miles

We have seen the emergence of an array of new support groups in the US looking to champion the cause of electronic cigarettes and the vaping industry as a whole. These groups are very loyal to their cause and while they have the best intentions, having raised hundreds of thousands of dollars of late, could they ultimately slow down the development of the industry?

Opinion seems to be split at this moment in time as to whether court action is the best way to stop the peddling of lies and untruths. Would this ultimately divert attention to the courtroom with potential delays and legal procedures impacting the short to medium term development of the industry as a whole? Historically controversial issues such as tobacco have often reverted to secret court cases which ultimately lead nowhere. Is this a waste of time and money or should vaping supporters pursue those peddling lies?

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Is the current strategy working?

If you look at the general press you will no doubt see an array of regular headlines cherry picking quotes and comments from various medical reports to create controversial headlines. The vast majority of these controversial headlines are later withdrawn although very often the damage has already been done in the public domain. So far the industry has tended to use actual data from medical trials as a means of building trust with consumers but maybe this is a naive and way too soft approach?

It is difficult to know whether the industry should be pursuing potentially libellous comments through the courts or whether indeed they should let the facts speak for themselves. However, whatever the vast majority of supporters decide to do the raising of significant funds in the US to fight the fight has certainly caught the attention of the mass media!

Exposure is the key

As we touched on above, whether or not more supporters of the vaping industry go down the legal route, in retaliation against unfounded allegations, remains to be seen. The fact that this move in the US is gathering pace and also grabbing the headlines has to a certain extent already proved to be successful. Whether there is a need to go the extra mile and actually go to court is debatable as the more exposure and the more transparency afforded to the industry the greater the long-term trust factor with consumers.