Dear Quartz members—
The correct link for the legal cannabis industry presentation is here, and the signup for the free weekly future of finance email is here. My apologies for the incorrect links in Friday’s member email.
This week, our field guide, written by Quartz reporter Jenni Avins, goes deep into the phenomenon of vaping. It’s a fascinating topic on multiple levels, including as a business disruption that Big Tobacco now hopes could be the future of the industry. Vaping is also surrounded by concerns about its health impact, underage use, and adoption by people who never smoked to begin with.
You can today read our new state of play analysis on vaping, a brief history of vaping and e-cigarettes, and a look at how US high schoolers are doing less drugs and having less sex but vaping more.
There’s also an amazing interview with Philip Morris International chief operating officer Jacek Olczak, who laments underage Juul vaping, offers a rough timeline for the end of traditional cigarettes, and muses about Philip Morris becoming a wellness company. We’ll publish more on the topic during the week.
TO DISCUSS WITH FRIENDS OVER DINNER…
Here are a few conversation starters from our guide:
- In the US—the world’s biggest nicotine market, worth an estimated $100 billion in retail sales—cigarettes are on a downward slide, but e-cigarettes are already making up for the losses. By 2025, analysts at Cowen expect e-cigarettes to generate $26.8 billion in retail sales, compared with an estimated $6.6 billion in 2018.
- Nearly all of e-cigarettes’ US growth can be attributed to a single company: Juul. Juul is wildly popular among a demographic that wasn’t previously into smoking: US teens. That particular customer base makes the company a poster child for an industry-wide conundrum: Is it better to get cigarette smokers into potentially less harmful alternatives, or to prevent a new generation from getting addicted to nicotine altogether?
- As of Sept. 6, 450 cases of vaping-related respiratory illnesses had been reported across 33 US states, and health officials have in the past two months announced what are believed to be five vaping-related fatalities.
- Juul founders James Monsees and Adam Bowen said they wanted to help smokers “move past cigarettes” with a “whole new experience that retains the positive aspect of smoking, like the ritual and everything, but makes it as healthy and socially acceptable as possible.” Today, Monsees says that Juul “never wanted any non-nicotine users, and certainly not anyone underage.”
- The New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino pointed out that “Juuling and scrolling through Instagram offer strikingly similar forms of contemporary pleasure. Both provide stimulus when you’re tired and fidgety, and both tend to become mindless tics that fit neatly into rapidly diminishing amounts of free time. (You can take two Juul hits and double-tap a bunch of pics in about 10 seconds. You need an inefficient five minutes to burn a paper tube of tar and leaves into ash.)”
- Philip Morris International’s COO Olczak tells Quartz: “There’s quite a lot of people who smoke; they don’t quit. So I don’t think there is a problem that we have to solve today or tomorrow. But let’s be serious. If we convert them to the better alternatives, it’s already—from the sustainability of the business—a better path.”
- Olczak says there are accompanying apps for PMI’s new IQOS e-cigarette device for Android phones, but not for iPhones because Apple has an anti-tobacco policy. “We tried a number of attempts with Apple to explain: Okay we’re not trying to use your platform to support smoking, we’re trying to actually use your platform to move people out of smoking,” says Olczak. “Knowledge about the alternative is still not penetrating boardrooms of whoever decides at Apple.”
- Olczak says “within 10 years, if all stars are aligned, we can unsmoke, essentially, most of the countries, if not all of the countries.”
MEMBER CALLS THIS WEEK
- Mon., Sept. 9: Quartz fashion reporter Marc Bain and managing editor Kira Bindrim discuss the future of fashion, pegged to New York Fashion Week’s Sept. 6 kick-off.
- Weds, Sept. 11: Tech editor Mike Murphy and I discuss key takeaways from Apple’s product announcements the day before.
- Fri., Sept. 13: Quartz senior reporter Gwynn Guilford and deputy finance editor Oliver Staley discuss the state of global trade, amid the trade war, Brexit, and other developments.
All calls are at 11am EST / 4pm BST at our usual location. If you’d like to call in, you can reach us at the following numbers:
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BECAUSE CHINA SEASON 2
We kick off the second season of our Because China show, which looks at how China is changing the rest of the world, with the release of a new episode on Wednesday. You can go here to catch up on last season, and find the new episode when it lands.
Please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any feedback, or suggestions for other things we should cover.
Best wishes for a productive week,
Kevin J. Delaney
Editor in chief, Quartz