TUCSON, AZ — The electronic cigarette industry has again been vaulted into the national spotlight. But this time it is not an intellectual struggle or debate. This time it is a tragedy.
When electronic cigarette company Green Nicotine’s owner, Sean Schoepflin, heard of the recent failure of the industry involving Mr. Holloway and his e-cigarette, he released the following statement.
“My heart goes out to Mr. Holloway. Here is a man that clearly wanted to improve his life and the lives of those he loves. His e-cigarette was not a novelty item, which is evident by the presence of multiple batteries in his study. He had probably tried dozens of other products to help him get off of traditional tobacco and settled on an alternative that looks, tastes and feels like the real thing. He was betrayed by the very product that he hoped would improve his quality of life.
“The electronic cigarette industry has the chance to change the world but it is riddled with products that are clearly made of inferior components and overwhelmed by companies whose only concern is turning a quick profit. The true issue lies at the heart of what is both accepted and encouraged in this industry: putting profits before a moral responsibility to help people. It truly disappoints me that an industry with such awesome potential to change the world has failed and that Mr. Holloway has fallen victim to such blatant betrayal.
“Clearly, our industry lays the ground work for global change. Over 2.5 million smokers have already begun improving their lives by using e-cigarettes as an alternative. But this progress is quickly being destroyed. Corners cannot be cut when it comes to research, development or quality control. This means the cost of running an electronic cigarette company will rise, but this is a product that is consumed, not a pair of sunglasses. Our customers trust that we are providing the industry’s highest quality product. There is absolutely no excuse for poor quality components.
“This kind of shoddy craftsmanship must end now. From quality control to sales practices, there must be self-regulation before there is no longer an e-cig industry. Electronic cigarette companies must stop acting unethically and irresponsibly. How long will it be before a child gets a hold of a bottle of ‘e-juice’ and is rushed to the hospital because of it? Or before our high schools become overrun by new smokers who have been introduced to nicotine because of flavors like strawberry banana or coconut? How long until cheap components cause more harm than good?
“The electronic cigarette industry has a tremendous amount of power. But right now, that power is being used to increase profit margins, not change lives. This industry has had the chance to self-regulate and has failed miserably. Legitimate e-cigarette companies should be begging for outside regulation that protects our consumers. We should be banding together and seeking legal methods to enact real change to ensure that the lessons of Mr. Holloway’s tragedy are not forgotten.
“As for those E-Cigarette companies who put profits before their moral obligation to people: If your thought process does not immediately change direction, rest assured your increasing bank accounts and fantastic profit margins will eventually evaporate. You will drive this industry into extinction. Deceptive marketing practices and shortcuts in research and development will destroy all of the possibilities that lay before us. This industry needs individuals with the highest integrity and corporations with an unshakeable conviction to improve our world.”