Tobacco companies, long considered public health enemy No. 1, have suddenly positioned themselves as protectors of consumer well-being in the digital age.
They are putting out among the strongest health warnings in the fledgling e-cigarette industry, going further even than the familiar ones on actual cigarettes, a leading cause of death. It has left the industry’s critics scratching their heads and deeply skeptical.
One warning, from Altria, maker of Marlboros, reads in part: “Nicotine is addictive and habit forming, and is very toxic by inhalation, in contact with the skin, or if swallowed.”
Another, from Reynolds American, maker of Camels, says the product is not intended for persons “who have an unstable heart condition, high blood pressure, or diabetes; or persons who are at risk for heart disease or are taking medicine for depression or asthma.”
They appear on the packaging for the companies’ e-cigarettes, which are part of a fast-growing industry that the tobacco companies are maneuvering to dominate.
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