The use of electronic cigarettes is growing rapidly, not just among tobacco users seeking a smoke free alternative, but also among those who’ve never smoked but still want to experience the effects of nicotine. Concerned about this relatively unregulated (at least compared to tobacco) market, the attorneys general of 37 states plus AGs for Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have written to the FDA asking for more regulatory controls on the sale and marketing of e cigarettes.

With annual sales of e cigarettes expected to hit $1.7 billion in 2013, the attorneys general believe it’s high time that these products are regulated similarly to cigarettes.

“Unlike traditional tobacco products, there are no federal age restrictions that would prevent children from obtaining e cigarettes, nor are there any advertising restrictions,” reads the letter PDF , co authored by Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley and Ohio AG Mike DeWine.

The AGs are concerned about the recent increase in the number of prime time TV ads for these products, not just because these commercials can reach an audience that tobacco ads can’t, but also because these spots don’t always market e cigarettes as devices primarily intended to help quit smoking.

“Consumers are led to believe that e cigarettes are a safe alternative to cigarettes, despite the fact that they are addictive, and there is no regulatory oversight ensuring the safety of the ingredients.”

“E cigarettes contain fruit and candy flavors such as cherry, chocolate, gummy bear, and bubble gum that are appealing to youth,” continues the letter, which points out that the FDA has previously banned such flavors from being used in traditional cigarettes.

The AGs also take issue with some manufacturers’ use of cartoon characters in their marketing another practice that’s a no no for tobacco.

The letter cites data from a Centers for Disease Control survey which found that e cig use among students doubled between 2011 and 2012, and that 1 in 10 high schoolers said they had tried an e cigarette in 2012.

“In the Tobacco Control Act, Congress recognized that nicotine is an addictive drug, and virtually all new users of tobacco products are under the age of eighteen and are therefore too young to legally purchase such products,” reads the letter. “To hope prevent children from using tobacco products, the Tobacco Control Act imposed restrictions on advertising and marketing to youth. These restrictions should be applied to e cigarettes to safeguard children from nicotine addiction and other potential health effects of e cigarettes.”

People, especially kids, are being led to believe that e cigarettes are a safe alternative, but they are highly addictive and can deliver strong doses of nicotine, Coakley said in a statement. We urge the FDA to act quickly to ensure that these products are regulated to protect the public, and are no longer advertised or sold to youth.

In a statement to the AP, a rep for the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association (which is a real thing and not a made up title from some bad futurist novel), says the industry welcomes regulation, including a ban on sales to minors. “What I cringe at is when e cigarettes get demonized,” says the rep.

Below is the list of AGs who signed on to the letter. The shorter list is those states that are not part of the request to the FDA Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, Kansas, North Dakota, West Virginia, New Jersey, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska.

Martha Coakley (MA)
Mike DeWine (OH)
Michael Geraghty (AK)
Tom Horne (AZ)
Dustin McDaniel (AR)
Kamala Harris (CA)
John Suthers (CO)
George Jepsen (CT)
Joe Biden III (DE)
David Louie (HI)
Lawrence Wasden (ID)
Lisa Madigan (IL)
Greg Zoeller (IN)
Tom Miller (IA)
Jack Conway (KY)
James Caldwell (LA)
Janet Mills (ME)
Douglas Gansler (MD)
Bill Schuette (MI)
Lori Swanson (MN)
Jim Hood (MS)
Chris Koster (MO)
Tim Fox (MT)
Catherine Cortez Mastro (NV)
Joseph Foster (NH)
Gary King (NM)
Eric Schneiderman (NY)
Roy Cooper (NC)
Ellen Rosenblum (OR)
Kathleen Kane (PA)
Peter Kilmartin (RI)
Marty Jackley (SD)
Robert Cooper (TN)
John Swallow (UT)
William Sorrell (VT)
Robert Ferguson (WA)
Peter Michael (WY)
Vincent Frazer (US Virgin Islands)
Luis Sanchez Betances (Puerto Rico)
Lenny Rapadas (Guam)

3 polarizing branding secrets from death cigarettes

Cigarettes online for discount price cigarettes online
3 Polarizing Branding Secrets from Death Cigarettes

How can you build a stronger brand? Take a position that some people hate so your preferred customers love you.

I heard the best lessons about “How to create your Brand?” on the podcast interview with UK entrepreneur BJ Cunningham.

BJ Cunningham created a company called The Enlightened Tobacco Company in 1991, selling a cigarette called “Death Cigarettes”. It was presented in a black package emblazoned with a white skull and crossbones logo. Just imagine how that image might appeal to the rebels. That is the start of a strong brand.

His premise was to take a position that none of the other cigarette companies were willing to take. That’s good advice for any business building a brand! At the time all the tobacco companies were still denying any ill effects of smoking tobacco. You know the tired story, “It has not been proven that cigarette smoking causes cancer.” Somehow the tobacco barons rehearsed well enough to deliver that lie with a straight face. But that is a different issue.

Back to branding
The branding up to that time in the cigarette business was all about life style cowboy, sophisticate, artist, and debutante imaginary stuff, and all lies. It had worked for decades but lies do eventually hit the wall.

So when all your competition is telling lies, you can stand out by telling the truth. Imagine that.

Tell people that cigarettes will kill you. Come on smokers today know that tobacco smoking is bad for you. Tell a smoker that cigarettes can kill you and they will tell you, “Hey, it’s my life.”

So here are the insights of branding brilliance from the lesson of Death Cigarettes that resonated with me. You might consider them when building your own brand.

There are two ways you can create a brand either with oodles of money or creative positioning.

Nike built their brand with oodles of money. Imagine what they paid Tiger Woods for his endorsement.

Death Cigarettes did it with creative positioning. Cunningham explained his three rules for creating branding.

  1. Take a polarized position.
  2. Make enemies.
  3. Create tension.

Examine your position. How creative is it? If you have oodles of money like Nike then spend it on your brand. Otherwise, the only way you will build your brand is by creative positioning.

  1. Take a position away from the crowd. Stand where no one else is standing.
  2. Be bold. Be prepared to disagree with the status quo and make enemies along the way. Pick your market and be willing to annoy others.
  3. Create tension. Make people choose. Create controversy. Coke versus Pepsi. Windows versus Mac. Batman versus the Joker.

Who can you think of that has created their brand by following these three rules of creative brand positioning?

Harley Davidson jumps to mind immediately. People love them or hate them. That is powerful branding. Remember, branding is about creating powerful emotions both love and hate. Figure out who you want to love you. Have you noticed that the strongest brands have lots of enemies?

Are you ready to create your brand? If so, follow these three rules for creative brand positioning

  1. Take a polarized position.
  2. Make enemies.
  3. Create tension.

You will need to be bold. You will upset some mainly your competition and those who will never buy from you. Can you live with that? If so be bold, take a position and be prepared to make some enemies along with some raving fans.

George Torok helps business owners gain an Unfair Advantage over the competition. He is the co author of the bestselling Secrets of Power Marketing. Claim your free copy of “50 Power Marketing Ideas” at Arrange a keynote marketing presentation by calling 905 335 1997 Find more tips at