When we launched with Patrick Kennedy at the Denver Press Club in early 2013, we sounded the alarm that if legalization expands, it is only a matter of time until Big Tobacco fully invests in pot.
That time is now.
And boy, do I wish we were wrong.
As you know, our neighbor to the north legalized marijuana and created a nationwide commercial industry last October. Since then, we have seen massive investments from companies relying on addiction for profit. Altria, the parent company of Phillip Morris and maker of Marlboro cigarettes has already poured more than $2 billion into Canadian marijuana facilities. Alcohol-giant Constellation Brands has dumped in over $5 billion into the industry, too.
Just this week, another giant of Big Tobacco has entered the fray, Imperial Brands.
Imperial is the fourth largest tobacco company in the world, and they just invested over $100 million into Auxly, a marijuana developer. While the stake isn’t as large, what’s concerning is that these companies are now teaming up to work on marijuana vaping technology.
It is painfully obvious what is going on.
Cigarette sales are plummeting. As a result of years of work by public health advocates, millions are waking up to the reality of the harms of smoking. Tobacco giants know this, but they aren’t going to give up…they are going to change their business model.
While cigarette sales are falling, rates of vaping are up. Specifically, youth vaping, driven in large part by Juul (which, by the way, is an offshoot of a marijuana company) is through the roof. And young people aren’t simply vaping flavored nicotine. A recent survey in the British Medical Journal found that young people who vaped tobacco were significantly more likely to have ever vaped marijuana than their peers.
Additionally, according to the latest Monitoring the Future Survey (MTF), the percentage of eighth and tenth graders reporting vaping marijuana increased 63% between 2017 and 2018.
Ready for the cherry on the top? A recent Gallup poll found that young people are now more likely to smoke marijuana than cigarettes. This echoes MTF data from over the last ten years finding the same result.
Knowing this, ask yourself why Big Tobacco is investing such massive amounts of money into pot.
Friend, we don’t have billions of dollars to go toe to toe with the industry and combat their lobbying and PR campaigns. But we have science, common sense, and grassroots activism – the same recipe that helped turn tobacco use around in this country. And, as you remember, we won in virtually every state this year, including New York and New Jersey.
Please, chip in today to help us continue to put public health over corporate greed by clicking here. By contributing to SAM, you can very well help save lives.
Thanks for all you do,
Dr. Kevin Sabet,
Founder and President – Smart Approaches to Marijuana
About SAM: Smart Approaches to Marijuana is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens opposed to marijuana legalization who want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. SAM has affiliates in more than 30 states.