From the Marlboro Man to Vaping, Here Are the Events that Shaped Big Tobacco

Despite what seems like a constant web of negativity surrounding the tobacco industry, shares of some of its titans including Altria (MO) , Philip Morris International (PM) , and Reynolds American (RAI) have all seen impressive gains over their histories. 

Shares of Altria have climbed over 11,215.28% since first going public in 1978. Shares of Philip Morris International, spun off from Altria, have surged over 133% since going public in 2008. Reynolds shares had soared over 1,509.85% since going public in 1999, before being bought by British American Tobacco (BTI) in 2016.

British American shares have surged over 686% since going public in 1998. 

But, the recent war waged against big tobacco from lawmakers and the public has forced an entire industry to go on the defensive and innovate new products to stay alive.

One critical development in that fight is electronic cigarettes, more commonly referred to as e-cigs or e-cigarettes. The act of smoking, or vaping, these devices has presented big tobacco companies with a new opportunity for profit.

For a better understanding of the evolution of cigarettes to e-cigarettes, here is a look back at some of the landmark moments which have reshaped the industry.

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1964: Surgeon General Report
1964: Surgeon General Report

U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry in 1964 documented that health risks including lung cancer and chronic bronchitis are related to cigarette smoking. This is the first landmark report linking smoking to health risks.

1965: Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act
1965: Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act

A Congressional Act created to establish a set of national standards for cigarette packaging.

1969: Congress Passes the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act
1969: Congress Passes the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act

The Congressional Act banned cigarette advertising on television and radio, and mandated a stronger health warning on cigarette packages.

1970: The First Great American Smokeout Day
1970: The First Great American Smokeout Day

In 1970 Arthur P. Mullaney of Randolph, Massachusetts proposed people give up cigarettes for one day and instead donate the money to a local high school. The day would become an annual awareness event on the third Thursday of November by the American Cancer Society.

1971: Surgeon General Proposes a Federal Ban on Smoking in Public Places
1971: Surgeon General Proposes a Federal Ban on Smoking in Public Places

The first attempt made by the Surgeon General to ban smoking in public settings including restaurants and bars.

1972: The Surgeon General's Report, 'The Health Consequences of Smoking'
1972: The Surgeon General's Report, 'The Health Consequences of Smoking'

The report addresses "public exposure to air pollution from tobacco smoke" and the danger of smoking to an unborn child.

1980: Surgeon General Report on the Health Consequences of Smoking for Women
1980: Surgeon General Report on the Health Consequences of Smoking for Women

The report links smoking in women to a slew of health risks including those related to pregnancies.

1984: FDA Approves Nicotine Gum
1984: FDA Approves Nicotine Gum

First introduced in Sweden in the 1970s, nicotine gum has now been used as a cigarette substitute for nearly half a century.

1985: Lung Cancer Surpasses Breast Cancer as Top Killer of Women
1985: Lung Cancer Surpasses Breast Cancer as Top Killer of Women

In 1985 smoking caused lung cancer to surpass breast cancer as the leading cancer killer of women.

1986: Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights is created
1986: Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights is created

An organization focused on shielding nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke, and preventing tobacco addiction among youth.

1988: Surgeon General's Report 'The Health Consequences of Smoking: Nicotine Addiction'
1988: Surgeon General's Report 'The Health Consequences of Smoking: Nicotine Addiction'

The report detailed and warned against the addictive qualities of tobacco and nicotine.

1988: President Ronald Reagan signs the Federal Aviation Act
1988: President Ronald Reagan signs the Federal Aviation Act

The law makes domestic flights of two hours or less smoke-free.

1992: The Synar Amendment to the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration Reorganization Act
1992: The Synar Amendment to the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration Reorganization Act

The Act requires states to pass laws prohibiting the sale and distribution of tobacco products to minors.

1994: Tobacco Executives Testify Before Congress
1994: Tobacco Executives Testify Before Congress

They argued that "nicotine is not addictive."

2000: U.S. Bans Smoking on all International Flights Departing From or Arriving in the U.S.
2000: U.S. Bans Smoking on all International Flights Departing From or Arriving in the U.S.

Yes, this was once a common occurrence.

2000: Attorneys General and Tobacco Companies Launch the Truth Campaign
2000: Attorneys General and Tobacco Companies Launch the Truth Campaign

Truth is the largest national youth smoking prevention campaign.

2003: New York City Passes the Smoke-Free Air Act.
2003: New York City Passes the Smoke-Free Air Act.

The Act made New York City one of the first major cities to prohibit smoking in virtually all workplaces and indoor recreational venues.

2003: Chinese Pharmacist Hon Lik Develops the First E-Cigarette
2003: Chinese Pharmacist Hon Lik Develops the First E-Cigarette

The evolution of smoking had begun.

2005: First International Public Health Treaty
2005: First International Public Health Treaty

The World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The Treaty gives countries more tools to control tobacco use.

2006: Hon Lik Released His First E-Cigarette Internationally
2006: Hon Lik Released His First E-Cigarette Internationally

It came equipped with a battery, plastic cartridge, ultrasonic atomizer and a nicotine solution.

2007: Studies Link Tobacco Advertisements Disproportionately Aimed at Minorities
2007: Studies Link Tobacco Advertisements Disproportionately Aimed at Minorities

Studies emerge illustrating the disproportionate number of tobacco advertisements in low-income, minority communities.

2008: The World Health Organization Report on Vaping
2008: The World Health Organization Report on Vaping

The WHO released a report stating any claims that e-cigs are a "safe and effective smoking cessation aid" are invalid and should be removed because there is "no scientific evidence to confirm the product's safety and efficacy."

2009: The FDA Releases E-Cigarette Advisory Release
2009: The FDA Releases E-Cigarette Advisory Release

Their aim was to discourage the use of e-cigarettes, while warning of their harmful ingredients including diethylene glycol and carcinogens.

2009: Largest Federal Cigarette Excise Tax Hike in History
2009: Largest Federal Cigarette Excise Tax Hike in History

The tax raises the federal cigarette tax to $1.01 from 39 cents a pack. The increase applied to all tobacco products.

2009: The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act
2009: The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

The law allows the FDA to regulate the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products to safeguard public health.

2010: The United States Air Force Declares E-Cigarettes a Tobacco Product
2010: The United States Air Force Declares E-Cigarettes a Tobacco Product

Air Force Instruction 40-102, Tobacco Use, which establishes tobacco policy in the Air Force, explicitly covers e-cigarettes under the definition of tobacco, subjecting the product to all the constraints implemented for cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco

2011: Positive Reviews for E-Cigs
2011: Positive Reviews for E-Cigs

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine concluded that e-cigarettes may "hold promise as a smoking-cessation method" and that they are fit for further study using "more-rigorous" research methods.

Dr. Riccardo Polosa, Director of the Institute for Internal Medicine and Clinical Immunology of the University of Catania, Italy, publishes a study concluding that e-cigarettes held promise, and argued in favor for the devices.

2014: CVS Caremark Stops Selling Cigarettes
2014: CVS Caremark Stops Selling Cigarettes

The move made CVS (CVS) the first national pharmacy chain to take this action.

2016: FDA Bans E-Cigarette Sales to Anyone Under 18
2016: FDA Bans E-Cigarette Sales to Anyone Under 18

The law not only banned the sale to minors but required that adults under the age of 26 show a photo identification to buy them.

2017: University of Connecticut Study
2017: University of Connecticut Study

A study by chemists at the University of Connecticut found evidence that e-cigarettes are potentially as harmful as tobacco cigarettes.

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