13
May

The e-cigarette controversy

Written on May 13, 2014 by Claire Bastien in ADVERTISING

Cigarettes are a very hot topic at the moment. I would like to highlight two aspects of this product, the Public Health impact and some marketing challenges of this product.

I first became aware of this product on a Ryan Air flight two years ago. The marketing strategy of appealing to travelers seemed very targeted and innovative. However this is a very limited niche of potential customers and we are currently seeing other approaches to introduce and expand the use of this product into the market place, including extensive digital marketing campaigns and direct sales via high street retail outlets.

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The Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association estimates about 4 million Americans now use battery powered cigarettes (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/facts-cigarettes/story?id=20345463) . in the United States, electronic cigarettes have grown to a nearly $2-billion dollar business. In Europe and in France for example the first retail shop opened in 2010, points of sales have been drastically expanding and the revenue of € Mil 40 in 2012 has been multiplied by 2.5 in 2013.

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Compared with Europe, the U.S. is lagging and Public health experts and manufacturers say the FDA is taking its time. Zeller, the director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products said that “Products like e-cigarettes are very interesting,” “…if it’s not combusting, then does it make sense to look at is as something that might be potentially much less harmful than any combustible tobacco product that’s out there?”

What about the public health benefits or problems of these products?

The well-known powerful interaction between physical and behavioral dependence of smoking would have suggested that the electronic cigarette ,replacing some of the rituals associated with smoking gestures, would give better results than other methods

to quit smoking (patches, chewing-gum, etc..). However this is not the case and there have not been any conclusive studies. Additionally, after one year, 27% of the people who quit smoking by this means are still smoking e-cigarettes.

Researchers have also suggested that individuals who smoke e-cigarettes could have decreased  lung function and other adverse effects irrespective of tobacco smoking history (http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/ERS/41461).
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An essential issue is that the first national American analysis shows that there is a strong association between e-Cigarettes and smoking for teenagers. Lauren Dutra, a postdoctoral fellow at the UC San Francisco Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education said that: “E-cigarettes are likely to be gateway devices for nicotine addiction among youth, opening up a whole new market for tobacco” (JAMA pediatrics March 2014).

The European Parliament approved new rules in February 2014 , electronic cigarette advertising will be banned in Europe, the products will have to be childproof, the packages will require safety warnings, and they will be limited to 20 milligrams of nicotine.

The effect of health warnings on the consumer’s behavior

A survey published in Harvard Business review in 2013, entitled: “Scary health warnings can boost sales” demonstrates that such messages impact the buying decision. One of the studies carried out by the authors compares smokers who are shown a tobacco cigarette advertisement with or without health warning. The results are surprising: at short term they buy less (- 75%) but in the distant future they buy more and ordered 493% more than those who saw the ad without warning!

The authors conclude that the mere inclusion of a warning builds trust and the warning label creates appeal when there is a lag between the decision of buying, assessing or consuming the product.

So do we need governments to include a public health warning on these products? The discussion is open.

How to advertise e-cigarettes?

Because of the correlation of scary ads and increased sales the advertising of e-cigarettes should be tightly controlled and especially with regards to teenagers. It seems important that communication channels are effectively regulated and advertising should be restricted selectively.

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It seems important that some communication channels for advertising would be forbidden e.g. Television to reduce the exposure of young people and this could be similar to the ban on TV alcohol advertising.

Finally as cigarette smoking is now banned in most public places, smoking e-cigarettes could well cause conflict among workers.

What do you think?

Comments

Evan Webb May 28, 2014 - 3:55 pm

I am trying my best to quite cigarette. I have tried everything. Tried e-cigrette. That is more harmful, so lately I am trying chewing gum. Pray for me.

This is Evan Webb, owner of http://www.quickfastcashloan.co.uk operating in UK.

Dcvapor August 25, 2014 - 2:48 pm

Nice posting.
Click on the below link to know more about E-cigarette : http://www.dcvapor.com/blog/cheap-ego-electronic-cigarette/

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