Waiting to Exhale: Marketing of E-Cigarettes

Waiting to Exhale: Marketing of E-Cigarettes

Teresa Martinelli-Lee (University of La Verne, USA) and Jeffery Kahan (University of La Verne, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6551-4.ch019

Abstract

Tobacco companies have long been on the defensive, but a new product, digital vapor cigarettes, offers what seems to be a social compromise: smoke-free smoking or “vaping.” This chapter explains and examines how this controversial product, new to the U.S. and European markets as of 2007, has affected the retail tobacco industry, both reinvigorating its sales and reviving some of its best integrative marketing strategies. The only adversaries strong enough to hinder its success are laws and regulatory action.
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Introduction

Globally, a paradox exists for international tobacco marketers. On one hand, the United Nations (UN) has stepped up to include non-smoking programs, as part of its international development agenda in preparation for the next Conference (post-2015) (ASH, 2013). Tobacco control has also been the topic of several non-communicable diseases (NCD) roundtable discussions. On the other hand, tobacco, which is a cash crop, is part of the ongoing push for a greater green economy (United Nations, 2011).

Certainly, tobacco products, while more socially accepted in some countries than in others, are a worldwide health issue. Smoking obviously cuts life expectancy, adds to healthcare costs, adds to life insurance premiums, affects worker productivity, affects male fertility, and jeopardizes normal fetal development. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined.

  • Smoking causes an estimated 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80% of all lung cancer deaths in women.

  • An estimated 90% of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease are caused by smoking.

  • Those who smoke are:

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      2 to 4 times more likely to suffer coronary heart disease;

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      2 to 4 times more likely to suffer stroke;

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      12 to 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer;

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      12 to 13 times more likely to die from lung diseases.

  • Smoking has also been linked to the following:

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      Acute myeloid leukemia;

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      Bladder cancer;

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      Cancer of the cervix;

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      Cancer of the esophagus;

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      Kidney cancer;

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      Cancer of the larynx;

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      Lung cancer;

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      Cancer of the oral cavity (mouth);

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      Pancreatic cancer;

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      Cancer of the pharynx (throat);

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      Stomach cancer (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012).

E-cigarettes may offer the tobacco companies a way of radically redefining their product, not only via technology that makes second-hand smoke a thing of the past, but also by a brand strategy the recasts tobacco as both appealing and, relatively speaking, socially responsible and even healthful. Given these aims and the millions spent in advertising, it is no surprise that while smoking overall in the United States continues to trend downward, use of e-cigarettes among adults and youth has increased from its initial introduction, in fact doubling between 2011 and 2012 among youth (Committee on Energy & Commerce, 2013; CDC, 2013a; USDHHS, 2013; Volkman, 2012) (see Figure 1).

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