Vape News

I remember the very first ad that I saw for electronic cigarettes. I was browsing music on myspace (back in the myspace era) and an ad for Gamucci popped up:
Looking at this ad now, it looks pretty ridiculous. To me, this is not what e-cigs are about. We do not vape for image. We vape to quit cigs, and eventually, we come to truly enjoy vaping as a hobby in itself. However, many companies have tried to capitalize on culture and lifestyle to sell their brand. For example, when the UK banned smoking indoors in 2006, companies sought to fill the void of being able to smoke inside bars and clubs. Gamucci's marketing strategy is to purport that their device allows you to still enjoy smoking inside and maintain the cool smoker's image.

Let's take a look at the marketing strategies of other e-cigarette brands:

1) Appeal to image

As conveyed through the Gamucci example, "image" is based on the perceptions of others. In certain thought-communities in which smoking is prevalent, such as young club-goers, cigarettes are seen as a crucial social element and pastime.

2) Appeal to convenience

 This incorporates all the "smoke anywhere" type ads. These marketing ploys mention how e-cigarettes circumvent the smoking bans that are becoming more and more common around the entire globe. Appeals to convenience also mention how you no longer need to use a lighter to "light up" and may mention how there is no smell or second-hand smoke

3) Appeal to health

This is probably the biggest selling point, but also one of the reasons why e-cigarettes are getting so much heat from health organizations like the FDA. This marketing strategy argues that with electronic cigarettes, you can still smoke, but without any of the negative health consequences. Even though several toxicology studies reveal how healthy e-cigs are, the health effects are not tested for the long-term. Based on my research, I know that e-cigs are better for you than analogs and who can argue against that? The problem with OVERLY appealing to health is that it elevates e-cigs to a drug/delivery/nicotine replacement therapy device, which has to be regulated by the FDA. I argue that the most responsible e-cig companies do not make definitive claims about their health effects and instead sell them as devices for adults looking for a less harmful alternative to tobacco products (in a future article, i will examine several scientific studies about e-cigarette health). In other words, I believe it isn't the brand's job to educate the consumer about the health consequences of smoking or not smoking, much how the alcohol companies do not educate their customers about alcoholism !!

4) Appeal to cost

Most electronic cigarette brands argue that their products will save the consumer money. A lot of them make outrageous claims, such as how one cartridge = one pack of cigs. This is not true. What is true is that the consumer can expect to be dropping about half as much money on their nicotine fix, granted a larger sunk-cost of purchasing the devices and a maintenance cost of buying atomizers, batteries, and e-liquid/cartridges.

When shopping for e-cigs, it is important that the consumer is conscious of these marketing ploys so that he or she can separate a brand's actual selling points and value from the filler that almost every e-cig brand regurgitates.

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