262299 Marketing strategies using flavors to promote uptake of smokeless and other tobacco products

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ganna Kostygina, PhD , Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Jessica Veffer, MA, Applied Psychology , George Washington University, Washington, DC
Pamela Ling, MD, MPH , Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Background: While fruit, candy and alcohol flavored cigarettes have been banned, other flavored tobacco products (smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes, little cigars) continue to be sold. We investigated whether tobacco manufacturers used flavored additives in other tobacco products (OTP), the target audience for flavored products, and marketing strategies promoting OTP brands by emphasizing their flavor. Methods: Qualitative analysis of internal tobacco industry documents triangulated with data from national newspaper articles, trade press, and Internet. Results: Internally, flavored products have been consistently associated with young and inexperienced tobacco users. Internal studies confirmed that sweeter milder flavors (e.g., mint, fruit) could increase appeal to starters by evoking a perception of mildness, masking the strong tobacco taste and unpleasant mouth feel; or by modifying nicotine delivery by affecting product pH. In addition, flavors could increase OTP trial by enhancing “curiosity-to-try”, product “talk appeal,” retail trial and multi-pack purchasing opportunities (e.g., to collect and try multiple flavors). Flavored low-nicotine smokeless products were developed to provide a more enjoyable first experience to beginners, and stronger “natural” flavors were targeted at more experienced users. Flavored cigarillos or little cigars also appealed to young males as they related strong flavor (e.g., burgundy) to masculinity and success. Discussion: Similar to cigarettes, promotion of flavored OTP is likely to encourage novices to start using tobacco, and bans on flavored cigarettes should be expanded to include flavored OTPs due to their appeal to youth and new users.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe one marketing strategy employed by the tobacco manufacturers that promotes uptake of smokeless and other tobacco products among youth and new users. Describe how use of flavorings encourages uptake of tobacco products.

Keywords: Tobacco Industry, Marketing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a postdoctoral fellow with training and expertise in tobacco control research, health communication and policy promotion.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.