E-Cig Flavors: Name With Caution

Klaus Kneale
by Klaus Kneale
10 Comments
June 3, 2013

peanut-butterThe electronic cigarette debate is starting to get national attention.  Arguments over their health effects are common enough, but its family groups that may have the largest ax to grind.  Many claim that e-cig companies are actually targeting teens, offering enticing flavors and even a certain coolness factor.  Most e-cig companies and even their users would disagree, but actions speak louder than words.

There is hardly any level of advertising that someone won’t claim is an enticement to teens.  Commercials staring Stephen Dorff and Courtney Love have come out and, though they clearly targeted an older audience, the claim was still that teens would now find smoking attractive due to e-cig advertising.

But commercials and advertising is a hazy area.  It’s not easy to create an image that appeals to adults, but alienates or avoids teens.  The best thing a company can do is include some mention or innuendo that these things are for adults.  But then that could have a sort of reverse psychology effect.  So far, market research suggests that teens aren’t interested in electronic cigarettes — they’d rather do the real thing.

But then there’s the flavors argument.  Cigarettes with flavors other than the select few like menthol have been banned to keep flavors from inducting new smokers.  Whether this works or not is very much up to debate.  Teens still pick up smoking, just like they’d pick up drinking even if Smirnoff didn’t exist.  But family groups still insist that flavors like vanilla, chocolate, and butterscotch either intentionally or unintentionally appeal to kids.

Ecig Advanced is of the stance that flavor restrictions don’t really help anyone.  However, companies should be aware that certain names are more likely to put a target on their back than others.

An article in Lincoln, Nebraska’s Journal Star just yesterday reported on the success a local smoker had quitting smoking by transitioning to electronic cigarettes.  Though he had tried e-cigs from drug stores, it wasn’t until visiting a vapor shop and buying various flavors of e-liquid that he successfully made the change.  The flavors he found success with gummy bear, peppermint and blueberry Fruit Loops.

The article reports that the vapor shop doesn’t sell to anyone under the age of 18 — even though Nebraska doesn’t have a ban on selling e-cigs to minors.  However, it’s hard to image a family or children’s group advocate that wouldn’t say, “See!  Gummy bears and Fruit Loops flavors!  Clearly you want to ensnare children in a lifetime of nicotine addiction just to make a profit.”

Granted, descriptive flavor names like Dark Chocolate or French Vanilla will still see some flak from the same groups, but those are far easier to defend.  The point is that the industry has enough trouble defending its freedoms without some companies making it easier for opponents to make a moral argument.

Even companies that don’t take an industry-wide view of the effects of their naming might consider the local politics that might be at play.  In the absence of national level regulation on electronic cigarettes, state and local level government are putting legislation into place.  Shops selling e-liquid that appears to entice teens intentionally could find that the legislation pushed through in their locale is a bit rougher than in other areas.

What flavor names did you find interesting or enticing that you don’t think would make easy targets for opponents?

Comments

10 Responses to “E-Cig Flavors: Name With Caution”

      Tess Hannah on June 3rd, 2013 11:59 am

      I always wonder what the argument would be when you tell them that these liquids are available with NO nicotine at all.

        robovape on June 3rd, 2013 12:25 pm

        honetly, we should be very worried with regulation approaching after what they did to flavored cigs, they’re not going to stick to banning things that sound like kids’ products, they’re going to try to ban just about everything… i think though, we’d just still be able to buy the flavorings, since they are really just food additives, and add them to a non-flavored nic base, your “Pluid” or w/e will come as a concentrate in one bottle and your “juice” comes in a separate one, probably ordered from the same website and measured in whatever the proper ratio for the recipe is, you just pour the little one in the big one and shake it up to skate through the loophole…

        things i’ve heard of that i think are supposedly kid focused enough to be flaggable: Ecto Cooler/Hawaiian punch… funny thing is though, that was kid focused 25 years ago when i was a kid… do they still make ecto cooler, do kids even know what ecto is anymore? i think the kids that drink Hawaiian Punch wish they had whatever was cool, but their lame parents make them drink this old-timey nostalgic stuff… and they wish they’d do a new remake of Ghostbusters so that if they have to know about ecto it’s at least in 3D with some hot chick instead of Dan Akroyd… and that’s how arbitrarily/narrow-mindedly they’ll decide what is and isn’t marketing to kids, you know, with the same clarity we use to make decisions for them as their old, lame parents… except that we at least mean well when we want them to share some of our childhood faves instead of the ANTZ that just want us to stfu and eat the soylent green…

          sylvie on June 3rd, 2013 1:17 pm

          i have to agree with being careful with naming ejuices so it does not appear to be aimed at young ones.. when i read that article, my first thought was why they go and name their ejuice fruit loops when it clearly will make a young one take notice!! we know they are going to use the ‘it attracts kids’ angle pretty hard so why go and give them ammunition by naming your ejuices brand names that are clearly aimed at kids.. vendors need to start thinking a little bit more like the skeptics are thinking when it comes to marketing their business and products..

            tiffany on June 3rd, 2013 2:35 pm

            it’s sad, but anything cool has to be directed towards teens :( why can’t us adults have anything cool?

              slap_maxwell on June 4th, 2013 8:47 am

              I’m with Tess…isn’t anyone speaking up and telling these control-freak nannies that no-nic juices are just as available as nic-juices? *smh*

                ManuDawg on June 6th, 2013 4:19 am

                “Many claim that e-cig companies are actually targeting teens, offering enticing flavors and even a certain coolness factor”

                So if it has a coolness factor it can’t possibly be directed at anyone but teens? If adults weren’t attracted by the “cool factor” of ecigs there would not be Mod Traders on FB, Vapebash, Jwraps, demand for Pluid and Flavorz by Joe or the desire for low numbered or limited mods. With regard to naming flavors, if the vendors can’t use names that accurately describe their e-liquid flavors how can they attract the Vapers who would like that particular flavor?

                  Brian Gage on June 7th, 2013 8:01 pm

                  We’ve had some experience with this when the CA Attorney General forbid us from selling any non-menthol or non-tobacco flavors to CA customers online even though we have a bonafide age verification software system for every order that comes through…

                  Our french vanilla for example is called “Vestratto American” which we named purposefully so nobody would say we were marketing to minors as it’s a made up name.

                  We essentially got a “nice try” from the government and we still can’t sell it in CA online.

                  So even a made up name with no relevance to anything sweet still got us in trouble.

                  Rough waters ahead….

                    kelli perkins on July 29th, 2013 1:03 pm

                    I don’t see it. But if a cigarette is appealing I would rather my teen vape. Maybe even lean them to zero nic.

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