Article Text

other Versions

PDF
A content analysis of electronic cigarette manufacturer websites in China
  1. Tingting Yao1,2,
  2. Nan Jiang2,3,
  3. Rachel Grana2,
  4. Pamela M Ling4,
  5. Stanton A Glantz5
  1. 1Institute for Health & Aging, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
  2. 2Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
  3. 3School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  4. 4Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
  5. 5Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor Stanton A Glantz, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California San Francisco, 530, Parnassus Avenue, Suite 366, San Francisco, CA 94143-1390, USA; glantz{at}medicine.ucsf.edu

Abstract

Objective The goal of this study was to summarise the websites of electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) manufacturers in China and describe how they market their products.

Methods From March to April 2013, we used two search keywords ‘electronic cigarette’ (Dian Zi Xiang Yan in Chinese) and ‘manufacturer’ (Sheng Chan Chang Jia in Chinese) to search e-cigarette manufacturers in China on Alibaba, an internet-based e-commerce business that covers business-to-business online marketplaces, retail and payment platforms, shopping search engine and data-centric cloud computing services. A total of 18 websites of 12 e-cigarette manufacturers in China were analysed by using a coding guide which includes 14 marketing claims.

Results Health-related benefits were claimed most frequently (89%), followed by the claims of no secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure (78%), and utility for smoking cessation (67%). A wide variety of flavours, celebrity endorsements and e-cigarettes specifically for women were presented. None of the websites had any age restriction on access, references to government regulation or lawsuits. Instruction on how to use e-cigarettes was on 17% of the websites.

Conclusions Better regulation of e-cigarette marketing messages on manufacturers’ websites is needed in China. The frequent claims of health benefits, smoking cessation, strategies appealing to youth and women are concerning, especially targeting women. Regulators should prohibit marketing claims of health benefits, no SHS exposure and value for smoking cessation in China until health-related, quality and safety issues have been adequately addressed. To avoid e-cigarette use for initiation to nicotine addiction, messages targeting youth and women should be prohibited.

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.