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Marketing of flavour capsule cigarettes: a systematic review
  1. Christina N Kyriakos1,
  2. Mateusz Zygmunt Zatoński2,3,
  3. Filippos T Filippidis1
  1. 1 Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London School of Public Health, London, UK
  2. 2 Department for Health, University of Bath, Bath, UK
  3. 3 European Observatory of Health Inequalities, Calisia University, Kalisz, Poland
  1. Correspondence to Christina N Kyriakos, Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London School of Public Health, London W6 8RP, UK; c.kyriakos20{at}


Objective This systematic review aims to identify marketing elements of flavour capsule variants (FCVs), cigarettes that release flavour when a capsule(s) embedded in the filter is crushed.

Data sources A search of original research without restrictions in publication year, population, study design or language using a combination of cigarette and capsule terms was conducted across four databases (Medline, Embase, Web of Science and Scopus), indexed until 13 December 2021, along with a citation search.

Study selection Studies were included if they presented original research relevant to marketing features of FCVs.

Data extraction One author performed data extraction and coded outcomes based on ‘4Ps’ of marketing mix theory: product, place, price and promotion. The second author conducted a cross-check.

Data synthesis Of 2436 unduplicated database records and 30 records from other sources, 40 studies were included in the review. Studies were published between 2009 and 2021. Study methodologies primarily included content analysis of cigarette packs/sticks, review of tobacco industry documents and content analysis of advertising information. Findings suggest FCVs are marketed using a mix of strategies, particularly characterised by product innovation, timing market launches around tobacco policies, point-of-sale advertising and packaging to communicate a high-tech, customisable and flavourful product.

Conclusion Findings illuminate the marketing strategies of FCVs that are likely driving their global growth, particularly among young people and in low and middle-income countries. Comprehensive tobacco control regulations are needed to close loopholes and curb industry efforts to circumvent existing policies in order to mitigate uptake of FCVs and other product innovations.

  • tobacco industry
  • public policy
  • price
  • packaging and labelling
  • advertising and promotion

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  • Twitter @cnkyriakos, @ZatonskiMateusz

  • Contributors CNK conceived the original idea for the paper, conducted the search, screened titles and abstracts, assessed full-text articles for eligibility, performed the data extraction and drafted the manuscript. MZZ independently screened titles and abstracts, assessed full-text articles for eligibility and cross-checked data extraction. FTF supervised. All authors edited the manuscript, and contributed to and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding CNK is funded by the Imperial College London President’s PhD Scholarships. MZZ is funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies Stopping Tobacco Organisations and Products (

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.