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Marketing of flavour capsule cigarettes: a systematic review


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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