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‘Proudly Canadian’ and ‘no Big Tobacco affiliation’: STLTH e-cigarette advertising and positioning in Canada
  1. Timothy Dewhirst
  1. Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies, Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Professor Timothy Dewhirst, Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies, Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada; dewhirst{at}

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The global e-cigarette industry’s estimated worth was $21 billion in 2021, with Canada identified as one of the world’s top-selling markets.1 In Canada, market tracking data reveal that e-cigarette sales made at convenience stores increased by 52% from 2019 to 2020.1 Specialty vape shops were initially the standard for acquiring e-cigarettes, but convenience stores are emerging as key retailers. Euromonitor International’s market research—commissioned by Health Canada—indicates: ‘The rapid evolution of the vaping market in Canada is unprecedented. The entry of closed devices and increased accessibility to vaping products have had a dramatic impact on the Canadian market and fueled a period of growth through 2019’.2 The report goes on to identify that the key factors fostering growth of the Canadian e-cigarette market include new retail channels (ie, the addition of convenience stores that made e-cigarettes more widely available), the introduction of nicotine salts (enabling high-nicotine deliveries that are perceived as smooth—not too harsh—by users), a variety of flavour offerings and the development of closed advanced vaping systems wherein a pod (cartridge) comes prefilled with vaping liquid. Such vaping systems are for limited use, wherein once the pod becomes empty, it is discarded and replenished with a new one. The sale of prefilled pods offers producers high-profit margins relative to the devices. According to Euromonitor International’s report, the key competitors in the Canadian market for this product category include JUUL, Vype/Vuse, Logic, Blu and STLTH. Still, Logic and Blu have since been discontinued in Canada.3 4 Moreover, while British American Tobacco initially marketed Vype in Canada,5 it has been replaced by Vuse in an apparent effort to standardise and globalise marketing efforts for the e-cigarette brand.6 7 The disposable e-cigarette market in Canada is now highly consolidated, being dominated by Vuse and JUUL (comprising an approximate …

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  • Contributors TD was the sole contributor to the writing and analysis of the study.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests TD is an associate editor of Tobacco Control with respect to Product Marketing and Promotion. He has also served as an expert witness in tobacco and e-cigarette litigation, often for governments whose policies regarding the marketing and promotion of tobacco and e-cigarette products were challenged on constitutional grounds.

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