Citation Moodie C, Ford A, Dobbie F, Thrasher JF, McKell J & Purves R (2018) The Power of Product Innovation: Smokers’ Perceptions of Capsule Cigarettes. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 20 (9), pp. 1157-1160. https://doi.org/10.1093/ntr/ntx195
Since being brought to market in 2007, cigarettes with capsules in the filter that can be burst to change the flavor have had remarkable global success, highlighting the importance of product innovation for tobacco companies. Very few studies have explored how these products are perceived by smokers however. This paper sought to address this gap by exploring smokers’ awareness of cigarettes with one or two flavor-changing capsules in the filter and the appeal of these products.
Twenty focus groups were conducted in Glasgow and Edinburgh in 2015 with current smokers (N= 120), segmented by age (16–17, 18–24, 25–35, 36–50, >50), gender, and social grade.
Awareness, use and appeal of capsule cigarettes was greater among younger adults (16–35 years), who showed most interest in these products. Those who perceived capsules positively mentioned multiple benefits: the ability to burst the capsule, convenience of being able to share cigarettes among menthol and nonmenthol smokers, better taste, fresher breath, reduced smell, and greater discretion. It was suggested that capsule cigarettes, particularly the double capsule cigarette (which had two differently flavored capsules in the filter), would encourage nonsmokers to experiment with smoking and discourage smokers from quitting.
The findings offer some reasons behind the global growth of the capsule cigarette segment.
Cigarettes with flavor-changing capsules in the filter have been one of the most successful product innovations of the last decade for tobacco companies. They have received very little academic attention however. Employing focus groups with 120 smokers aged 16 and over, we found that capsule cigarettes held most appeal to, and were considered to be targeted at, younger people, with it suggested that these products would encourage initiation and discourage cessation. This study provides some understanding of how these products are viewed by smokers.