After Regulation, E-cig Brands Have Another Huge Hurdle: Men’s Complacency About their Health


 Let’s imagine a world where all the regulation matters over e-cigs are settled.  In fact let’s heighten the fantasy and also imagine that in this world, long-term studies have proven that vaping products pose minimal health risk and are effective smoking cessation aides. If you’re thinking “Certainly this is a perfect world where tobacco cigarettes no longer exist,” you’d probably be wrong. Even if e-cigarette use was normalized, the next great hurdle for the industry is men’s complacency about their own health.

It’s been well documented through the years that women tend to take better care of themselves. They see the doctor more often, they have better eating habits, and partly for those reasons they tend to live longer.  

“Women receive encouragement to be nurturers… A woman is so used to giving and taking care of others it’s not too much of a leap for her to take care of herself,” said Robert Sobut, MD, a clinical instructor of psychiatry at Northwestern University. “For men the act of nurturing can be an unfamiliar concept, therefore they tend to be more neglectful of themselves.” 

recent study concluded that young men of today know what healthy behavior is but social cues in their lives trigger unhealthy choices. The prevalence of obesity, binge drinking, sedentary lifestyles, and smoking among men are evidence of this. The study goes on to say that sports can be a conduit by which men take an interest in their health. Specifically, the promise of better performance or opportunity to emulate an athlete can prompt healthy behavior. 

Our recent Roebling Research report Churn in the E-Cigarette Markert (Link) confirms that adult male smokers who have tried e-cigarettes make up 63% of all triers and are less likely to continue vaping than their female counterparts. Thus they comprise most of the triers who are churning out of the market, presumably to go back to smoking. So it’s possible that we’re seeing male smokers exhibit this same complacent attitude about quitting smoking by substituting e-cigs for analogs.

This is the big marketing challenge that the industry will face. The brands that can crack this nut will likely be market leaders. A few random observations:

  • Downside: If e-cigs are subjected to the same advertising limitations that tobacco brands are, then sponsorship of sports or entertainment events would be illegal. Thus, e-cig brands could not use a forum through which men learn healthy behaviors
  • Upside: Vaping culture may provide those social cues that men need to quit tobacco.

What do you think?