E-cigarettes, lozenges, and inhalers could steal smoke from cigarettes, per a new Mintel study on smoking cessation aids. The firm finds that sales of such products are set to increase 3% from 2011-12, reaching $1 billion, and they are expected to continue growing through 2017 reaching $1.2 billion in sales.
Emily Krol, health and wellness analyst at Mintel, says the market's challenges include the fact that there are fewer and fewer smokers (which is, of course, good news). However, bans and taxes on cigarettes could help fuel the market. "And growth opportunities for this market will be found in product innovation and line extensions,” she says.
Per Mintel, 60% of Americans who currently smoke or quit and returned say motivation is a problem because smokers like smoking -- although they admit they are scared by health warnings. And there's the rationalization factor that is common to most addictive behaviors: about half of users feel strongly that they would be able to quit smoking at any time.
And smokers also see quitting as a tradeoff between lung damage and adipose tissue: people who quit tend to gain weight. The study says that of those concerned with weight gain, 54% are women, versus 31% men.
The study also finds that 41% of smokers who are interested in quitting are mulling a range of anti-smoking products and substitutes. They say they are interested in trying OTC nicotine sprays, and 41% would give prescription nicotine inhalers a try. Forty percent would go for OTC nicotine replacement lozenges and 38% are interested in nicotine-free cigarettes.
The anti-smoking foundation Legacy took a look at another option: e-cigarettes, those battery-powered nicotine delivery systems that go by brand names like Blu and Victory, and that deliver the drug in a propylene glycol vapor. Foundation-sponsored research led by Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, and its Schroeder Institute found that 40.2% of Americans have heard of e-cigarettes, and over 70% percent believe e-cigs are less harmful than regular cigarettes.
In addition, current smokers are several times more likely to use e-cigarettes than non-smokers. The research finds a couple of not-so-surprising reasons for this. One is a perception of e-cigarettes as just plain safer than traditional coffin nails; the other is the fact that more stringent smoking laws mean fewer smoking venues. “We found that, while overall e-cigarette use is still relatively low, awareness of e-cigarettes is high,” said Schroeder Institute research Jennifer Pearson in a statement. She added that younger smokers are more likely to have ever tried an e-cigarette.
The Schroeder Institute wasn’t able to nail down a verdict on e-cigarette safety, although it found that manufacturing standards vary, the amount of nicotine delivered is far less than advertised, and such products often perfuse glycerin impurities into the inhalant.
The Mintel study says the major concern for smokers trying to quit is dealing with the craving that goes with the weaning process. And 61% of Americans who quit and relit, or are interested in quitting are worried about the desire factor. While the ultimate goal is to keep a lung or two, 59% of want-to-quits said they don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for that luxury.