Consumer Preferences for E-cigarette Flavor, Nicotine Strength, and Type: Evidence from Nielsen Scanner Data

Samane Zare, Yuqing Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction: Many countries regulate e-cigarette attributes such as flavors and nicotine strength. Despite a large literature on consumer preferences for e-cigarette attributes, none used consumerlevel longitudinal purchase data. We therefore use a unique large dataset on U.S. adults' e-cigarette purchases as to gain insight into real-world consumer choices and purchasing patterns. Methods: A total of 7098 purchase transactions, made by 1239 households on e-cigarette from various retail outlets for 2013 through 2017, were collected from Nielsen scanner data. We then apply an innovative multinomial logit model to examine which factors affected adult choices over 23 e-cigarettes products broken down by eight brands, three flavors, three nicotine strength levels, and two types. Results: We found that tobacco flavor, medium nicotine strength (12mg/ml ?18), or disposables lead to higher adult purchases and such preference can vary over cigarette smoking status, purchase frequency, gender, race, and age. Specifically, smokers tend to purchase tobacco flavor, non-smokers or female vapers tend to purchase medium strength, and infrequent vapers tend to purchase disposables. Vapers are quite responsive to e-cigarette prices and also display loyalty (inertia) to e-cigarette brands, flavor, and nicotine strength. Conclusions: When modeled together, e-cigarette flavors, strength, type, price, and previous choice were all found to influence vapers' current purchase decision in the actual retail environment. Implications: The evidence presented here indicates that the impacts of certain restrictions on e-cigarette attributes, such as a flavor ban or maximum level of nicotine content, might have heterogeneous impacts on adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)823-828
Number of pages6
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2021

Bibliographical note

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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