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Using marketing frameworks to predict the effects of e-cigarette commercials on youth

James Russell Pike (Department of Biostatistics, Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA)
Stephen Miller (Department of Research and Evaluation, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, Culver City, California, USA)
Christopher Cappelli (Department of Health and Human Services, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California, USA)
Nasya Tan (Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA)
Bin Xie (School of Community and Global Health, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California, USA)
Alan W. Stacy (School of Community and Global Health, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California, USA)

Young Consumers

ISSN: 1747-3616

Article publication date: 5 December 2022

Issue publication date: 28 February 2023




This paper aims to apply the Product Life Cycle (PLC) and Product Evolutionary Cycle (PEC) frameworks to the nicotine and tobacco market to predict the impact of television commercials for electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) on youth.


Surveys were administered over a three-year period to 417 alternative high school students from Southern California who had never used e-cigarettes, cigarettes or cigars at the baseline. Covariate-adjusted logistic regression causal mediation models were used to test competing hypotheses from the PLC and PEC frameworks.


Results support a refined version of the PEC framework where e-cigarette commercials increase the odds of e-cigarette use, which leads to subsequent use of competing products including cigarettes and cigars.

Practical implications

This investigation demonstrates the utility of frameworks that conceptualize youth-oriented marketing as a two-part process in which potential customers are first convinced to adopt a behavior and then enticed to use a specific product to enact the behavior.

Social implications

Rising rates of nicotine and tobacco product use among youth may be partially attributable to e-cigarette commercials.


Regulations in the USA that permit television commercials for e-cigarettes but restrict the promotion of cigarettes and cigars have created an opportunity to study product adoption among youth consumers when one product has a strategic marketing advantage.



The authors wish to thank Sandy Asad, Sara J Asad, Melissa Garrido, Sarah Z Gonzalez, Hannah Jornacion, and Brenda Lisa Lucero for their tireless efforts recruiting and tracking alternative high school students. Additional thanks to Jerry Grenard for helping to refine the central concepts.

The USA has banned television commercials for cigarettes and cigars but not e-cigarettes. The authors show that these commercials directly increase the use e-cigarettes and indirectly increase the use of cigarettes and cigars among youth who had initially never used any nicotine or tobacco product.

Funding: This work was supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Food and Drug Administration Center for Tobacco Products (R01HD077560). The study sponsors had no role in the study design; the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; the writing of the report; or the decision to submit the manuscript for publication. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or the Food and Drug Administration.


Pike, J.R., Miller, S., Cappelli, C., Tan, N., Xie, B. and Stacy, A.W. (2023), "Using marketing frameworks to predict the effects of e-cigarette commercials on youth", Young Consumers, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 149-164.



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