I read an article by Gus Lubin on Business Insider titled “E-Cigarettes Have a Coolness Problem”. The article basically says traditional cigarettes are cool because they are dangerous; e-cigarettes aren’t dangerous, so they won’t be considered cool and thus they won’t be able to attract new customers. You can read the full article here: Business Insider.
After reading the article, I get the feeling Business Insider really doesn’t understand e-cigarette users. Lubin assumes e-Cigs are trying to show they are cool by showing celebrities using them. Electronic cigarettes don’t need to be cool for long term success. They just need to be accepted as a legitimate alternative to smoking. E-Cigs aren’t here to lure in new nicotine users, they are offered as a better alternative to cigarettes; that’s all. Showing celebrities using electronic cigarettes isn’t about elevating coolness, it’s about reinforcing their legitimacy and raising awareness.
As far as cigarettes being cool, I don’t think they are considered cool because they are dangerous. In fact, there was a time cigarettes were advertised as being good for you by professional athletes and doctors, and they were still cool then. It’s the Marlboro Man, Joe Camel, and countless other slogans, endorsements and advertisements aimed at building that coolness image that made cigarettes cool… not danger. If electronic cigarettes companies wanted to spend millions on advertising focused on a coolness image over the next couple decades, they would eventually be considered cool too.
Many people don’t think cigarettes are cool anymore and they continue to become less socially acceptable. How many current smokers are their world wide? That’s the target market for electronic cigarettes and we’ve only scratched the surface. People will continue to make bad decisions when they are young (like starting smoking); as they get older they get wiser and want to make better decisions (like quitting smoking) this is the cycle that will continue to grow the e-cig customer base.
One comment to the article says “there is nothing cool about an ecig … comon guys e cigs really ???” Clearly this guy is just ignorant and probably isn’t a smoker and doesn’t have any loved ones who are smokers. If you’re going to use electronic cigarettes, you have to be ready for people like this because you will run into them. The easiest way to deal with them is to just be honest; you’re using them because you think it’s a better alternative to smoking; not to look cool!