An international team of researchers led by University of South Carolina associate professor Dr. Jim Thrasher (department of health promotion, education, and behavior, Arnold School of Public Health) has recently published some of the first research on one of the latest product innovations from the tobacco industry. Cigarettes with flavor capsules in the filter, which consumers can crush at any time to release a burst of flavor, are claiming significant market growth according to industry reports. Yet virtually no independent research has been conducted to assess the impact of this new product segment of the tobacco industry.
The study, published in Tobacco Control, collected information on more than 18,000 adult smokers’ usage and perceptions of cigarettes with flavor capsules in the filter. Participants from Mexico (5,723 respondents), Australia (5,864 respondents) and the United States (6,865 respondents) completed online surveys between 2012 and 2014. The researchers found that the use of flavor capsules increased during this period, with preference for flavor capsule brands highest among young adults. The study also found that smokers who preferred flavor capsule cigarettes were more likely than other smokers to view their brand as stylish, better tasting, and less harmful than other cigarettes.