Major Pharmaceutical Company: Exploring the potential for an E-cigarette product launch

Business Challenge

We were asked by a pharmaceutical company to assess the potential of entering the e-cigs market with a smoking cessation product.



We used a mixed methodology to get a well-rounded view of the category.

  • Qualitative focus groups were a good way to speak to smokers that had engaged with e-cigarettes. Vox pops with smokers in the street and outside bars allowed us to observe people’s behaviour in a more natural setting.
  • Desk research into emerging brands and technologies helped assess what product attributes were targeted at specific audiences.
  • Vape store interviews helped understand the attitudes and motivations of existing customers and owners.



The research helped pull into focus a newly emerging vaping scene, with main users being smokers looking to quit, but also keen to replicate many of the enjoyable aspects and rituals of smoking. Ultimately it would be very difficult and controversial for a pharmaceutical company to enter this space and compete in the smoking business. The eventual outcome was a decision not to proceed with trying to innovate in this space, saving the business millions in development costs