Factors Affecting Consumer Resistance to Innovation Diffusion of E-Cigarettes

  • Nastasje Johnson University of the Witwatersrand
  • Marike Venter University of the Witwatersrand


With increasing concern over the harmful effects of smoking tobacco cigarettes, the use of alternate smoking devices such as the e-cigarette has grown. Although gaining popularity globally, consumer resistance has slowed the diffusion of e-cigarettes in emerging markets, especially in South Africa. The aim of this paper is to explore how consumer resistance affects the diffusion of e-cigarettes among university students in Johannesburg. The study predicts consumer resistance through exploring relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability, observability, and perceived risk. By means of a quantitative methodology, self-administered questionnaires were completed by 400 students from the University of the Witwatersrand. The data analysis was conducted using SPSS 22 and AMOS for structural equation modelling, which yielded results indicative of support for three of the six hypotheses proposed. This indicates that although marketers should apply relative advantage (β=0.03) and complexity (β=0.16) to marketing strategies, the focus should be on perceived risk (β=0.88) in order to increase the diffusion of e-cigarettes in the youth market. The results further provide marketing practitioners with a better understanding on how to limit consumer resistance and how to improve product diffusion of e-cigarettes. This study contributes to existing literature on innovation diffusion, and contextually to buying behaviour among the youth in South Africa. By gaining insight into this, marketers will positively influence behavioural change among smokers and so contribute to the reduction in smoking-related deaths.


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How to Cite
JOHNSON, Nastasje; VENTER, Marike. Factors Affecting Consumer Resistance to Innovation Diffusion of E-Cigarettes. Journal of Economics and Behavioral Studies, [S.l.], v. 8, n. 5, p. 108-119, oct. 2016. ISSN 2220-6140. Available at: <http://ifrnd.org/journal/index.php/jebs/article/view/1436>. Date accessed: 26 feb. 2017.
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