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.


Download data is not yet available.


Abzakh, A. A., Ling, K. C. & Alkilani, K. (2013). The Impact of Perceived Risks on the Consumer Resistance towards Generic Drugs in the Malaysia Pharmaceutical Industry. International Journal of Business and Management, 8(3), 42-50.
Al-Jabir, I. M. & Sohail, M. S. (2012). Mobile banking adoption: Application of diffusion of innovation theory. Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, 13(4), 1-13.
Arts, J. W. C., Frambach, R. T. & Bijmolt, T. H. A. (2011). Generalizations on consumer innovation adoption: A meta-analysis on drivers of intention and behaviour. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 28(2), 1-40.
Barbeau, A. M., Burda, J. & Siegel, M. (2013). Perceived efficacy of e-cigarettes versus nicotine replacement therapy among successful e-cigarette users: a qualitative approach. Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, 8(5), 1-7.
Bartels, J. & Reinders, M. J. (2011). Consumer innovativeness and its correlates: A propositional inventory for future research. Journal of Business Research, 64, 601-609.
Biaxter, L., Hughes, C. & Tight, M. (2010). How to Research (4th Ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Companies.
Borland, R. (2011). Electronic Cigarettes as a Method of Tobacco Control. Britain Medical Journal. doi: 1136/bmj.d6269.
Bullen, C., McRobbie, H., Thornley, S., Glover, M., Lin, R. & Laugesen, M. (2010). Effect of an electronic nicotine delivery device (e cigarette) on desire to smoke and withdrawal, user preferences and nicotine delivery: randomised cross-over trial. Tobacco Control, 19(2), 98-103.
Caponnetto, P., Polosa, R., Auditore, R., Russo, C. & Campagna, D. (2011). Smoking Cessation with E-Cigarettes among Smokers with a Documented History of Depression and Recurring Relapses. International Journal of Clinical Medicine, 2, 281-284. doi: 10.4236/ijcm.2011.23046.
Chinman, M., Lucksted, A., Gresen, R., Davis, M., Losonczy, M., Sussner, B. & Martone, L. (2008). Early Experiences of Employing Consumer-Providers in the VA. Psychiatric Services, 59(11), 1315-1322.
Chinomona, E. (2011). Non-mediated channel powers and relationship quality: a case of SME’s in Zimbabwe channels of distribution. Cape Town: SAIMS. (27thconference of the Southern Institute for Management Scientists: 30-1 Sep.)
Chinomona, R., Lin, J. Y. C., Wang, M. C. H. & Cheng, J. M. S. (2010). Soft power and desirable relationship outcomes: the case of Zimbabwean distribution channels. Journal of African Business11(2), 182-200.
Cho, J. H., Shin, E. & Moon, S. (2011). Electronic-Cigarette Smoking Experience among Adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 49, 542-546.
Claudy, M. (2011). An Empirical Investigation of Consumer Resistance to Green Product Innovation. Doctoral Thesis. Dublin Institute of Technology.
Claudy, M., O’Driscoll, A., Garcia, R. & Mullen, M. (2010). Consumer Resistance to green Innovations: Developing a New Scale and an Underlying Framework. 35thMacromarketing Conference: Wyoming.
Cova, B. & Dalli, D. (2008). From communal resistance to tribal value creation. 1st International Conference on Consumption and Consumer Resistance, Paris, 28 November.
Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research Design (4th Ed.). London: sage Publications Ltd.
Dawkins, L., Turner, J., Hasna, S. & Soar, K. (2012). The electronic cigarette: affects on desire to smoke, withdrawal symptoms and cognition. Addictive Behaviours, DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2012.03.004.
Demoulin, N. T. M. & Zidda, P. (2009). Drivers of Customers’ Adoption and Adoption Timing of a New Loyalty Card in the Grocery Retail Market. Journal of Retailing, 85(3), 391-405.
Denegri-Knott, J., Zwick, D. & Schroeder, J. E. (2006). Mapping consumer power: an integrative framework for marketing and consumer research. European Journal of Marketing, 40(9/10), p950-971.
Dwivedi, Y. K. (2005). Adoption, Usage and Impact of Broadband: UK Households. n.a.
Etter, J. (2010). Electronic cigarettes: a survey of users. BMC Public Health, 10(231), 1-7.
Fetscherin, M. & Lattemann, C. (2008). User Acceptance of virtual Worlds. Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, 9(3), 231-242.
Forsythe, S., Liu, C., Shannon, D. & Gardner L. C. (2006). Development of a scale to measure the perceived benefits and risks of online shopping. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 20(2), 55-75.
Fraering, M. & Minor, M. S. (2006). Sense of community: an exploratory article of US consumers of financial services. International Journal of Bank Marketing, 24(5), 284-306.
Galvango, M. (2010). The intellectual structure of the anti-consumption and consumer resistance field. European Journal of Marketing, 46(11/12), 1688-1701.
Ghauri, P. & Grønhaug, K. (2010). Research Methods in Business Studies (4th Ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Education Ltd.
Goniewicz, M. L., Knysak, J., Gawron, M., Kosmider, L., Sobczak, A., Kurek, J., Prokopowicz, A., Jablonska-Czapla, M., Rosik-Dulewska, C., Havel, C., Jacob, P. &Benowitz, N. (2013). Levels of Selected Carcinogens and Toxicants in Vapour from Electronic Cigarettes. Tobacco Control. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2012050859.
Goniewicz, M. L., Lingas, O. L. & Hajek, P. (2013). Patterns of electronic cigarette use and user beliefs about their safety and benefits: An Internet survey. Drug and Alcohol Review, 32, 133-140. doi: 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2012.00512.x.
Gourville, J. T. (2006). Eager Sellers and Stony Buyers: Understanding the Psychology of New-Product Adoption. Harvard Business Review, pp.99-106.
Haghirian, P., Madlberger, M. & Inoue, A. (2008). Mobile Advertising in Different Stages of Development: A Cross-Country Comparison of Consumer Attitudes.41st Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.
Health New Zealand Ltd. (2009). Ruyan®E-cigarette Bench-top tests. Poster 5-11, Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. Christchurch, New Zealand. Laugesen, M.
Heavner, K., Dunworth, J., Bergen, P., Nissen, C. & Phillips, C. V. (2009). Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as potential tobacco harm reduction products: Results of an online survey of e-cigarette users, 1-14.
Heppner, P. P., Kivlighan, D. M. & Wampold, B. E. (2008). Research Design in Counselling (3rd Ed.). Belmont: Thomson Higher Education.
Jung, J., Chan-Olmsted, S., Park, B. & Kim, Y. (2012). Factors affecting e-book reader awareness, interest, and intention to use. New Media Society, 14(2), 204-224.
Kleijnen, M., Lee, N. & Wetzels, M. (2009). An exploration of consumer resistance to innovation and its antecedents. Journal of Economic Psychology, 30(3), 344-357.
Korhonen, H. & Kaarela, I. (2011). Corporate customers’ resistance to industrial service innovations. International Journal of Innovation Management, 15(3), 479-503.
Kumar, V., Kukerji, B., Butt, I. & Persaud, A. (2007). Factors for Successful e-Government Adoption: a Conceptual Framework. The Electronic Journal of e-Government, 5(1), 63-76.
Lee, S., Kimm, H., Yun, J. E. & Jee, S. H. (2011). Public health Challenges of Electronic Cigarettes in South Korea. Journal of Preventative Medicine and Public Health, 44(6), 235-241.
Liao, C. H. & Hsieh, I. Y. (2013). Determinants of consumer’s willingness to purchase gray-market smartphones. Journal of Business Ethics, 114(3), 409-424.
Lichtenstein, S. & Williamson, K. (2006). Understanding Consumer Adoption of Internet Banking: An Interpretive Study in the Australian Study in the Australian Banking Context. Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, 7(2), 50-67.
MacVaugh, J. & Schiavone, F. (2010). Limits to the diffusion of innovation: A literature review and integrative model. European Journal of Innovation Management, 13(2), 197-221.
Mail & Guardian. (2014). E-cigs fall through cracks of law. Matthew Burbridge. Retrieved from http://mg.co.za/article/2014-05-23-e-cigs-fall-through-cracks-of-law.
Malhotra, N. K. (2010). Marketing Research: An Applied Orientation (6th Ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Education Ltd. Moraes, C., Szmigin, I. & Carrigan, M. (2008). Consumer resistance, coherent inconsistencies, and new consumption communities. In: 1st International Conference on Consumption and Consumer Resistance, 28 November 2008, IRG-University Parist 12.
Odum, L. E., O’Dell, K. A. & Schepers, J. S. (2012). Electronic Cigarettes: Do They Have a Role in Smoking Cessation? Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 25(6), 611-614.
Peters Jr, R. J., Meshack, A., Lin, M., Hill, M. & Abughosh, S. (2013). The Social Norms and Beliefs of Teenage Male Electronic Cigarette Use. Journal of Ethnicity inSubstance Abuse, 12(4), 300-307. doi: 10.1080/15332640.2013.819310.
Polosa, R., Caponnetto, P., Morjaria, J. B., Papale, G., Campagna, D. & Russo, C. (2011). Effect of an electronic nicotine delivery device (e-cigarette) on smoking reduction and cessation: A prospective 6-month pilot study. BioMed Central Public Health, 11(786), 1-12.
Qureshi, S. M. & Kang, C. (2014). Analysing the organisational factors of project complexity using structural equation modelling. International Journal of Project Management, 33(1), 165-176.
Schreier, M., Oberhauser, S. & Prügl, R. H. (2007). Lead users and the adoption and diffusion of new products: Insights from two extreme sports communities. Marketing Letters, 18(1-2), 15-30.
Schripp, T., Markewitz, D., Udhe, E. & Salthammer, T. (2013). Does e-cigarette consumption cause passive vaping? John Wiley and Sons A/H, 23, 25-31. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0668.2012.00792.x.
Schwarz, N. & Ernst, A. (2008). Die Adoption von Technischen Umweltinnovationen: das Beispiel Trinkwasser. Umwelt psychologie, 22(1), 28–48.
Siegel, M. B., Tanwar, K. L. & Wood, K. S. (2011). Electronic Cigarettes as a Smoking-Cessation Tool: Results from an Online Survey. American Journal of Preventative Medicine. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2010.12.006.
Sutfin, E. L., McCoy, T. P., Morell, H. E. R., Hoeppner, B. B. & Wolfson, M. (2013). Electronic cigarette use among college students. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 131, 214-221.
Talke, K., Saloma, S., Wieringa, E. & Lutz, A. (2009). What about Design Newness? Investigating the Relevance of a Neglected Dimension of Product Innovativeness.
Trtchounian, A., Williams, M. & Talbot, P. (2010). Conventional and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have different smoking characteristics. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 12(9), 905-912.
Trumbo, C. W. & Harper, R. (2013). Use and Perception of Electronic Cigarettes among College Students. Journal of American College Health, 61(3), 149-155. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2013.776052. World Health Organisation. (2015). Tobacco. Fact Sheet No.339. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en/.
Wu, J. & Wang, S. (2005). What drives mobile commerce? An empirical evaluation of the revised technology acceptance model. Information and Management, 42, 719-729.
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: <https://ifrnd.org/journal/index.php/jebs/article/view/1436>. Date accessed: 24 nov. 2017.
Research Paper