Exploring New Odors of Tobacco Consumption

The smell of cigarette smoke including the breath odor of smokers has often been described as a pressing issue in today’s world of work. In fact, it is the smell of smoking that marginalizes smokers at the workplace. They are often excluded from informal exchanges and target of workplace bullying and mobbing. In extreme cases they even lose their job because of their smoking habit. This threat is particularly relevant for service workers that work in physical proximity to their clients (e.g. healthcare sector).

In this context the emergence of new types of smokeless cigarettes is significant not only because of possible health effects but also because of its olfactory implications and social consequences. Moreover, the issue of smell is one of the key benefits that are discussed and disputed among users on the Internet. Moreover, some innovative approaches towards a smokeless cigarette are today regarded as major brand failures because of their olfactory qualities. Premier by RJ Reynolds for example is a smokeless cigarette that apparently produced a smell that left users retching.

All in all, the smell of tobacco consumption is essential both for the user’s experience as well as for the user’s social well-being. On the one hand the specific smell of tobacco consumption impacts on the user experience. On the other hand, the way in which co-workers, clients and society at large experience the smell impacts on the user’s status or role. In other words: The tobacco consumption must be analyzed in a broader cultural, social and political context that determines or at least influences the experience of a particular smell or scent.

This is the reason why we want to explore the use of new types of smokeless cigarettes: How do people use smokeless cigarettes? What difference does the use make to their work and life? Individually? In teams? What could service organizations gain from facilitating new types of smokeless cigarettes? How do customers and clients of service-workers using smokeless cigarettes respond to the change?

-C.N.