University of South Florida


Towards the end of 2013, White Cloud was pleased to announce the signing of a research partnership agreement with the University of South Florida’s (USF) Marketing Department.

As part of the agreement, the marketing faculty at USF’s College of Business conducted a multi-stage study in to the perceptions, barriers and transitional comments for smokers moving to the potentially less harmful alternative of electronic cigarettes.

The purpose of this research study was to gain insight into a new segment of consumers who are adopting “vaping” behaviors instead of smoking. The (yet to be published) results of this research, conducted by USF’s College of Business, can be downloaded from the link below. The research encompassed qualitative consumer studies via focus groups and interviews of adult smokers.

The project team consisted of Rob Burton (Director, Corporate & Regulatory Affairs) from White Cloud and from USF included Professor Paul Solomon, Ms. Carol Osborne (Instructor) and Dr. Anand Kumar, Associate Professor and Chair of the Marketing Department. The faculty’s research interests cover areas such as brand strategies, marketing communications’ effectiveness and consumer reactions to new technology products and services.

“From a marketing researcher’s perspective, this is an interesting time in the life of a product,” said Anand Kumar. “The e-cigarette product category is seeing an explosive growth right now. It is not clear whether this growth is the result of rapid adoption by innovators and early adopters that might soon level off or whether there is more widespread adoption by smokers. There is a lot of interest in understanding consumer motivations underlying adoption of this product and limited research that has been carried out on this aspect of the e-cigarette market place.”

“At White Cloud, we develop products based upon consumer insight, integrated with a strong focus upon science, innovation and efficacy,” said Robert Burton, Director, Corporate & Regulatory Affairs. “We target our products at adult smokers looking for an alternative to existing combustible products as well as existing electronic cigarette users looking for better quality products.”



The White Cloud/USF engagement goes beyond this recent research, however; White Cloud has now been accepted as an “Incubator Company” and has its own laboratory facility within the USF Connect on-campus premises.

The results of such a partnership will further satisfy a vitally important element of the affiliation, i.e. to “Develop and direct sound regulatory strategies and implementation plans related to e-cigarettes”.

Further to this, and in support of the on-campus role, White Cloud will be offering such opportunities as the chance for internships, in order to both further the aims of the university and support the local community. This type of activity provides additional opportunities for students to enter direct employment as a result of the University partnering and fostering the development of local companies focused upon developing credible affiliations. It also supports one of USF’s mission objectives and goals, in so much that it allows the facility “to unite technology and talent with businesses throughout a 23 county region, providing access to top-tier research, faculty, students, inventors, local organizations, economic development councils, supporting industry and capital funding sources.”

All such partnerships and efforts support one of White Cloud’s main objectives, which is “building our reputation as a responsible company and its efforts to develop a range of potentially reduced harm nicotine products supported by science, but led by consumer demand, for a safer alternative to smoking.”

The first part of the report, which consists of secondary data and the second part, regarding the behavioral understanding of smokers and vapors, can be viewed below.

Download USF Report 1