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A Pilot Study of Retail ‘ Vape Shops ’ in the San Francisco Bay Area

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Introduction: The use of electronic cigarettes or vape devices is increasing, and products are evolving rapidly. This study assessed retail vape shops in the San Francisco Bay Area to describe store characteristics, products offered, advertisements and health claims, as well as employees’ perceptions of their customers’ demographics, and practices to support smoking cessation.

Methods: We conducted store audits of shops that exclusively sell vape devices with physical addresses in San Francisco and Alameda counties (n=23, response rate 72%) and interviewed vape shop owners/employees.

Results: While all stores carried second and third generation vape devices, 83% of stores did not carry first generation devices. Employees estimated the majority of their customers bought devices for smoking cessation or to replace tobacco, and a small minority purchased for first-time recreational use. Employees most frequently recommended dosing nicotine based on usual cigarette consumption, adjusting doses based on “throat hit” or cravings, use of a second or third generation e-cigarette, and encouraged customers to experiment and customize to “whatever works for you” as smoking cessation advice.

Conclusions: Vape shops report a significant number of their customers are interested in smoking cessation, and employees are giving smoking cessation advice. A subpopulation of customers includes some nicotine novices. Studies of vape shops should include both observations and interviews with employees in order to detect important informal practices that may differ from posted signs or printed advertising. These practices include cessation counseling, product claims, and custom discount prices or bargaining.

No MeSH data available.


De-identified interior poster offering free e-juice or discount in exchange for customer advocacy actions.
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Figure 3: De-identified interior poster offering free e-juice or discount in exchange for customer advocacy actions.

Mentions: Anti-tobacco industry or anti-smoking attitudes were present on signs in many of the audited vape shops. A third of stores (7/23) had anti-tobacco signage (e.g., “No smoking, try vaping.”) in interior and/or exterior displays. On observation 26% of stores (6/23) displayed a health claim in interior or exterior advertising. The most common claims were for effectiveness of e-cigarettes as smoking cessation aids (26%, 6/23) and the safety of e-cigarettes (9%, 2/23), or indicating that vaping was healthier than smoking (Figure 2). Several stores (22%, 5/23) had vape industry magazines for customers to browse or take home. Some stores had advocacy materials prominently displayed and one store had a poster that offered a “free 10ml bottle of [store brand e-liquid] or $7 off any purchase” in exchange for a letter to a state senator opposing a bill that would classify ENDS as tobacco products (Figure 3).


A Pilot Study of Retail ‘ Vape Shops ’ in the San Francisco Bay Area
De-identified interior poster offering free e-juice or discount in exchange for customer advocacy actions.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5382868&req=5

Figure 3: De-identified interior poster offering free e-juice or discount in exchange for customer advocacy actions.
Mentions: Anti-tobacco industry or anti-smoking attitudes were present on signs in many of the audited vape shops. A third of stores (7/23) had anti-tobacco signage (e.g., “No smoking, try vaping.”) in interior and/or exterior displays. On observation 26% of stores (6/23) displayed a health claim in interior or exterior advertising. The most common claims were for effectiveness of e-cigarettes as smoking cessation aids (26%, 6/23) and the safety of e-cigarettes (9%, 2/23), or indicating that vaping was healthier than smoking (Figure 2). Several stores (22%, 5/23) had vape industry magazines for customers to browse or take home. Some stores had advocacy materials prominently displayed and one store had a poster that offered a “free 10ml bottle of [store brand e-liquid] or $7 off any purchase” in exchange for a letter to a state senator opposing a bill that would classify ENDS as tobacco products (Figure 3).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Introduction: The use of electronic cigarettes or vape devices is increasing, and products are evolving rapidly. This study assessed retail vape shops in the San Francisco Bay Area to describe store characteristics, products offered, advertisements and health claims, as well as employees’ perceptions of their customers’ demographics, and practices to support smoking cessation.

Methods: We conducted store audits of shops that exclusively sell vape devices with physical addresses in San Francisco and Alameda counties (n=23, response rate 72%) and interviewed vape shop owners/employees.

Results: While all stores carried second and third generation vape devices, 83% of stores did not carry first generation devices. Employees estimated the majority of their customers bought devices for smoking cessation or to replace tobacco, and a small minority purchased for first-time recreational use. Employees most frequently recommended dosing nicotine based on usual cigarette consumption, adjusting doses based on “throat hit” or cravings, use of a second or third generation e-cigarette, and encouraged customers to experiment and customize to “whatever works for you” as smoking cessation advice.

Conclusions: Vape shops report a significant number of their customers are interested in smoking cessation, and employees are giving smoking cessation advice. A subpopulation of customers includes some nicotine novices. Studies of vape shops should include both observations and interviews with employees in order to detect important informal practices that may differ from posted signs or printed advertising. These practices include cessation counseling, product claims, and custom discount prices or bargaining.

No MeSH data available.