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

10/5/2016 - Tobacco prevention & cessation

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”
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