Objectives: The growing popularity of e-cigarettes has been accompanied by the proliferation of vape shops in the US. Vape shops are devoted to the sale and use of e-cigarettes, allowing customers to sample flavors and learn about different hardware from retailers. Research on vape shop retailers is lagging behind their popularity. This study documented the attitudes and behaviors regarding e-cigarettes and other tobacco products of retailers located in Los Angeles.
Methods: Surveys were conducted among retailers at 78 vape shops in 2014.
Results: The majority of retailers (76%) believed e-cigarettes are safer than combustible cigarettes, with about one-fourth believing e-cigarettes are completely safe. Retailers believed e-cigarettes are, on average, safer than products (eg, nicotine patch, gum, and inhaler) that have been approved for cessation by the FDA. About 14% of retailers reported dual use of cigarettes and e-cigarettes in the past month.
Conclusion: This is the first study to investigate tobacco-related behaviors and attitudes of vape shop retailers located in Los Angeles. Educating vape shop retailers on the benefits and harms of e-cigarettes is important, especially if retailers are to be informed about a product that is only now being considered to receive regulation from the FDA.