Underage sales signage in vape shops: Comparison of stores near and far from California colleges

J Am Coll Health. 2021 Nov 17;1-4. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2021.1978457. Online ahead of print.


Objective: Two-thirds of U.S. colleges are near vape shops, where higher rates of underage sales exist. This study examined vape shop compliance with state-mandated age-of-sale signs, the presence of age-of-entry signs and the tobacco industry's "We Card" sign. Participants: Random sample of 614 California vape shops, stratified by distance to community colleges or 4-year universities/colleges; visited June-August, 2019. Methods: Logistic regressions examined whether signage varied by distance to colleges and whether stores sold other tobacco products (OTP). Results: Compliance with the state-mandated age-of-sale sign was 69.4%; vape-only stores were less compliant than vape + OTP (AOR = 0.39, 95% CI = 0.22,0.70). Age-of-entry signs were more common in vape-only (AOR = 1.87, 95% CI = 1.07,3.28) than vape + OTP stores. However, this difference was greater for vape-only stores near community colleges and attenuated for vape-only stores near 4-year universities/colleges. Conclusion: Improved enforcement and retailer education regarding age-of-sale signage are needed, particularly near colleges where greater potential for underage sales presumably exists.

Keywords: Colleges; Tobacco 21; policy compliance; tobacco retailers; underage tobacco sales; vape shops.