The availability of electronic cigarettes in US retail outlets, 2012: results of two national studies
- Shyanika W Rose1,2,
- Dianne C Barker3,
- Heather D'Angelo1,
- Tamkeen Khan4,
- Jidong Huang5,
- Frank J Chaloupka4,5,
- Kurt M Ribisl1,2
- 1Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
- 2Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
- 3Barker Bi-Coastal Health Consultants, Inc., Calabasas, California, USA
- 4Department of Economics, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
- 5Health Policy Center, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
- Correspondence to Shyanika W Rose, Department of Health Behavior, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, CB 7440, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7440, USA;
- Received 27 November 2013
- Accepted 28 February 2014
Background Since their introduction in 2007, electronic cigarette (‘e-cigarette’) awareness and use has grown rapidly. Little is known about variation in e-cigarette availability across areas with different levels of tobacco taxes and smoke-free air policies. This paper looks at US retail availability of e-cigarettes and factors at the store, neighbourhood and policy levels associated with it.
Methods In-person store audit data collected in 2012 came from two national samples of tobacco retailers in the contiguous US. Study 1 collected data from a nationally representative sample of tobacco retailers (n=2165). Study 2 collected data from tobacco retailers located in school enrolment zones for nationally representative samples of 8th, 10th and 12th grade public school students (n=2526).
Results In 2012, e-cigarette retail availability was 34% in study 1 and 31% in study 2. Tobacco, pharmacy and gas/convenience stores were more likely to sell e-cigarettes than beer/wine/liquor stores. Retail availability of e-cigarettes was more likely in neighbourhoods with higher median household income (study 1), and lower percent of African–American (studies 1 and 2) and Hispanic residents (study 2). Price of traditional cigarettes was inversely related to e-cigarette availability. Stores in states with an American Lung Association Smoke-Free Air grade of F (study 1) or D (study 2) compared with A had increased likelihood of having e-cigarettes.
Conclusions Currently, e-cigarette availability appears more likely in areas with weak tax and smoke-free air policies. Given the substantial availability of e-cigarettes at tobacco retailers nationwide, states and localities should monitor the sales and marketing of e-cigarettes at point of sale (POS).
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