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Vape-only versus vape-and-smoke shops: sales to minors in four states
  1. Steve Sussman1,
  2. Artur Galimov2,
  3. Cristine D Delnevo3
  1. 1 Departments of Preventive Medicine and Psychology, and School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA
  2. 2 Preventive Medicine, USC Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California, USA
  3. 3 Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor Steve Sussman, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0001, USA; ssussma{at}

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Reducing access to tobacco via robust age of sale enforcement is an important component of comprehensive tobacco control, yet underage sales violations occur among tobacco retailers.1 2 Vape shops specialise in sales of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), e-liquids and devices. Some vape shops sell combustible tobacco (‘vape-and-smoke shops’) whereas others sell only non-combustible vaping-related products and no other type of tobacco product such as snuff (‘vape-only shops’). Some claim that vape-only shops take a more public health orientation, emphasising combustible tobacco cessation among adults, harm reduction goals and would not sell to minors.3 4 However, if shops are vape-only primarily to project a positive public image and focus on novel products, a similar frequency of violations of sales to minors laws might be observed across shop type. If so, consistent regulations and enforcement would be needed across shop type. Retail sales of e-products to minors that differentiates vape-only from vape-and-smoke shops has not been researched, but one study found that more last-30-day e-cigarette-using youth obtained their product from ‘vape shop or other store that only sells e-cigarettes’ (16.5%) compared with other retail locations such as ‘gas station/convenience store’ (9.8%).5


FDA conducts inspections of tobacco product retailers, making use of undercover minor and inspector operations, and reports these …

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  • Contributors All authors took an active role in the manuscript. SS took the conceptual lead and wrote much of the text. AG did most of the coding and all of the data analysis, and edited the writing. CDD referred us to the website, provided an overview on types of analyses we could do and assisted in the writing throughout. We all share the four criteria for authorship. The manuscript represents valid work and has not been published nor is being considered for publication elsewhere. Our data from the FDA Compliance Dataset are on an Excel file and are readily available.

  • Funding Research reported in this publication was supported by a California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program Award (TRDRP Grant No. 26IR-0016, Steve Sussman, PI) and a National Cancer Institute and FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) Award (NCI/FDA Grant No. U54CA180905, Mary Ann Pentz and Adam Leventhal, PIs). Effort by CDD was supported in part by funding from NCI/FDA (U54CA046070).

  • Disclaimer TRDRP, NIH or the FDA had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; preparation, review or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.