A Comparison of E-Cigarette Use Patterns and Smoking Cessation Behavior Among Vapers by Primary Place of Purchase

Summary of Study

Bottom Line: Policymakers should consider how regulatory implementation may relate to the different channels through which consumers purchase electronic nicotine delivery systems. E-cigarette customers differ in significant ways by channels of purchase, most notably in their smoking cessation behaviors, with vape shops showing the best performance. There is a need for further investigation of the role vape shops may play in tobacco control.

E-cigarette use and smoking cessation behaviors were compared across users’ primary purchase place. The results indicated that a higher percentage of vape shop (59.1%) and internet (42.9%) customers were current daily users of e-cigarettes compared to retail (19.7%) and smoke shop (23.2%) customers.

Higher percentages of vape shop (40.2%) and internet (35.1%) customers were also former smokers, compared to 17.7% of retail and 19.3% of smoke shop customers. Among those smoking 12 months prior to survey, smoking cessation rates were higher for vape shop (22.2%) and internet customers (22.5%) than for retail customers (10.7%), even though retail customers were more likely to use FDA-approved smoking cessation aids. 

The percentage of customers purchasing from vape shops increased from 20.4% in 2014 to 37.6% in 2016, surpassing general retail (27.7%) as the most likely channel in 2016.  

There is a concern that e-cigarettes could be a “gateway” to cigarettes. This study found vape shop e-cigarette users had the lowest percentage of never smokers as well as the lowest percentage of young adults age 18–24. It also found that vape shop users were more likely to (i) be former smokers and (ii) to report using an e-cigarette in their most recent quit attempt than retail and smoke shop customers, suggesting that vape shops may be particularly attractive to smokers who are interested in e-cigarettes as a method for smoking cessation. 

The study found e-cigarette users differed in vaping and smoking cessation patterns, depending on where they primarily purchased e-cigarette products. There are multiple potential reasons for these differences. For example, differences could be the result of a self-selection process such that serious users tend to purchase e-cigarettes from vape shops, while less serious users tend to purchase from retail stores. The differences could also be due to interaction between users and products such that users who purchased certain types of products may have primarily purchased from certain types of outlets, and the products in turn affected their e-cigarette usage patterns.

Read the full report here.

Feature Charticle

Quit Attempt and Cessation Rate by Place of PurchaseInt. J. Environ. Res. Public Health

Findings:

  • E-cigarette customers differ in significant ways by channels of purchase, most notably in their smoking cessation behaviors, with vape shops showing the best performance.
  • Smoking cessation rates were higher for vape shop (22.2%) and internet customers (22.5%) than for retail customers (10.7%), even though retail customers were more likely to use FDA-approved smoking cessation aids.
  • There is a need for further investigation of the role vape shops may play in tobacco control.