A Qualitative Study of Vape Shop Operators' Perceptions of Risks and Benefits of E-Cigarette Use and Attitude Toward Their Potential Regulation by the US Food and Drug Administration, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, or North Carolina, 2015
Published Date:May 19 2016
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 13.
Pubmed Central ID:PMC4877178
Funding:P50 DA036128/DA/NIDA NIH HHS/United States
Approximately 8,500 vape shops in the United States sell a variety of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). This study examined vape shop operators’ perceptions of benefits and risk of ENDS use, what they perceive to be the reasons for ENDS use, their source of product information, what information they shared with customers, and the impact of existing and future regulation of ENDS on its use and on their business.
We conducted qualitative interviews with 20 vape shop operators located in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina in spring 2015. A semi-structured interview guide was used, and interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. The transcripts were analyzed using NVIVO software.
Vape shop owners perceived ENDS to be less harmful and more economical than conventional cigarettes and indicated that most of their customers used ENDS as a smoking cessation tool. Most owners were former smokers and used ENDS to quit. Shop owners relied on their personal experiences and the Internet for information, and shared information with customers at point of sale by using the shop’s website and social media. Most expressed concern that complying with potential regulations, including banning flavors or tax increases, would jeopardize their business. Some felt that ENDS should not be regulated as tobacco products and felt that big tobacco was behind these proposed regulations. Most owners supported age restrictions and quality controls for e-liquid.
Vape shop owners are in a unique position to serve as frontline consumer educators. Interventions should focus on providing them with current information on benefits and risks of ENDS and information on national, state, and local regulations and compliance requirements.
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