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A Descriptive Longitudinal Study of Changes in Vape Shop Characteristics and Store Policies in Anticipation of the 2016 FDA Regulations of Tobacco Products, Including E-Cigarettes.

  • Author(s): Yu, Sheila
  • Escobedo, Patricia
  • Garcia, Robert
  • Cruz, Tess Boley
  • Unger, Jennifer B
  • Baezconde-Garbanati, Lourdes
  • Meza, Leah
  • Sussman, Steve
  • et al.
Abstract

After proposing the "Deeming Rule" in 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began regulating the manufacturing, marketing, and sales of electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) products as tobacco products in 2016. The current study conducted vape shop store observations and surveyed Los Angeles-area shop employees (assessing their beliefs, awareness, and perceptions of e-cigarettes and related FDA regulations) at two time points one year apart to better understand what vape shop retailers would do given FDA's soon-to-be-enacted Deeming Rule. The study also compared retailer beliefs/awareness/actions and store characteristics immediately after the Deeming Rule proposal versus a year after the Rule had been proposed, right before its enactment. Two data collection waves occurred before the Deeming Rule enactment, with Year 1 surveying 77 shops (2014) and Year 2 surveying 61 shops (2015-2016). Between the data collection points, 16 shops had closed. Among the shops that were open at both time points, the majority (95% in Year 1; 74% in Year 2) were aware of some FDA regulations or other policies applying to vape shops. However, overall awareness of FDA regulations and state/local policies governing e-cigarettes significantly decreased from Year 1 to Year 2. At both time points, all shops offered customers free puffs of nicotine-containing e-liquids (prohibited by the then upcoming Deeming Rule). Perceptions of e-cigarette safety also significantly decreased between the years. Exploring vape shop retailer perceptions and store policies (i.e., free puffs/samples displays, perceptions of e-cigarette safety, etc.) over time will help the FDA assess the needs of the vape shop community and develop more effective retailer education campaigns and materials targeted to increase compliance with the newly enacted regulations.

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