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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Signs and customer behaviors at vape shops: Multivariate multilevel model analysis.

  • Author(s): Huh, Jimi
  • Meza, Leah
  • Galstyan, Ellen
  • Galimov, Artur
  • Yu, Sheila
  • Unger, Jennifer B
  • Baezconde-Garbanati, Lourdes
  • Sussman, Steve
  • et al.


This study examined vape shop customers' behaviors in relation to shop display practices. We hypothesized that display of signs conveying supportive attitude toward vaping at vape shops would be positively associated with customer purchasing and in-shop vaping behaviors.


We recruited vape shops throughout Southern California (N = 122). Trained teams of data collectors visited each of the consented vape shops, observed customers' characteristics and behaviors (N = 254) and coded items in the shops that were visible and on display. We conducted a multivariate multilevel analysis to account for the data structure where customers were nested within vape shops.


Male customers were more likely to purchase e-liquid at the shop than female customers (p < .001). There were no sex differences vaping at the shop (p = .353). We observed more customers vaping at shops with e-cigarette safety displays (p = .024) and more customers purchasing e-liquid at shops with quit smoking signage (p = .004). Point-of-sale displays were not associated with either customer vaping or purchasing behaviors observed at the shop. Displays of state-regulated and nonregulated (i.e., tobacco industry) age-of-sale compliance signs, Ask4ID and WeCard, were not significantly associated with customer vaping or purchase behaviors.


Certain display signs present at vape shops might communicate to customers that engaging in certain behaviors (e.g., vaping inside the shops) may be safe or acceptable.

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