Examining the Smoking and Vaping Behaviors and Preferences of Vape Shop Customer


Introduction:
The prevalence of vape shops has increased dramatically in recent years. Yet, few studies have examined the smoking/vaping behaviours and vaping preferences of vape shop customers and reasons they patronize vape shops. The present study seeks to address this gap.

Methods:
A convenience sample of 100 vape shop customers completed a brief questionnaire assessing past and current tobacco/e-cigarette use, vaping preferences and reasons they patronize vape shops. Self-reported smoking status was confirmed via exhaled carbon monoxide measurement.

Results:
Participants reported health and to quit/reduce smoking as the most important reasons for initiating e-cigarette use. Approximately 62% were biochemically-verified smoking abstinent and 100% were using newer generation e-cigarette devices. A majority (91%) reported enjoying vaping more than smoking, 80% preferred non-tobacco e-cigarette flavors, though 60% reported they would still vape if the only flavor available was tobacco. Participants reported “battery life”, “tastes good”, and “curbs cravings” as the most important e-cigarette features; the least important feature was “feels/looks like traditional cigarette”. A majority reported they preferred to buy e-cigarette supplies at vapor shops because of “access to staff who can help troubleshoot e-cigarette problems” (85%), and “enjoy the atmosphere” (74%).

Conclusions:
Vape shop customers demonstrated a high rate of smoking abstinence and reported product preferences consistent with newer generation devices. Customers valued the atmosphere and knowledgeable staff at vape shops. These findings suggest important avenues of investigation into the effects of unique characteristics of vape shops on smoking and vaping behaviors of its patrons, not only for clinical research but also for tobacco regulation.

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