||7R01CA215155-03 Interpret this number
||George Washington University
||Regulatory Impact on Vape Shops and Young Adults' Use of Ends
Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) have emerged in the US market, with use and awareness rapidly increasing
in recent years, particularly in young adults. While ENDS may facilitate harm reduction in smokers, ENDS represent
significant health risks, including addiction in the nicotine-naïve (e.g., young adults). From a socioecologic perspective,
the literature regarding tobacco retail indicates that place characteristics such as neighborhood demography and policy
context influence retailer location and marketing, and these factors impact individual tobacco use. However, this literature
is in its infancy in regard to ENDS and particularly to vape shops, which are stores exclusively devoted to ENDS sales.
Vape shops have proliferated in the US and are unique in their product offerings, marketing, and overall retail
environment (e.g., tasting bars). Vape shops, as well as the 2nd and 3rd generation ENDS they sell, have particular appeal
to young adults. A particularly important and timely macro-level factor that may impact ENDS use and distribution
channels is the impending FDA Deeming Regulation on ENDS and other tobacco products. The Deeming Regulation
involves a range of policies implemented in the next 3 years (e.g., mandatory age verification and prohibiting free samples
beginning in Aug 2016, mandatory health warning labels effective Aug 2018, manufacturers required to submit a new
tobacco product application by Aug 2018, etc.). These regulations are likely to impact vape shop survival as well as their
marketing and the overall vape shop experience, given young adults are the biggest segment of vape shop clientele (who
will require ID), the social experience of tasting bars (which will no longer be allowed), and the history of ENDS being
promoted as safe and for cessation or harm reduction (with products and ads requiring health warnings). A well-integrated
program of research is needed to examine the multilevel impact of regulation on ENDS retailers, as well as on ENDS
marketing, specifically among vape shops, given that they are a unique retail settings that have a particular impact on
young adult ENDS use. Leveraging a Socioecological Framework, we will draw data from 6 metropolitan statistical areas
(MSAs) representing the CDC-defined regions and the gradient of tobacco control in order to address 3 inter-related aims:
1) examine density and survival of vape shops over time and across contexts in relation to FDA regulation, local policies,
and other sociocontextual factors (e.g., neighborhood context, density/proximity of convenience stores); 2) examine vape
shop marketing and POS practices (e.g., age verification, free sampling, health warnings) over time and across contexts in
relation to FDA regulation, local policies, and other sociocontextual factors (e.g., neighborhood context, density/proximity
of convenience stores); and 3) examine young adult ENDS use over time and across contexts in relation to spatial access
to vape shops and convenience stores, ENDS advertising exposure, local policies, and sociocontextual factors. This
research will document the impact of regulation on this industry and provide an evidence base for legislation regarding
zoning and vape shop marketing/POS practices to protect high-risk populations. We will disseminate findings with an
explicit focus on informing public health policy and practice regarding ENDS, as well as future research.
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