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Who Uses Vape Shops?

University of Nottingham researchers carried out an investigation to see who uses vape shops and why.

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Researchers at the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, at the University of Nottingham, have conducted a study looking at who uses vape shops and what the stores offer. Despite the presence of online sources, the team found, bricks and mortar establishments are doing very well.

“The high street locations of vape shops make them an easily accessible option for smokers, and they are currently the most popular source for purchasing e-cigarettes in England,” writes the group, citing the most recent ‘Trends in electronic cigarette use in England’ by West et al.

Given the popularity of stores, and that “E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used cessation aid in England”, the researchers believed more should be known about what drags people into vape stores.

Shop staff, owners and managers were interviewed, along with their customers, from 65 out of 97 vape shops across Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire. Visits took place between January and April 2016, on weekdays and weekends to vary the customer sample. Customers were encouraged to complete the 41-questions by being offered the opportunity to to win £200, £100 or £50 in a prize draw.

Most stores stocked liquids with a maximum strength up to 24mg, 30ml in volume, and in a variety of flavours. Most sold their cheapest starter kits for under £29.99, and their most expensive for less than £100. The most popular promotional strategy was to offer discount on purchases.

The paper states: “A large proportion of staff respondents reported that customers asked for information about quitting smoking (90%). Less than half (41%) reported providing any sort of smoking cessation advice, although 76% of staff reported feeling quite or very confident about delivering cessation advice to customers who ask for it.”

“The majority of shops offered information about the products (93%) and cutting down on smoking (88%). Staff reported providing other information, including battery safety, operation and maintenance. The majority of staff accessed the information they gave to customers online and/or provided information based on their personal experiences.”

Regarding the customers: “The majority of customer participants were male, white British, aged between 18 and 39 years, in full time employment and 80% held a formal qualification. The majority of participating customers (84%) currently used e-cigarettes. Of the 16% that did not, half (8%) were considering using an e-cigarette, a quarter (4%) were purchasing for somebody else and a further quarter (4%) were collecting information only.”

The team concluded: “The majority of vape shop customers are vapers who have quit smoking. Vape shop staff play a central role in providing customers with product information, and many provide smoking cessation advice. There is a need for clear and easily accessible information on the health effects and effectiveness of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation, to ensure that vape shop staff provide customers with accurate information on their products. Further research is needed to investigate the potential for smoking cessation interventions in vape shops, including the extent to which this type of intervention would appeal to non-vapers and how and by whom it would best be delivered.”

The study can be found here.

Photo Credit:

  • Steam Tea & Vape, 153 Breck Hill Rd, Nottingham NG3 5JP – Ashley Huggett

    Cloud 57, 57 Beeston Rd, Nottingham, NG7 2JS – Cloud 57

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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