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A Peek Past the Vape Clouds: Vape Shop Decline in Long Beach, California during 2015-2018

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Objectives: The current study adds to the literature on vape shops by evaluating vape shop growth in an urban community over a 3-year period, assessing similarities and differences across the vape shop context, and addressing whether socialization spaces within vape shops are associated with a vape shop's ultimate success – remaining operational. As e-cigarette/vaping use enters its second decade in the US market, its regulation and status as a novel form of substance use is evolving; accordingly, it is unknown whether the presence of vape shops has changed as well. Methods: In this study, we tracked and observed 19 vape shops over a 3-year period in Long Beach, California. Results: Vape shop presence declined by 53% between September 2015 and September 2018. A comparison of vape shops remaining open versus those closing in the 3-year period indicated that shops with designated socialization spaces (lounges/tasting bars) were more likely to remain operational. Conclusions: The substantial decline in vape shop presence in this community may reflect an entrepreneurial response to increased regulation, as well as a dynamic market for e-cigarette/vape products. Findings suggest vape users support Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) retailers that promote community-building or recreational activity.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2019

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  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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