ENDS retailers and marketing near university campuses with and without tobacco-free policies
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Public Health Institute, Oakland, United States
Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford School of Medicine, Palo Alto, United States
Lisa Henriksen   

Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford School of Medicine, Palo Alto, United States
Publish date: 2018-10-08
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(October):47
This study characterizes the retail environment for Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) near public universities in California, assesses marketing in the first random sample of ENDS retailers, and compares ENDS retailer density and retail marketing near campuses with and without tobacco-free policies.

Two data sources were used to construct a sampling frame of possible ENDS retailers, which were mapped within 1–4 miles of 33 campuses of the University of California and the California State University systems. To assess retailer density, a telephone survey of possible ENDS retailers (n=1186) determined who sold e-cigarettes or e-liquids (completion rate=72.9%). To assess retail marketing, trained data collectors completed observations in a random sample (n=438, mean M=13.3 stores per campus, SD=11.2) in the Fall of 2015.

In a telephone survey, 59.1% of retailers reported selling e-cigarettes or e-liquids. Half of the campuses had 10 or more ENDS retailers nearby. Most ENDS retailers were convenience stores (42.5%), and more were head shops (8.4%) than smoke shops (6.8%) or vape shops (6.2%). Nearly half (43.6%) of ENDS retailers sold products marketed as zero-nicotine and 13.9% sold NRT. ENDS advertising was visible in 72.4% and on the exterior of 28.1% of retailers. However, the presence of exterior advertising for ENDS was significantly lower near campuses with established tobacco-free policies than near campuses with recent or no tobacco-free policies (OR=0.45, 95% CI: 0.22–0.94).

The large number of tobacco retailers that sell ENDS near colleges suggests a need for better monitoring and regulation of ENDS availability and marketing. The widespread availability of zero-nicotine products suggests a need to examine whether nicotine-free products are as advertised and safe to use. Longitudinal research is needed to understand how retail marketing for ENDS responds to change in tobacco-free policies at nearby campuses.

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