August 2022 News and Research Roundup

E-Cigarettes, Endgame, FDA, Flavors (including Menthol), Preemption, Product Availability, Vape Shops, Youth

Welcome to’s “News and Research Roundup!” Each month we post a summary of the latest research, reports, and news stories on counteracting tobacco product sales and marketing at the point of sale (POS). Keeping up with what’s happening in the POS movement all across the country can help you choose policies and strategies that work best for your community. New research can help provide support for your work and evidence for the importance of the “War in the Store.” Have a story you don’t want us to miss? E-mail it to us!

New Research

  • The Reshaping of the E-Cigarette Retail Environment: Its Evolution and Public Health Concerns, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
    • "Smoke to Live" Smoke & Vape ShopThe e-cigarette market has undoubtedly grown in recent years and is expected to increase to $40 billion by 2028. E-cigarettes have reshaped the retail environment. The researchers in this commentary examined how the retail environment is a key driver of e-cigarette use. A significant concern centers around the impact of e-cigarette availability on youth and young adults. The retail setting is a key source of advertising, with young people most commonly exposed to e-cigarette related advertising at retailers compared to other channels. Vape shops and smoke shops, which some research has shown have higher rates of sales to underage youth, are also one of the most common places that youth and young adults purchase e-cigarette products. This commentary discusses changes in the retail setting including vape shops shifting to smoke shops, diversifying their offerings to include a variety of tobacco products and cannabis-based products as well as kratom, as well as a growing online retail segment, which can undermine federal, state and local restrictions on product sales in the retail environment, including youth access. The researchers conclude that there is a need to continue examining e-cigarette marketing practices especially in the retail environment and further assess consumer responses to changes in the e-cigarette marketplace to inform policy.
    • Learn more about e-cigarettes at the point of sale.
  • Discussions of Flavored ENDS Sales Restrictions: Themes Related to Circumventing Policies on Reddit, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
    • This study examined the feedback of JUUL users on Reddit about the tobacco control policy landscape, specifically around restrictions on flavored ENDS products. Between May 2019-May 2020, posts and comments related to flavored ENDS products on a JUUL related subReddit page were scraped through keyword filtering. This Reddit page had the most activity around the EVALI outbreak in 2019, JUUL’s voluntary pulling of their flavored pods in 2019, and the FDA’s guidance on restricting flavored pod-based ENDS sales in 2020. Discussions on Reddit centered around getting access to alternatives of banned products, such as from brick-and-mortar locations, and residual supply of these banned products. These discussions on alternatives increased from May 2019, peaking in November 2019. The most frequently used words and phrases included: what pods people could “still get;” “JUUL compatible” alternatives; “black market;,” brick-and-mortar location types (e.g., “gas station,” “local vape shop”;, and specific pod flavors (e.g., “mint,” “mango”). With ongoing national efforts to implement policies restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products, forums like Reddit can help anticipate unintended consequences of these policies. The findings also highlight the need for comprehensive restrictions on the sale of flavored tobacco products in order to reduce loopholes and access to alternative products and account for anticipated consumer and market responses.
    • Learn more about flavored tobacco product restrictions.
  • Marketing claims on websites of brick-and-mortar vape shops in the Greater Los Angeles area, Tobacco Prevention & Cessation 
    • e-cig ad claiming benefits including that they save you moneyVape shops are increasingly opening and operating in local communities, and in addition to advertising products directly in their stores, these vape shops market their electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) online through their websites. This study examined marketing claims on websites of vape shop retailers in California within the Los Angeles area to assess whether they contained: claims of ENDS as a quitting aid; claims of ENDS as healthier/safer; claims that ENDS are lower cost, more broadly usable, cleaner, less messy/smelly, and more socially accepted than combustible cigarettes; and disclaimers that ENDS are not FDA approved for smoking cessation. Between March and June 2020, the researchers identified a total of 104 vape shops through Yelp and found that 37 of these vape shops had active websites. Smoking-cessation related benefits of ENDS were claimed on the most (43%) on these websites, followed by health-related claims on 30% of the websites. Disclaimers that ENDS are not approved for smoking cessation were included on the fewest (24%) websites. More than half of the websites had an age-restriction to view the site; however, none of them required actual age proof or outside age verification. The researchers suggest that this information could be used to support regulations on claims that are misleading or unsupported by scientific evidence as well as to better enforce website age restriction practices.


Industry News

POS Policy in the Media

Menthol and Other Flavored Tobacco 


Tobacco 21 


Federal Regulation

Find more stories in last month’s News and Research Roundup.

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