What is vSTARS? Are there support materials? How do I get started?


The Standardized Tobacco Assessment for Retail Settings: Vape Shops (vSTARS) surveillance tool (www.countertobacco.org/STARS) was designed for practitioners to inform state and local tobacco control policies for the point of sale. The vSTARS form and training materials resulted from a collaboration of SCTC researchers with pilot study participants at the state and local level. The assessment items (e.g., types of products sold, flavors, health messaging) were selected exclusively for their policy relevance. No items function as compliance checks for federal regulations. This user-friendly tool can be filled out by professionally-trained data collectors, as well as self-trained adults.

Available Materialsvstars training manual cover page vstars form image

Getting Started

  1.  Identify a sample of stores. As there is no standardized listing of vape shops, you may choose to create your store list from the following resources:
    • Yelp.com
    • Google.com
    • Vapeabout.com
    • Vaporsearchusa.com
    • E-cigarette-store-reviews.com
    • Vapestores.com
    • ReferenceUSA.com
    • Headshopfinder.com
    • Smoketalk.net
  2. Identify your data collectors. You may be the only data collector or you may have professionally-trained or volunteer data collectors. Unlike the original STARS, youth should NOT collect data in these settings.
  3. Train yourself and your data collectors. Review the Training Manual as a group (e.g. live presentation/webinar) or individually. Become familiar with the questions and products reviewed in the training materials.
  4. Collect data using vSTARS. Send your data collectors into stores with the vSTARS survey and Training Manual.
  5.  Enter and analyze data. Once data collection is complete, use a program like Excel to enter the data, view outputs, and analyze findings.
  6. Disseminate your findings to stakeholders and data collectors.

For more information on conducting store observations, please see this article: http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2016/pdf/15_0504.pdf

 vSTARS Success Stories 

vSTARS was used to complete a statewide census of vape shops in the state of New Hampshire. They were able to assess product availability, price promotions, product messaging, as well as see how vape shops distinguish themselves from conventional tobacco retailers. Read about their process and results here

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