Vape Shop Employees: Do They Act as Smoking Cessation Counselors?Nicotine Tob Res. 2021 03 19; 23(4):756-759.NT
This study examined smoking cessation advice offered by vape shop employees, as well as their perceived awareness of vaping research.
AIMS AND METHODS
This cross-sectional study was conducted in 121 vape shops in the Greater Los Angeles area of Southern California in four multiethnic communities (Hispanic/Latino, African American, Korean/Asian, and non-Hispanic White). A 35-minute interview assessed the employee's tobacco product use, perceptions of vaping research, and experience advising customers to quit cigarette smoking.
Among 121 vape shop employees surveyed, 106 (88%) reported that they provided smoking cessation advice or counseling to customers. Nearly half (45%) reported having no vaping-related research knowledge, while 30% were aware of provaping studies only. Approximately 85% of employees had quit cigarettes by switching to e-cigarettes instead, whereas 15% were dual users. Only 49% believed that vaping products contribute to nicotine addiction among youth. Those who provided advice on quitting cigarette smoking reported significantly lower knowledge of e-cigarette research than those who did not provide advice (p < .01).
Most vape shop employees provide advice to customers who desire to quit cigarette smoking and initiate electronic cigarette use. However, they report a low level of awareness about e-cigarette research. Future research is warranted to examine the specifics of advice provided by vape shop employees. Training programs for vape shop employees and educational campaigns about evidence-based scientific findings on vaping may be beneficial.
Almost nine out of 10 surveyed vape shop employees offered cigarette smoking cessation advice to their customers, while almost half of the retailers report not being aware of any vaping-related research studies. Providing employees with training on evidence-based cessation advice could help protect customers. Also, training programs for vape shop employees and educational campaigns about the risk of nicotine addiction could potentially increase their motivation to avoid sales to minors and to warn adults about nicotine addiction.