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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 297; doi:10.3390/ijerph15020297

A Qualitative Exploration of the Role of Vape Shop Environments in Supporting Smoking Abstinence

Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
Centre for Addictive Behaviours Research, School of Applied Sciences, London South Bank University, 103 Borough Road, London SE1 0AA, UK
New Nicotine Alliance, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London WC2N 5BY, UK
George Davies Centre, Leicester Medical School, University of Leicester, Lancaster Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 19 January 2018 / Accepted: 27 January 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electronic Cigarette Use and Public Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [496 KB, uploaded 9 February 2018]   |  


E-cigarettes are the most popular method of quitting smoking in England and most are purchased in specialist vape shops. This qualitative study explores how the vape shop environment is experienced by quitters to support smoking abstinence. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted to elicit experiences of e-cigarette use, including experiences of vape shops, in 40 people who had used e-cigarettes in a quit attempt. Observations of six shops in a range of locations were also undertaken. Interview and observation data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis and triangulated. At an individual level, smoking abstinence was supported through shop assistants’ attempts to understand customers’ smoking preferences in order to: (i) tailor advice about the most appropriate product; and (ii) offer an ongoing point of contact for practical help. At an interpersonal level, shops offered opportunity to socialise and reinforce a vaping identity, although the environment was perceived as intimidating for some (e.g., new and female users). At a structural level, shops ensured easy access to products perceived to be good value by customers and had adapted to legislative changes. Vape shops can provide effective behavioural support to quitters to maintain smoking abstinence. Health professionals could capitalise on this through partnership working with shops, to ensure best outcomes for clients wanting to use e-cigarettes to quit smoking. View Full-Text
Keywords: electronic cigarettes; vape shops; smoking cessation; relapse prevention; stop smoking services electronic cigarettes; vape shops; smoking cessation; relapse prevention; stop smoking services

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Ward, E.; Cox, S.; Dawkins, L.; Jakes, S.; Holland, R.; Notley, C. A Qualitative Exploration of the Role of Vape Shop Environments in Supporting Smoking Abstinence. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 297.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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