E-cigarettes have emerged in the US market, with use and awareness rapidly increasing in recent years, particularly in young adults. While e-cigarettes may facilitate harm reduction in smokers, they may also represent significant health risks, including addiction in the nicotine-naïve (e.g., young adults).

Alongside this rapid uptake of e-cigarettes, vape shops have proliferated in the US and are unique in their e-cigarette product offerings, marketing, and overall retail environment (e.g., tasting bars). Vape shops, as well as the technologically advanced e-cigarettes they sell, have particular appeal to young adults. A particularly important and timely macro-level factor that may impact e-cigarette use and distribution channels is the FDA Deeming Regulation on e-cigarettes and other tobacco products that involves a number of regulatory actions.


Vape shop Advertising, Place characters and Effects Surveillance (VAPES) is a federally-funded research study examining the multilevel impact of regulation on e-cigarette retailers, as well as on e-cigarette marketing, specifically among vape shops, given that they are a unique retail settings that have a particular impact on e-cigarette use.

Our specific aims are to: 1) examine density and survival of vape shops over time and across contexts in relation to FDA regulation, local policies, and other sociocontextual factors (e.g., neighborhood context, density/proximity of convenience stores); 2) examine vape shop marketing and point-of-sale practices (e.g., age verification, free sampling, health warnings) over time and across contexts in relation to FDA regulation, local policies, and other sociocontextual factors; and 3) examine young adult e-cigarette use over time and across contexts in relation to spatial access to vape shops and convenience stores, e-cigarette advertising exposure, local policies, and sociocontextual factors.


Our study team is comprised of leading tobacco researchers at Emory University, Stanford University , and several other institutions:

George Washington University: Carla J. Berg, PhD Principal Investigator

Emory University: Natalie Crawford, PhD Co-Investigator ; Betelihem Getachew, MPH Project Coordinator

Stanford University: Lisa Henriksen, PhD, Co-Investigator; Nina Schleicher, PhD, Co-Investigator; Trent Johnson, program manager

Other Co-Investigators: Dianne Barker,MHS; Jidong Huang, PhD, Steve Sussman, PhD, Kim Pulvers, PhD, Rashelle Hayes, PhD, Gillian Schauer, PhD, Ted Wagoner, PhD

Other Resources:

Emory University Rollins School of Public Health

Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

National Cancer Institute

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