Rutgers researchers examine availability of disposable e-cigarettes and oral nicotine patches
A study by the Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies and the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center will help establish policy on the sale and marketing of two different tobacco products recently introduced to the United States market.
The study, published in Preventive Medicine Reports, is one of the first to examine the retail availability of disposable electric cigarettes and oral nicotine pouches and gives an early indication that the products are targeted to different audiences.
As the products go through the Food and Drug Administration’s premarket authorization process, “disposable e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches will soon become subject to more regulation,” said Cristine Delnevo, director of the Center for Tobacco Studies. “Understanding their availability will help to inform potential policy actions regulating their sale and marketing.”
Researchers audited tobacco retailers at four sites in Kentucky, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina to identify the availability of nicotine pouches and disposable e-cigarettes compared with other tobacco products, including cigarettes. They also tracked neighborhood characteristics of store locations.
Despite their relatively short time on the market, both products captured a large proportion of the total market share for their product category very quickly. However, the patterns of availability differed from each other and from combustible cigarettes, suggesting that the products are targeted to different audiences.
In particular, disposable e-cigarettes were more likely to be sold by specialized tobacco and vape stores, while nicotine pouches were more available in convenience stores and in stores in areas with more non-Hispanic white residents.
“We know the industry plays a powerful role in shaping the retail environment and so the point of sale can provide clues about where the industry may be focusing their efforts,” said Mary Hrywna, a member of the Center for Tobacco Studies and an assistant professor at Rutgers School of Public Health. “Particularly with newer products like nicotine pouches, where research is still quite limited, our study using retail store audits offers insight on potential target audiences for such products.”