Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) sales and use have increased rapidly, yet point-of-sale e-cigarette availability and marketing is understudied. We estimated changes in e-cigarette availability and marketing among tobacco retailers in the U.S., and associations with neighborhood characteristics. A national sample of tobacco retailers in the Contiguous U.S. was audited in 2014 and 2015 (n = 1,905 and n = 2,126, respectively) to observe e-cigarette availability and marketing (signs, ads, displays and promotions) and generate national prevalence estimates. Store, neighborhood and state level correlates of 2015 e-cigarette availability, price promotions and exterior advertising were analyzed using multilevel mixed-effects generalized linear models. E-cigarettes were sold at 72.0% of retailers in 2014 and at 79.2% in 2015. Price promotions increased from 11.9% to 20.2% of retailers. Among retailers that did not previously sell e-cigarettes in 2012, availability in 2015 was greater for retailers in neighborhoods with the highest proportion of Black residents (vs. lowest). E-cigarette price promotions were more prevalent in neighborhoods with more Hispanic residents, while exterior e-cigarette marketing was more prevalent in neighborhoods with more Black residents. State smoking prevalence was positively associated with e-cigarette availability, promotions and advertising. E-cigarette point-of-sale availability and marketing increased between 2014 and 2015 and expanded to neighborhoods with a higher proportion of Black residents between 2012 and 2015. Retailers located within states with high smoking prevalence appear to be targeted by e-cigarette marketing. As e-cigarettes become the target of more regulations, understanding changes in the e-cigarette retail environment is critical to inform potential policies regulating their sale and marketing.

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in Preventive Medicine Reports, v. 19, article 101152.

Copyright © 2020 The Authors

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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Funding Information

This work was supported by the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health ( P01 CA225597 to K.M.R., Project name: ASPiRE).