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Open AccessArticle

Identification of Vape Shops in Two North Carolina Counties: An Approach for States without Retailer Licensing

Department of Health Education and Promotion, College of Health and Human Performance, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA
Westat, Rockville, MD 20850, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Mark Wolfson
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1050;
Received: 10 September 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 24 October 2016 / Published: 27 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue E-Cigarettes: Epidemiology, Policy and Public Health)
Stores that sell electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) as their primary product are a new phenomenon and often termed “vape shops”. While vape shops are now regulated by state and federal agencies, not all states maintain lists of vape shops in operation. Standard ways of identifying tobacco retailers through off-premise alcohol permits and business listing services may not identify vape shops. We used four online business listing services (i.e., Google Maps, ReferenceUSA,, Yelp) to identify vape shops in two counties in North Carolina (NC). In one county, we also assessed four vaping web sites. We drove primary and secondary roads to physically validate the identified stores and attempt to identify stores not listed online. To assess the accuracy of the online searches, we calculated sensitivity and positive predictive values (PPVs). This research was conducted in spring and summer 2016 and identified 28 vape shops online. We confirmed 16 vape shops (seven in Pitt County, NC, USA, and nine in Durham County, NC, USA). Online searches ranged in sensitivity, 62.5%–81.3%, and PPVs ranged from 73.3% to 92.3%. Because of the range of sensitivity found among the business listing services, state policymakers should consider uniform licensing requirements for vape and tobacco retailers to more easily track retailers and ensure compliance with regulations. View Full-Text
Keywords: tobacco products; commerce; retailers; vaping; e-cigarette tobacco products; commerce; retailers; vaping; e-cigarette
MDPI and ACS Style

Lee, J.G.L.; D’Angelo, H.; Kuteh, J.D.; Martin, R.J. Identification of Vape Shops in Two North Carolina Counties: An Approach for States without Retailer Licensing. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 1050.

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