2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Interview Sample, Recruitment, and Data Collection
2.2. Observation Sample, Recruitment and Data Collection
3.1. Structural Level Environment—Making Vaping Accessible and Affordable
3.1.1. Accessibility and Normalization
I think you just see a lot of people using [e-cigarettes] now and there’s a lot of shops selling them. Certainly, in this area where I am, I only live in a small town, and there’s two shops that sell vaping supplies, so it’s really common. I went into a shop and you could actually try them there. So I tried them in the shop and then I bought one.(F40)
3.1.2. Competition and Value for Money
3.1.4. Health Professional Referral
I said to [shop assistant] “look I’d seen the stop smoking service and that” and he said “have you seen <SSS advisor>?” and I was like “yes I have” and he said “yes she comes in here occasionally and she comes and she talks to us”. So it was almost like that she was taking the time to go out visit the retailers, find out what they were offering.(M46)
3.2. Interpersonal Environment—Creating a Shared Social Vaping Experience
3.2.1. Friendly Personal Service
3.2.2. Socialising and Relaxation
I’ve seen various vaping shops almost like trying to encourage your café atmosphere, none of them have succeeded. You walk in, you buy your liquid, you bugger off, you know. If someone was to set up sort of like a vaping type café, good luck to them, I’m not sure I would use it.(M53)
3.2.3. Vaping Identity Reinforcement
I opened the door [of the shop] and I just thought oh my god. They’ve got these big square things, the place is on fire! That don’t do nothing for me. I call them serious vapers. It might sound really silly, but I don’t know if they do it for different reasons, that’s how that comes across to me, that to sit there and [vaping noises] and then fill the room up with vape. It’s like going into a smoking room in an airport, which I used to find absolutely vile, and that’s what these shops have become.(F60)
3.2.4. Masculine Territories
I still find [shops] a little bit intimidating because [the shop] I go to they also sell like all the heavily modded tanks and batteries and stuff like that, so they are still a little bit kind of ‘boys clubby’ to me [...]. It’s blokes with their massive batteries and stuff like that, so I just kind of go in and go “right I want that liquid in that strength” and kind of take my leave.(F38)
3.3. Individual Level Environment—Ensuring a Satisfying and Functioning Vaping Setup
3.3.1. Advice and Navigating Choice
If you are serious about [quitting], I don’t think just buying, like I got the one from the factory shop. It was only like a tenner, it just wasn’t enough. I think you’ve probably got to get a bit of advice, cos it just didn’t work for me.(F29)
[Shop assistant] actually took the time to ask me some pertinent questions like “when you smoked your cigarettes, did you breathe direct to lung or did you breathe it into your mouth and then kind of breathe it down?” I quickly found out afterwards these questions are really quite important to getting the right sort of e-cigarette, because if you get the wrong it’s not going to satisfy the need and the chance are that you’re more likely to start smoking again.(M46)
I just found [shop assistant] to be incredibly helpful. She asked us more about our smoking history than actually I got asked at the smoking cessation clinic. She identified what it was we were smoking at the time, how much we were smoking, and then sort of looked at different strengths of the flavours what would suit us best. She recommended that I started on 18 mg strength nicotine liquid.(M44)
[The shop] were helpful in terms of finding something useable and reliable and had a big battery in it so you don’t have to constantly charge it, which is very important actually because I forget to charge it and then I’m in trouble because I don’t have my fall back.(M39)
They had a whole sort of display thing and they said “here’s all the different flavours that we sell, try some”. It was a case of just going through and trying and I just didn’t like the flavour of the tobacco ones, I just preferred the fruit flavours. Obviously when you stop smoking you start to get your taste back, so you could actually taste it more and more as time went on, so you were kind of “actually this is quite nice” and then you’d start to experiment with all the different flavours.(M46)
They didn’t offer much advice or information. They just had the e-cigarettes and the liquids and said this flavour’s nice, and this flavour’s nice, and there wasn’t really much conversation or information about it. It was very much like they just kind of wanted a sale on it.(F25)
3.3.2. Ongoing Support
I’m very reliant on going to the shop and going “help something has gone wrong”. They’ll just tut and go “you just do this like”. So I’ve got that reliance, I’ve almost got like a little help on hand.(F36a)
When they relapse find out why... “usually this is stress or because of drinking alcohol, sometimes because their coil started burning or liquid started leaking…. We can help with all those sorts of things”. I ask how he advises about stress or a night out, “that can be a good time to use the device more or maybe go up a level of nicotine”. He also tells me that “most people think their device is broken and they have relapsed, but if they bring it in and show us then we can fix it”.(Ob2)
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