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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 106, Issue 6, pp e408–e412 | Cite as

Retail availability and marketing of electronic cigarettes in Canada

  • David HammondEmail author
  • Christine M. White
  • Christine D. Czoli
  • Christina L. Martin
  • Paul Magennis
  • Samantha Shiplo
Quantitative Research

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Canada is among an increasing number of countries with restrictions on the sale of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). In Canada, e-cigarettes containing nicotine have not been approved for sale; however, e-cigarettes that do not contain nicotine and do not make health claims can be sold. To date, there is little empirical evidence assessing the retail availability and marketing of e-cigarettes in countries such as Canada.

METHODS: Audits were conducted at 59 brick-and-mortar retail outlets (grocery stores, convenience stores, tobacconist shops and vape shops) in four cities (Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax) in August-October 2014. In addition, a total of 21 e-cigarette manufacturer/retailer websites were audited, and inquiries were made as to whether the companies sold nicotine-containing products.

RESULTS: Overall, 76% of the retail outlets sold e-cigarette products. Of convenience stores, grocery stores and tobacconist shops with e-cigarettes for sale, the vast majority (94%) sold nicotine-free products only; in contrast, all the vape shops sold at least one nicotine-containing e-cigarette product. Front counter displays were the most common form of in-store promotions and were present in virtually all convenience stores, tobacconist shops and vape shops. Nicotine-containing e-cigarettes were available for purchase at approximately half (52%) of the online e-cigarette retailers surveyed.

CONCLUSION: E-cigarettes with and without nicotine are widely available and marketed at a variety of retail outlets in Canada. “Illegal” sales of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes were predominantly found at vape shops and online outlets, suggesting limited compliance with existing regulations.

Key Words

E-cigarettes marketing tobacco control policy 

Mots Clés

cigarettes électroniques marketing lutte antitabac politique 

Résumé

OBJECTIFS: Le Canada compte parmi un nombre croissant de pays qui imposent des restrictions à la vente des cigarettes électroniques. Au Canada, les cigarettes électroniques contenant de la nicotine ne sont pas homologuées pour la vente; cependant, celles qui ne contiennent pas de nicotine et qui ne font pas d’allégations santé peuvent être vendues. Jusqu’à maintenant, il existe peu de preuves empiriques sur la disponibilité des cigarettes électroniques chez les détaillants ou sur leur marketing dans les pays comme le Canada.

MÉTHODE: Nous avons mené des audits dans 59 points de vente au détail traditionnels (épiceries, dépanneurs, tabagies et boutiques spécialisées dans la vente de cigarettes électroniques) dans quatre villes (Vancouver, Toronto, Montréal et Halifax) entre août et octobre 2014. De plus, nous avons audité les sites Web de 21 fabricants ou détaillants de cigarettes électroniques en leur demandant s’ils vendaient des produits contenant de la nicotine.

RÉSULTATS: Globalement, 76 % des points de vente au détail vendaient des cigarettes électroniques. La très grande majorité (94 %) des dépanneurs, épiceries et tabagies vendant des cigarettes électroniques ne proposaient que des produits sans nicotine; par contre, toutes les boutiques spécialisées en cigarettes électroniques vendaient au moins un produit contenant de la nicotine. Les présentoirs à la caisse étaient la forme la plus courante de promotion en magasin; ces présentoirs étaient omniprésents dans les dépanneurs, tabagies et boutiques spécialisées. Des cigarettes électroniques contenant de la nicotine étaient en vente dans environ la moitié (52 %) des détaillants de cigarettes électroniques en ligne que nous avons sondés.

CONCLUSION: Les cigarettes électroniques avec et sans nicotine sont largement disponibles et commercialisées dans un éventail de points de vente au détail au Canada. Les ventes « illicites » de cigarettes électroniques contenant de la nicotine se font surtout dans les boutiques spécialisées et les points de vente en ligne, ce qui témoigne d’une conformité limitée à la réglementation en vigueur.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Hammond
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christine M. White
    • 1
  • Christine D. Czoli
    • 1
  • Christina L. Martin
    • 1
  • Paul Magennis
    • 1
  • Samantha Shiplo
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Public Health & Health SystemsUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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