Purchasing and sourcing of e-cigarettes among youth in Scotland and England following Scotland's implementation of an e-cigarette retail register and prohibition of e-cigarette sales to under-18s
East, K., Reid, J., Hitchman, S.C., Hammond, D. (2022). Purchasing and sourcing of e-cigarettes among youth in Scotland and England following Scotland's implementation of an e-cigarette retail register and prohibition of e-cigarette sales to under-18s. Qeios, [Published online, doi:10.32388/1JZU74].
Background. Scotland implemented new e-cigarette regulations in April 2017 prohibiting sales to under18s, requiring age verification, and requiring retailer registration. This study examined purchasing and sourcing of e-cigarettes among minors aged 16-17, and youth aged 18-19, in the short- (4 months) and longer-term (16 months) after regulations were implemented, compared with England.
Methods. Data were from the July/August 2017 and August/September 2018 cross-sectional online ITC Youth Tobacco and Vaping Surveys of 16- to 19-year-olds in Scotland (n2017/2018=434/377) and England (n2017/2018=3,791/3,743). Logistic regressions were used to examine differences in past-12- month purchasing, past-12-month sale refusal, and past-30-day sourcing of e-cigarettes between 2017 and 2018, by country and age group.
Results. Among vapers aged 16-17 in Scotland, from 4 to 16 months post-regulations, e-cigarette purchasing increased from 21% to 50% and sale refusal increased from 14% to 16%, but these changes were not significant and did not differ from changes observed in 18-19-year-olds or England (p>.05). Purchasing and sale refusal were most common in vape shops. Purchasing from a vape shop increased among vapers aged 16-17 in Scotland from 4 to 16 months post-regulations (17% to 85%, p=.003) but not among 18-19-year-olds or in England (p>.05). Among past-30-day vapers, social sources were most common.
Conclusions. Youth vapers in Scotland showed no significant changes in overall purchasing, sale refusal, or sourcing of e-cigarettes, from 4 to 16 months post-regulations, and changes did not differ by age group or from England. Findings suggest low compliance with age-of-sale regulations in Scotland and England.