To assess the proportion of electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) products sold in the United States that contain nicotine according to retail scanner data.Methods
We obtained unit sales data from January 11, 2015, to December 12, 2015, from The Nielsen Company for convenience stores; supermarkets; mass merchandisers; drug, club, and dollar stores; and Department of Defense commissaries. The data did not include purchases from tobacco specialty shops, “vape shops,” or online sources. Nicotine content was assessed by product type (disposables, rechargeables, and refills), region, and flavor status based on nicotine strength listed in the Universal Product Codes. For the 36.7% of entries lacking nicotine content information, we conducted Internet searches by brand, product, and flavor.Results
In 2015, 99.0% of e-cigarette products sold contained nicotine, including 99.0% of disposables, 99.7% of rechargeables, and 98.8% of refills. Overall, 98.7% of flavored e-cigarette products and 99.4% of nonflavored e-cigarette products contained nicotine.Conclusions
In 2015, almost all e-cigarette products sold in US convenience stores and other assessed channels contained nicotine.Public Health Implications
Findings reinforce the importance of warning labels for nicotine-containing products, ingredient reporting, and restrictions on sales to minors.