INTRODUCTION: Few studies have explored patterns of electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) sales and prices by product type over time. We used US retail scanner data to assess national and state-specific trends in e-cigarette unit sales and prices for 4 product types sold from 2012 through 2016.
METHODS: Using retail scanner data from the 48 contiguous states and Washington, DC, for convenience stores; supermarkets; mass merchandisers; drug, dollar, and club stores; and military commissaries, we assessed data on monthly unit sales and inflation-adjusted prices by 4 products (rechargeables, disposables, prefilled cartridges, and e-liquids) sold during the 5-year study period. We evaluated national and state trends by using Joinpoint regression (P < .05).
RESULTS: From 2012 through 2016, average national monthly unit sales significantly increased for all products, while average monthly prices of rechargeables, disposables, and prefilled cartridges significantly decreased. In 2016, prefilled cartridges had the highest average sales (766 units per 100,000 people) and the lowest average price ($14.36 per unit). By state, average monthly sales significantly increased for at least 1 of 4 e-cigarette products in all 48 states and Washington, DC. However, during the same period, average monthly prices significantly decreased in 39 states for rechargeables, in 31 states for disposables, in 20 states for prefilled cartridges, and in 8 states for e-liquids.
CONCLUSION: Overall, US e-cigarette unit sales generally increased as product prices decreased. These findings demonstrate the rapidly evolving landscape of US e-cigarette retail marketplace. Ongoing surveillance of e-cigarette unit sales and price is critical for informing and evaluating evidence-based tobacco control strategies.