National and state trends in sales of cigarettes and e-cigarettes, United States, 2011–2015
Introduction: In recent years, self-reported cigarette smoking has declined among youth and adults, while electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use has increased. However, sales trends for these products are less certain. This study assessed national and state patterns of U.S. cigarette and e-cigarette unit sales.
Methods: Trends in cigarette and e-cigarette unit sales were analyzed using retail scanner data from September 25, 2011 through January 9, 2016 for: (1) convenience stores; and (2) all other outlets combined, including supermarkets, mass merchandisers, drug, dollar, and club stores, and military commissaries (online, tobacco-only, and “vape“ shops were not available). Data by store type were available for the total contiguous U.S. and 29 states; combined data were available for the remaining states, except Alaska, Hawaii, and DC.
Results: During 2011–2015, cigarette sales exhibited a small, significant decrease; however, positive year-over-year growth occurred in convenience stores throughout most of 2015. E-cigarette unit sales significantly increased during 2011–2015, but year-over-year growth slowed and was occasionally negative. Cigarette unit sales exceeded e-cigarettes by 64:1 during the last 4-week period. During 2014–2015, cigarette sales increases occurred in 15 of 48 assessed states; e-cigarette sales increased in 18 states.
Conclusions: Despite overall declines during 2011–2015, cigarette sales in 2015 grew for the first time in a decade. E-cigarette sales growth was positive, but slowed over the study period in assessed stores. Cigarette sales continued to exceed e-cigarette sales, reinforcing the importance of efforts to reduce the appeal and accessibility of cigarettes and other combusted tobacco products.