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. Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of American Journal of Preventive Medicine