There’s a remarkably large number of vapers today who have never set foot in a vape shop and have never bought any vaping products online. Instead, they head right to their local gas station or convenience store and buy whatever is on display – just like they used to do when they were smokers.
On one hand, the availability of vaping products at a wide variety of different retailers is a great thing for the smokers of the world because it means that when someone goes to the convenience store to buy cigarettes, a less risky alternative is right there in front of them. Slowly but surely, people across the world are switching to that alternative.
If a convenience store or gas station helped you make the switch to vaping, that’s a great thing – but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should continue getting all of your vaping supplies from that same place forever. Is it really a good idea to buy disposable vapes from a gas station? Gas stations follow the tobacco industry’s distribution model. The roots of vaping aren’t in the tobacco industry, though, and that means the traditional distribution model doesn’t always work for vaping products. Here’s why.
Gas Stations May Source Disposable Vapes from Questionable Distributors
As we’ll explain in greater detail shortly, the main problem with buying disposable vapes from a gas station is that convenience stores typically source their tobacco products from just one or two distributors. Those distributors only offer vaping products from Big Tobacco brands, and Big Tobacco companies don’t make modern disposable vapes.
Gas station owners know that disposable vapes are incredibly popular and that they’d be unwise not to carry them. Instead of working with distributors that specialize in vaping products, though, gas stations and convenience stores will often try to source disposable vapes from their existing distributors – the same ones that provide generic USB cables, AA batteries and other cheap electronic products.
The problem with sourcing disposable vapes from a company that doesn’t specialize in vaping products is that counterfeit and low-quality electronic products are unfortunately quite common in gas stations and convenience stores. Fake batteries, for instance, are rampant around the world – and the last type of counterfeit product you’d ever want to buy is a battery-powered device that goes in your mouth. This isn’t to say that all of the disposable vapes sold in gas stations are fake, but you’re taking an unnecessary risk every time you buy a vaping product that’s not sourced from an authorized distributor.
Gas Stations Probably Won’t Have the Lowest Prices for Vaping Products
Let’s discuss the traditional tobacco distribution model at greater length. As you might already be aware, products don’t end up on store shelves by chance. Quite often, in fact, companies pay retailers for shelf space to ensure that their products will be seen by shoppers. Since a huge number of the world’s consumer products are produced by a relatively small number of enormous corporations, buyers often have less choice than they think – and nowhere is that truer than in the tobacco industry.
The major tobacco companies pay gas stations and convenience stores for premium shelf space. Offering promotional pricing in exchange for prominent placement helps those companies maintain their leadership positions in a competitive industry, and it’s particularly important to have good shelf placement in a gas station that displays all of its tobacco products in a relatively tiny space. In the early 2000s, a coalition of small tobacco companies alleged that the promotional tactics of the major cigarette makers made it difficult or impossible for consumers to find the smaller brands.
E-cigarettes aren’t core products for convenience stores, but cigarettes are. A gas station owner is unlikely to make waves with a major tobacco company by violating the terms of a display agreement and giving prominent shelf space to a vaping product not made by that company. For that reason, the vaping products that you’ll find at gas stations will almost always be products made by Big Tobacco companies. They won’t be particularly satisfying or enjoyable to use, and they’ll almost certainly be overpriced. After all, why would a Big Tobacco company want to sell a product that makes you want to stop buying cigarettes?
Gas Stations Usually Don’t Carry the Most Popular Disposable Vapes
The last reason why you might not want to buy disposable vapes from a gas station – if you can even find disposable vapes that aren’t counterfeit in the first place – is because convenience stores are unlikely to carry Esco Bars and other leading products. This is yet another failure of the traditional tobacco distribution model.
Think about the cigarette brands that you see on the shelves at your local gas stations. They haven’t changed in decades. The most popular brands in the vaping industry, on the other hand, are changing so rapidly that the best sellers can sometimes switch places in a matter of weeks. Convenience stores aren’t set up to keep pace with that level of change; they’re set up to buy the same products in the same quantities every week. As a result, the selection of disposable vapes in your local gas station – if disposable vapes are available there at all – probably looks much the same as it did in 2020.
The disposable segment of the vaping industry, meanwhile, has evolved by leaps and bounds since then. Devices are available with more e-liquid and higher battery capacities than ever, which means that they effectively cost less per unit because they last longer. Even more importantly, the flavor selection is much better than it was a few years ago.
If You Want to Buy Disposable Vapes, Buy Them from a Vape Shop
Hopefully, this article has impressed upon you that a gas station really isn’t the ideal place to get your disposable vapes. If you can find disposables at all in a local convenience store, they’re likely to be obsolete and could potentially even be counterfeit and unsafe to use. The traditional distribution model for tobacco products simply doesn’t work for vaping products. If you want to buy disposable vapes, buy them from a vape shop.