Kratom products are derived from trees native to Southeast Asia and have dose-dependent stimulant and opioid-like effects. Despite being on the Drug Enforcement Administration "Drugs and Chemicals of Concern List," kratom is legal for sale in most US states. However, there are scarce data on its availability. The goal of this study was to examine kratom availability in vape shops across the state of California and assess shop compliance with a local kratom sales ban (enacted in 2016) in San Diego City. As part of a larger study about retail tobacco marketing near colleges, availability of kratom was assessed in summer 2019 in a random sample of 614 vape shops that was stratified to compare stores near (= 3 miles) and distant (>3 miles) from colleges. Logistic regression examined kratom availability as a function of store type (stores that sold vape products only vs. stores selling other tobacco), nearness to college, and tract-level demographics. Kratom was available in 62.4% of observed stores and more often in vape-and-smoke (81.1%) than vape-only shops (11.5%, AOR = 40.4, 95% CI = 23.3-74.1). Kratom availability did not differ by nearness to colleges. In San Diego City, 46.2% of observed stores (95% CI = 28.8-64.5) sold kratom products. Findings indicate that kratom was available in the majority of vape shops and most commonly in vape-and-smoke shops. Widespread availability in tobacco specialty shops suggests the need for research on dual use with tobacco, kratom advertising and cross-product promotion, and the potential of state and local tobacco retail licensing to prohibit sales.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pmedr.2023.102380
View details for PubMedID 37680858
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10481347