Welcome to CounterTobacco.org's "News and Research Roundup!" Each month we post a summary of the latest research, reports, and news stories on counteracting tobacco product sales and marketing at the point of sale (POS). Keeping up with what's happening in the POS movement all across the country can help you choose policies and strategies that work best for your community. New research can help provide support for your work and evidence for the importance of the "War in the Store." Have a story you don't want us to miss? E-mail it to us!
Three Minnesota cities have passed legislation setting a minimum price for cigars within recent years. In April 2014, the city of Brooklyn Center (a suburb of Minneapolis) adopted a policy that set the minimum price for a pack of 4 or fewer cigars at $2.10 per cigar. In August 2014, the city of St. Paul adopted a policy with the same language, and in May 2015, the city of Maplewood (a suburb of Saint Paul) adopted a policy that set a minimum price of $2.60 per cigar and $10.40 for packs of 4 or more cigars. Researchers conducted assessments of tobacco retailers in these cities between June 2013 and July 2015 and found high policy compliance post-implementation. In addition, the percentage of retailers across all three cities selling single cigars decreased from 80% to 46%, and the percentage of retailers selling 2- or 3-packs of cigars decreased from 74% to 52%. The policy resulted in an average price increase of $1.17 for single cigars in St. Paul and $1.27 in Maplewood. Similarly, the price of the cheapest 2-pack rose by $2.36 in St. Paul and by $3.08 in Maplewood.
This review found that smokeless tobacco use responds to tobacco control policies, including taxes, media campaigns, health warnings, and cessation treatment policies. While studies have not been conducted on the impact of marketing or product content restrictions, the literature shows that product marketing (including advertising, packaging, flavors, and branding) plays a significant role in smokeless tobacco use.
This review shows that flavored tobacco products are often perceived as less harmful and can increase the appeal of products, especially for adolescents. They also play a role in initiation, progression to regular use, poly-use, and reduced quit intentions.
Researchers identified vape shop locations in two North Carolina counties through four online business listings (Google Maps, ReferenceUSA, YellowPages.com, and Yelp) as well as four vaping web sites (vapeabout.com, vaporsearchusa.com, vapestores.com, e-cigarette-store-reviews.com) for one county. They then used “ground truthing,” driving primary and secondary roads to validate their search results and identify additional stores. While their online searches identified 28 vape shops, only 16 were confirmed. The researchers indicate that due to the range in sensitivity of online searches (62.5%-81.3%) and range of positive predictive values (73.3% to 92.3%) states should consider licensing requirements for vape shops and tobacco retailers for tracking and compliance check purposes.
This article provides an overview of the Tobacco 21 movement and suggests that including electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) in laws that raise the minimum legal sale age to 21 could help prevent youth exposure to nicotine and its associated consequences, as well as potentially reduce youth initiation of cigarettes. The authors also suggest that including ENDS in Tobacco 21 laws may help garner additional political support.
Participants in residential drug treatment program who received cigarette packs with graphic health warning labels over the course of a month were more likely to attend a cessation group (26%) than participants who received a cigarette pack without a graphic health warning label (18.8%). This links exposure to graphic health warning labels to a behavioral outcome.
Following implementation of plain packaging for cigarettes in Australia, more youth than initially expected responded to the change, with 34% of youth smokers trying to quit or thinking about quitting and 28% of youth smokers trying to hide or cover up their packs or feeling embarrassed. In addition, 16% of youth never smokers reported that the plain packs made them less likely to try smoking and 18% of former smokers said the packs made them less likely to smoke again. Support for the policy also increased among all groups.
An analysis of data from the PATH study showed that 64% of people who smoke Natural American Spirit (NAS) cigarettes falsely believed that NAS cigarettes are less harmful than other brands of cigarettes. Only 8% of smokers who use other brands held the same belief for their brand. NAS smokers were more likely to be younger, LGBTQ, have used alcohol or marijuana within the past 30 days, and frequently think about tobacco’s harms. The researchers suggest that messaging to correct this perception is necessary.
Released by Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA, this is the 33rd tobacco-related Surgeon General’s Report and is the first federal government review of the public health impact of e-cigarettes. The report focuses on preventing youth and young adult use of e-cigarettes and includes information on the historical background, patterns of use and health effects among youth and young adults, the activities of e-cigarette companies, as well as policy and practice implications.
Total consumption of combustible tobacco products decreased by 33.5% from 2000 to 2015, and total consumption of cigarettes, the most commonly used combustible product, decreased by 38.7%. However, per capita consumption of cigarettes increased from 2014 to 2015, which is the first increase from year to year since 1973. Additionally, consumption of other products is on the rise, with a 117.1% (83.3% per capita) increase in non-cigarette combustible tobacco (e.g. cigars, roll-your-own, pipe tobacco) and a 23.1% (4.2% per capita) increase in smokeless tobacco use. During this time period, there was a rise in use of pipe tobacco (556.4%) and large cigars (179.6%) corresponding with a decrease in use of roll-your-own tobacco (70%) and small cigars (75.6%). These trends can be attributed in part to the tobacco industry’s 2008-2015 modification of little cigars and roll-your-own tobacco products to meet the definitions for categorization as large cigars and pipe tobacco, respectively, thus avoiding higher taxes and reducing the cost to the consumer.