The Point-of-Sale Report to the Nation was released late last week by researchers from the Center for Public Health Systems Science at Washington University in St. Louis, Stanford Prevention Research Center and the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. According to the 2011 Federal Trade Commission Report, the tobacco industry spends $7.6 billion advertising and marketing their products at the point of sale, highlighting the importance of this avenue for the successful sale of their products. Research evidence shows that greater tobacco retailer density and tobacco marketing foil quit attempts and encourages smoking initiation among youth.
The Point-of-Sale Report to the Nation provides timely information regarding the current state of the retail environment including the density and location of tobacco retailers, industry POS marketing tactics, and the availability of various types of tobacco products. Findings from the report indicates that the contiguous United States is home to nearly 375,000 tobacco retailers – this translates to 27 tobacco retailers for every McDonalds restaurant. For a visualization of the number of McDonald’s retailers in the US, see this Huffington Post article. Now imagine that multiplied by 27!
Additionally, the report provides a synopsis of POS work being conducted by communities across the nation noting the policy’s POS activity area, the level of government at which the policy was passed and barriers faced by those advocating for POS policies. The report highlights lessons gathered from significant POS victories achieved by Massachusetts’ tobacco-free pharmacies ordinance and Providence, Rhode Island’s coupon ban policy.Through this report, tobacco control advocates are armed with tangible next steps and resources to assist with enacting policy change at the point of sale.