2017 Photo Contest Winners Announcement

Cigarettes, Disparities, E-Cigarettes, Flavors (including Menthol), International, Little cigars/Cigarillos, Photo Contest, Price Promotions, Product Packaging, Product Placement, Self-Service, Smokeless Tobacco and SNUS, Stores Near Schools, Vape Shops, Youth

We asked our audience to submit photos showcasing tobacco industry marketing tactics and promotional strategies at the point of sale (POS), and we received over 45 great photos from 11 states and even as far away as Pakistan. The entries cover a wide range of problems at the point of sale, and beyond just the contest, we hope these photos will be used to continue POS advocacy work.

Grand Prize Winner

“Small-town America, we’ve got you covered. Cheap smokes to go with your cokes.”
Taken by Nancy Cripe in New Paris, IN on October 20, 2017. 
This beautifully captured and timely photo that symbolizes some of the geographic disparities seen in tobacco use across the country. Twelve states in the US have much higher adult tobacco use rates (22%) than the rest of the country (15%). Policy plays a large role in this disparity. For example, prices for cigarettes are more than a dollar per pack cheaper in the twelve states that form what Truth Initiative has termed “Tobacco Nation” than in the rest of the country. 
Winners have also been chosen in the following categories of tobacco industry activities at the POS:
  • Greatest Youth Appeal
  • Electronic Smoking Products and Vape Shops
  • Flavored Tobacco Products
  • Cheap Tobacco Products
  • Most Ironic
  • How Low Can You Go?
  • Stores Near Schools
  • Powerwall/Billboard Effect
  • Lookalikes
  • International
View all entries here and in our media gallery of store images and maps.

Greatest Youth Appeal – Winner

“This looks a little nutty, Buddy” Taken by Christopher Lauen on Oct 20, 2017 in Marianna, FL. This also looks highly illegal!

Greatest Youth Appeal – Honorable Mention

“Sweets above the counter; sweets below the counter.” Taken by Nancy Cripe in Fort Wayne, IN on March 31, 2017. Note the striking color similarities between the little cigars on the counter and the candy below!

“Candy & Cigs? Cigs & Candy?” Taken October 13, 2017 in Warsaw, IN by Heidi Blake 

“Sweet & Addicting” Taken by Adrienne Thomas in Goshen, IN on March 8, 2017. Sweet ice cream and sweet flavored e-cigs together? 

Electronic Smoking Products and Vape Shops – Winner

“Oh no, we never get kids coming in here.” Taken by Glory Song in Springfield, MA on July 27, 2017. 

How Low Can You Go? – Winners 


“How low can you go?” Taken by John Firehammer, July 26, 2017, in Whitehall, MT 

Winner for products at kids’ eye level – and within their reach!

“Big tobacco advertising at eye level for youth at an unassuming gas station in West Sacramento.”

Taken by Nayeli De Anda in West Sacramento, CA on November 6, 2017.

Winner for tobacco advertisements at kids’ eye level

Flavored Tobacco Products – Winner

“All The Flavors!” Taken in Clarkston, GA on November 28, 2016.

Cheap Tobacco Products – Winner

“Why is tobacco allowed to be ‘on sale?’ And did you see the savings on a carton? Making it too easy for smokers to continue” Taken October 15th, 2017, in FL.

Most Ironic – Winner and Honorable Mention

“Two ways to save” Taken by Adrienne Thomas in Elkhart, IN on February 27, 2017

Most Ironic – Winner

Save kids or save on tobacco?  

“Risky Business”, Taken October 7, 2017, in Belgium, WI

Most Ironic – Honorable Mention

One of these things reduces health risks, the other increases them

Stores Near Schools – Winners

“Campus Convenience: We make buying tobacco and textbooks so convenient!”

Taken by Glory Song in Springfield, MA on July 27, 2017

Stores Near Schools – Winner: College Edition 

“Spring 2017-the path home from the elementary school, 3 blocks away”

Taken by Nancy Cripe in North Manchester, IN on April 11, 2017

Stores Near Schools – Winner: Elementary School Edition 

Look-a-Likes – Winner

“Nothing Sweet About It” Taken in Elkhart, IN on February 27, 2017

Bonus Category: Billboard Effect– Winner

“Tobacco fence beside neighborhood, corner gas station.” Taken by Nancy Cripe in Huntington, IN on April 26, 2017. 

While tobacco companies can no longer advertise on billboards, placing smaller ads close together creates the effect of a larger, billboard-sized advertisement, as seen here. 

Bonus Category: International – Winner

“Pictures are shown to attract smokers with charming prize schemes of Tractors.” Taken by Qamar Iqbal in Gujranwala, Pakistan on October 12, 2017.


In addition to winners and honorable mentions for all categories, you can find all photo contest submissions along with other captivating images of POS tobacco industry tactics in our image gallery.


The Surgeon General has concluded that “advertising and promotional activities by tobacco companies have been shown to cause the onset and continuation of smoking among adolescents and young adults.” [1] The tobacco industry spends the majority of their marketing budget at the point of sale promoting its deadly products. [2] CounterTobacco.org is dedicated to providing tools and resources to counteract retail tobacco product sales and marketing. The photo contest and image gallery expose the tobacco industry’s marketing tactics in hopes of educating communities, and especially youth, about the dangers of tobacco retail marketing. Education and exposure of the industries’ tactics are critical to building awareness and serve as a first step in the policy change process. These photos offer tobacco control advocates a powerful tool to show what is happening at the point of sale.

With the tobacco industry wielding its influence and dollars at the point of sale, policy changes at the federal, state, and local levels are critical. Learn more about counteracting retail tobacco products sale and marketing.

CounterTobacco.org is a project of Counter Tools. Counter Tools (logo)
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