Announcing’s 2018 POS Tobacco Photo Contest

Photo Contest

Today marks the start of’s 7th annual Point-of-Sale Tobacco Photo Contest!  The tobacco industry spends nearly $1 million every hour to market their deadly products. The Surgeon General has concluded that exposure to this retail marketing encourages smoking and undermines quit attempts. And it’s happening in YOUR community. 

Each year, you help capture the tobacco industry’s marketing tactics at the point of sale, and we are calling on you to do it again! These images are crucial to educating the public and furthering the success of state and local tobacco control efforts that seek to reduce tobacco industry activity at the point of sale.

Work with youth? Get them involved!

Office competition anyone? Engage your workplace! 

Winners receive bragging rights and a prize pack, so grab your camera (whether it’s fancy-schmancy, a throwback disposable, or a smart phone camera – any of them work just fine), and start snapping pics today!


2018 Photo Contest Categories:

  • Greatest Youth Appeal: Spotted a tobacco product near candy or another child-friendly item? Discovered a tobacco advertisement near a carousel or a child-friendly mascot? Send the image our way! 
  • Most Ironic: Did they just put that tobacco advertisement next to …? I think they did! Sometimes the placement of tobacco advertisements next to other items or advertisements can result in some serious irony! Grab snapshots of tobacco advertisements placed next to an unlikely companion advertisement.
  • Cheap & Steep: Who can find the cheapest pack of cigarettes, cheapest single cigar, or the steepest discount? The tobacco industry uses price discounts to target price sensitive customers, including youth. From little cigars and cigarillos that cost less than a dollar to steep discounts on cigarettes and BOGO offers on smokeless products, the tobacco industry has many tactics they use to sell cheap tobacco. Show us what cheap tobacco products or price discounting strategies you see in your community! This includes any ads for mobile coupons that you see in the retail environment! 
  • The Crown “Juul”: Juul has rapidly emerged as the e-cigarette market leader and its popularity has reached “epidemic” proportions among youth. Send in your photos of Juul being marketed in the retail environment! Other e-cigarette makers are following Juul’s lead and developing products with a similar design – send those in, too!
  • Flavor Craze: Flavored tobacco is seemingly everywhere! From e-cigarettes to cigarillos to smokeless products, tobacco companies are creating more flavors constantly. Show us the wildest flavor or the greatest array of flavored tobacco products you’ve seen for sale. Keep a look out for the use of ambiguous flavors such as colors (e.g. “blue,” “green,” “black”) or other flavors such as “Jazz,” “Tropical Twist,” “Sweet,” and “Royale.”
  • How Low Can You Go?: In stores, tobacco advertisements are often positioned low to the ground – right at kids’ eye level, increasing youth exposure to tobacco. So, get low, and if you spot tobacco products where kids are more likely to see them, send your image in! 
  • Stores near SchoolsResearch has shown that there is an increased smoking prevalence among schools located in neighborhoods that have the highest tobacco retailer density compared schools located in neighborhoods without any tobacco retailers. A tough photo to take, but be creative with the challenge! Panorama anyone? Or try photographing tobacco advertisements next to signs that indicate that a school is in the area.
  • Power Wall: “Power Wall” is a term used to describe the prominent shelving and advertising of tobacco products at the point of sale  These represent a highly effective marketing tactic that the industry uses to entice customers to buy their products. Power walls are usually placed in direct view of customers (usually behind the register), thereby increasing visibility of tobacco products and impulse purchasing. If you see a power wall that catches your attention, send a picture in! 
  • Tobacco Look-a-Likes: If you spot tobacco look-a-like items being sold like candy cigarettes, bubble gum cigars, beef jerky “chew,” or something else, take a picture, and send it in!
  • Vape Shops: Vape shops are still a relatively new type or retailer, and a picture is only beginning to emerge about how they differ and compare to other tobacco retailers. What stores are selling e-cigarettes in your community? How are they marketing and promoting them? Help us capture this evolving product and retail environment so advocates can stay on the cutting edge!

More Information

Contest closes on November 5, 2018 at 11:59pm EST. Official contest rules and FAQ found here.

Both winning and non-winning images that meet eligibility requirements will be permanently housed in Counter Tobacco’s image gallery. The image gallery serves as a resource for tobacco control advocates and practitioners seeking to regulate tobacco marketing at the point of sale. These images help to both educate and influence decision makers to regulate tobacco POS marketing tactics which have been shown to encourage smoking initiation among youth, undermine quit attempts, and encourage the continued consumption of tobacco products.

Need more inspiration? See our winners from 2012, 2013, 2014, 20152016, and 2017. is a project of Counter Tools. Counter Tools (logo)
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