Today marks the start of CounterTobacco.org’s 8th 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 CounterTobacco.org 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!
2019 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 products are 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.”
- Menthol Madness: Yes, menthol cigarettes are somehow *still* on the market in most places. National studies have shown that menthol cigarettes are often more prevalently advertised and more steeply discounted in African-American and low-income communities (learn more here). Document this industry targeting with a photo!
- Stores near Schools (and other youth-oriented venues): Research 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. Many localities have also restricted tobacco retailers from locating near schools, parks, libraries, or other youth-oriented venues as a common-sense way to reduce access and reduce retailer density. 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, park, or other youth-oriented venue 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!
- Vape Shops: Vape shops are still a relatively new type or retailer, and while a picture is beginning to emerge about how they differ and compare to other tobacco retailers, the e-cigarette landscape is ever-evolving. What stores are selling e-cigarettes in your community? How are they marketing and promoting them? Help us document this aspect of the retail environment so advocates can stay on the cutting edge!
- iQOS: For those of you in the Atlanta area, participating internationally, or traveling to an area where iQOS or other heated tobacco products have been introduced, snap a photo of how they’re being marketed and promoted at the point of sale.
Contest closes on November 4, 2019 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.