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!
Point of Sale Pricing Policies
- Cigarette Coupon Receipt and Smoking Relapse by Duration of Smoking Abstinence, American Journal of Preventive Medicine
- This study analyzed data from the Population Assessmenf of Tobacco and Health survey collected between December 2016- November 2019 and found that people who formerly smoked and had received coupons for cigarettes within the past year were more likely to relapse. Those who had quit recently (within the past year) were more than twice as likely to relapse if they had received coupons. This study shows that policies prohibiting the redemption of coupons at the point of sale may help prevent smoking relapses.
- News story: Study Finds That Tobacco Coupons Double Relapse Rate Among Recent Smokers, Georgia State University
- Learn more about policies prohibiting coupons and other discounts.
- Bigger, stronger and cheaper: growth in e-cigarette market driven by disposable devices with more e-liquid, higher nicotine concentration and declining prices, Tobacco Control
- Retail scanner data from January 2017 – September 2022 shows that disposable e-cigarettes sold during this time period increased 518% in average volume capacity (from 1.1 ml to 5.7ml) and 295% in average nicotine strength (from 1.7% to 5%). While prices stayed relatively the same from January 2017 – January 2020, average unit prices then increased from $8.49 to $14.07 but the average price of e-liquid decreased from $7.96 to $2.45. The researchers recommend policies that restrict e-liquid capacity; set minimum prices for e-cigarette products; and regulate e-cigarette nicotine strength, device power, and puff duration.
- Learn more about e-cigarettes at the point of sale.
- Short report: What types of e-liquid products were more likely to offer price promotions?, Tobacco Control
- This analysis found that out of 14,407 e-liquid products sold by five major online e-cigarette retailers, 92.5% were sold at a discounted price, with an average of discount of 16.84 cents/mL. E-liquids made with salt nicotine were discounted at higher rates on average than other e-liquids.
Cigars at the Point of Sale
- Exploring the Presence and Type of Premium Cigar Retailers With Neighborhood Sociodemographic Correlates in the United States, 2019–2021, Nicotine & Tobacco Research
- Analysis of a national list of retailers selling premium cigars showed that 39% were cigar stores, 26% were cigar bars or lounges, and 15% were beer, wine, or liquor stores, while less than 1% were convenience stores, grocery stores, or other types of stores. Retailers selling premium cigars in census tracts with a higher percentage of non-Hispanic Black residents were more likely to be a cigar bar or lounge, which may expose customers, workers, and residents to greater secondhand smoke. The researchers suggest that localities could address disparities in cigar bar location through zoning policies.
- Learn more about zoning policies.
- The effect of state and local flavored cigar sales restrictions, on retail sales of large cigars, cigarillos and little cigars in Massachusetts, California, Illinois, and New York, Nicotine & Tobacco Research
- This study analyzed retail scanner data from California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York to assess changes in per capita cigar sales in association with policies restricting the sale of flavored cigars. They found that as the percentage of the population within a state covered by a flavored cigar restriction increased by 25%, sales of all cigars decreased by 15-19%, sales large cigars decreased by 4-10%, sales of cigarillos decreased by 17-21%, and sales of little cigars decreased by 2-41%. This shows that policies restricting the sale of flavored cigars, like the product standard proposed by the FDA, are effective in reducing cigar sales.
- Improving Point-of-Sale Warnings for Single Cigars: Implications for Premium Cigars, Nicotine & Tobacco Research
- The FDA has proposed that tobacco retailers display warning signs at the point of sale for cigars sold individually without packaging. This study compared the six FDA-proposed text-only warning signs for single cigars with other types of text-only warning signs and warning signs with text and images. The warning sign with both text and image better discouraged study participants from smoking cigars, decreased cigar purchase intentions, and decreased the urge to smoke more compared to the FDA-proposed text-only warning sign. Especially given that the text-only warning signs did not perform significantly better at discouraging cigar smoking than having no warning sign, the researchers conclude that adding images to the warnings signs could increase their effectiveness.
- Learn more about POS Health Warnings
E-Cigarettes at the Point of Sale
- Longitudinal association between exposure to e-cigarette advertising and youth e-cigarette use in the United States, Addictive Behaviors
- Data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study collected between 2017-2019 found that youth ages 12-17 who had never used e-cigarettes but were exposed e-cigarette advertisements on social media/websites and at gas stations/convenience stores were significantly more likely to report ever having used e-cigarettes or current use of e-cigarettes a year later than those who had not been exposed to e-cigarette advertisements. Gas stations or convenience stores were the place youth most frequently recalled seeing e-cigarette advertisements, with roughly half of youth in the study reporting exposure to e-cigarettes advertisements at gas stations or convenience stores across 2017-2019.
- Learn more about e-cigarettes at the point of sale.
- Regulatory Strategies for Preventing and Reducing Nicotine Vaping among Youth: A Systematic Review, American Journal of Preventive Medicine
- This systematic review of studies examining the impact of vaping regulations on vaping prevalence found that flavor bans, sales licenses, and taxation were associated with decreased rates of youth vaping, and warning labels were associated with a decreased desire to initiate vaping. However, there was insufficient evidence for age restrictions, restrictions on location of use, and mixed/combined regulations.
- Learn more about e-cigarettes at the point of sale.
- An Experimental Evaluation of the Effects of Banning the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products on Adolescents’ and Young Adults’ Future Nicotine Vaping Intentions, Addictive Behaviors
- This study using a life-sized model convenience store found that for teens who already vape, when menthol/mint and sweet-flavored e-cigarette products were removed from the display, future intentions to use tobacco-flavored vaping products increased compared to when all flavors were displayed.
- FDA must ban menthol cigarettes without delay: lessons from other countries, American Journal of Preventive Medicine
- The authors of this paper examine evidence from around the world to provide recommendations relating to the FDA’s proposed product standard prohibiting menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes. They point out that while the tobacco industry often argues that banning menthol cigarettes will drive sales to illicit markets, studies in Canada, England, and Netherlands have found no increase in illicit cigarette purchases. In order to close loopholes that would allow the tobacco industry to circumvent the ban, the authors argue that the FDA should ban menthol as an additive in cigarettes rather than as a characterizing flavor given the potential for tobacco companies to use menthol analogs or synthetic coolants in place of menthol and that menthol as an additive in “non-menthol” cigarettes still impacts the cigarette’s sensory effects. They also argue that the FDA should ban all accessories that allow users to add menthol flavor to cigarettes, given the proliferation and use of these type of accessories across other countries with menthol bans in place.
- Learn more about menthol.
- Short Report: Still ‘Cool’: tobacco industry responds to state-wide menthol ban with synthetic coolants, Tobacco Control
- Researchers examined 10 different brands and types of cigarettes that had blue and green packaging suggesting cooling effects but “non-menthol” descriptors that were purchased in California in comparison with the exact same brands and types with menthol descriptors purchased in New York. They found that while menthol was found in only one brand amongst the cigarettes purchased in California, it was present in most of those purchased in New York. However, a synthetic cooling agent was detected in 4 of the types of cigarettes purchased in Cigarettes, but in none of those purchased in New York. The researchers recommend that policymakers consider the chemical ingredients and sensory impacts in addition to characterizing flavor in future regulations.
- News story: Studies Reveal How Tobacco Industry May Try to Get Around Proposed FDA Ban on Menthol Flavor, Roswell Park
New Reports and Resources
- WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2023, World Health Organization
- News article: WHO Report Finds Majority of World Population Protected by At Least One Life Saving Tobacco Control Measure, Calls for Accelerated Progress, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
- ITG Brands Acquires Nicotine Pouches From Canadian Manufacturer, CSP
- Electronic cigarette patent dispute goes to federal agency, Winston-Salem Journal
- Juul got young people addicted to nicotine – this startup wants to help them quit, Fast Company
- Can Menthols Survive a Tobacco-Free Shift?, CStore Decisions
POS Policy in the Media
Licensing, Zoning, and Retailer Density
- [CA] Kent Council imposes restrictions on tobacco retailers, extends school officer program, Record-Courier
- [CA] Brentwood CIty Council cracks down on tobacco shops, The Press
- [CA] San Mateo tightens rules around tobacco, San Mateo Daily Journal
- [CA] Tobacco retail licensing ordinance aims for a healthier Humbolt, Times-Standard
- [MN] Richfield passes tobacco license limits, ban on flavored tobacco, Star Tribune
- [MN] Nobles County’s tobacco ordinance could change, The Globe
- [NY] Proposed Syracuse law would regulate tobacco retailers in city, Spectrum News
- [WI] Bill tightening tobacco, lottery and sales tax evasion laws gains momentum, WPR
Proximity to Schools
Flavored Tobacco Sales Restrictions
- [CA] San Diego city attorney sues two retail chains over sale of flavored tobacco products, San Diego Union-Tribune
- [HI] Council floats ‘trigger ban’ on flavored tobacco, Star-Advertiser
- [MI] Ann Arbor aims to ban flavored tobacco, including menthol cigarettes, M Live
- Members of Congressional Black Caucus Call on FDA to FInalize Menthol Flavor Rule by August 23 Deadline, Cancer Health
- Canada launches warning labels on each cigarette, BBC
- New Zealand Sets Youth Vaping Regulations, Tobacco Reporter
- More Kids Are Being Exposed to Toxic E-Cigarette Nicotine, NY TImes
- Nicotine exposures are skyrocketing among kids in N.J. and Pa. – especially those under 5, Philadelphia Inquirer
- [CO] Larimer County moves to refocus tobacco enforcement from minors to retailers, Loveland Reporter-Herald
Find more stories in last month’s News and Research Roundup.
Know of a story that we missed? Email us, and we’ll be sure to include it in next month’s roundup!