December 2019 News and Research Roundup

Advertising Restictions, Cigarettes, E-Cigarettes, FDA, Flavors (including Menthol), International, Licensing, Little cigars/Cigarillos, Minimum pack size, Minimum price, Non-Tax Price Increases, Retailer Density, Store Assessments, Tobacco21, Youth

Welcome to’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!

New Research 

Point of Sale

  • Point-of-sale marketing of little cigars and cigarillos on and near California Tribal lands, Tobacco Control
    • American Indians have the highest rate of cigarette smoking of any racial or ethnic group in the US. As such, a study was conducted between 2015 and 2017 to audit 53 retailers on Tribal lands and 43 retailers within a 1 mile radius of Tribal lands in California to assess the landscape of little cigars and cigarillos. They found that, overall, 85% of stores sold little cigars and cigarillos, 76% sold flavored versions, and over half sold these tobacco products for less than $1. In 47% of retailers, price promotions for these products were displayed inside the store. Stores that were in the immediate surrounding area, but not directly on Tribal Lands, sold significantly more flavored and total little cigars and cigarillos, displayed significantly more of these items for less than $1, and were more likely to advertise price promotions on these products. To counteract the wide rates of use in this population, policymakers should consider implementing regulations to these otherwise widely available and extremely cheap tobacco products. Learn more about increasing prices on these tobacco products through non-tax approaches

Tobacco Retailer Density

  • Tobacco retail density and initiation of alternative tobacco product use among teens, Journal of Adolescent Health
    • Researchers assessed data from over 700 adolescents, aged 13-19 years old, living in 191 different neighborhoods in California to determine the association between tobacco retailer density and the initiation of alternative tobacco products (ATP) after one year. Data showed that, at baseline, one-third of participating teenagers ever used an ATP and within one year 21.5% of baseline nonusers initiated use of an ATP; as well, the average distance between each participant’s place of residence and the closest tobacco retailer was just over half a mile. Controlling for individual and school factors, researchers found that those living in neighborhoods with a greater density of tobacco retailers had 1.22 times the odds of ATP initiation than those living in neighborhoods with a lower density of tobacco retailers. Learn more about retailer density

Mint, Menthol and Other Flavors

  • The effect of flavoured and non-flavoured tobacco on subjective experience, topography, and toxicant exposure among waterpipe smokers, Tobacco Control
    • This study with 144 participants assessed differences between waterpipe smoking sessions with flavored and non-flavored tobacco. Participants who engaged in the flavored smoking session reported greater satisfaction and enjoyment and spent a longer amount of time smoking; contrastingly, those who engaged in the non-flavored smoking session took larger puffs and exhaled more carbon monoxide than those in the flavored smoking session. As well, participants who smoked non-flavored tobacco, as opposed to their preferred flavor, reported higher perceptions of waterpipe harm. These findings suggest that regulating flavors of waterpipe tobacco may reduce waterpipe use since subjective experience was enhanced in those who smoked flavored waterpipe tobacco. Learn more about hookah at the point of sale


  • Perceived comparative harm of cigarettes and electronic nicotine delivery systems, JAMA Network Open
    • Data from the Tobacco Products and Risk Perceptions Surveys found that between 2017 and 2018, the percentage of US adults who perceived electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) to be less harmful than cigarettes decreased by 3.5%; as well, the percentage of US adults who found ENDS to be ‘more’ harmful increased by 2% and ‘much more harmful’ by 1.8%, with an increasing proportion of these individuals being current and former smokers. The percentage of adults who perceived ENDS to be equally as harmful as cigarettes increased by 6.6% and the percentage of adults uncertain of the comparative harm between cigarettes and ENDS decreased by 6%. While this data was collected prior to the recent vaping-related illnesses and deaths, the findings of perceived harm are important to assessing trends of use. It is hypothesized that these changes in harm perception are associated with the increased media attention and political response to ENDS use during this time period. Learn more about e-cigarettes
    • News story: Study finds increase in US adults who perceive e-cigarettes more harmful than cigarettes, EurekAlert!



  • Awareness and interest in IQOS heated tobacco products among youth in Canada, England, and the USA, Tobacco Control
    • Heated tobacco products such as IQOS have hit the markets here in the states and internationally. This study used data from the International Tobacco Control Youth Tobacco and E-cigarette Survey in 2017 to assess youth, aged 16-19, awareness, interest in trying and susceptibility to trying the IQOS. 9.1% of American youth respondents reported awareness of the IQOS product and 41% reported interest in trying the product. As well, susceptibility for trying IQOS, which was measured by a question asking whether the respondent would try the product if offered by his/her best friend, was higher than susceptibility for trying cigarettes but lower than susceptibility for trying e-cigarettes. Those who were male, current tobacco users, and current e-cigarette users were more likely to show interest and susceptibility to trying IQOS. Learn more about IQOS
  • Exposure to tobacco marketing in bars predicts subsequent use of multiple tobacco products among non-tobacco-using college students, Tobacco Control
    • This study of approximately 1,500 students aged 18-29 assessed the association between exposure to tobacco marketing in clubs and bars and the number of alternative tobacco products used six months later. Findings evidenced that a greater exposure to free tobacco samples and tobacco industry representatives at these locations was associated with a greater number of alternative tobacco products used six months later, but only for those who were non-tobacco users at baseline. While the tobacco industry generally claims that their marketing and advertising tactics target current users, this study suggests that tobacco marketing in bars and clubs actually influences use among non-tobacco users, not current tobacco users. Learn more about restricting tobacco advertising
  • Tobacco product use and associated factors among middle and high school students – United States, 2019, MMWR
    • This report provides updated statistics on youth and adolescent use of tobacco products in the US. In 2019, 31.2% of high school students and 12.5% of middle school students used a tobacco product in the past 30 days. Similar to previous years, e-cigarette use was most common among this age group and reasons for use and initiation included flavor options, exposure to tobacco product marketing, curiosity and susceptibility, and misperceptions of harms associated with tobacco use. Learn more about youth use. Colorful and Close to Candy report

New Reports

Industry News 

POS Policy in the Media 


Tobacco 21

Menthol and Other Flavored Tobacco Products

Tobacco Retailer Licensing


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! is a project of Counter Tools. Counter Tools (logo)
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