February 2023 News and Research Roundup

Cigarettes, Disparities, E-Cigarettes, Endgame, FDA, Flavors (including Menthol), Licensing, Minimum price, Preemption, Product Availability, Retailer Density, Stores Near Schools, Tobacco21, Youth

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!

New Research

  • Underage Youth Continue to Obtain E-Cigarettes from Retail Sources in 2022: Evidence from the Truth Continuous Tracking Survey, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
    • News article: New study: 43% of underage e-cigarette users report getting their e-cigarettes from retail sources, Truth Initiative 
    • Signs for a Smoke Shop with Ecig, Vapes, CBD, PipesThis study by the Truth Initiative examined where young people obtain e-cigarettes. Data was obtained from the Truth Continuous Tracker Online, a cross-sectional, continuous tracking survey, during the period of January-August 2022. 1,296 participants aged 15-20 years old were surveyed on their current e-cigarette use and sources of e-cigarette acquisition. The results showed that although most participants obtained e-cigarettes through social sources (56.9%), a considerable proportion obtained e-cigarettes at retailers (43.1%), including vape shops (22%) and gas station/convenience stores (15.9%). There were differences in acquisition by demographics, with a lower proportion of those who reported obtaining their e-cigarettes via retailers being younger, female, residing in the West, and reporting use of vape pens. Relative to other studies before 2022, these results showed an increase in the proportion of young people obtaining e-cigarettes from retail sources, with over a quarter under the age of 18 and nearly half of study participants aged 18-20 obtaining e-cigarettes this way. All participants reported use of flavored e-cigarettes, and a large proportion who obtained e-cigarettes from retail sources reported use of disposable e-cigarettes. This data reinforces the fact that the retail environment continues to be a key source of tobacco product access for youth despite Tobacco 21 laws. In addition to further enforcement efforts to increase age verification compliance among retailers, regulations to further restrict retail sales of e-cigarettes are needed to combat the rates of e-cigarette use among young people.
    • Learn more about e-cigarettes at the point of sale.
  • The association between local tobacco retail licensing and adult cigarette smoking by race/ethnicity, income, and education in California (2012-2019), Preventive Medicine
    • Areas with tobacco retailer licensing (TRL) have been found to have lower tobacco use among youth, but associations between TRL and adult smoking is less known. This study investigated how TRL policies affected current adult cigarette use in California. Using 2012-2019 data from the California Health Interview Survey and the American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control Reports, jurisdictions in California were graded based on the strength of their TRL from A-strongest policy to F-weakest policy. Adults in jurisdictions with stronger grades (A-D) for tobacco retailer licensing had lower odds of current cigarette use compared to those in jurisdictions with an F grade, but this association was not statistically significant and did not vary based on race/ethnicity, income, or education. Researchers found no strong association between TRL and lower adult cigarette smoking. They note that future studies should further examine the strength of TRL policies, including the required fee, and the extent to which TRL in combination with other tobacco control policies have an effect on adult tobacco product use, especially among racial/ethnic minority groups, as well as on smoking cessation outcomes and frequency of cigarette use. 
    • Learn more about tobacco retailer licensing.
  • Support for Policies to Prohibit the Sale of Menthol Cigarettes and All Tobacco Products Among Adults, 2021, Preventing Chronic Disease
    • News article: Survey: A majority of Americans support banning all tobacco products, STAT News
    • Ad for Newport Menthol cigarettes with "89.9 Special Price!"This study by the CDC assessed the level of support for tobacco retail policies among adults through public opinion polling. The web panel survey, SpringStyles, provided data from 6,455 adults from March-April 2021. These participants were asked to what extent they would support a policy to prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes and to prohibit the sale of all tobacco products on a scale from strongly support to strongly oppose. Responses were weighted with sociodemographic characteristics (sex, age, race/ethnicity, education, annual household income, region) and current tobacco product use. Results showed that nearly two-thirds (62.3%) of surveyed adults supported a policy prohibiting the sale of menthol cigarettes, and more than half (57.3%) supported a policy prohibiting the sale of all tobacco products. More women, those with higher education levels, and higher annual household income supported policies to prohibit menthol cigarette sales. For prohibiting sales of all tobacco products, more women, respondents aged 18-29, non-Hispanic adults from other racial and ethnic population groups, adults with higher education levels, and those living in the Northeast supported it. More than one-third who currently use tobacco products supported menthol cigarette restrictions and one-fourth supported restrictions on all tobacco products. These survey findings show that a majority of adults generally support retail policies to restrict tobacco products, including a substantial proportion of adults who currently use tobacco products. This data reinforces public support and the continued importance of federal, state, and local efforts to restrict tobacco product sales in the retail environment, like the FDA’s proposed rule to ban menthol cigarettes. 
    • Learn more about menthol.
  • How New Tobacco Control Laws Could Help Close the Racial Gap on U.S. Cancer, Global Health Program, Renewing America, A New Agenda for Changing Global Health Needs
    • There are disparities seen in the incidence of and mortality from cancer due to tobacco, with higher rates among African Americans and men. The researchers examined how nationwide bans on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, proposed by the FDA, could affect U.S. lung cancer death rates. Death rates of lung cancer by race/ethnicity and age came from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, data on smoking prevalence was gathered through the National Health Interview Survey, and forecasted estimates of smoking prevalence with and without the FDA ban on menthol cigarettes came from the menthol Smoking and Vaping Model under the Center for the Assessment of Tobacco Regulations. Findings show that a nationwide menthol cigarette ban could close the disparity in lung cancer death rates sooner and would reduce youth smoking rates. Without a ban, the gap between lung cancer death rates for racial/ethnic groups is not projected to close until 2050, whereas with the FDA ban, this gap closes twenty-five years sooner in 2025. Tobacco control policies, like flavored tobacco product bans, that help reduce disparities among groups can be effective means in increasing health equity.  
  • Sales of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and Cigarette Sales in the USA: A Trend Break Analysis, Journal of Consumer Policy
    • This study examines the association between e-cigarette sales and cigarette sales at the population level using retail data. Data on sales of e-cigarette units and cigarette packs per capita was obtained from IRI using a national sample of retailers from 2014-2019. Cigarette sales were modeled before (2014-2016) and after (2017-2019) e-cigarettes had a substantial market share. Results showed higher e-cigarette sales were significantly associated with a greater cigarette shortfall, in that for every unit increase in e-cigarette sales, cigarette sales were lower than expected. There was a reduction in sales of 1.4 – 1.5 cigarette packs per capita and cigarette sales were up to 16% lower than expected based on previous trends in the period after e-cigarettes gained substantial market share. The researchers conclude that this data shows e-cigarettes acting as a general substitute for cigarettes and points to a need to balance policy restrictions, unintended consequences, and harm reduction when assessing the regulation of e-cigarettes and cigarettes. 

New Reports and Resources 

Industry News 

POS Policy in the Media

Flavored Tobacco Sales Restrictions 

Tobacco Retailer Licensing 



Retailer Density Regulations 

Tobacco 21

Retailers Near Schools



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!

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