June 2021 News and Research Roundup

Cigarettes, Disparities, E-Cigarettes, FDA, Flavors (including Menthol), Mitigation Fee, Non-Tax Price Increases, Price Promotions, Product Availability, Product Placement, Smokeless Tobacco and SNUS, Store Assessments, 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

Retailer Density

Pricing Policies

  • Smokeless Tobacco Point of Sale Advertising Placement and Promotion: Associations With Store and Neighborhood Characteristics, Frontiers in Public Health
    • This study of store assessments conducted in 2017 at tobacco retailers across Oklahoma found that youth promotion of smokeless tobacco products (product placement within 12 inches of items that appeal to children or advertisements within three feet of the floor), while not common (11%) was more than 3 times as common at convenience stores than other types of stores, and 1.7 times as common at stores in urban areas than stores in rural areas. Price promotions for smokeless tobacco were available at 43% of stores and were 4 times as common at convenience stores than other types of stores as well as slightly more common at stores in high poverty areas. Storefront advertising for smokeless tobacco was present at 19.6% of stores, with convenience stores 16 times more likely to have exterior ads for smokeless tobacco than other types of retailers. Stores in areas with a high proportion of African American residents were also 1.4 times more likely than areas with fewer African American residents to have exterior ads for smokeless tobacco.
    • Learn more about addressing price promotions, product placement, and advertising at the point of sale.
  • Support for cigarette filter waste policies among US adults, Tobacco Control
    • A survey of US adults found that those who believe that cigarette butts harm the environment, that cigarette filters are non-biodegradable, and that filters do not make cigarettes less harmful were more likely to support a litter fee and filter ban. Those that believed filters make cigarettes easier to smoke were less likely to support a filter ban. While most people (90%) believed cigarette butts are harmful to the environment, many (71%) did not know that plastic was a cigarette filter component and 20% falsely believed that filters are biodegradable. Many also had misperceptions about the health effects of cigarette filters, with 23% believing that they reduce health harms. Educating the public about the environmental and health impacts of cigarette filters could help increase support for tobacco product waste policies, including those that could also incidentally raise cigarette prices.
    • Learn more about cigarette litter mitigation fees.

FDA Enforcement

  • Underutilisation of no-tobacco-sale orders against retailers that repeatedly sell to minors, 2015-2019, USA, Tobacco Control
    • An analysis of FDA enforcement actions between October 2015 – March 2019 found that 94.7% of no-tobacco-sales-orders (NTSO) could have been issued an average of 453 days earlier with a more stringent interpretation of the FDA’s requirements. In addition, among retailers that had frequent violations (at least 3 violations in 36 months), while 73.6% were eligible for a NTSO with at least 5 violations in 36 months, only 1.9% received one. As the researchers note, “Research examining the effectiveness of minimum legal sales age laws over time demonstrates that having comprehensive and strong laws ‘on the books’ and retailer education are not enough; the only way to have long-term, downstream results is effective and consistent enforcement of these laws. In the present case, it is clear that the FDA is neither assessing penalties in a timely fashion nor escalating penalties to the fullest extent of the law.” More stringent penalties for retailers could help reduce youth access, youth initiation, and youth use of tobacco.

Menthol and Other Flavored Tobacco Products Sales Bans

  • Implementation of a comprehensive flavoured tobacco product sales restriction and retail tobacco sales, Tobacco Control
    • This study compared changes in tobacco sales in San Francisco following the city’s implementation of a comprehensive ban on the sale of all flavored tobacco products in comparison with changes in tobacco sales in San Jose and San Diego, two other California cities that had not implemented a flavor ban. According to retailer scanner data, sales of flavored tobacco products decreased by 96% in San Francisco, whereas there was no change in sales of flavored products in San Jose and a 10% decrease in San Diego. Sales of all tobacco products also decreased by 25% in San Francisco, compared to a decrease of 8% in San Jose and a decrease of 17% in San Diego.
  • Hypothetical flavour ban and intention to vape among vape shop customers: the role of flavour preference and e-cigarette dependence, Tobacco Control
    • Intercept interviews of customers outside vape shops found that customers who vaped for smoking cessation purposes were more likely to report that they would purchase e-liquid and continue vaping if a flavor ban were put in place. Those who preferred non-tobacco flavored e-liquid were less likely to report that they would purchase e-liquid and continue vaping if a flavor ban were put in place. E-cigarette dependence
  • An Expert Elicitation on the Effects of a Ban on Menthol Cigarettes and Cigars in the United States, Nicotine & Tobacco Research
    • Based on interviews with 11 experts, “Of those ages 12-24 who would have initiated menthol cigarette use in the absence of a ban, the experts estimated that 41% would still initiate combustible products under a ban, while 18% would initiate with NNDPs [novel nicotine delivery products, such as e-cigarettes] and 39% would not initiate regular tobacco use. Combustible use by menthol smokers ages 35-54 was expected to decline by 20% post-ban relative to pre-ban rates, half switching to NNDPs and half quitting all tobacco use. Menthol smokers ages 18-24 were expected to reduce combustible use by 30%, with 16% switching to NNDPs. Greater reductions in combustible use were estimated for African-Americans across the three age groups. Negligible impacts were expected for current adult non-menthol smokers.”
  • Use of “ice” – flavored e-cigarettes among young adults, Tobacco Control
  • Characteristics of e-Cigarette Use Behaviors Among US Youth, 2020, JAMA Network Open
    • Data from the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey show that 19.6% of high school students and 4.7% of middle school students reported current e-cigarette use. Of those who reported current use, 38.9% of high schoolers and 20.0% of middle schools reported frequent use (20 to 30 days in the past 30 days). In addition, 84.7% of high school students who reported current use and 73.9% of middle school students who reported current use were using flavored e-cigarettes. JUUL was the most commonly reported usual brand, and fruit was the most commonly reported flavor followed by mint.
  • Learn more about flavored tobacco products at the point of sale.

Industry News

POS Policy in the Media

Menthol and Other Flavored Tobacco Products




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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