June 2023 News and Research Roundup

Cigarettes, E-Cigarettes, FDA

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


    • For the period of January 26, 2020-December 25, 2022, the CDC Foundation, Truth Initiative and CDC analyzed retail scanner data to determine U.S. e-cigarette sales during these years. Data was sourced by Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) from brick-and-mortar retail locations. The findings show total unit sales of e-cigarettes increased by 46.6% from 2020-2022, with the share of fruit- and candy-flavored (29.2% to 40.8%) and disposable e-cigarettes (24.7% to 51.8%) driving this increase. By December 2022, the top five e-cigarette brands sold were Vuse, JUUL, Elf Bar (now EBDESIGN), NJOY, and Breeze Smoke. Overall, the number of e-cigarette brands increased from 184 to 269 (46.2%) during the study period. As seen by this data, the e-cigarette landscape is ever-changing. The prevalence of e-cigarette use is highest among youth and young adults. Understanding e-cigarette sales through retail data, particularly the products and flavors most popular, can inform policy and other strategies to reduce product availability and resulting e-cigarette use among youth. 
    • News story: E-cigarette sales spiked between 2020 and 2022, new CDC report says, KDRV

Tobacco 21

    • This study looked at state-level preemption for minimum legal sales age (MLSA) or Tobacco 21 laws enacted between 2015-2022 in the U.S. Preemption occurs when a higher level of government restricts the passing of policies by a lower level of government (e.g., a state preempts a county or city). Preemption can, for example, prevent local areas from raising their MLSA from 18 to 21. A total of 50 state MLSA laws as of October 2022 were identified during this study. Overall, the researchers found that 32 states mentioned preemption in their MLSA laws and 18 states did not mention it. Among states with these laws, 7 of them introduced or expanded preemption and none of them removed preemption upon law adoption. These findings highlight the expansion of preemption. Preemption inhibits local authority over tobacco control and slows progress. Policymakers should enact laws without preemption or seek to remove existing preemption in laws. 
    • Learn more about preemption.

Population Differences

    • This research explains how patterns around tobacco exposure, use and outcomes differ by biological sex and the social construct of gender. Compared to men, women are targeted more with flavored tobacco product advertising, use flavored tobacco products at higher rates, become dependent on tobacco quicker, are at a greater risk of adverse health outcomes, and have more difficulty in tobacco cessation. Men tend to have more motivation to smoke based on nicotine and are more sensitive to changes in nicotine concentration. Using examples of proposed FDA policies, the researchers encourage consideration of these differences when formulating tobacco control policy like this and related messaging. For example, women may be particularly impacted by restricting sales of flavored tobacco products. It is important to understand the factors that make populations differentially affected by tobacco to drive the best solutions.

Retail Marketing

    • Exposure to tobacco marketing in the retail environment can encourage initiation and continued tobacco use, and there are certain factors that put people more at risk. This study assessed the connection between cigarette and e-cigarette marketing exposure at tobacco retail outlets (TROs) on depressive symptoms among young adults. Using data from students at 24 colleges in Texas, the findings showed a significant interaction between cigarette marketing on cigarette initiation among participants with high depressive symptoms and no interaction for e-cigarettes. This marketing exposure is a risk factor to consider for those experiencing depression. People with different social, mental, and behavioral patterns are influenced by the retail environment, with greater effects for some. 


    • This study examined changes in cigarette pack characteristics from 2018-2021 among top-selling cigarette products available in U.S. convenience stores. Cigarette packs were coded by their brand, flavor, size, dominant colors, descriptive text (e.g., words), and promotional language (e.g., rewards program information). The examination showed three cigarette brands, Marlboro, Newport, and Camel, accounted for over 80% of pack sales. The prevalence of cigarette packs with green packaging increased (25.2% vs. 28.9%) which is consistent with a rise in menthol cigarettes. The prevalence of promotional language increased from 60.9% to 69.0%. Branding and promotions can help recruit and retain tobacco users. Cigarette packaging does have an influence on shaping consumer perception. Packaging-focused policies, such as plain packaging laws and graphic warning labels, may reduce cigarette appeal. 

Industry News

POS Policy in the Media

Licensing, Zoning, and Retailer Density

Flavored Tobacco Sales Restrictions

Tobacco Control Programming

Tobacco Product Types 

Age of Sale



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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