The 2017 Photo Contest is now closed. Thank you to all who entered!

See the 2017 winners here!

The Surgeon General says that exposure to retail marketing encourages smoking and undermines quit attempts. According to the Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Reports, in 2015, the tobacco industry spent $8.1 billion dollars making their presence known in the retail environment. Your images give tobacco control advocates tools to use in order to educate others about the tobacco industry’s marketing tactics.

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Contest Sponsor

 The Photo Contest is sponsored by

Retouching of Photos:

The submitted contest photograph cannot be significantly retouched: nothing in the photographs may be altered, removed, augmented or rearranged. Cropping is permitted, as is modest darkening or lightening of parts of the image.

Content Requirements

Photos submissions can fall in ten different categories which include:

  1. Greatest Youth Appeal
  2. How Low Can You Go?
  3. Most Ironic
  4. Stores Near Shools
  5. Electronic Smoking Products and Vape Shops
  6. Novel Products
  7. Flavored Tobacco Products
  8. Cheap Tobacco Products
  9. Power Wall
  10. Tobacco Look-A-Likes

Please avoid including people’s faces in your photo submissions.


  1. Anyone over the age of 13 can participate in the Photo Contest.
  2. Deadline for all photo submissions is 11:59pm EST on November 6, 2017.
  3. The person submitting the photo will be considered the Contestant and will be the only person eligible to compete for the prize. In order to be eligible to win the prize, you must provide accurate and complete information.
  4. The following individuals are not eligible to enter the Contest: employees, directors and officers of: the Contest Sponsor (
  5. Once a photo submission has been accepted for entry into the contest, the contestant’s name and location may be publicly identified at the sole discretion of the Contest Sponsors.  All contestants have the right to request their name not be publicized in connection with their contest submission.  Contestants must inform the Contest Sponsor of this wish when registering for the contest.


  • You are not posting any content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortuous, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable.
  • You are not posting any content that harms minors in any way.
  • You are not posting any content that you do not have a right to make available under any law or under contractual or fiduciary relationships.
  • You are not posting any content that infringes any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary rights of any party.
  • You acknowledge that and its designees shall have the right (but not the obligation) in their sole discretion to pre-screen, refuse, or remove any content at any time.
  • You agree to allow and its designees to use (reproduce, encode, store, copy, transmit, publish, post, broadcast, display, adapt, exhibit and/or otherwise use or reuse) your images in any media, without limitation, and without additional review, compensation or approval.
  • You forever waive any rights of privacy, intellectual property rights, and any other legal or moral rights that may prevent’s from using the images submitted, or that may require the participant’s permission for to use the image for any purpose, and you agree to never sue or assert any claim against’s use of the images submitted.
  • You agree to hold and its respective affiliates, directors, partners, and any employees harmless from any and all claims, damages, expenses, costs, and liabilities brought or asserted by any third party against any of the Indemnities due to or arising out of the participant’s entry materials or additional materials, or the participant’s conduct in connection with this contest.
  • You agree to allow to add you to its periodic e-newsletter that features point-of-sale updates and news developments. Users may unsubscribe at any time.


Winners will receive a Counter Tobacco prize pack that includes water bottles, pins, t-shirts, sunglasses, or other fun Counter Tobacco merchandise. Winners will be announced and contacted by November 13, 2017.


Why does Counter Tobacco host an annual photo contest?

To continue to replenish the Counter Tobacco media gallery with fresh, up-to-date images, we encourage users to take photos of the point of sale through an annual photo contest. Eligible contest submissions are added to the Counter Tobacco media gallery which is a resource for tobacco control advocates seeking to educate decision makers about the POS issue. These images are crucial to educating the public and furthering the success of state and local tobacco control efforts that seek to reduce tobacco industry activity at the point of sale.

Where or what is the ‘point of sale’?

The point of sale is the area around and behind the counter of a retail location. The term additionally includes the exterior area of a store such as the store front and/or parking lot. Tobacco advertising is frequently found in and around convenience stores and gas stations.

Can you show me some examples of “good” POS images?

Yes! Check out our 2012201320142015, and 2016 photo contest winners and honorable mentions.

How do I categorize my photo submission(s)?

Don’t get too hung up on categorizing your image, but if you are looking for a little guidance, check out the descriptions below:

  • Greatest Youth Appeal: Spotted a tobacco product near candy or another child-friendly item? Discovered a tobacco advertisement near a carousel or a child-friendly mascot? Send the image our way!
  • How Low Can You Go?: In stores, tobacco products are often positioned low to the ground to be at kid’s eye level (usually 3ft from the floor), which increases youth exposure to tobacco products. So, get low and if you spot tobacco products where kids are more likely to see them, send your image in! 
  • Most Ironic: Did they just put that tobacco advertisement next to …? I think they did! Sometimes the placement of tobacco advertisements next to other items or advertisements can result in some serious irony! Grab snapshots of tobacco advertisements placed next to an unlikely companion advertisement.
  • Stores near SchoolsResearch has shown that there is an increased smoking prevalence among schools located in neighborhoods that have the highest tobacco retailer density compared schools located in neighborhoods without any tobacco retailers. A tough photo to take but be creative! Panorama anyone? Or try photographing tobacco advertisements next to signs that indicate that a school is in the area.
  • Electronic Smoking Products and Vape Shops: E-cigarettes are growing in popularity and tobacco companies have been launching and promoting new e-cigarette brands across the globe such as Vuse and MarkTen. Electronic smoking products come in various forms, including vape-pens, e-hookah, tank models, and disposables and with various refill options including cartridges, e-liquids, and more. There are now more than 15,000vape shops across the country. Help us capture this emerging and evolving product so advocates can stay on the cutting edge!
  • Novel Products: The tobacco product landscape has greatly changed over the years and tobacco offerings now include a host of smokeless products such as snus and Zyn. Keep a look out for products advertised as “reduced risk” like heat-not-burn products, If you come across any of these new products or others- take a photo! 
  • Flavored Tobacco Products: Flavors are everywhere! From e-cigarettes to cigarillos to smokeless products, tobacco companies are creating more flavors constantly. Show us the craziest flavor or the greatest array of flavored tobacco products you’ve seen for sale. Keep a look out for the use of colors as flavors (e.g. “blue,” “green,” “black”) or other flavors such as “Jazz,” “Golden,” and “Royale.”
  • Cheap Tobacco Products: We want to see who can find the cheapest pack of cigarettes and the cheapest single cigar!  The tobacco industry uses price discounts to target price sensitive customers, including youth. From little cigars and cigarillos that cost less than a dollar to steep discounts on cigarettes and BOGO offers on smokeless products, the tobacco industry has many tactics they use to sell cheap tobacco. Show us what cheap tobacco products or price discounting strategies you see in your community! If possible, include the price of the product in the image.
  • Power Wall: “Power Wall” is a term used to describe the prominent shelving and advertising of tobacco products at the point of sale  These represent a highly effective marketing tactic that the industry uses to entice customers to buy their products. Power walls are usually placed in direct view of customers (usually behind the register), thereby increasing visibility of tobacco products and impulse purchasing. If you see a power wall that catches your attention, send a picture in! 
  • Tobacco Look-a-Likes: If you spot tobacco look-a-like items being sold like candy cigarettes and bubble gum cigars, take a picture and send it in!

Why does Counter Tobacco want my mailing address?

We would like to send you a thank you gift for participating in our contest! As long as we have enough swag, every contestant will get some love! Your information will not be shared with any third parties.

Does Counter Tobacco accept international entries?

Yes we do! In the past, we have been able to ship prizes and thank you gifts internationally, however please remember that our ability to ship to certain locations may be limited.

What is in the Counter Tobacco prize pack?

Get excited – Counter Tobacco prize packs will contain an assortment of branded goodies such as pens, stickers, notebooks, water bottles, car chargers and more!