Wondering what’s happening in the retail environment and what POS policy activities are being pursued across the US? There is now an update to the 2014 POS Report to the Nation! The Center for Public health Systems Science (CPHSS) at Washington University in St. Louis, in collaboration with researchers from the Stanford Prevention Research Center and the University of North Carolina Gillings Schools of Global Public Health recently published Point-of-Sale Report to the Nation: Policy Activity 2012-2014.
What’s in the report?
The report provides an update on research on point-of-sale policy activity and states and communities across the US from the Advancing Science in the Retail Environment (ASPiRE) project, part of the National Cancer Institute’s State and Community Tobacco Control (SCTC) Initiative. Through interviews with tobacco control program leaders from 48 states, CPHSS researchers are documenting policy innovations, investigating barriers encountered by tobacco control programs, and assessing changes in the overall policy environment. Highlights of their findings outlined in this report include:
- New data is now available on e-cigarette policies (e.g., 77% of states now have minimum legal sales ages)
- Self-service access to chewing tobacco, cigars, and cigarillos is now illegal in 44% of states
- Communities in most states (71%) are conducting retail assessments (like STARS) to raise awareness and inform policy
- A lack of political will and tobacco industry interference remain major barriers to point-of-sale policy activity
- Despite barriers, reported point-of-sale policy activity has increased overall during the last two years
Why does this matter?
The tobacco industry now spends more the vast majority of their advertising, marketing, and promotion budget at the point of sale (POS) building brand recognition and positive brand imagery, encouraging tobacco use initiation and consumption, and undermining quit attempts. POS policies matter in countering tobacco sales and marketing in the “War in the Store” and are a core strategy of tobacco control programming, together with (1) raising cigarette excise taxes, (2) implementing clean indoor air laws, (3) cessation, and (4) launching hard-hitting counter-marketing campaigns.