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!
- Effect of Pictorial Cigarette Pack Warnings on Changes in Smoking Behavior: A Randomized Clinical Trial, JAMA Internal Medicine
- Smokers who received cigarette packs with pictorial warnings were 29% more likely to attempt to quit smoking during the trial than smokers who received cigarette packs with text-only warnings. Those who received pictorial warnings were also more likely to have quit smoking for at least 7 days prior to the end of the trial, and pictorial warnings also increased intentions to quit, behaviors of cutting back, and successfully quitting over four weeks.
- News story: Gruesome Cigarette Pack Images Seem to Help Some People Quit, HealthDay
- Packaging color research by tobacco companies: the pack as a product characteristic, Tobacco Control
- Raising the Legal Age of Tobacco Sales, American Journal of Preventive Medicine
- A nationally representative telephone survey showed that nearly two-thirds of people in the US support raising the minimum age for sales of cigarettes. Support for raising the age to 21 was higher than support for raising the age to 19 or 20. Support was high across all US regions, ranging from 59.6% to 73.1%. Race, age, and trust in government partially predicted support – participants who were older than 21, non-white, or who had higher trust in government were more likely to support the policy.
- Minimum Ages of Legal Access for Tobacco in the United States From 1863 to 2015, American Journal of Public Health
- An examination of historical minimum age of legal access laws in the US and a review of internal tobacco industry documents and newspaper archives from 1860 to 2014 shows that minimum age laws for tobacco first appeared around the 1880s, and by the 1920s, at least one third of all states had set the minimum age at 21 years old. Since 1920, the tobacco industry lobbied aggressively to lower the minimum age. Today, as the Tobacco 21 movement is gaining steam, tobacco companies are lobbying against it.
- Learn more about raising the minimum legal sale age to 21.
Pricing and Promotions
- Cigarette couponing goes mobile, Tobacco Control
- Altria and Reynolds American have started offering digital coupons (e.g. $1.50 off one pack) that users can redeem using a smartphone. This introduction of digital coupons was associated with a 5% increase in sales of Camel cigarettes. The authors suggest it may be a new way for tobacco companies to effectively reach millennials, and laws that restrict tobacco marketing may need to be updated to account for mobile and digital marketing. Learn more about restricting tobacco advertising and promotions.
- Tobacco Pricing in Military Stores: Views of Military Policy Leaders, Nicotine & Tobacco Research
- This study interviewed military leaders, military members, and civilians. Most respondents reported that cigarette prices in military stores were as cheap or cheaper than the lowest prices found in the community outside the base. Participants’ knowledge of how prices policies were set, implemented, and enforced was limited and mixed, as was their knowledge of how price effects tobacco use. While many supported the idea of banning tobacco sales in military stores, they were not optimistic about the likelihood that such a policy could be established due to barriers including tobacco industry influences in Congress, and the potential lost profit that supports Morale, Welfare, and Recreation funds. Learn more about non-tax approaches to raising tobacco prices.
- Brief report: Support for electronic cigarette regulations among California voters, Tobacco Control
- A survey of California voters found that 74% support licensing e-cigarette retailers, 70% support banning e-cigarette use where smoking is banned, and 57% support restricting flavorings. Support differed by smoking status, political orientation, age group, and California region. Learn more about the importance of public opinion surveys.
- An experimental study of the effects of electronic cigarette warnings on young adult nonsmokers’ perceptions and behavioral intentions, BioMed Central
- This study found that text-only warnings for e-cigarettes, similar to the ones required by the FDA, had little impact on young adult non-smokers’ perceptions of e-cigarettes when they appear on e-cigarette advertisements. However, participants who viewed the warning only (not on an advertisement) reported greater perceptions of harm and addictiveness for e-cigarettes and thoughts about not using e-cigarettes compared to participants who viewed the advertisement alone or the advertisement with the warning.
- Learn more about e-cigarettes at the point of sale.
Evaluation and Store Assessments
- Longitudinal Trends in Tobacco Availability, Tobacco Advertising, and Ownership Changes of Food Stores, Albany, New York, 2003-2015,Preventing Chronic Disease
- The percentage of food stores also selling tobacco in Albany, NY declined to 74.5% in 2015 from its peak at 83.8% in 2009. Indoor advertising also peaked in 2009 at 76.1% and declined to 65.0% in 2015, including declines in low (<3 feet) tobacco advertising. This decline can be explained in part by local tobacco control efforts, the pharmacy industry’s self-regulation of tobacco sales, and an increase in New York State’s retailer licensing fee. While pharmacy sales declined, dollar store sales increased, and convenience stores and supermarket sales remained high. The number of stores selling tobacco increased at a greater pace in minority neighborhoods. Given that stores going out of business was one of the largest reasons for a decline in tobacco retailers, the researchers suggest that a moratorium on new licenses may be an effective strategy to further reduce tobacco availability and advertising.
- Young people’s exposure to point-of-sale tobacco products and promotions, Public Health
- This paper describes a method for accurately measuring point of sale tobacco displays. The researchers conducted store observations in four Scottish communities in 2013, prior to Scotland’s point of sale tobacco display ban. They found tobacco displays were prominent and often visible from outside. In 70% of stores, tobacco products were displays near candy and other youth appealing products. A survey of students in those communities found that 80% of students recalled seeing tobacco displays. Tobacco display units were larger in more deprived areas and students from these areas were more likely to recall seeing the tobacco displays. This data will be used to evaluate Scotland’s point of sale tobacco display ban.
- Implementation of a Multimodal Mobile System for Point-of-Sale Surveillance: Lessons Learned from Case Studies in Washington, DC, and New York City, JMIR Public Health Surveillance
- Special Communication: Close, but no cigar: certain cigars are pseudo-cigarettes designed to evade regulation, Tobacco Control
- This paper details the development and evolution of little cigars, cigarillos, and filtered cigars, attributing their rise in prevalence to a tobacco industry attempt to evade increased regulation and taxation on cigarettes. However, the authors argue that since many cigars on the market today are virtually indistinguishable from cigarettes, they should also be regulated in the same way. Learn more about cigars and other non-cigarette tobacco products and POS policies.
- Tobacco Outlet Density and Attitudes Towards Smoking among Urban Adolescent Smokers, Substance Abuse
- This cross-sectional study found that among urban adolescent smokers, higher residential tobacco retail outlet density was associated with a greater intention for future smoking and a lower readiness to stop smoking. Learn more about licensing and zoning as strategies to reduce tobacco outlet density.
- Impact of Tobacco Control Policies on Adolescent Smoking, Journal of Adolescent Health
- Youth are one of the most price sensitive populations, and this study found that increased cigarettes taxes and smoke-free legislation were associated with decreased smoking frequency overall. In addition, cigarette tax increases had a larger impact on smoking rates among the youngest adolescents. For every $1 increase in cigarette taxes, there was a 2.2% decrease in smoking for 14-year olds and a 1.6% decrease for 15-year olds. Learn more about raising tobacco prices through non-tax approaches.
- Effects of State-Level Tobacco Environments on Cigarette Smoking are Stronger Among Those With Individual-Level Risk Factors, Nicotine & Tobacco Research
- Point-of-Sale Report to the Nation: Realizing the Power of States and Communities to Change the Tobacco Retail and Policy Landscape, ASPiRE
- Plain packaging of tobacco products: Evidence, design and implementation, WHO
- Lawsuits mounting over Santa Fe cigarette marketing claims, Winston-Salem Journal
- 3 Lawsuits Filed Against FDA ‘Deeming’ Regulations, CSP Daily News
- Big 3 tobacco manufacturers resume appeal on corrective statements, Winston-Salem Journal
- Reynolds executive express optimism, rather than gloom, with new FDA rules,Winston-Salem Journal
- Students share tobacco survey with alderman; Study urges tobacco policy, Harrison Daily
POS Policy in the Media
- White House scrapped FDA plan to restrict flavored e-cigarettes, Reuters
- FDA attempt at prohibiting menthol flavoring part of a long campaign, Winston-Salem Journal
- NJ considers banning vape flavors, no cigarette sales at pharmacies, NJ 101.5
- Senate advances bill requiring cigarettes to be sold in tobacco-only stores in California, Los Angeles Times
- Let smokers see the warning they need, New York Times
- Cigarette packs are being stripped of advertising around the world. But not in the US, Vox
- Tobacco foes fight youth-targeting tactics, WBFO
- San Juan Bautista moves to regulate tobacco sales, Benito Link
- E-cigarette rules meant to reduce use by teens, Olympian
- Nevada City Council to talk tobacco retailers licensing, and finalize budget, Union of Grass Valley
- Monroe Co. legislators push to increase e-cig regulations, WHEC
- Arkansas city changes legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21, KATV
- City of Grandview increases tobacco age to 21, KMOV
- Middleton BOH adopts regulations to restrict flavored tobacco sales,Wicked Local Topsfield
- Cohasset Board of Health: Age to buy tobacco products raised, Wicked Local Cohasset
- Minimum Age for Buying Tobacco in Worcester Raised to 21, WBUR
- Lane County board endorses raising tobacco buying age to 21, Register-Guard
- County Executive signs law to raise age to buy cigarettes, tobacco in Albany, News10
- Lowell joins Mass. trend with plan to raise tobacco-purchase age, Lowell Sun
- Maplewood Bans Sale of Tobacco, Tobacco Products to Those Under 21, The Village Green
- Tobacco purchase age raised to 21 in Stoughton, The Enterprise
- California is Raising Its Tobacco-Buying Age to 21. That’s Not Actually So High, TIME\
- Menthol cigarettes banned by EU under stringent new tobacco laws, Independent UK
- UK Court Strikes Down Tobacco Industry Challenge to Plain Packaging, Wall Street Journal
- 10 key changes for tobacco products sold in the EU, European Commission
- Norway to Detail Progress on Plain Packaging of Tobacco May 31, Bloomberg
- New Zealanders to pay $20 for cigarette pack under tax plan, Associated Press
- Canada to make plain packaging for tobacco products compulsory, Reuters
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!