November 2018 News and Research Roundup

Cigarettes, Disparities, E-Cigarettes, FDA, Flavors (including Menthol), Large Cigars, Little cigars/Cigarillos, Product Availability, Product Placement, Retailer Density, Self-Service, Tobacco21, Vape Shops, 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

  • Neighbourhood tobacco supply and individual maternal smoking during pregnancy: a fixed-effects longitudinal analysis using routine data, Tobacco Control
    • This longitudinal study conducted in Scotland between 2000 and 2015 compared changes in smoking behavior in the same women across multiple pregnancies and residential moves. They found that pregnant women who lived in an area with high retailer density were 67% more likely to be smokers than pregnant women living in an area with low retailer density, even when controlling for income, year of delivery, mother’s age, urbanicity, and neighborhood maternal smoking prevalence.
    • News story: High availability of tobacco raises smoking rates in mothers-to-be, EurekAlert!
    • Learn more about strategies to reduce retailer density.
  • How Low-Income Smokers in New York Access Cheaper Cigarettes, American Journal of Health Promotion
    • Smoke shop in Western NY

      This qualitative focus group study explored the process of obtaining cigarettes and the impact of cigarettes prices among low-income adults who smoke regularly in New York City and Buffalo, NY. The study found that some smokers in Buffalo, NY obtained untaxed cigarettes from Native American reservations to avoid higher prices, whereas smokers in New York City obtained bootlegged cigarettes in local neighborhood stores where they knew the retailer, through other people they knew, or on the street. In Buffalo, some smokers also used coupons to reduce the price they paid when not purchasing from reservation retail stores, but coupon redemption in prohibited in New York City. The access to cheaper cigarettes among this group of smokers was cited as a barrier to quitting. Increasing access to evidence-based quitting methods and media efforts to promote quitting may help increase the impact of high cigarette prices on smoking across all income levels.

    • Learn more about increasing tobacco prices through non-tax approaches.
  • Retailers’ perspectives on selling tobacco in low-income San Francisco neighbourhood after California’s $2 tobacco tax increase, Tobacco Control
    • Following California’s $2 cigarette tax increase, researchers interviewed 38 corner stores in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco, the city’s district with the highest tobacco retailer density. Most retailers reported declines in cigarette sales for a variety of reasons, including customers buying fewer cigarettes, switching to cheaper brands, switching to cigars, or switching to marijuana. However, they also reported concerns about their customers’ health and well-being, and not many had formal ties with the tobacco industry. Researchers suggest that small, independent retailers may be important allies and stakeholders in point-of-sale tobacco control efforts.
  • Youth Access to Tobacco Products in the United States: Findings from Wave 1 (2013-2014) of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, Nicotine &Tobacco Research
    • Youth ages 15-17 were most likely to cite social sources as their usual way to obtain tobacco, whether they were offered it or asked someone to buy it for them. However, “bought by self” was the usual source for 23.2% of youth who used smokeless tobacco, 21% for cigarillos, 13.8% for cigarettes, 12% for hookah, and 10.5% for e-cigarettes. When youth bought the tobacco themselves, they usually did so at a convenience store or gas station. When attempting to purchase tobacco products, only 24.3% of youth were refused sale for cigarettes, 23.9% for cigarillos, and 13.8% for smokeless tobacco. Researchers conclude that monitoring illicit youth sales, conducting compliance check inspections, and penalizing violations remain important to reduce youth tobacco access at retail venues
  • Prevalence and correlates of JUUL use among a national sample of youth and young adults, Tobacco Control
    Juul ad for “mango” flavor
    • This national survey of 15-34-year-olds found that participants under 21 were more likely to be JUUL users than older participants. Among 15-17-year-olds who were current users, 55.8% reported use of JUUL on 3 or more days in the past month and over 25% reported use on 10-30 days. Participants who were white, had greater financial comfort, perceived Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS or e-cigarettes/vapes) as less harmful than cigarettes, had a member of their household who uses ENDS, were high sensation seeking, and who currently use combustible tobacco use were also more likely to currently use JUUL.
  • Examining the relationship of vaping to smoking initiation among US youth and young adults: a reality check, Tobacco Control
    • Looking at population-level data and trends and controlling for previous trends, this study finds that “the downward trend in both current use and more established cigarette use substantially accelerated among US youth and young adults once vaping became popular.” The researchers assert that, “While trying electronic cigarettes may causally increase smoking among some youth, the aggregate effect at the population level appears to be negligible given the reduction in smoking initiation during the period of vaping’s ascendance.”

Industry News

POS Policy in the Media 

The FDA is proposing a ban on all flavored cigars

Menthol and Other Flavored Tobacco Products

E-Cigarettes

Tobacco 21

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!