October 2021 News and Research Roundup

Cigarettes, Disparities, E-Cigarettes, Endgame, FDA, Flavors (including Menthol), Licensing, Minimum price, Non-Tax Price Increases, Pharmacies, Price Promotions, Product Availability

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

Point-of-Sale Pricing

  • The changing retail landscape for tobacco: dollar stores and the availability of cheap cigarettes among tobacco-related priority populations, Tobacco Control
    • Dollar General with A study of licensed tobacco retailers in California in 2019 found that census tracts that had a lower median household income, were rural, and had more school-age youth were more likely to have at least one dollar store than other census tracts. Cigarettes were also found to be between $0.32 and $1.86 cheaper in dollar stores than in all other stores except tobacco shops. The researchers conclude that the presence of dollar stores selling tobacco at cheap prices may contribute to tobacco-related inequities, and they suggest that policies such as minimum price laws and tobacco retailer density reduction laws may help reduce the negative health impacts of dollar store proliferation.
    • Learn more about minimum price policies and density reduction policies.
  • Cigarette Promotions in U.S. Pharmacies, Nicotine & Tobacco Research
    • Data collected in 2015 across 97 US counties in 40 states shows that pharmacies were more likely than other types of tobacco retailers to offer price promotions (either special prices, multi-pack promotions, or cross-product promotions), with 94% of pharmacies offering promotions compared to 82% of convenience stores and 77% of tobacco stores. Researchers suggest that, “whether voluntarily or legislatively, tobacco-free pharmacy policies would eliminate a prevalent retail source of cigarette promotions.”
    • Learn more about tobacco-free pharmacies.

Flavored Tobacco Products

  • Inequitable distribution of FTP marketing by neighborhood characteristic: further evidence for targeted marketing, Nicotine & Tobacco Research
    • Ad for flavored Swisher Sweets cigarillos Photographic audits of interior and exterior tobacco marketing at tobacco retailers across Washington D.C. and predictive modeling show that while ads for non-flavored tobacco products were evenly distributed across the city, ads for flavored tobacco products overall and ads for flavored cigars specifically were more prevalent in neighborhoods with higher percentages of Black residents. In neighborhoods with a higher percentage of Hispanic residents, there were fewer ads for flavored cigars but more ads for flavored smokeless tobacco products. The researchers suggest that policies restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products may be beneficial for health equity.
    • Learn more about flavored tobacco products at the point of sale.

Tobacco Marketing

  • Brief report: Native owned and grown or demeaning and offensive? American Indian adults’ perspectives on Natural American Spirit branded cigarettes, Tobacco Control
    • A 2020 survey of people who are American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) found that most (65%) believed that the Natural American Spirit cigarette brand was AI/AN owned and/or grown on tribal lands. The brand is actually owned by Reynolds American. Among the survey participants who also smoked, those who believed Natural American Spirit was AI/AN affiliated were more likely to believe the cigarettes were healthier and also had greater intentions to purchase them. Survey participants who did not believe the cigarette brand was AI/AN affiliated were more likely to describe the Natural American Spirit logo (featuring an American Indian warrior) as cultural misappropriation.
    • Learn more about Native Americans and Point-of-Sale Commercial Tobacco
  • Objective and perceived measures of tobacco marketing are uniquely associated with cigar use, Tobacco Control
    • Youth ages 16-20 across eight cities in California were more likely to use cigars (including blunts) if they believed they were exposed to a high level of tobacco marketing, and they were also more likely to use cigars (excluding blunts) if they were objectively exposed to more tobacco marketing (being within 50m of a tobacco retailers with outdoor tobacco marketing).
  • ‘No-Barriers’ tobacco product? Selling smokeless tobacco to women, people of colour and the LGBTQ+ community in the USA, Tobacco Control
    • Ad for Zyn An analysis of tobacco industry documents show that tobacco companies attempted to market to women, people who are African-American, people who are Hispanic, and people who are LGBTQ+ with targeted messages, “emphasizing novelty, convenience, cleanliness, and use in smoke-free environments.” They attempted to expand the smokeless tobacco market with products such as pouched moist snuff, snus, and dissolvables. While these campaigns were not largely successful, researchers suggest that the introduction of new nicotine pouch products may represent another opportunity for tobacco companies to target these groups.
  • Brief report: Effect of a ‘tobacco-free nicotine’ claim on intentions and perceptions of Puff Bar e-cigarette use among non-tobacco-using young adults, Tobacco Control
    • An online experiment among young adults (18-29 years old) who did not use tobacco found that those who saw a Puff Bar e-cigarette depicted with the company’s new “tobacco-free nicotine” claim were less likely to perceive the product as “extremely or very harmful” and also reported being more likely to use Puff Bar over other e-cigarette brands compared to those who saw a depiction of Puff Bar with just a “nicotine” claim.

Industry News

POS Policy in the Media

Menthol and Other Flavored Tobacco Products


FDA Action

Tobacco Retailer Licensing


Tobacco-Free Pharmacies

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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