Find out what’s happening in the retail environment and what POS policy activities are being pursued in the US. The tobacco industry’s multi-billion dollar effort to market its deadly products in the retail environment has devastating results on the public health of communities.The heavy presence of POS tobacco marketing has been linked to foiled quit attempts, cued cravings among smokers and smoking initiation among youth.

Tobacco Retail Policy Trends in 2019: Insights from the Field

Between March and July 2019, the ASPiRE Center researchers and staff interviewed tobacco control program managers or coalition members in each of 30 ASPiRE Community Advisory Board (CAB) cities about their retail policy efforts. They also conducted an online survey of state tobacco control program managers in all 50 states. They collected data on Retail Policy Activity, Barriers, and Opposition to implementing policies, use of Store Assessments, and helpful and needed Resources. They then compiled and translated the information into Tobacco Retail Policy Trends in 2019: Insights from the Field, which contains five user-friendly reports intended for a broad audience of stakeholders working in the tobacco retail policy arena.

Point-of-Sale Report to the Nation

The Point-of-Sale Report to the Nation is a series of reports released by researchers from the Center for Public Health Systems Science at Washington University in St. Louis, Stanford Prevention Research Center and the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health that shine a light on what’s currently happening in the US retail environment. Uncover the latest information about US tobacco retailer density, product availability, industry POS marketing tactics and the policy activity taking place to address these issues.

Realizing the Power of States and Communities to Change the Tobacco Retail and Policy Landscape 

Report highlights:

  • Prior to the FDA finalizing its deeming rule, 90% of states had established a minimum legal sales age for e-cigarettes, and 45% had banned self-service e-cigarette displays.
  • Over 30% of sample jurisdictions established retailer licensing beyond that required by states.
  • Communities in 42 states have conducted or are currently conducting retail tobacco assessments to raise awareness and inform policy, and most of these efforts have incorporated STARS (Standardized Tobacco Assessment for Retail Settings).
  • A lack of political will and tobacco industry interference remain major barriers to point of sale policy activity.
  • Despite barriers, retail tobacco policy activity has dramatically increased since 2012.

This report provides updates on retail tobacco policy activity, tobacco retailer density, product availability, and price in states and communities across the U.S. Interviews with local and state tobacco control program leaders focus on policy innovations, barriers these leaders have encountered, and growth and changes in the overall tobacco retail policy environment.


Policy Activity 2012-2014

Report highlights:

  • 77% of states now have minimum legal sales ages for e-cigarettes
  • Self-service access to 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

This report provides information from interviews with tobacco control program leaders from 48 states, and documents policy innovations, investigates barriers encountered by tobacco control programs, and assesses changes in the overall policy environment.


The Tobacco Retail and Policy Landscape

Report highlights:

  • Only 36 states mandate tobacco retailer licensing
  • The United States is home to nearly 375,000 retailers – this translates to 27 tobacco retailers for every McDonalds restaurant
  • After convenience stores, grocery stores and supermarkets are the second largest category of tobacco retailers
  • For every 10,000 consumers in California, there are 4 gas stations, 14 off-premise liquor stores and 96 tobacco retailers

Additionally, learn about POS work being conducted by communities across the nation and the challenges faced in the process. The report highlights lessons gathered from significant POS victories achieved by Massachusetts’ tobacco-free pharmacies ordinance and Providence, Rhode Island’s coupon ban policy. The 2014 POS Report to the Nation arms tobacco control advocates with tangible next steps and resources to assist with enacting policy change at the point of sale.

For additional comprehensive POS resources developed by this group, read their innovative POS policy case studies: is a project of Counter Tools. Counter Tools (logo)