Counter Tobacco’s Youth Engagement Activities help youth uncover point-of-sale (POS) issues in their communities. These activities can help tobacco advocates mobilize youth to address and curb tobacco within their neighborhoods.

Counter Tobacco’s youth engagement activities are pre-packaged interactive lesson plans that include the tools necessary to outline the problem, collect the data and present a compelling story about tobacco POS concerns to local decision makers and stakeholders. These activities not only raise awareness of tobacco POS tactics among youth but empowers young people to take an active role in spurring positive change in their communities.

Youth are powerful voices to highlight the prevalence of tobacco point-of-sale advertising and the effects that such advertisements have on younger generations. Research indicates that exposure to POS advertising has several touch points in engaging consumers to consider tobacco: smoking initiation, continued use and undermining quit attempts [1, 2]. Research also indicates that youth are three times more sensitive to tobacco advertising than adults [3].According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 400,000 underage individuals become smokers each year [4]. Furthermore, the impact of tobacco POS advertising becomes magnified in cases where tobacco retailer density for a given community is particularly high or stores canvased with POS tobacco advertising are located in school zones.

Find “Stories from the Field” of groups engaging youth in point of sale tobacco control work here. Then select an activity below to get started!

Looking for more guidance? Check out the CDC’s Best Practices Guide for Youth Engagement in Tobacco Prevention and Control.


Focus on Big Tobacco: A Point Of Sale Photovoice Project - cover page

Photos and visuals offer advocates a powerful tool to show others with decision-making power what the industry is doing at the point of sale. This guide uses the photovoice technique to expose the marketing strategies used by the tobacco industry and, by involving youth in the documentation process, to educate communities about the risk of this marketing. Education about the problem and exposing the industries’ tactics are critical components to help tobacco control advocates build support for and enact health-promoting policy interventions.


Walking Tobacco Audit cover page

A walking tobacco audit offers youth a chance to see how many tobacco retailers and how many tobacco advertisements are located along their route to school. Participants will identify the number of tobacco retailers along the major routes to school and tally the tobacco product names, brands, and prices that can be seen from outside those stores.


Point-of-Sale Scavenger Hunt cover page

Youth teams compete to identify the most problematic tobacco industry activities in their area by visiting stores and documenting what they find. Scavenger hunt items include: 20-packs of flavored little cigars priced at less than $2.00 per pack or tobacco products displayed near candy.

See Reality Check youth in Staten Island conducting the POS Scavenger Hunt for Kick Butts Day 2017.


Point-of-Sale BINGO cover page

Designed for youth and young adults, this bingo activity encourages participants to visit stores in their community to find and document industry point-of-sale marketing materials and products. The bingo card consists of different pricing promotions, tobacco products, and industry strategies for participants to search for in the retail environment. The first team to find five tactics in a row wins!


Tobacco Retailer Nation cover page

Tobacco control advocates map tobacco retailers and fast food restaurants in their community. This activity helps show the density of tobacco retailers- -the number of outlets selling tobacco for a given geographic location or population size- compared with fast food restaurant density. This exercise can create a compelling argument and visual evidence to limit the number of tobacco retailers; for example, nationally, there are about 30 tobacco retailers for every one McDonalds.


Advocate Against Youth Targeting cover page

What if you couldn’t tell the difference between a product that was good for you and one that could kill you? The tobacco industry is betting on the fact that our kids can’t. In this activity participants will play two indoor games designed to teach them different strategies the tobacco industry uses to target youth and the damaging effects of these strategies. Each game culminates in the production of a visual display that your youth group can use to advocate for stricter tobacco marketing policies using the methods outlined in the Media Advocacy Kit included in this activity guide.


Point-of-Sale Scavenger Hunt cover page (Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids 10th Youth Advocacy Symposium edition)

Use this activity to discover and document the influence that Big Tobacco has in your community and craft a plan to do something about it. This activity was created for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids 2013 Youth Advocacy Symposium.


Community Problem Solvers cover page

In a community, there are many issues that youth can take a stand on. Youth have powerful voices and can use their voices to help combat problems they see. Speaking up can really make a difference! This guide presents a 10-week curriculum that can be implemented in school and community settings to provide youth an opportunity to learn about place-based health, brainstorm solutions to community problems, and understand ways to make change.


This activity can be used as a companion to Walking Tobacco Audit and Tobacco Retailer Nation. After collecting data, you can share your findings with stakeholders and local decision-makers to impact policy change. Use this human retailer map activity to organize a creative visual display that illustrates the burden of tobacco retailer density in your community and provides evidence to your local government stakeholders for policy change that reduces the burden of retail tobacco in your community. 

This activity is in beta form – please try it out and provide us feedback by filling out the following two forms and e-mailing them to is a project of Counter Tools. Counter Tools (logo)