Have you ever noticed a lot of ads for tobacco products in retail environments like convenience stores? That’s because the tobacco industry knows they can directly market to teens by advertising and promoting their products in these stores. This includes advertisements for cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars, smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes, both inside and outside of the retail property. Even though Big Tobacco is no longer allowed to advertise on television, radio and billboards, their ads in stores are not regulated enough.
Research shows that tobacco marketing increases tobacco use among teens, and makes it difficult for current users to quit.
This is why Point of Sale strategies have been created to help state and local tobacco control efforts all across the United States. However, Pennsylvania has no current strategies in place to limit the number of tobacco advertisements in local retail stores.
These strategies include targeting tobacco sales in the retail environment through licensing, regulatory, and legislative approaches, such as restricting where tobacco products can be sold and who can sell them.
The American Lung Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Alliance to Control Tobacco (PACT) and the Tobacco Resistance Unit (TRU) partnered to implement a Point of Sale pilot in the city of Scranton. TRU youth from Dunmore High School were trained and were able to assess 81 tobacco retail establishments within the city.
The data they collected was evaluated and compiled into an assessment report; some of the notable findings include:
TRU recommends tobacco control policies that will limit the number of tobacco retailers within 1,000 feet of schools and require the posting of PA Free Quitline information in retail stores.
Community outreach and advocacy efforts are still in the works!
To learn more or to get involved contact your advisor or Molly Anthony at Molly.Anthony@lung.org!