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Point of Purchase Tobacco Environments and Variation by Store Type—United States, 1999

March 8, 2002 / Vol. 51 / No. 9

MMWR Highlights

  • According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), tobacco marketing expenditures increased from $6.7 billion in 1998 to $8.2 billion in 1999.
  • Researchers from the ImpacTeen Project collected data from 163 communities on in–store tobacco product placement, promotions (discounts or gifts with purchase), tobacco-branded functional objects (free items provided to retailers such as shopping baskets and counter mats with tobacco brands on them), exterior and interior advertisements, and tobacco control signage.
  • Ninety-two percent of stores analyzed had some form of tobacco advertising including interior or exterior advertisements, self–service pack placement, multi–pack discounts, tobacco–branded functional objects, or tobacco vending machines.
  • Eighty percent of retailers had interior tobacco advertisements with 22.8% of stores having high levels of such ads. (A high level of interior advertising is defined as having ads outside areas where tobacco products are sold or displayed.)
  • About 59% of retailers had exterior tobacco advertisements with 40.4% of stores having high levels of such ads. (A high level of exterior advertising is defined either as having 5 or more ads or having at least one ad larger than 1 foot in any dimension.)
  • Although tobacco control signs, such as "We Card" signs were observed in 65.8% of stores, only 4.1% had tobacco health warning signs.
  • Self–service cigarette pack placement was observed in 36.4% of stores.
  • Low height ads (ads placed less than 3 feet above the floor) were observed in 42.9% of stores.
  • Multi-pack discounts were present in 25.2% of stores.
  • About 68% of stores had at least one tobacco-branded functional object (such as shopping baskets or counter change mats.)
  • Convenience, convenience/gas, and liquor stores were most likely to have "tobacco friendly" environments (i.e., environments within which patrons would be exposed to high tobacco advertisement, promotional, and functional object levels.)
  • Prior research indicates 75% of teenagers shop at convenience or convenience/gas stores at least once per week where they are exposed to high levels of tobacco marketing.
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