Nav: Home

Study finds differences in storefront tobacco advertising by product type

April 24, 2019

April 24, 2019 -- In response to U.S. restrictions on where tobacco companies are allowed to advertise their products, the industry now dedicates nearly all of its $9 billion advertising budget to activities occurring in retail settings. A new study by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health fills an important gap by documenting specific characteristics of storefront tobacco advertisements in the context of today's diverse tobacco product landscape. Findings are published online in the journal Preventive Medicine.

"The mechanisms through which tobacco advertising in retail settings influence product use are not well understood, particularly for non-cigarette products," said Daniel Giovenco, PhD, assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences. "The aim of our study was to describe how ad features, such as flavor promotion, size, and placement, vary across product categories, and how this may contribute to consumer behavior."

The researchers analyzed nearly 1,000 photos of storefront tobacco ads taken from a representative sample of 796 licensed tobacco retailers in New York City between July and October 2017. Cigarettes were the most commonly advertised product (40 percent of ads), followed by electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS, 28 percent), cigars (27 percent), and smokeless tobacco (5 percent). Nearly a quarter of all ads were for Newport cigarettes, a brand commonly used by African American smokers. The promotion of menthol or flavored product styles was documented in 60 percent of cigarette and smokeless tobacco ads, versus 26 and 30 percent of cigar and ENDS ads, respectively.

Although cigarette ads generally took up a larger amount of window space compared to other product types, cigar and ENDS ads were more commonly placed directly on the door of entry, potentially making them more noticeable to consumers. Tobacco ads were frequently displayed directly next to other tobacco ads and other "vice" products. For example, a quarter of cigar and cigarette ads were adjacent to ads for sugary drinks and lottery tickets.

Importantly, advertising features did not always align with local or federal tobacco control policies. For example, 10 percent of cigarette ads did not contain a warning label, despite a federal mandate. Similarly, a third of cigar ads promoted a flavored product, even though flavored cigars are now prohibited from being sold in New York City. Advertising policy violations may be attributed to retailers who leave "older" ads displayed for long periods of time, irrespective of the evolving policy landscape.

"By documenting and monitoring specific point-of-sale advertising strategies, compliance with tobacco control policies, and assessing their impact on tobacco use behaviors, we are building the necessary evidence base needed to inform sound policymaking," said Giovenco. "It is important that local, state, and federal governments forcefully move forward in regulating one of the 'last frontiers' and most effective forms of tobacco marketing. "
-end-
Co-authors include Torra Spillane and Bryce Wong, Columbia Mailman School; and Olivia Wackowski, Rutgers School of Public Health.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (DP5OD023064), National Cancer Institute (R37CA222002), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products (U54CA229973).

Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health  

Founded in 1922, the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health pursues an agenda of research, education, and service to address the critical and complex public health issues affecting New Yorkers, the nation and the world. The Columbia Mailman School is the third largest recipient of NIH grants among schools of public health. Its over 450 multi-disciplinary faculty members work in more than 100 countries around the world, addressing such issues as preventing infectious and chronic diseases, environmental health, maternal and child health, health policy, climate change & health, and public health preparedness. It is a leader in public health education with over 1,300 graduate students from more than 40 nations pursuing a variety of master's and doctoral degree programs. The Columbia Mailman School is also home to numerous world-renowned research centers, including ICAP and the Center for Infection and Immunity. For more information, please visit http://www.mailman.columbia.edu

Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health

Related Tobacco Articles:

Helping tobacco plants save water
Eleni Stavrinidou and her research group at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics, Linköping University, have used bioelectronics to influence transpiration in a tobacco plant, without harming the plant in any way.
Small shops, heavy advertisers less likely to ID for tobacco
'Our findings suggest that certain types of stores -- tobacco shops, convenience stores and those with a lot of tobacco advertising -- are more likely to sell tobacco to a young person without checking his or her ID.'
Youth smoking and vaping: What does it mean for tobacco control
New research from PIRE/PRC features analysis of in-depth, qualitative interviews with young vapers in California between 15 and 25.
Truth telling about tobacco and nicotine
In 'Truth Telling about Tobacco and Nicotine,' PRC researchers explain that, although there is agreement among researchers about evidence that vaping can be less harmful than combustible cigarettes, the tobacco control community remains divided about how to communicate -- or even whether to communicate -- information about the relative risks of tobacco and nicotine products.
A 'joint' problem: Investigating marijuana and tobacco co-use
A survey of marijuana and tobacco co-users by Medical University of South Carolina investigators found that co-users with high degree of interrelatedness between their use of the two substances had greater tobacco dependence and smoked more cigarettes per day.
How genes affect tobacco and alcohol use
A new study gives insight into the complexity of genetic and environmental factors that compel some of us to drink and smoke more than others.
Tobacco use linked with higher use of opioids and sedatives
Tobacco is a known risk factor for the misuse of prescription opioids.
Changes in flavored tobacco product use among youth tobacco users
Self-reported use of flavored tobacco products by middle and high school students decreased from 2014 to 2016 but climbed back up in 2017 in an analysis of national survey data.
Heated tobacco product claims by tobacco industry scrutinized by UCSF researchers
Claims by the tobacco industry that heated tobacco products (HTPs) are safer than conventional cigarettes are not supported by the industry's own data and are likely to be misunderstood by consumers, according to research published in a special issue of Tobacco Control.
UNICEF 'muted' on tobacco control for children
The tobacco industry manipulated the renowned children's rights agency UNICEF for more than a dozen years, from 2003 until at least 2016, during which time UNICEF's focus on children's rights to a tobacco-free life was reduced, according to previously secret documents uncovered by UC San Francisco.
More Tobacco News and Tobacco Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Uncharted
There's so much we've yet to explore–from outer space to the deep ocean to our own brains. This hour, Manoush goes on a journey through those uncharted places, led by TED Science Curator David Biello.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#555 Coronavirus
It's everywhere, and it felt disingenuous for us here at Science for the People to avoid it, so here is our episode on Coronavirus. It's ok to give this one a skip if this isn't what you want to listen to right now. Check out the links below for other great podcasts mentioned in the intro. Host Rachelle Saunders gets us up to date on what the Coronavirus is, how it spreads, and what we know and don't know with Dr Jason Kindrachuk, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba. And...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 1: Numbers
In a recent Radiolab group huddle, with coronavirus unraveling around us, the team found themselves grappling with all the numbers connected to COVID-19. Our new found 6 foot bubbles of personal space. Three percent mortality rate (or 1, or 2, or 4). 7,000 cases (now, much much more). So in the wake of that meeting, we reflect on the onslaught of numbers - what they reveal, and what they hide.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.