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Point-of-Sale Report to the Nation highlights an increase in policy activity between 2012 and 2014

​The Center for Public Health Systems Science (CPHSS) at Washington University in St. Louis, in collaboration with researchers from the Stanford Prevention Research Center and the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, recently published Point-of-Sale Report to the Nation: Policy Activity 2012-2014, the second in a series. The research comes out of the Advancing Science in the Retail Environment (ASPiRE) project, part of the National Cancer Institute’s State and Community Tobacco Control (SCTC) Initiative. The report presents updates from ASPiRE’s research on point-of-sale tobacco policy activity in states and communities across the U.S.

The point-of-sale is emerging as an important venue for policies that counteract the tobacco industry’s marketing and promotion practices in U.S. retailers. Along with more traditional strategies like increasing excise taxes and passing smoke-free air laws, implementing point-of-sale policies can reduce overall tobacco use and make tobacco products less attractive to youth. Point-of-sale policies range from restricting price discounting to banning tobacco sales near schools and parks.

Communities around the country are planning and implementing policies like these and others. Through interviews with tobacco control program leaders from 48 states, CPHSS researchers are documenting policy innovations, investigating barriers encountered by tobacco control programs, surveying the use of policy resources, and assessing changes in the overall policy environment.

Highlights from Point-of-Sale Report to the Nation: Policy Activity 2012-2014 ​include:

  • New data is now available on e-cigarette policies (e.g., 77% of states now have minimum legal sales ages)
  • Self-service access to chewing tobacco, cigars, and cigarillos is now illegal in 44% of states
  • Communities in most states (71%) are conducting retail assessments 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
  • States are reporting frequent use of disseminated policy support documents and case studies (e.g., Point-of-Sale Strategies Guide (44%) and the 2014 Point-of-Sale Report to the Nation (27%))

The ASPiRE research consortium continues to study how the point-of-sale retail and policy environments are changing and will release a third report with updated findings in 2016. For more information, visit the ASPiRE project page or contact the study team at Look for project updates on our website or follow us on Twitter @cphsswustl.

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