Point-of-Sale Tobacco Restrictions on the Rise

Faculty; Policy; Public Health

More communities are focusing on the places where tobacco is sold to try to reduce smoking, particularly among young people, according to a new report from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

Point-of-Sale Report to the Nation: Policy Activity 2012-2014 is based on interviews with tobacco-control program leaders from 48 states, documenting policy innovations, challenges and trends.  Point-of-sale policies range from restricting price discounting to banning tobacco sales near schools and parks.

 Among the findings:

  • 77% of states now have minimum legal sales ages for e-cigarette products.
  • Self-service access to chewing tobacco, cigars, and cigarillos is now illegal in 44% of states.
  • Communities in 71% of states are conducting retail assessments to raise awareness and inform policy.
  • Building political will and anticipating industry actions are among the most commonly reported challenges to point-of-sale policy activity.

“Based on our interviews in 2012 and 2014, we can see that point-of-sale policies are an increasingly important tobacco control strategy. State and local governments are implementing these innovative policies, and partners are learning from each others’ experiences,” said Dr. Douglas A. Luke, Professor at the Brown School and Director of the Center for Public Health Systems Science, which published the report.

The report was produced in collaboration with researchers from the Stanford Prevention Research Center and the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. It comes out of the Advancing Science and Policy in the Retail Environment project, part of the National Cancer Institute’s State and Community Tobacco Control Initiative.