Marketing of flavored cigarettes at the point-of-sale (POS) near schools in 5 Latin American cities
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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health​​ Institute for Global Tobacco Control, Health, Behavior and Society, United States of America
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A739
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From 2010-2015, sales of cigarettes with menthol or flavor capsules increased in some Latin American countries, amid efforts to regulate the use of additives in tobacco products, and to restrict tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship (TAPS) tactics. This study describes the availability and marketing of flavored cigarettes at the POS in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Peru.

Trained observers recorded information about cigarette product displays, advertising, and special promotions in January of 2017, from 1,188 retailers located within 100-250 meters of 310 primary and secondary schools in a major city in each of the five countries. Retailers were identified by following a map to walk all streets located within the designated radius surrounding each school.

Cigarette retailers were identified within 91.9% (n=285) of the radii observed, and among 69.4% of (n=825) retail outlets identified by data collectors. Flavored cigarettes were for sale in 85.2% (n=703) of all cigarette retailers, 71.4% (n=589) sold cigarettes with flavor capsules, and 41.5% (n=342) sold loose cigarettes. Mint/menthol was the most frequently observed flavor descriptor (74.1%, n=521), followed by non-conventional descriptors (69.6 %, n= 489) such as "Fusion Blast", "Double Click", and "Ruby Ice". Flavored packs were displayed in 92.3% (n=649) of flavored cigarette retailers, typically in the cashier zone (72.2%, n=512) and near sweets/snacks (59.2%, n=416). Advertising for flavored cigarettes was observed in 34.3% (n=241) of flavored cigarette retailers, and special promotions for flavored cigarettes were offered in 7.3% (n=51) of flavored cigarette retailers.

Mint/menthol cigarettes and packs carrying innovative flavor descriptors, which appeal to youth and facilitate smoking uptake, are frequently sold and prominently displayed near schools in these Latin American cities. These findings can inform efforts to prohibit POS marketing and ban the use of additives in cigarettes. Future research should characterize the content and appeal of flavored cigarette marketing.

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