The impact of a tobacco point-of-sale display ban on youth in the United Kingdom: findings from a repeat cross-sectional survey pre-, mid- and post-implementation
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University of Stirling, Institute for Social Marketing, United Kingdom
UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, University of Stirling, United Kingdom
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A539
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The display of tobacco products at the point-of-sale (POS) allows tobacco companies to showcase their products and communicate with consumers. Evidence suggests that exposure to POS tobacco displays is associated with impulse tobacco purchasing among adult smokers and smoking susceptibility among never smoking youth. In the United Kingdom (UK) a ban on the open display of tobacco products was phased in between 2012 and 2015. Three waves of the Youth Tobacco Policy Survey were used to examine the impact of the ban on youth pre-, mid- and post-implementation.

A repeat cross-sectional survey was conducted with 11-16 year olds across the UK. Data was collected via an in-home face-to-face interview and self-completion questionnaire at three time points: pre- (2011, n=1373), mid- (2014, n=1205), and post-display ban (2016, n=1213). We examined whether the salience of displays was associated with smoking susceptibility among never smokers. Measures also explored cigarette brand awareness, attractiveness of displays and support for a display ban.

In 2011, pre-ban, susceptibility to smoke was positively associated with noticing cigarettes displayed at POS and higher brand awareness. Susceptibility to smoke decreased from 28% in 2011 (pre-ban) to 18% in 2016 (post-ban), with the mean number of brands recalled falling from 1.56 (SD=1.88) in 2011 to 1.01 (SD=1.42) in 2016. With respect to support for the ban, in 2016 the vast majority of our sample (87%) indicated that shops should have to keep cigarettes behind closed shutters. They also felt that having them behind closed shutters made them seem unappealing (73%) and made them think that it's not ok to smoke (83%).

That smoking susceptibility was lower following the ban suggests that placing tobacco out of sight helps safeguard young people and justifies this policy approach in the UK and elsewhere.

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