Background: Tobacco products were compared in regard to their price, point-of-purchase advertising, accessibility to shoplifters, and rate of sale to minors.
Methods: An experimental design compared the rates of illegal sales to minors of cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and cigars. Observational surveys of 102 stores measured the number of advertisements for four tobacco products, the manner in which products were displayed, and their accessibility to shoplifters.
Results: Illegal sales rates were similar for cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and cigars. Cigars were the least expensive. Cigarettes were the most heavily advertised product, followed by chewing tobacco, cigars, and loose tobacco. Cigarettes were the most accessible to shoplifters. All types of tobacco products were displayed to permit the package to serve as advertising.
Conclusions: Point-of-purchase advertising for cigars may be increasing, and their lower price makes them more affordable to youths. Food and Drug Administration regulations that limit point-of-purchase advertising for tobacco products should be expanded to include cigars. Manufacturers pay retailers for the placement of product displays that allow the package to be used as an advertisement without the appearance of the Surgeon General's warning. Generic packaging may be necessary to protect children from point-of-purchase advertising.
Copyright 1999 American Health Foundation and Academic Press.