Aims: To assess the extent to which point-of purchase (POP) cigarette displays stimulate impulse purchases.
Design: Telephone-administered population survey.
Setting: Victoria, Australia.
Participants: A total of 2996 adults, among whom 526 smoked factory-made cigarettes and 67 were recent quitters (quit in the past 12 months).
Measurements: Reported cigarette purchase behaviour; perceived effect on smoking of removing cigarettes from view in retail outlets; reported urges to buy cigarettes as a result of seeing the cigarette display.
Findings: When shopping for items other than cigarettes, 25.2% of smokers purchased cigarettes at least sometimes on impulse as a result of seeing the cigarette display. Thirty-eight per cent of smokers who had tried to quit in the past 12 months and 33.9% of recent quitters experienced an urge to buy cigarettes as a result of seeing the retail cigarette display. One in five smokers trying to quit and one in eight recent quitters avoided stores where they usually bought cigarettes in case they might be tempted to purchase them. Many smokers (31.4%) thought the removal of cigarette displays from stores would make it easier for them to quit.
Conclusions: POP cigarette displays act as cues to smoke, even among those not explicitly intending to buy cigarettes, and those trying to avoid smoking. Effective POP marketing restrictions should encompass cigarette displays.