Aim: To evaluate the short-term economic impact of legislation removing point of sale tobacco promotional displays (ie, tobacco displays and other point of sale tobacco advertising) in Ireland, implemented July 2009, on cigarette sales across a range of categories of retail outlets.
Methods: Cigarette sales were evaluated using scanning (weekly data since January 2006) and audit data (bimonthly since November 2007) within different retail categories using data sourced from AC Nielsen, Ireland. Visual inspection and time-series regression techniques were used where appropriate to assess changes in sales over time and in relation to the legislation.
Results: No change was observed in sales data in any retail category over and above seasonal patterns and an underlying downward trend over time. Similarly, where available data enabled statistical analysis, there was no significant effect in the short term (up to 12 months after implementation) on retail sales of tobacco products, over and above seasonal and long-term trends. CONCLUSIONS Recent claims of substantial revenue losses and closures of small retailers as a direct result of the removal of point of sale tobacco promotional displays in Ireland are not borne out by these data. The removal of point of sale displays is aimed at reducing the pernicious effects of tobacco advertising on children and is therefore likely to have an impact on sales over a much more protracted time period. This should enable retailers to adapt over time, perhaps using such regulations as an opportunity to play a role in promoting healthier products in the local community.