The association between point-of-sale displays and youth smoking susceptibility

Nicotine Tob Res. 2012 May;14(5):616-20. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntr185. Epub 2011 Sep 8.


Introduction: According to tobacco industry documents, tobacco displays within the retail environment assume a much greater importance with the loss of other marketing channels. The impact of these displays upon young people and their future intentions to smoke (susceptibility) is, therefore, of significant interest to public health.

Methods: A cross-sectional in-home survey was conducted in 2008 with young people (N = 1,401) aged 11-16 years, recruited from across the United Kingdom. We examine the salience of and attraction to cigarette displays at point-of-sale (POS), among youth, and whether this is associated with susceptibility. We concentrate exclusively on the 956 never-smokers.

Results: Logistic regression, controlling for known risk factors of youth smoking, found that noticing cigarette displays was associated with higher levels of susceptibility (odds ratio [OR] = 1.77, p < .05) and greater attraction to displays was associated with higher susceptibility (OR = 1.07, p < .001).

Conclusions: It is difficult, if not impossible, to safeguard young people from exposure to displays of tobacco at POS. That these displays were associated with increased susceptibility suggests that moves to place tobacco out of sight in the United Kingdom, and elsewhere, are justified.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Advertising*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking*
  • United Kingdom