Aim: To evaluate retailer's compliance and consumer's perceptions of and experiences with the point-of-sale (POS) tobacco display ban in Norway, implemented 1 January 2010.
Methods: Retailer compliance was measured using audit surveys. Consumer's perceptions of the ban were assessed in three web surveys: one conducted before and two after implementation of the ban. The sample for each of these consisted of about 900 people aged 15-54 years and an extra sample of smokers and snus users. 10 focus group interviews with male and female daily, occasional and former smokers aged 16-50 years (N=62) were also conducted, before and after implementation of the ban.
Results: Immediately following implementation of the POS display ban, compliance was 97% for cigarettes and rolling tobacco and 98% for snus. Preimplementation, young people were tempted by tobacco products when seeing them in the shop more often than older people. Postimplementation, young people also more often found it difficult to choose brand. The POS tobacco display ban was supported by a majority of the population, and by one out of three daily smokers. The removal of POS tobacco displays was perceived as a barrier for young people's access to tobacco products, as affecting attachment to cigarette brands and as contributing to tobacco denormalisation.
Conclusions: Retailer's compliance with the POS display ban in Norway was high, and the ban was well supported in the population. Consumers believed that the ban could contribute to preventing smoking initiation among young people and to some extent also support cessation efforts.
Keywords: Public policy; advertising and promotion; prevention; public opinion.