Introduction: The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act regulates the sales and marketing of tobacco products in the United States; poor adherence by tobacco retailers may reduce the effectiveness of the Act's provisions. The objectives of this study were 1) to assess whether and to which provisions retailers were adherent and 2) to examine differences in adherence by county, retailer neighborhood, and retailer characteristics.
Methods: We conducted multivariate analysis of tobacco retailers' adherence to 12 point-of-sale provisions of the Tobacco Control Act in 3 North Carolina counties. We conducted observational audits of 324 retailers during 3 months in 2011 to assess adherence. We used logistic regression to assess associations between adherence to provisions and characteristics of each county, retailer neighborhood, and retailer.
Results: We found 15.7% of retailers did not adhere to at least 1 provision; 84.3% adhered to all provisions. The provisions most frequently violated were the ban on sales of cigarettes with modified-risk labels (eg, "light" cigarettes) (43 [13.3%] retailers nonadherent) and the ban on self-service for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco (6 [1.9%] retailers nonadherent). We found significant differences in rates of nonadherence by county and type of retailer. Pharmacies and drug stores were more than 3 times as likely as grocery stores to be nonadherent.
Conclusion: Most tobacco retailers have implemented regulatory changes without enforcement by the US Food and Drug Administration. Monitoring rates of adherence by store type and locale (eg, county) may help retailers comply with point-of-sale provisions.