Trends in point-of-sale tobacco marketing around college campuses: Opportunities for enhanced tobacco control efforts

J Am Coll Health. 2018 Apr;66(3):145-154. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2017.1389734. Epub 2018 Jan 9.


Objective: Colleges have implemented policies to limit tobacco use on-campus; however, the off-campus environment is often overlooked in tobacco control efforts. We assessed availability, marketing, and promotion of cigarettes, snus, and traditional smokeless tobacco (SLT) in a sample of communities surrounding 11 college campuses in North Carolina and Virginia.

Participants: Between January-March of 2011, 2012 and 2013, 481 tobacco-selling retailers, including convenience stores, pharmacies and supermarkets, located near campuses were assessed.

Methods: Trained observers completed annual point-of-sale assessments.

Results: The percentage of stores selling (81.4% to 58.6%; p < .0001) and advertising snus (80.1% to 53.11%; p < .0001) significantly decreased over time. Convenience stores increased promotions of cigarettes (65.4% to 72.8%; p = 0.04) and SLT (3.1% to 23.3%; p = 0.02).

Conclusions: Off-campus environments have abundant tobacco availability and marketing. Colleges should collaborate with state and local tobacco control advocates to address tobacco promotion near campuses to potentially decrease product appeal and access among young adults.

Keywords: College; point-of-sale; tobacco.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Advertising / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marketing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Nicotiana*
  • North Carolina
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Tobacco Products
  • Tobacco Use / epidemiology
  • Tobacco Use / prevention & control*
  • United States
  • Universities / organization & administration*
  • Virginia
  • Young Adult