Evaluating Point of Sale Tobacco Marketing Using Behavioral Laboratory Methods

Tob Regul Sci. 2016 Oct;2(4):414-425. doi: 10.18001/TRS.2.4.11.


With passage of the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the FDA has authority to regulate tobacco advertising. As bans on traditional advertising venues and promotion of tobacco products have grown, a greater emphasis has been placed on brand exposure and price promotion in displays of products at the point-of-sale (POS). POS marketing seeks to influence attitudes and behavior towards tobacco products using a variety of explicit and implicit messaging approaches. Behavioral laboratory methods have the potential to provide the FDA with a strong scientific base for regulatory actions and a model for testing future manipulations of POS advertisements. We review aspects of POS marketing that potentially influence smoking behavior, including branding, price promotions, health claims, the marketing of emerging tobacco products, and tobacco counter-advertising. We conceptualize how POS marketing potentially influence individual attention, memory, implicit attitudes, and smoking behavior. Finally, we describe specific behavioral laboratory methods that can be adapted to measure the impact of POS marketing on these domains.

Keywords: attention; behavioral laboratory methods; implicit attitudes; memory; point-of-sale marketing; smoking; tobacco products.