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Where we stand: Retail tobacco marketing, price discounting and promotion

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Truth Initiative’s mission is to achieve a culture where all youth and young adults reject tobacco. Strong restrictions on the conditions of advertising, discounting, promoting and selling tobacco at point-of-sale are important to protect youth and young adults from a potential lifelong addiction to tobacco and the disease and death that result from its use.

Regulation of point-of-sale tobacco marketing practices is not as widespread or commonly employed as taxation or clean indoor-air laws; however, evidence exists to suggest they are potentially powerful policy options. Restrictions on price, promotion and placement of tobacco products to reduce supply, availability and ultimately, consumer demand should be more frequently added to the traditional tobacco-control toolbox of taxation, public education and clean air laws to accelerate tobacco prevalence declines through increased cessation and prevention of initiation and progression.

Consistent with Truth Initiative’s vision of a future where tobacco is a thing of the past, we support the following policies with regard to tobacco retail marketing, discounting and promotional practices:

  • The FDA must use all its powers to enforce restrictions at the point-of-sale, including:
    • Age of sale restrictions that are aggressively monitored and enforced;
    • Requirements that all tobacco products be displayed behind the counter;
    • Bans on:
      • Vending machine sales
      • Free samples
  • Given the well-documented association of exposure to point-of-sale tobacco marketing and initiation and progression of tobacco use among youth and young adults, state and local governments should use their powers to protect citizens from tobacco and regulate the tobacco retail environment by:
    • Prohibiting pharmacies from selling tobacco products;
    • Limiting the number and location of tobacco retail outlets, including prohibiting tobacco retailers from selling tobacco within 1,000 feet of schools;
    • Making tobacco retail licenses nontransferable and restricting the issuance of new licenses to control retailer density;
    • Setting a minimum pack size for all tobacco products, including cigars;
    • Requiring retail stores to keep all tobacco products out-of-view or behind the counter so that no product is easily visible to children;
    • Banning self-service displays for all tobacco products;
    • Prohibiting couponing and other discounting tactics designed to circumvent the impact of tobacco taxes;
    • Setting minimum prices for tobacco products; and
    • Placing restrictions on all advertising in retail stores so that no advertisements of any tobacco product are allowed near cash registers and restricting tobacco advertisements to a defined percentage of window space.
    • Truth Initiative also strongly supports a minimum age-of-sale of 21 for all tobacco products.
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