Retail Environment

Retail Environment
Tobacco companies spend a massive amount of money marketing their products in stores. This includes payments to tobacco retailers to place tobacco products in the most visible locations in the stores, provide price-discounting promotions, and place marketing materials in prominent places visible both inside and outside the store.  As a result, all consumers, including young people under the age of 18, are exposed to a substantial amount of tobacco marketing. While there are several factors that contribute to adolescent smoking, tobacco advertising and promotion at retail stores where tobacco products are sold (also referred to as the “point of sale”) is undoubtedly one of the most significant.

Those concerned with youth tobacco use can advocate for local ordinances that restrict the display of tobacco products, limit the number, type or location of tobacco retailers and restrict price promotions.

For more information on these policy options, see our publications below or contact the center at

Disparities: Tobacco Industry Marketing and Disadvantaged Groups

Tobacco Disparities: Evidence Supports Policy Change
Two fact sheets providing evidence of tobacco-related disparities and acknowledging the influence of the tobacco industry on the environment and reciprocal influence of environment on behavior.

Leveling the Playing Field
Power point presentation presented at January 2016 ATFC meeting describing disparities in tobacco use, industry strategies exacerbating disparities, and potential policy solutions to achieve health equity.

Disparities Fact Sheet
Fact sheet explaining the disproportionate impact of tobacco marketing on youths, minorities, racial and ethnic minorities, and those of low income and education.

What Surrounds Us Shapes Us: Making the Environmental Case for Tobacco Control
Guide leading New York State ATFC grantees through effective message development, particularly around policy change to reduce the burden of tobacco use among vulnerable populations.

Tobacco Control at the Point of Sale: Effective Policy Solutions

Advancing Tobacco Control: The Known, the New and the Next
Summary and excerpts from the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report “The Health Consequences of Smoking–50 Years of Progress.”

Just the Facts: Tobacco Retail Licensing
Fact sheet briefly describing the role tobacco retail licensing may play in reducing tobacco use.

Legal Issues: Tobacco Retail Licensing
Fact sheet briefly describing some of the legal issues to be considered when crafting a tobacco retail licensing system.

Pharmacies Send Mixed Messages: Giving the Green, Yellow, and Red Lights to Smoking
Fact sheet describing the problems associated with tobacco sales by pharmacies.

Countering Common Concerns: Prohibiting the Sale of Tobacco Products at Pharmacies
A document reviewing the common concerns related to prohibiting the pharmacy sale of tobacco products.

Tobacco Retail Licensing: Promoting Health Through Local Sales Regulation
This technical report provides the rationale for limiting the number, type, and location of tobacco outlets, and limiting the use of price promotions through a local retail license. The mechanisms for implementing a local tobacco retail license are described, and we provide a model licensing ordinance for New York jurisdictions.

Tobacco Retail Licensing Model Ordinances
Model ordinances for New York communities seeking to use local licensing to limit the number, type, and location of tobacco outlets and to regulate the redemption of tobacco price promotions. These models can be tailored to fit a particular community’s needs.

New York and its Local Communities are Taking Action to Reduce Tobacco Use

A Citizen’s Guide to New York Tobacco Controls
Guide describing certain federal and New York State tobacco controls and identifying the appropriate enforcement agency for reporting of potential violations.

Oh Snap! Countering Tobacco Industry Opposition to Local Tobacco Controls
Compilation of fact sheets focusing on industry claims about effective public health policy interventions, and aiming to equip public health advocates to refute industry’s misinformation.

Point of Sale Policy: New York Communities Taking Action
Guide identifying New York municipal tobacco controls as examples of communities reducing the tobacco industry’s influence in the retail environment.

The Marketing Problem: Consensus on Tobacco Industry Tactics

Advancing Tobacco Control: The Known the New and the Next
Excerpts and summaries of 2014 Surgeon General’s Report

Cause and Effect: Tobacco Marketing Increases Youth Tobacco Use
Excerpts from the 2012 Surgeon General’s Report on the effect of tobacco marketing on youth smoking. The report concludes with potential evidence-based policy solutions to reduce the effect of marketing on youth tobacco use.

The POS Problem in Numbers
Fact sheet identifying key statistics about retail tobacco marketing and its effect on youth.

Tobacco Industry Marketing in 2015
This fact sheet describes the tobacco industry’s marketing expenditures in 2015 as reported by the Federal Trade Commission.

Industry Marketing Drives Youth Tobacco Use

Cause and Effect: Tobacco Marketing Increases Youth Tobacco Use
Excerpts from the 2012 Surgeon General’s Report “Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults.”

Reducing Youth Exposure to Tobacco Marketing
Report exploring policies to reduce exposure to tobacco marketing at the point-of-sale through comprehensive licensing, zoning and board of health rules.

Retail Stores as Recruitment Centers
Fact sheet illustrating the manner in which tobacco marketing in the retail environment targets youth.

The POS Problem in Numbers
Fact sheet identifying key statistics about retail tobacco marketing and its effect on youth.