Hiding the Tobacco Power Wall Reduces Cigarette Smoking Risk in Adolescents

Using an Experimental Convenience Store to Assess Tobacco Regulatory Options at Retail Point-of-Sale

Published in: Tobacco Control, 2015

Posted on RAND.org on December 03, 2015

by William Shadel, Steven Martino, Claude Messan Setodji, Deborah M. Scharf, Daniela Kusuke, Angela Sicker, Min Gong

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OBJECTIVES: This experiment tested whether changing the location or visibility of the tobacco power wall in a life sized replica of a convenience store had any effect on adolescents' susceptibility to future cigarette smoking. METHODS: The study was conducted in the RAND StoreLab (RSL), a life sized replica of a convenience store that was developed to experimentally evaluate how changing aspects of tobacco advertising displays in retail point-of-sale environments influences tobacco use risk and behavior. A randomized, between-subjects experimental design with three conditions that varied the location or visibility of the tobacco power wall within the RSL was used. The conditions were: cashier (the tobacco power wall was located in its typical position behind the cash register counter); sidewall (the tobacco power wall was located on a sidewall away from the cash register); or hidden (the tobacco power wall was located behind the cashier but was hidden behind an opaque wall). The sample included 241 adolescents. RESULTS: Hiding the tobacco power wall significantly reduced adolescents' susceptibility to future cigarette smoking compared to leaving it exposed (ie, the cashier condition; p=0.02). Locating the tobacco power wall on a sidewall away from the cashier had no effect on future cigarette smoking susceptibility compared to the cashier condition (p=0.80). CONCLUSIONS: Hiding the tobacco power wall at retail point-of-sale locations is a strong regulatory option for reducing the impact of the retail environment on cigarette smoking risk in adolescents.

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