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Fifty years ago, almost to the day, the Surgeon General announced that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer and that something should be done to prevent harm. This announcement served as a catalyst for tobacco control and research. A study published last week in The Journal of the American Medical Association estimates that tobacco control efforts are associated with the prevention of 8 million premature deaths [1].

While the count of lives saved is astounding, tobacco use continues to be the
 leading cause of preventable death, with more than 440,000 Americans still dying each year.  
The Evolution of Tobacco Marketing
at the Point of Sale 

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Surgeon General’s report linking smoking to poor health outcomes, we took a look at the evolution of tobacco marketing at the point of sale. The full story can be found here

Photo credit: Huffington Post

Although the retail environment has become an increasingly important channel for the tobacco industry, leveraging this avenue is not a new trick in their marketing toolkit. Industry documents reveal that for decades, tobacco companies have valued and recognized the importance of connecting with consumers at the point of sale. Let's take a look at a few examples to see how marketing at the point of sale has changed over the years.

"Enough is enough."

-Acting Surgeon General Dr. Boris Lushniak  
Today  the 50th anniversary of the first report on smoking and health was released. The report presented the progress in tobacco control over the last five decades, along with new data on the health consequences of using tobacco, and data-driven control initiatives that have the potential to end the tobacco epidemic. 

Because is committed to providing the latest information about point of sale tobacco control, below are the key points related to the point of sale found in the 50th Anniversary Surgeon General's Report. 

"Due to the persisting prevalence of smoking among young adults in this country, 5.6 million Americans younger than 18 years of age are projected to die prematurely from a smoking-related illness."

-Chapter 16, page 869. 

Figure credit: Surgeon General 2014 Consumer Guide recognizes the importance of preventing youth from starting to smoke, and protecting the environments in which they live. You can find an evidence summary for stores near schools here and a policy solution for licensing and zoning here

"We know that increasing the cost of cigarettes is one of the most powerful interventions we can make to prevent smoking and reduce prevalence. Building on this knowledge, the President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget includes a $0.94 per pack Federal tobacco tax increase."
-Message from Kathleen Sebelius

While excise taxes are the traditional way to increase price in order to alter smoking offers additional non-tax approaches to price increases. Check them out here
"Very large disparities in tobacco use remain across racial/ethnic groups and between groups defined by educational level, socioeconomic status, and region." 
-Chapter 13 conclusions, page 12
The industry has been targeting racial and ethnic groups for years, including at the point of sale. offers an evidence summer in disparities related to point of sale advertising. Click here to see the disparities in point of sale advertising evidence summary. 
"The evidence is sufficient to conclude that advertising and promotional activities by the tobacco companies cause the onset and continuation of smoking among adolescents and young adults."
-Chapter 14 conclusions, page 12. recognizes the way that advertising and promotions lead to smoking uptake. Check out our policy solution on restricting advertising and promotions here, and learn more about what communities can do to combat this problem. 
"Furthermore, evidence indicates adults are also influenced by tobacco promotion, particularly at the point of purchase (Clattenburg et al. 2012)."
-Chapter 14, page 813. 
To read more about communities that are combatting tobacco promotion check out a story about New York City point of sale legislation here, and a case study on a public health victory in Providence, RI here
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