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March Newsletter

New Resources
How to Reduce Tobacco Retailer Density & Why:
An Infographic of Talking Points and Strategies

Reducing the density and number of tobacco retailers is a promising strategy for decreasing tobacco use, curbing tobacco marketing, and promoting health equity. We partnered with ChangeLab Solutions to develop this easy-to-use infographic to illustrate 5 ways communities can reduce the number and density of local tobacco stores. Take a closer look, and download the infographic here.
To learn more about the legal considerations and related policies, see ChangeLab Solutions' Tobacco Retailer Licensing Playbook and's resources on licensing, zoning, and retailer density
New Reports on Flavored Tobacco Products
Tobacco Control Legal Consortium has released a compiled guide of local flavored tobacco product sales restrictions across the country. The information compiled includes each locale's specific policies, including whether or not menthol and e-cigarettes are included within the regulations and if there are any retailer exemptions. Check out the policies here.
To learn more on why focusing on flavored tobacco products is important, you can also take a look at Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids' new report, "The Flavor Trap: How Tobacco Companies are Luring Kids with Candy-Flavored E-Cigarettes and Cigars."
Learn more about flavored tobacco products in's evidence summary
Local and State-Level Retail Environment Data Collection
New Data for California's Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community Campaign 
New data has been released for California's Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community Campaign, a statewide collaboration between tobacco use prevention, nutrition, and alcohol prevention partners. Since the campaign's first round of store assessments in 2013, San Francisco's Tenderloin district has increased the number of retailers offering healthy foods, and in turn increased total revenue by 25%. Despite this success in the Tenderloin with Healthy Retail San Francisco and the Tenderloin Healthy Corner Store Coalition, many areas of California are still saturated with ads and access to tobacco and other unhealthy products, as detailed by Capital Public Radio.

Learn more about the origins of the Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community Campaign here, and find out how Store Assessments can help with healthy retail initiatives.
Albany, NY Finds High Density of Tobacco Retailers in Low Income Zip Codes
Albany, NY has discovered that local zip codes with high poverty have the highest density of tobacco retailers in their community. Not only do these zip codes have more retailers, they also have strategically placed ads, and products are more likely to be sold for the minimum legal price. High density, strategic advertisement, and low prices all contribute to disparities of health outcomes for members of low income communities and communities of color.

The City of Albany has released a report discussing their findings from their store assessments and "neighborhood conversations" that they hosted with residents of zip code areas with high tobacco retailer density. The report also details strategies to address the issues they identified. Read the article and report, "Addressing Tobacco Use Inequities in the City of Albany" here
Policy News and Research's latest "News and Research Roundup," a monthly summary of the latest POS research, reports, and policy news is out.  Highlights:
Stories from the Field: Kansas City & the Tobacco 21 Movement
As of February 2017, 22 localities in the Greater Kansas City Area had passed ordinances raising the minimum age for tobacco to 21. We talked with Scott Hall, Senior Vice President of Civic and Community Initiatives at the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce to learn more about their “Tobacco 21” movement, including who was involved, how they made the case, the process for crafting the ordinances, how Tobacco 21 fits in to broader work preventing youth access to tobacco, lessons learned, and what's next. Read more here
Business Groups Switch Sides in Fight Against Tobacco
According to Reuters, local chambers of commerce nationwide are shifting their positions to stop fighting against tobacco regulation, even in locales where tobacco is a major contributor in the local economy. Business leaders have noted that smoking increases healthcare costs for employers, and are starting to advocate for policies like Tobacco 21 and tobacco tax increases. Read the article here
New POS Research
  • An analysis of tobacco retailer density in 97 counties across the contiguous United States showed that while the average density was 1.3 tobacco outlets per 1,000 persons, higher tobacco retail outlet density was found in areas with higher proportions of black residents and in areas with lower median household income. Retail outlet density was lower in areas with higher proportions of Asian and white residents.
  • Learn more about disparities in tobacco retailer density.
  • Using a model and yearly state-level data from the Tax Burden on Tobacco and other sources, this study found that implementing a federal $10 minimum price for cigarette packs could reduce the number of packs sold per year by 5.7 billion and reduce the number of smokers in the US by 10.7 million.  Based on their model, minimum prices greater than $5, which would result in about 1 million fewer smokers, would produce greater results for each additional price increase beyond that point. While a minimum price of $4 would likely not significantly impact sales and smoking participation overall, it would still impact sales of low-cost brands and prevent the ability of the tobacco industry to lower prices through discounts and price promotions. Given this effect and the price-sensitivity of low-income populations and youth, even a $4 federal minimum price could reduce disparities in tobacco use by income group and reduce youth initiation. A federal minimum pack price could also reduce state-to-state disparities in price.
  • Learn more about increasing tobacco prices through non-tax approaches .
Programs & Events
Counter Tools Staff Presenting at the National Conference on Tobacco or Health
Several members of the Counter Tools team will be presenting at NCTOH in Austin, Texas, March 22-24, 2017.

Come check us out at booth #100 or in our co-founders' sessions:

Wednesday, March 22:
  • How the Tobacco Industry Influences the Retail Environment (10:45am-12:00pm, 11A)
Thursday, March 23:
  • Collaborative Partnerships for Effective Retail Policies (10:45am-12:00pm, 17A)
  • Tobacco Marketing and Sales in Retail Settings in Low Income Communities (3:30pm-4:45pm, 19B)
Also keep an eye out for our posters!
The latest and greatest
from our Media Gallery

"Cigarettes in your Easter baskets?" in Pickens, SC 
Taken by Jessica Gibson on March 06, 2017

How much do you think the Easter Bunny knows about youth smoking initiation?  
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