Federal Trade Commission Reports Released:
Tobacco Industry Spending at the POS Continues to Grow
In 2012, the tobacco industry spent over $8.7 billion marketing and promoting cigarettes and smokeless tobacco at the point of sale.
These point of sale expenditures account for over 91% of their total marketing expenditures. These figures, recently released in the Federal Trade Commission reports on Cigarette and Smokeless Tobacco Sales and Marketing Expenditures in 2012, document a continued increase in tobacco industry expenditures at the POS over the past 30 years. Though total spending on smokeless tobacco marketing decreased from 2011-2012, spending on POS promotional activity increased.
Spending on price discounts, the largest category, increased by 26% for smokeless tobacco and 12% for cigarettes from 2011 to 2012. Spending on price discounts has been the largest expenditure category for cigarettes since 2002. These promotions reduce the price of products, counteracting the impact of tobacco control policies like excise taxes and targeting price sensitive smokers.
Price discounts for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco seen at the POS
Tobacco marketing at the POS matters. Research shows that tobacco marketing can cause youth to start smoking, keep current smokers hooked, and make it harder to quit.
New Policy Solution Resource: Raising the Minimum Legal Sale Age to 21
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently released a report detailing the public health implications of raising the minimum legal sale age to 21. The minimum legal sale age (MLSA) prohibits retailers from selling tobacco products to anyone under that age. In most places across the country, that age is set at 18. Four states (Alaska, Alabama, New Jersey, and Utah) have a minimum age of 19. However, momentum is building across the country to raise the MLSA to 21 to prevent more youth from initiating tobacco use. To date, over 50 cities in 7 states have enacting policies raising the MLSA to 21. State-wide initiatives to raise the age to 21 have been proposed in 7 states.
At the request of the US FDA, the IOM committee of experts reviewed existing literature on tobacco use initiation, developmental biology and psyÂchology, and tobacco policy, as well as national youth access laws. The report suggests that smoking prevalence overall will drop significantly between 2015 and 2100 due to previously instituted tobacco control policies even with the MLSA at the status quo. However, they project that smoking prevalence would drop by an additional 12% if the MLSA were raised to 21, compared to only an additional 3% if the MLSA were raised to 19. If the MLSA were raised to 21 now, it could prevent 223,000 premature deaths, 50,000 deaths from lung cancer, and 4.2 million years of life lost.
New to working to counteract tobacco product sales and marketing at the point of sale (POS)? Trying a new strategy? This glossary of terms related to POS policy will help you sort through the jargon and sound like an expert in no time! Looking for a word you don't see here? Let us know, and we can help you figure it out.