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Article | Advancing the retail endgame: public perceptions of retail policy interventions

Abstract

Background: Evidence that exposure to tobacco ‘powerwalls’ increases young people’s susceptibility to smoking has led many countries to require the removal of these displays. Despite this important step, tobacco remains widely available and policy action appears to have stalled.

Methods: We conducted an online survey of 364 smokers and 402 non-smokers aged 18 years and above, who were sampled from a commercial internet panel in January 2013.

Results:  Six months after the removal of all tobacco products from open display in New Zealand retail outlets, strong support for the new law exists. Although daily smokers were less supportive than other groups, smokers intending to quit within the next 6 months were more likely than not to believe the law would facilitate quitting. Irrespective of their smoking status, respondents supported not selling tobacco products within 500 m of a school, and requiring tobacco retailers to sell nicotine replacement therapy products.

Conclusions: Public support for more progressive ‘endgame’ retail measures could catalyse policy action which, in turn, could offer greater protection to young people and accelerate declines in smoking prevalence. Mandatory tobacco-free retail zones around schools, and requiring stores selling tobacco to stock cessation products received strong support, even among daily smokers; both measures would reduce youth exposure to tobacco while providing smokers with better access to cessation aids.

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Citation: Whyte G., Hoek J., Gendall P. (2013) Advancing the retail endgame: public perceptions of retail policy interventions. Tobacco Control, advance online. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-051065 (Published first 10 July 2013).