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Article | An investigation of tobacco retail outlets as a cue for smoking


Evidence suggests that widespread distribution of tobacco and point of sale (POS) displays of tobacco prompt impulse purchases and cue smoking. As a result, health researchers have argued for a reduction in the number of tobacco retail outlets. However, with tobacco products now removed from display in many countries, there has been very little evidence to indicate whether decreasing the number of tobacco retail outlets will result in reduced smoking prevalence.

Using a combination of in-depth interviews and near-real-time electronic diary data collected from 31 smokers and attempting quitters, we examined their responses to exposure to tobacco outlets.

The findings provide the first evidence that even in the absence of POS displays, the mere sight of tobacco retail outlets can trigger impulse tobacco purchases and increase smoking frequency. The findings support calls to restrict tobacco distribution.


Burton S., Spanjaard D., Hoek J. (2013) An investigation of tobacco retail outlets as a cue for smoking. Australasian Marketing Journal (AMJ)

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Please contact:

Janet Hoek
University of Otago

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