Teens Raising Awareness Of Tobacco Marketing Practices

Atlanta, March 3, 2017 – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) partnered with The Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS) and Georgia Team Empowerment (GATE) to conduct an assessment of geographical zip codes representing immigrant and refugee communities as part of a pilot project. This assessment explores the point-of-sale (POS) on various tobacco products and its accessibility to the young population in order to understand what messages about retail availability should be presented to the communities of focus in a culturally and linguistically appropriate way.

Three communities (Doraville, Chamblee, and Clarkston) located in DeKalb County were chosen for the pilot. During the months of November and December 2016, GATE youths conducted the Standardized Tobacco Assessment for Retail Settings (STARS) survey with 54 tobacco retailers with only 33 retailers agreeing to participate. Convenience stores/gas stations and grocery stores were the go-to place for smokers to purchase tobacco products. 91% of observed retailers did not display any graphic health warning signs. 82% of tobacco retailers sold cigarillos with 67% carrying different flavored products. Of particular concern the option of flavored cigarillos makes the product become much more attractive to the young population.

There was a high percentage of stores that had outdoor advertising. 24% of retailers placed products near toys and candy, and about 40% offered price promotions (i.e. multi-pack discounts or $1 off promotions). Further, the number of retail outlets in the City of Clarkston was particularly dense.

CPACS and GATE recommends that collected data be shared at the local and state level to reflect issues with point of sale marketing (i.e. signage and health warnings) and product placement. In addition, tobacco outlet density limitation should be implemented in order to avoid over-saturation of communities as is seen in the City of Clarkston. This will help decrease the likelihood that youths will be able to access tobacco products. Other recommendations include restricting retailers from operating within a certain distance to other retailers, and restricting retailers in certain locations such as residential and near school grounds and parks.