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Grant Details

Grant Number: 5R01CA236608-03 Interpret this number
Primary Investigator: Shadel, William
Organization: Rand Corporation
Project Title: Experimentally Testing Legally Feasible Regulatory Options for Reducing the Impact of the Point-of-Sale Retail Environment on Adolescent Tobacco Use.
Fiscal Year: 2021


Project Summary Tobacco advertising at retail point-of-sale (POS) includes promotional allowances that permit tobacco products to be advertised and sold at reduced cost to consumers (e.g., two-for-one specials); high visibility sale and therefore placement of hundreds of tobacco products on power walls; and the display of a large, diverse collection of poster advertisements on the exterior of the stores. Adolescents are at significant risk for having repeated exposures to this tobacco rich POS environment and such exposures contribute to increases in adolescent tobacco use. Although curbing the effect of the tobacco rich POS environment on adolescent tobacco use is a critical public health goal, some POS advertising regulations are unlikely to be viable in the United States because they impinge upon the tobacco industry's commercial free speech rights. For example, eliminating the tobacco power wall is probably not a viable option in the US as it has been successfully challenged in court by the tobacco industry. POS regulations that do not violate the industry's commercial free speech rights stand a better chance of being upheld by the courts. For example, eliminating tobacco product price promotions, reducing the availability of tobacco products by restricting the sale of flavored products, and restricting how much door/window space tobacco product posters can occupy at POS, all have been implemented as feasible and legally defensible regulatory options at POS. The evidence base supporting the efficacy of these initiatives is, however, almost non-existent – leaving them open to legal scrutiny. The overall aim of this research is to experimentally evaluate different, legally-viable approaches to reducing the impact of the POS retail environment on adolescent tobacco use risk. We will be investigating the regulations for four classes of tobacco products (cigarettes, e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, little cigars/cigarillos). We propose to investigate the extent to which eliminating tobacco product price promotions (Study 1), restricting how much door/window space tobacco posters can occupy at POS (Study 2), and eliminating the sale of flavored and/or mentholated tobacco products (Study 3) reduce adolescent tobacco-use risk. Each study will evaluate gender and race (African-American vs Caucasian) as key moderators of the regulations under investigation. The studies will take place in the RAND StoreLab, a life-sized replica of a convenience store that was developed to experimentally evaluate how altering aspects of tobacco promotion at POS influences tobacco use. These studies stand to provide critical proof-of-concept information on whether incremental (but legally feasible) changes to the POS environment influence adolescent tobacco use and thus, advance regulatory science aimed at helping adolescents resist the powerful, tobacco-rich POS retail environment.



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