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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