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Tobacco marketers targeting teens near schools
Date:11/27/2007

Joe Camel may be long gone, but that doesnt mean tobacco marketers have abandoned their efforts to get young people hooked on smoking.

A new Canadian study reports that tobacco marketers have found a way around tobacco advertising restrictions, reaching teens by marketing in retail shops located near high schools. The findings, published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health, suggest the strategy is working.

At the time of the study, we found that, compared to retail stores near schools with low smoking prevalence, stores near schools with high smoking prevalence had significantly lower prices per cigarette, more in-store promotions and fewer government-sponsored health warnings, said University of Alberta researcher and study co-author Candace Nykiforuk.

The tobacco marketing activity that takes place in storesknown as point-of-purchase (PoP) marketingis a sophisticated strategy designed to counter positive public health initiatives such as tax increases on tobacco, policies restricting cigarette advertising, and anti-smoking legislation, says Nykiforuk. U.S.-based studies have estimated that three out of four adolescents visit retail shops at least once a week, which makes the retail store a powerful venue where teens can be exposed routinely to PoP marketing.

Nykiforuk was part of a team of researchers that looked at tobacco PoP activities in more than 400 retail stores located in 81 randomly selected school neighbourhoods across Canada, and just over 22,000 students in grades 10-11 were surveyed in the study. The majority of retailers located within the school neighbourhoods sold tobacco products, and approximately half of these retailers exhibited tobacco PoP promotional activities. Only a few stores had government-sponsored health warning signs.

Schools with a smoking prevalence greater than 20.6 per cent had more neighbourhood stores with in-store tobacco promotions and access to lower prices on cigarette
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Contact: Isabela C. Varela
isabela.varela@ualberta.ca
780-492-6041
University of Alberta
Source:Eurekalert

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