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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Rutgers Examines the Availability and Promotion of Non-Cigarette Tobacco Products Near High Schools in New Jersey

Rutgers School of Public Health study finds that tobacco point-of-sale advertisements and non-cigarette tobacco product availability (cigarettes, cigars/cigarillos, smokeless tobacco) in licensed tobacco retailers close to high schools in New Jersey, differs by student income level and race. Most of the research on tobacco marketing at the point of sale describes patterns and trends in cigarette promotion. However, youth are using non-cigarette tobacco products, such as cigars/cigarillos, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), and smokeless tobacco at higher rates than traditional cigarettes.

The study, conducted by members of the Center for Tobacco Studies at the Rutgers, collected data from 194 licensed tobacco retailers that were located within a half-mile of 41 high schools that participated in the 2014 NJ Youth Tobacco Survey. They found that cigarettes were the most commonly advertised and available product at retailers. E-cigarettes were the only product that saw a decline in both advertising and availability, while cigars/cigarillos experienced increases in both advertising and availability at licensed tobacco retailers near high schools.

[Photo: Members, Center for Tobacco Studies, Rutgers School of Public Health

When comparing the availability of lower-risk non-combustible products (e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco) between student income levels and race, disparities became evident.  These lower-risk products were more available and more frequently advertised in higher-majority-white and mid-to-high-income school districts, whereas more dangerous combustible cigars/cigarillos were more likely to be available and more frequently advertised in lower-income and non-white-majority school districts.

“Exposure to tobacco marketing has consistently been linked with youth smoking and emerging evidence indicates that this relationship may be similar for non-cigarette tobacco products,” according to the authors. “While policy initiatives should restrict all tobacco advertising at the point of sale, curbing the promotion of the most dangerous combustible products that are popular among youth warrants prioritization.”

Dr. Daniel Giovenco, the study’s first author gathered the data as a research associate of the Center for Tobacco Studies and a PhD student at the Rutgers School of Public Health. He is currently an assistant professor at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. This is Mr. Chris Ackerman’s first publication.

“Changes in the availability and promotion of non-cigarette tobacco products near high schools in New Jersey, USA” was published in the journal of Tobacco Control.