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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

WashU: New Data Tool on Tobacco Sales Can Prompt Policy Change

A standardized way of collecting local data about tobacco retailing enables comparisons across states and helps to build evidence for policy change, according to a new report from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

[Photo: Dr. Sarah Moreland-Russell]

The report describes the experiences of four states that have been using the Standardized Tobacco Assessment for Retail Settings (STARS), a survey that streamlines the collection of data on tobacco price and promotion at points of sale. STARS was released a year ago and is now in use by communities in 25 states.

The study of STARS’ use in Indiana, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont noted that other benefits include an emphasis on local partners. Identification of each community’s tobacco retailers is key.

“Building awareness of tobacco’s overwhelming influence in neighborhood retailers is often the first step toward the implementation of effective point-of-sale policies,” said Dr. Sarah Moreland-Russell, research assistant professor at the Brown School and a co-author of the report.

“The STARS tool streamlines in-store data collection and each item on the survey relates directly to specific policy solutions.”

The report was written by the Brown School’s Center for Public Health Systems Science and funded by the National Cancer Institute.

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