The Tobacco Free Coalition of Pinellas

Improving the health of our community by working to reduce tobacco use and exposure to toxic secondhand smoke.

Point of Sale Marketing

Points of Sale Marketing is everywhere: gas stations, convenience stores, pharmacies, etc. It’s a common tool used to sell tobacco and alcohol. Here are some facts about point of sale marketing, from Tobacco Free Florida:

  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issues reports on annual cigarette and smokeless tobacco marketing expenditures, which are based on data from the major tobacco manufacturers. These reports show that the point of sale is by far the tobacco industry’s dominant marketing channel, and that it has grown in importance since the 1998 tobacco settlement.
  • In one survey, 80 percent of retail outlets had interior tobacco product advertising, 60 percent had exterior tobacco product advertising, and over 70 percent had tobacco product functional items, such as display racks, counter mats, entrance and exit signs, and change cups.

Local Example of Point of Sale Marketing

The Issue:

  • About 9 out of 10 smokers start by age 18.
  • Studies show that youth are much more likely than adults to be influenced by promotional pieces in convenience stores.
  • Two out of 3 youth visit a convenience store at least once a week.
  • Stores where adolescents shop most often have more than three times the amount of cigarette advertisements and promotional materials outside of the stores and almost three times more materials inside, compared to other stores in the community, according to a survey.
  • A 2007 study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that the more cigarette marketing youth are exposed to in retail stores the more likely they are to smoke.


The Tobacco Industry’s Role:

  • One industry documents states: “It is important to know as much as possible about teenage smoking…” “base of our business is the high school student.”
  • A 1990 R.J. Reynolds memo stated: “those stores can be in close proximity to colleges or high schools or areas where there are a large number of young adults frequenting the store.”
  • Tobacco companies target lower-income, minority communities with point-of-sale marketing.


To download the entire Tobacco Free Florida Fact Sheet, click here: Point of Sale Fact Sheet – TFF.

References listed in downloadable fact sheet.

What can we do about this?

The Tobacco Free Coalition of Pinellas offers Point of Sale training to community organizations, government agencies, and concerned citizens to teach participants how to recognize non-compliant point of sale displays and how to advocate for better enforcement. For more information on hosting a training or partnering with our coalition, please contact us at (727) 588-4040 ext. 3171.


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