OBJECTIVES To estimate the number and geographic location of web sites selling cigarettes in the USA, and to examine their sales and marketing practices.
METHODS Comprehensive searches were conducted using four keyword terms and five popular internet search engines, supplemented by sites identified in a news article. Over 1800 sites were examined to identify 88 internet cigarette vendors.
MEASURES Trained raters examined the content of each site using a standardised coding instrument to assess geographic location, presence of warnings, products sold, and promotional strategies.
RESULTS Internet cigarette vendors were located in 23 states. Nearly half (n = 43) were located in New York state, and many were in tobacco producing states with low cigarette excise taxes. Indian reservations housed 49 of the 88 sites. Only 28.4% of sites featured the US Surgeon General's health warnings and 81.8% featured minimum age of sale warnings. Nearly all sites (96.6%) sold premium or value brand cigarettes, 21.6% sold duty-free Marlboros, and 8.0% sold bidis. Approximately one third featured special promotional programmes.
CONCLUSIONS Internet cigarette vendors present new regulatory and enforcement challenges for tobacco control advocates because of the difficulty in regulating internet content and because many vendors are on Indian reservations.
- youth access
- web sites
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.