Objective: To examine the association between exposure to tobacco displays at the point of sale and teenage smoking and susceptibility to the uptake of smoking.
Design: The sample comprised a national cross-section of 14–15 year olds with two measures of exposure to tobacco displays at the point of sale and three outcome measures. The outcome measures were susceptibility to smoking initiation, experimenting with smoking or current smoking.
Results: Compared with visiting stores less often than weekly, a greater frequency of store visits was related to increased odds of being susceptible to smoking (daily visits, adjusted OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.6 to 2.2) and experimenting with smoking (daily visits, adjusted OR 2.7, 95% CI 2.4 to 3.1). The likelihood of being a current smoker increased with a greater frequency of store visits among students of medium and high socioeconomic status, but not among those of low socioeconomic status.
Conclusion: Although these findings are cross-sectional in nature, they are consistent with the notion that greater exposure to tobacco displays at the point of sale increases youth smoking, and suggest display bans are needed.
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Funding: The survey is funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Health (MOH) and is managed cooperatively by Action on Smoking and Health New Zealand and the Health Sponsorship Council. The MOH was represented by Sharon Ponniah on the research coordinating group at the time of questionnaire development, who made useful recommendations on the questions prior to conduct of the survey. The MOH had no part in the decision to conduct this specific data analysis, write the report and has not reviewed or contributed to this paper other than to fund the survey.
Competing interests: RE has previously undertaken contract work for not-for-profit organisations involved in tobacco control.
Ethics approval: Ethics approval was given by the Auckland Ethics Committee of the Ministry of Health.
JP contributed to questionnaire development and approved the questionnaire, execution of the survey, coordinated interpretation and analysis of the data and wrote the first draft of the report and revised the report. RE independently, in addition to, Becky Freeman, suggested use of this survey to investigate the impact of retail displays on New Zealand teenagers, contributed to questionnaire development, made suggestions on data analysis and reviewed the results and drafted papers. PS improved and conducted the data analysis, reviewed drafts of the paper. IM contributed to questionnaire development; prepared and checked the data file used for analysis and reviewed drafts of the report.