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How do tobacco retail displays affect cessation attempts? Findings from a qualitative study
  1. J Hoek1,
  2. H Gifford2,
  3. G Pirikahu2,
  4. G Thomson3,
  5. R Edwards3
  1. 1Department of Marketing, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  2. 2Whakauae Research, Whanganui, New Zealand
  3. 3Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Janet Hoek, Department of Marketing, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand; janet.hoek{at}


Background Tobacco retail displays promote smoking experimentation among youth; however, little is known about their effect on smokers making a quit attempt. Calls to ban tobacco retail displays would be strengthened if this measure would deter initiation and support cessation.

Methods Semistructured in-depth interviews were conducted with 20 individuals, from two New Zealand provincial cities, who had attempted to quit smoking in the last 6 months.

Results Tobacco products had high visibility, and elicited emotional and physical reactions that created on-going temptation, complicated cessation attempts and stimulated impulse purchases. Participants strongly supported banning tobacco retail displays primarily because they thought this would reduce youth initiation, promote greater consistency with smoke-free promotions and assist those attempting to quit.

Conclusions The effects of tobacco retail displays on smokers making a cessation attempt are explored. The findings are consistent with experimental and survey research, and expand a growing evidence base that supports government-mandated bans on tobacco retail displays.

  • Point of sale
  • cessation
  • qualitative
  • advertising and promotion
  • qualitative study

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  • Funding New Zealand Cancer Society (PO Box 12700, Wellington 6144, New Zealand) and Action on Smoking and Health (PO Box 99 126, Newmarket, New Zealand).

  • Competing interests All authors have undertaken work for the Cancer Society of New Zealand and Action on Smoking and Health New Zealand. Although we do not consider it a competing interest, for the sake of full disclosure we note that all authors have undertaken tobacco-related research for the New Zealand Ministry of Health. All authors have received funding for tobacco-related research from the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Department of Public Health, University of Otago.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.