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Tobacco retail displays: a comparison of industry arguments and retailers' experiences
  1. Janet Hoek1,
  2. Rhonwyn Vaudrey1,
  3. Philip Gendall2,
  4. Richard Edwards3,
  5. George Thomson3
  1. 1Department of Marketing, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  2. 2Department of Marketing, Massey University, Palmerston North, 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 companies have opposed the removal of tobacco retail displays, arguing this would compromise retailers' safety, increase retail crime, reduce retailers' income, impose additional costs and be inconvenient. These arguments have successfully delayed policy development in several jurisdictions.

Methods In-depth interviews conducted with New Zealand retailers who had voluntarily removed tobacco from open display in their stores.

Results Retailers who had removed tobacco displays did so primarily to reduce their security risk and found their stores had become less vulnerable to retail crime. They did not find removing displays costly or inconvenient nor had this decision significantly reduced their revenue.

Conclusions Removing in-store tobacco displays may increase rather than decrease store safety. Our findings reveal that retailers' experiences differed in many ways from tobacco companies' predictions and suggest that industry arguments against display removal lack objective support and are self-serving.

  • Tobacco retail displays
  • crime
  • in-depth interviews
  • advertising and promotion, public policy
  • qualitative study

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  • Funding Cancer Society of New Zealand.

  • Competing interests Although we do not consider it a competing interest, for the sake of full disclosure we note that JH, PG, GT and RE have undertaken work for tobacco control NGOs and the New Zealand Ministry of Health and have received funding for tobacco-related research from the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the University of Otago (Category “B” approval).

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