Background Flavoured tobacco is increasingly popular with youth. The twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota restricted the sale of flavoured tobacco to adult-only tobacco shops in an effort to reduce youth access and exposure to these products. This observational study explores the impact of these policies on the retail environment.
Methods Between November 2015 and April 2017, observational assessments were conducted at convenience and grocery stores preimplementation and postimplementation of flavoured tobacco restrictions in Minneapolis (n=41), Saint Paul (n=37) and the comparison city of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota (n=14).
Results After policy implementation, significantly fewer of the convenience and grocery stores sold flavoured tobacco in Minneapolis (85.4% vs 39.0%, p<0.001, n=41) and Saint Paul (97.3% vs 8.1%, p<0.001, n=37). The average proportion of tobacco inventory that was unflavoured increased significantly in Minneapolis (42.9%±2.7% vs 56.7%±3.1%, p=0.002) and Saint Paul (40.8%±2.5% vs 70.3%±1.9%, p<0.001). Flavoured tobacco was available at significantly fewer convenience and grocery stores in Minneapolis (39.0%, p<0.001) and Saint Paul (8.1%, p<0.001) than in the comparison city of Brooklyn Park (100%, n=14). Most retailers complied with these policies by removing flavoured tobacco from their shelves.
Conclusions Policies that restrict the sale of flavoured tobacco to adult-only tobacco shops are associated with decreased availability of flavoured tobacco in convenience and grocery stores and increased proportion of tobacco inventory that is unflavoured.
- tobacco industry
- public policy
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