Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Impact of a ban on the open display of tobacco products in retail outlets on never smoking youth in the UK: findings from a repeat cross-sectional survey before, during and after implementation
  1. Allison Ford1,2,
  2. Anne Marie MacKintosh1,2,
  3. Crawford Moodie1,2,
  4. Mirte A G Kuipers3,
  5. Gerard B Hastings1,2,
  6. Linda Bauld2,4
  1. 1 Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK
  2. 2 UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK
  3. 3 Department of Public Health, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  4. 4 Usher Institute, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Allison Ford, Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, UK;{at}


Background In the UK, a ban on the open display of tobacco products at the point of sale (POS) was phased in between 2012 and 2015. We explored any impact of the ban on youth before, during and after implementation.

Methods A repeat cross-sectional in-home survey with young people aged 11–16 years old in the UK was conducted preban (2011, n=1373), mid-ban (2014, n=1205) and postban (2016, n=1213). The analysis focuses on the never-smokers in the sample (n=2953 in total). Preban, we quantified the associations of noticing cigarettes displayed at POS and cigarette brand awareness with smoking susceptibility. We measured any change in noticing cigarettes displayed at POS, cigarette brand awareness and smoking susceptibility between preban, mid-ban and postban. Postban, we assessed support for a display ban, perceived appeal of cigarettes and perceived acceptability of smoking as a result of closed displays.

Results Preban, noticing cigarettes displayed at POS (adjusted OR [AOR]=1.97, 95% CI 1.30 to 2.98) and higher brand awareness (AOR=1.15, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.29) were positively associated with smoking susceptibility. The mean number of brands recalled declined from 0.97 preban to 0.69 postban (p<0.001). Smoking susceptibility decreased from 28% preban to 23% mid-ban and 18% postban (p for trend <0.001). Postban, 90% of never-smokers supported the display ban and indicated that it made cigarettes seem unappealing (77%) and made smoking seem unacceptable (87%).

Conclusions Both partial and full implementation of a display ban were followed by a reduction in smoking susceptibility among adolescents, which may be driven by decreases in brand awareness.

  • advertising and promotion
  • prevention
  • public policy

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See:

View Full Text

Statistics from


  • Correction notice Please note this article has been updated since it was published Online First. The license was updated from CC-BY-NC to CC-BY.

  • Contributors AF and AMM conceived the paper and designed the study. AMM prepared and analysed the data. AF, AMM and MAGK drafted the manuscript. CM, LB, GBH and MAGK contributed to the interpretation of data and critically revised the manuscript at various stages. All authors read and approved the final version.

  • Funding This work was supported by grants from Cancer Research UK (C312/A8721, C312/A15192, C8656/A20456). The funder had no role in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the paper; or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval was granted by the University of Stirling. Participants and their parents/guardians gave informed consent before taking part.

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

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

Request Permissions

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.