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Changes in cigarillo availability following implementation of a local flavoured tobacco sales restriction


Introduction Providence, Rhode Island (RI) was among the first US jurisdictions to enact a policy (effective 3 January 2013) restricting the retail sale of non-cigarette tobacco products with a characterising flavour other than the taste or aroma of tobacco, menthol, mint or wintergreen. We used scanner data to assess the impact of this sales restriction on retail availability of cigarillos, flavoured and otherwise, in Providence and a rest-of-state (ROS) comparison area.

Methods Every unique cigarillo product—each indicated by a universal product code (UPC)—available for sale in RI from January 2012 to December 2016 was assigned to an exclusive flavour-name category (tobacco; explicit or concept flavour; or menthol/mint) based on characteristics in the scanner dataset and, as necessary, information from online websites. We calculated weekly unique cigarillo UPC counts and market share by flavour category and used difference-in-difference regression to assess prepolicy and postpolicy changes in counts and share in Providence relative to ROS.

Results The prepolicy to postpolicy decrease in the number of unique cigarillo products available in Providence was 28.64 (±5.83) UPCs greater than the comparable decrease in ROS (p<0.05). The prepolicy to postpolicy increase in the number of unique concept-named flavoured cigarillo products in Providence was 6.08 (±2.31) UPCs greater than the increase in ROS (p<0.05). The postpolicy market share of concept-named flavoured cigarillos was higher in Providence (27.32%, ±1.77) than ROS (12.67%, ±1.67) (p<0.05).

Conclusions After policy implementation, Providence consumers were exposed to fewer cigarillo UPCs but a greater variety and proportion of concept-named flavoured cigarillos in the retail marketplace.

  • non-cigarette tobacco products
  • packaging and labelling
  • public policy

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