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Surveillance of Tobacco Industry Retail Marketing Activities of Reduced Harm Product

Slater SJ, Giovino G and Chaloupka FJ. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 10(1): 187-193, 2008.

With the introduction of potential reduced exposure products (PREPs) and the interest in studying tobacco harm reduction, sound research and surveillance are needed to examine and understand the distribution and availability of PREPs in communities, as well as the tobacco industry’s marketing practices surrounding these products. We examined the availability and marketing of PREPs in a national sample of tobacco retail stores. We also compared the price of PREPs to those of premium brand cigarettes and examined the distribution of PREPs in comparison with premium brand cigarettes by store type, urbanization, region, and race/ethnicity. We found that PREPs are not widely available, are priced similarly to leading cigarette brands, and have few promotional offers. We also found some significant differences in the distribution of PREPs and cigarettes, as well as in the distribution of Ariva and Omni, by store type and community demographics. The fact that this study used data collected nationally emphasizes the importance of these findings and helps shed some light on the tobacco industry’s PREP marketing strategies. This study’s national sample provides a unique perspective that needs to be replicated if and when other PREPs are widely marketed.

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