Bookshelf: Required reading to respond to common concerns

I spend a fair amount of time talking with local tobacco prevention specialists who are embarking on retail environment work for the first time; it’s one of my favorite things to do and part of the reason why I started this blog. When I give talks, people have questions, and I suggest places for further reading. Here are some bits of info that came up last week:
1. Community Mobilization to Reduce Points-of-Purchase Advertising of Tobacco Products : This is an article by Todd Rogers (now at RTI) and has to do with a community in California banding together to enforce a sign code that limited the amount of signage (any kind of signage) that could be on a store window. Content neutral sign ordinances make towns prettier, and make it easier to see in and out of shops which is beneficial for police departments and retailers. The important thing to remember, here is that the community did not pass any NEW regulation to BAN advertising — that is not a recommended strategy because it runs against our First Amendment. Rather, they simply measured violations of current ordinances and rallied to make change. This is an interesting story for any town who has an existing sign code that is not enforced.
After Tobacco
2. After Tobacco: What Would Happen if Americans Stopped Smoking? This is an important book, and my colleague and mentor Dr. Kurt Ribisl has a chapter specifically relating to the retail environment. Many people are concerned that enacting point of sale policies for tobacco prevention would terribly damage the business viability (and therefore life) of the store owner or clerk, and as kind-hearted public health people, that does not sit well with us. The calming news: we have a lot of evidence and theory to suggest this would not happen: jobs remain stable, people spend their “cigarette money” on other things in the store. After Tobacco can help local public health workers get more comfortable in this realm.
3. Sometimes retailers voluntarily stop selling tobacco: CVS, Wegman’s and Target are examples. There are two great papers about this happening… “People over Profits”: Retailers Who Voluntarily Ended Tobacco Sales, from 2014 by Patricia McDaniel and Ruth Malone, and an earlier article with case studies from 2011, same authors: Why California retailers stop selling tobacco products, and what their customers and employees think about it when they do: case studies. Again, local public health grantees may find this interesting as they begin conversations in the community about the problem at point of sale, and possibilities for making change. Knowing that retailers are not required to sell tobacco is important because it sets a new social norm.


4. For folks interested in media advocacy, here are two interesting scientific manuscripts about Letters to the Editor and how they are unique from other news content, yet still remarkably important: Australian Letters to the Editor on Tobacco: Triggers, Rhetoric, and Claims of Legitimate Voice, and “Anti-Smoking Data are Exaggerated” Versus “The Data are Clear and Indisputable”: Examining Letters to the Editor About Tobacco from colleague Sarah Moreland-Russell at the Center for Public Health Systems Science at Washington University in St. Louis.


5. One more, from my other home at, a piece on Rebutting Economic Arguments Against POS Tobacco Control.

Hope these are helpful!

Onward for healthier retailers!

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