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Tobacco Free Florida Tackles Harmful Marketing at the Point-of-Sale in Okaloosa County

June 13, 2022


FORT WALTON BEACH, FLA. — Bans on traditional forms of advertising for tobacco and nicotine products have grown. In response, tobacco companies have increased brand exposure and price promotion at the point-of-sale (POS)8. Increased exposure to marketing at the POS is a major public health concern because it:

  1. Familiarizes tobacco and nicotine products7
  2. Promotes acceptability of product usage6
  3. Reduces the negative health effects associated with product usage3
  4. Increases unplanned product purchases2
  5. Discourages quitting among current smokers4
  6. Encourages smoking and vaping in young adults5
  7. Strengthens likelihood of smoking after exposure1

Tobacco companies are aware of the negative and influential behaviors associated with exposure to their advertisements at the POS. Tobacco companies spending over 85% of their annual advertising budget on POS marketing clearly indicates this8.

Reliable research methods for measuring exposure to POS advertisements are therefore needed to:

  1. Determine their impact
  2. Justify policy change
  3. Improve tobacco prevention and cessation efforts

The Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County in conjunction with Tobacco Free Florida strives to realize such research methods. Tobacco Free Florida Providers and Tobacco Free Partnership Members in Okaloosa County are working to create a heathier environment at the POS by:

  1. Conducting local surveillance
  2. Energizing local task forces
  3. Educating community constituents

“To improve the health of Okaloosa County residents we must better understand the effects of point-of-sale advertising,” said Elizabeth Smith, Health Officer of the Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County. “From there we can work on how to reduce these promotional exposures, especially among young adults.”

Tobacco Free Florida Provider, Logan Goodson, and Okaloosa County Tobacco Free Partnership Member, Megan Cassell Pina, completed over 90 tobacco retail store reviews between the months of March and April in 2022. Data obtained from these tobacco retail store reviews will aid in informing local tobacco prevention and cessation efforts in Okaloosa County.

If you would like to learn more or become involved, please contact Tobacco Free Florida Provider, Logan Goodson, at

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health, please visit

About Tobacco Free Florida

The Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s Tobacco Settlement Fund. Since the program began in 2007, more than 254,000 Floridians have successfully quit using one of Tobacco Free Florida's free tools and services. There are now approximately 451,000 fewer adult smokers in Florida than there was 10 years ago, and the state has saved $17.7 billion in health care costs. 

To learn more about Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way services, visit or follow the campaign on Facebook at or on Twitter at




1 Burton, S., Clark, L., & Jackson, K. (2012). The association between seeing retail displays of tobacco and tobacco smoking and purchase: findings from a diary-style survey. Addiction, 107(1), 169-175. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03584.x.

2 Carter, O. B., Mills, B. W., & Donovan, R. J. (2009). The effect of retail cigarette pack displays on unplanned purchases: results from immediate post purchases interviews. Tobacco Control, 18(3), 218-221.

3 Dewhirst, T. (2004). POP goes the power wall? Taking aim at tobacco promotional strategies utilized at retail. Tobacco Control, 13(3), 209-210. doi:10.1136/tc.2004.009043.

4 Germain, D., McCarthy, M., & Wakefield, M. (2010). Smoker sensitivity to retail tobacco displays: a cohort study. Addiction, 105(1), 159-163. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02714x.

5 Henriksen, L., Schleicher, N. C., Feighery, E. C., & Fortmann, S. P. (2010). A longitudinal study of exposure to retail cigarette advertising and smoking initiation. Pediatrics, 126(2), 232-238. doi:10.1542/peds.2009-3021.

6 Ling, P. M., & Glantz, S. A. (2002). Why and how the tobacco industry sells cigarettes to young adults: evidence from industry documents. American Journal of Public Health, 92(6), 908-916. doi:10.2105/ajph.92.6.908.

7 Robertson, L., McGee, R., Marsh, L., & Hoek, J. (2014). A systematic review on the impact of point-of-sale tobacco promotion on smoking. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 17(1), 2-17. doi:10.1093/ntr/ntu168.

8 Robinson, J. D., Drobes, D. J., Brandon, T. H., Wetter, D. W., & Cincirpini, P. M. (2016). Evaluating point of sale tobacco marketing using behavioral laboratory methods. Tobacco Regulatory Science, 2(4), 414-425. doi:10.18001/TRS.2.4.11.

9 Stead, M., Eadie, D., MacKintosh, A. M., Best, C., Miller, M., Haseen, F., . . . Haw, S. (2016). Young people's exposure to point-of-sale tobacco products and promotions. Public Health, 136, 48-56. doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2016.03.032.