A statewide assessment of Oregon retailers that carry tobacco shows the massive reach of tobacco industry marketing.
The assessment highlights ads and products designed to appeal to youth, as well as heavy marketing to communities of color and people living with lower incomes.
The Oregon Health Authority worked with county health department staff, tribes, community partners and volunteers across the state to conduct the assessment of nearly 2,000 Oregon tobacco retailers. A report of the findings were released in July 2019, along with recommended strategies to make retail outlets healthier for all Oregonians.
“The tobacco industry spends more than $100 million per year to market its products in Oregon communities,” said Lillian Shirley, director of the OHA Public Health Division.
“It pours most of this money into convenience stores, grocery stores and other retailers where people shop daily. They know that kids who see tobacco marketing are more likely to start smoking and that tobacco ads trigger cravings for people trying to quit. “Read the full statewide Tobacco Retail Assessment Report for more information.
See results specifically from Deschutes County, below:
- 92 percent of tobacco retailers sold fruit- and candy-flavored e-cigarettes or cigarillos.
- Four out of five Oregon youth who have used tobacco started with a flavored product.
- 71 percent of retailers used coupons and other discounts to make tobacco more affordable.
- Tobacco advertising appeared on the outside of nearly 50 percent of stores in the assessment.
- Inside the stores, 32 percent of retailers placed tobacco products next to candy and toys.
- 72 percent of tobacco retailers advertised cigarillos or little cigars from less than $1.
The report comes at a time when communities are increasingly concerned about flavored tobacco use among youth, especially e-cigarette products like Juul. In 2018, Oregon began enforcing a new tobacco minimum legal sales age of 21. Initial results of the law show it may reduce the number of youth who start smoking. The new retail assessment report illustrates that more work remains to be done.