The tobacco industry increasingly invests in point-of-sale (POS) marketing. In July 2012, New Zealand required the removal of POS tobacco displays concurrently with increased enforcement and penalties for selling tobacco to minors, and additional restrictions on tobacco sponsorship. We evaluated the impact of these measures using a before–after study.Methods
We analysed data from annual surveys of more than 25 000 year 10 (14–15 years) students from 2007 and 2011 to 2014. Measures included prevalence of smoking-related behaviours and strength of association between visiting tobacco-retailing stores and smoking behaviours.Results
Between 2011 and 2014, smoking experimentation (had smoked ever but smoked less than monthly currently) decreased from 23% in 2011 to 17% in 2014 (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 0.73, 95% CI 0.69 to 0.78); current smoking (at least monthly) prevalence from 9% to 7% (aOR 0.71, 0.64 to 0.79) and initiation in the last year from 13% to 11% (aOR 0.91, 0.84 to 0.98). Attempted purchase of cigarettes in the past 30 days among smokers decreased from 30% in 2012 to 26% in 2013 (aOR 0.77, 0.63 to 0.91). Positive associations between frequency of visiting tobacco-retailing stores and smoking-related behaviours weakened post-implementation.Conclusions
The introduction of a POS display ban and concurrent measures was followed by significant reductions in initiation, experimental and regular smoking, attempted purchase of cigarettes, and reduced association between visiting tobacco-retailing stores and smoking behaviours. The findings suggest that POS display bans are important components of strategies to reduce smoking initiation among youth and young people.