Tobacco companies' use of retailer incentives after a ban on point-of-sale tobacco displays in Scotland.

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION

Incentives have been used by tobacco companies for many years to encourage retailers to sell and promote their products. However, few studies have examined the use of retailer incentives in countries with a ban on the open display of tobacco products in stores.

METHODS

As part of the DISPLAY(Determining the Impact of Smoking Point of Sale Legislation Among Youth) study, annual qualitative interviews were conducted with 24 small retailers in four Scottish communities. This article focuses on data collected in June to July 2015 and June to July 2016 after a ban on the open display of tobacco was fully implemented in Scotland.

RESULTS

Retailers described being offered and benefiting from a range of financial and other incentives, typically offered via tobacco company representatives ('reps'). Most of the retailers received tobacco manufacturer support for converting their storage unit to be compliant with the new regulations, and several participated in manufacturer 'loyalty' or 'reward' schemes. Incentives were additionally offered for maintaining stock levels and availability, positioning brands in specified spaces in the public-facing storage units (even though products were covered up), increasing sales, trialling new products and participating in specific promotions, such as verbally recommending specific brands to customers.

CONCLUSIONS

Even in a market where the open display of tobacco is prohibited, tobacco companies continue to incentivise retailers to sell and promote their brands and have developed new promotional strategies. For countries that have implemented tobacco display bans, or are considering doing so, one option to combat these practices would be to ban promotional communications between manufacturers and retailers.

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