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Prev Chronic Dis. 2019 Sep 19;16:E129. doi: 10.5888/pcd16.180614.

Advancing Tobacco Control Through Point of Sale Policies, Providence, Rhode Island.

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Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Department of Health, Providence, Rhode Island.
Brown University School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, 121 South Main St, Providence, RI 02912. Email:


Local point of sale (POS) policies are key strategies for preventing and decreasing tobacco use among youth. In January 2013, Providence, Rhode Island implemented a comprehensive POS tobacco policy restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products and discounts of tobacco product prices. Lack of sustained funding for enforcement has been challenging. Our research focuses on the policy evaluation after enforcement began. We observed a decrease in availability of flavored tobacco products as citations for violations increased. However, we observed little change in the availability of flavored tobacco products with ambiguous descriptors that connote a flavor. Current use (within 30 days before survey) of tobacco products among high school students declined after the policy was enforced. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that POS tobacco policies are effective. The tobacco industry's marketing of products that do not explicitly reference flavors might undermine enforcement of POS tobacco restrictions in Providence and elsewhere in the United States.

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