By Sarah Damien
No one understands the importance of Tobacco Retail Licensing (TRL) and Point of Sale (POS) Marketing like Big Tobacco. Retail stores, especially convenience stores, are a major way that youth have access to tobacco products either through illegal underage purchase, theft, or purchase by an older friend. Advertising in these stores is a key component to Big Tobacco’s marketing to today’s youth. The retail environment lets companies communicate directly to the consumer especially since the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act banned advertising on television, radio, and billboards. It is at the point of sale where the tobacco industry’s messages continue to reach and appeal to kids.
Protecting the next generation is why training on TRL/POS is so crucial for tobacco prevention efforts. It is the key reason why QuitDoc Foundation arranged a training for Tobacco Prevention Specialists and Point of Sale Task Force members to share strategies for creating new policies in local government. This is a collaborative effort that has reached across many counties in the state of Florida with key speakers with experience passing new tobacco ordinances. Presenters included Brittany Chatman, who serves as the Statewide Tobacco Policy Manager for the Point of Sale policy area for Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida; Ryan McGuire the tobacco prevention specialist at the department of Health-Alachua with a Masters of Public Health; Kim Waser Nash whose Martin County Tobacco Free Partnership helped pass the Tobacco 21 ordinance in 2020; Kyleigh Savoie, the Community Health Advocate for Indian River County with a BA in Sociology and currently working towards her Masters in Public Health focusing on Epidemiology; and rounding out the panel Dr. Barry Hummel, CEO of QuitDoc Foundation and Pediatrician and main presenter.
Dr. Hummel’s presentation focused the health equity and social justice issues exacerbated by the tobacco industries tactics that encourage underage tobacco use, and the history of TRL/POS legislation. Changing local policy is critically important now so that Florida counties can align state laws with federal laws like changing the age of purchase to 21, implementing flavor bans across all products or instituting financial penalties for stores that violate these ordinances. A recording of the presentation as well as highlight clips can be found online at: https://www.quitdoc.com/trl-and-pos-webinar.html.