Online Program

Operation Storefront: Education To and From Youth on the Access to Tobacco Laws that Target Them

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mara Aussendorf, Research and Evaluation, Public Health Management Corporation, Philadelphia, PA
Jeffrey Turner, MPH, Research and Evaluation Group, Public Health Management Corporation, Philadelphia, PA
Jamie Miller, MSW, MSPH, Tobacco Control, Health Promotion Council, Philadelphia, PA
Michael Halenar, MPH, Health Promotion Council, Philadelphia, PA
Operation Storefront shows teens firsthand how tobacco companies advertise in order to manipulate them into buying tobacco products. By assessing the prevalence of youth targeting and FDA violations, teens become educated themselves, as well as educate merchants in their communities on tobacco youth sales laws. Health Promotions Council (HPC) educated approximately 100 students ages 13-17 on targeted tobacco sales by facilitating data collection regarding tobacco advertisements, promotions, and products sold throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA). Teens visited tobacco stores annually for three years, observing sales strategies that target them and educating merchants on youth access to tobacco laws. HPC employed specific measures to ensure that the most disparately impacted populations were reached by contracting community-based organizations in the most underserved areas of their region. In 2014, students visited 663 stores across all seven counties of SEPA, particularly reaching those in low-income neighborhoods. Of these stores, students educated nearly 90% of the merchants about youth access to tobacco laws. Analysis of their data collection demonstrated increased advertising at stores in view of schools and parks, and higher averages of e-cigarette advertisements on doors/windows than smokeless tobacco and cigars – though, less than cigarette advertisements. Overall, youth targeting trends – such as placing products near candy, at lower heights, or in flavored form – are decreasing since 2012. The initiative promotes healthy tobacco policies for teens, which succeeds in both educating their community as well as learning themselves about tobacco laws. Their observations inform future youth sales enforcement work and expand youth advocacy efforts.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Assess the prevalence of youth targeting in stores that sell tobacco. Describe the means by which tobacco companies place products and advertisements in and around their stores in order to target youth. Discuss the benefits of teens as both students and educators of tobacco sales tactics aimed at them.

Keyword(s): Tobacco Control, Youth

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a project assistant at Public Health Management Corporation, I am currently conducting research projects on tobacco control and youth health education and advocacy. During my time as a student, I led a quantitative study evaluating student workshops for Macalester College's Director of Academic Programs and conducted qualitative research on child and adolescent health and health development. I hold research interests in the education, advocacy, and health of children and young adults.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.