Assessing change in tobacco visibility at point-of-sale following a display ban

Douglas Eadie, Catherine S. Best, Martin Stead, Anne Marie MacKintosh, Nathan Critchlow, Richard Purves, James R. Pearce, Dorothy Bruce Currie, Gozde Ozakinci, Amanda Amos, Andy S. MacGregor, Sally Haw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: In this paper, we describe a point-of-sale (POS) tobacco visibility tool and examine its utility for assessing changes in visibility following legislation banning tobacco displays. Methods: An observational tool was developed as part of DISPLAY, a multimodal, longitudinal study evaluating the impact of the tobacco POS display ban in Scotland. Measures were taken of product and storage unit visibility, over 5 years, pre- and post-implementation in all retail outlets selling tobacco in 4 contrasting study areas (N = 103). Results: Data generated by the visibility tool illustrated that whereas the display ban had reduced product visibility, it had little impact on reducing visibility of tobacco storage units. However, it did narrow the inequality gap in storage visibility. It also found some shop types reduced product visibility before legally required to do so. Conclusions: The DISPLAY visibility tool provides a reliable method for measuring visibility of tobacco displays before and after implementation of POS legislation. Tobacco product visibility reduced as expected following implementation of the legislation, but storage unit visibility persisted, providing residual cues of tobacco availability which may confound the effects of the legislation. The DISPLAY tool has the potential to be utilized in countries planning POS display bans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-28
Number of pages19
JournalTobacco Regulatory Science
Issue number3
Early online date1 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • Tobacco marketing
  • Point-of-sale
  • Display ban
  • Retail audit
  • Measuring visibility


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