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Open Access Improving Retailer Compliance for Tobacco Purchases: Pilot Study Findings

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This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND licence.

Objectives: Those underage should not use tobacco products, including electronic nicotine delivery systems. A technologically-based solution developed by Juul Labs Inc to restrict underage access seeks to automate transactions, structurally mandate age-verification, and limit the quantity of JUUL products purchased per transaction. A pilot of this standards-based approach, referred to as RACS™ (Retail Access Control Standards), was conducted to assess efficacy. Methods: RACS was implemented at 171 stores within 3 retail chains selling tobacco products in 3 states. "Secret shopper" compliance audits, in which a mystery shopper attempted to purchase JUUL products, were conducted at participating stores before and after implementation of RACS, to test compliance with age-verification and product-quantity limits. Audit failure rates were compared pre- and post-RACS implementation to assess effectiveness. Comparisons were made overall, by chain, state, and failure type. Results: A total of 3990 audits were conducted. We found large, statistically significant reductions (p < .001) in failure rates for age-verification and compliance with product-quantity limits after implementing RACS, as compared to pre-RACS rates, declining to near zero. Conclusions: Utilizing enhanced access controls can be part of a comprehensive, evidence-based tobacco-control strategy to address underage use of all tobacco products, including JUUL.

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Keywords: ELECTRONIC NICOTINE DELIVERY SYSTEM; JUUL; RETAILER ACCESS CONTROL STANDARDS; RETAILER COMPLIANCE FOR TOBACCO PURCHASES; YOUTH PREVENTION

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Research Economist, Juul Labs Inc, Washington, DC, United States 2: Director of Health Economics and Policy Research, Juul Labs Inc, Washington, DC, United States 3: Director of Regulatory Product and Trade Strategy, Juul Labs Inc, Washington, DC, United States 4: Senior Manager of Strategy, Juul Labs Inc, Washington, DC, United States 5: Senior Scientific Advisor, PinneyAssociates Inc, Pittsburgh, PA, United States 6: Vice President of Regulatory Engagement, Juul Labs Inc, Washington, DC, United States

Publication date: May 1, 2021

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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