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Sales to Minors, Corporate Brands, and Assurances of Voluntary Compliance

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Objectives: Assurances of Voluntary Compliance (AVCs) are multi-state agreements among as many as 47 state attorneys general and 16 corporations that require specialized retailer training to reduce tobacco sales to minors. In this study, we examined whether AVCs improve compliance. Methods: We created a subset of public data from US Food and Drug Administration (2012-2017) inspections at retail locations (N =101,356) for 16 corporations bound by an AVC in at least one state. We compared retailer violation rates (RVRs) by corporate brand and used generalized linear mixed models to test whether locations covered by AVCs were less likely to fail inspections. Results: RVR ranged from 4.2% (Rite Aid) to 24.0% (ConocoPhillips) and was 7.7% at Walmart, the largest tobacco retailer in the US. For 15 of 16 corporate brands, the RVR exceeded the Healthy People 2020 goal of 5%. AVCs were associated with a significantly lower likelihood of a violation at only 4 of 16 corporate brands. At Walgreens and Walmart, stores in states with AVCs had significantly higher likelihood of violations. Conclusions: Longitudinal evaluations of AVCs are warranted to determine whether these interventions are efficacious. Regardless, pressure and penalties should be applied to corporations for selling tobacco to underage customers.
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Keywords: ADOLESCENT HEALTH; COMMERCE; FORMAL; GOVERNMENT REGULATION; SOCIAL CONTROL; TOBACCO PRODUCTS; US FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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