News and Events

Tobacco Control Advocates in Highlands County Begin a Survey of Point-of-Sale Tobacco Advertising
June 1, 2016

The Highlands County Tobacco Free Partnership Members and SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) have a new project in the works to assess local tobacco marketing practices at the retail level! This new project is set to begin in Quarter one of our new fiscal year and Tobacco Prevention Specialist Amanda John, will be attending a training to learn more about the new assessments and what that will entail for Highlands County.

“Several of our other counties have already begun participating in this new project and I am so excited to bring this to Highlands County. I’m very anxious to see what this data will show and I am hopeful that this will help initiate additional tobacco control policies within Highlands County, said Amanda.

Tobacco companies spend $10-$13 billion dollars a year to market their products. These companies spend close to $1 billion dollars in Florida alone. This represents $7,700-$10,000 dollars spent to recruit each of the 1.3 million new teenage smokers who pick up their first cigarette every year.

Eighty-five percent of that total is spent on point-of-sale marketing. This type of marketing includes contracts, product placement, sign placement, and price breaks. This aggressive marketing floods our stores with images and objects that promote smoking. Exterior ads are used to expose the entire community to tobacco messages. Children are 3 times more sensitive than adults to current tobacco advertising and marketing.

Tobacco Free Partnership members and SWAT youth will be assessing stores in Highlands County to gain more information and data on the marketing of these products. The stores are being assessed with a store mapper tool provided by

The Store Mapper is an interactive mapping website that allows advocates to find and display local tobacco retailer data. The Mapper also analyzes and displays relationships between tobacco retail and other important locations such as youth venues (schools and parks), and between neighborhood variables such as tobacco retailer density and level of household poverty.

The policy section of the Store Mapper allows you to evaluate the impact of potential point of sale policies. Reports and maps that show the locations affected by proposed policies reducing the number and density of retail outlets, such as: pharmacy bans, stores-near-schools-or parks bans, or retailer proximity restrictions.

This is an initial stage to build an alertness of the issues regarding point of sale marketing, and will provide education for change. This data will also aid to evaluate policy implementation and compliance. If you would like more information about this project or if you would like to be involved contact