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Interviews with Tobacco Retailers to Inform Retailer Education

Principal Investigator: Sarah Thorne and Greta Tessman

Funding Mechanism: Research Contract

ID number: HHSF223200510007I / HHSF22301003T

Award Date: 2/4/2013

Institution: Decision Partners

Tobacco retailers are responsible for complying with FDA regulations related to the sale, distribution, and marketing of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, which were designed in part to reduce tobacco initiation and use among youth, and face penalties if they do not comply. The goal of this project is to better understand the factors impacting retailer compliance with FDA regulations, including (but not limited to) awareness and understanding of new tobacco regulations; conceptualization of the health risks associated with tobacco and nicotine; perceptions of the addictiveness of nicotine and youth vulnerability to addiction; self-efficacy around regulation implementation; and motivators and rewards for compliance. This project includes three phases. Phase 1 was a literature review that described the retailer “audience” and summarized what is known about retailer beliefs, practices, and communication programs (completed in 2011). Phase 2 involved 20 interviews with key stakeholders, such as leaders of retailer trade associations, community members, law enforcement personnel, and health educators (completed in 2012). Phase 3, to be completed in Spring 2014, will involve 99 telephone and in-person interviews with tobacco retailers in Seattle, WA, Raleigh-Durham, NC, and Cleveland, OH. Phase 3 participants will include a representative mix of roles (e.g., owners, managers, clerks), business sizes (e.g., mom-and-pop stores, small retail chains, large retail chains), and locations (e.g., urban, suburban, rural); interview topics will include retailer motivations, attitudes, behaviors, communication practices, influencers and compliance challenges related to new tobacco regulations. These research efforts may provide FDA with insights into the decision-making processes of tobacco retailers, and may inform the development of retailer communication strategies and a targeted educational campaign. 

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