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Visibility of tobacco products and advertisement at the point of sale: a systematic audit of retailers in Amsterdam

08 Oct 2018


Visibility of tobacco products at the point of sale (PoS), in settings where open display of tobacco is allowed, is one of the last remaining ways in which the tobacco industry can legally promote their products. The aim of this study was to map the visibility of tobacco products and advertisement both inside and outside retailers, among different types of retailers.


The study was conducted in two districts in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


All potential tobacco retailers were visited within the districts, and were mapped using Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates.


Observational data was collected for each tobacco retailer using a checklist with characteristics of the internal and external visibility of tobacco products and advertisement. Retailers were categorised into supermarkets, hospitality industry, tobacconists and ‘other retailers’ (convenience stores, office supply stores, gas stations, drug stores and telephone communication stores). Data were collected in April-May 2017.


Eighty-two tobacco retailers were identified. Among all retailers, 52.4% had external and 91.5% internal visibility of tobacco products. Tobacconists had the highest level of internal and external visibility of tobacco products (both 100%), followed by ‘other retailers’ (100% and 56% respectively) and supermarkets (79% and 47%, respectively). Retailers in the hospitality industry had low external visibility (28%), but high internal visibility (90%), as 83% sold tobacco through vending machines.


Visibility of tobacco products was high among all types of retailers, including those previous studies show are commonly visited by youth.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open