Friday, December 7, 2012
Study: Teenagers may buy fewer cigarettes if the product is not prominently displayed
The study was conducted using a virtual reality game where teens, ages 13 to 17, "visited" simulated stores to purchase items. In some cases, the cigarettes were displayed behind the counter; in others, they were covered up. The researchers from RTI International found that 16 to 24 percent of teens tried to buy tobacco when the display was open, compared to 9 to 11 percent when it was closed. Thirty-two percent said they were aware cigarettes were available when the display case was closed , compared to 85 percent of those who had the open version.
Dr. Michael Siegel, of the Boston University School of Public Health, told Pittman that the study was interesting but he was skeptical of extrapolating it into real life. Real life kids, he said, will go to a store when they want to buy cigarettes. "I don't know how many situations there are when a kid is hanging out in a convenience store with nothing to do and says, 'Oh, I'll just try a cigarette as long as they're here.' "(Read more)