The Creation of a Tool to Document and Describe Tobacco Power Walls

Bryn Hannon, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Introduction: Tobacco companies rely heavily on point of sale (POS) marketing because of strong marketing restrictions imposed as part of the Master Settlement Agreement. The power wall, a large, prominent shelving display placed behind a retail counter, is a major component of POS marketing. Research has shown that exposure to POS tobacco marketing influences use behaviors in youth, however, little work has been done to understand the power wall components. This project introduces a new method to examine tobacco power walls, as well as describes the composition of power walls in 122 retail outlets near schools in urban Texas.^ Methods: The tool was created with FileMaker Pro® and FileMakerGo® and installed on an iPod Touch® to collect photos that allow for detailed coding. Retail outlets located within a half mile of middle and/or high schools participating in the Texas Adolescent Tobacco and Marketing Surveillance Study (TATAMS) or within a mile of colleges and/or universities participating in the Marketing and Promotions across Colleges in Texas (M-PACT) Study in the four largest cities in Texas were surveyed in the spring of 2016. The final outlet analysis dataset included 311 individual outlets with complete data including convenience stores with or without gas, grocery stores, drug stores or pharmacies, discount stores, and others.^ Results: Data collected included the type and number of product units on display in a power wall, including cigarettes, small cigars/cigarillos, large cigars, smokeless tobacco, and electronic cigarettes/vape pens. Unflavored tobacco and nicotine products made up 47% power the power walls, while menthol products were 28.3% and flavored products were 9.1%. The most predominant cigarette brand was Marlboro (47.7%), the most predominant small cigar brand was Swisher Sweets (26.9%), the most predominant brand of e-cigarettes was Vuse (26.1%), and the most predominant brand of smokeless tobacco was Copenhagen (26.8%). Cigarettes made up the largest proportion of all tobacco and nicotine products at 65%. Percent agreement between coders was 30.4%.^ Conclusion: It is feasible to document and describe the power wall. This tool allows researchers to compare the distribution of tobacco and nicotine products by flavor, brand, and store type. While percent agreement between coders was low, another statistical method may be a more appropriate measure of inter-rater reliability.^

Subject Area

Marketing|Public health

Recommended Citation

Hannon, Bryn, "The Creation of a Tool to Document and Describe Tobacco Power Walls" (2017). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10272064.