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A Review of Cigarette Marketing in Canada -- 2nd Edition -- Spring 1999


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Health Canada Survey Shows
Retail Promotions on the Rise

On behalf of Health Canada, ACNielsen has conducted three annual surveys of Canadian retail promotion of cigarettes (in September 1996, 1997 and 1998).  Each year, they found that retail promotion was growing -- in spite of the 1997 Tobacco Act, which had been intended to restrict tobacco promotion.

In 1998, ACNielsen found:

  • Retail promotion of cigarettes is growing.

Tobacco Point of Sale (POS) promotions have increased by 8% in the past three years (from 36% of stores to 39.1%)

  • The most likely stores to carry tobacco POS (and the stores which have the highest number of tobacco POS per store) are convenience chains.

Over half (54%) of all convenience changes had at least one tobacco POS.

On average, convenience chains with ads posted 2.3 promotional pieces per store compared with 1.9 pieces for all stores types combined.

  • Counter-top displays are the most common form of tobacco POS.

These displays have increased by 45% in the past three years (from 13.6% of stores to 19.8% of stores). In New Brunswick and Manitoba, counter-top displays have doubled in the past year.

  • Convenience stores and pharmacies are more likely to carry counter top displays and other promotions when the stores are near schools and malls than when they are not.

59% of convenience stores near schools carry tobacco POS, compared with 50% away from schools. (for pharmacies, the numbers are 25.9% and 22.8%.)

  • Retail promotion varies significantly by province.

Not one of the 85 retailers surveyed in Prince Edward Island carried tobacco POS, but more than half did in Ontario and Alberta.

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This poster for Rothmans racing is placed direclty above a comic book rack.

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This retailer placed a poster for a Craven A promotion at children's eye level outside his store.


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The most common point of purchase promotion is counter-top displays - like this one placed at children's eye level --- and right beside caramel candies.


For more information on retail promotion of cigarettes, down load a PSC backgrounder in PDF format.



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Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada
(PSC) is a national health organization, founded in 1985 as a registered charity. We are a unique organization of Canadian physicians who share one goal: the reduction of tobacco-caused illness through reduced smoking and reduced exposure to second-hand smoke.

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