FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 16, 2005
Contact: PJ Callahan, Board of County Commissioner's Office
Youth Participant Media
Retailers Asked to Examine Tobacco and Alcohol Marketing and Merchandising
PORT ORCHARD, WA—Do Kitsap grocery retailers market and merchandize tobacco
and alcohol in a way that encourages underage use? That is the question a
group of 25 youth and adult volunteers set out to answer on October 29.
Breaking into small teams, the group surveyed 50% of the 140 grocery stores
in Kitsap County as
part of the “Hands Off Halloween!” Community Survey.
Based on their observations, the group found 44% of the
stores used advertising images that appeal to youth (i.e. race cars,
inflatable toys and cartoon characters), and 54% had alcohol products or
alcohol-related advertising placed close to youth items (i.e. toys, candy or
Some shocking or surprising finds included “a row of a
Budweiser right above a row of pop,” “a cute puppy holding a beer container”
and “lighters by candy where kids could play with them.” Others observed
prominently displayed Halloween-related decorations over beer displays and
on cooler doors.
The stores surveyed fared slightly better when it came to
tobacco observations. 96% of the stores surveyed secured cigarettes
adequately, while 74% secured other tobacco products (i.e. chewing tobacco
and cigars) adequately. Only 29% used ads that appeal to youth, and 30% had
tobacco products or advertising placed close to youth items.
According to Mary Ellen de la Pena, coordinator of the survey
group, the good news is “a number of stores were open to suggestions from
the survey team for changing how they do business.” “Some stores have cut
down on the number of tobacco and alcohol advertisements, and several store
managers asked survey teams about how they could do a better job advertising
and placing alcohol and tobacco products."
As a result of their observations, the survey team offered
the following five tips to retailers to help reduce underage use of adult
products and the perception that adult products are readily available to
Reduce the number of
alcohol and tobacco advertisements inside and outside the store.
Ensure all tobacco
products (including chewing tobacco and cigars) are behind the counter
or in a locked cabinet.
Put alcohol products in
a place separate from soft drinks and away from toys and candy.
Eliminate use of images
and items attractive to underage youth to sell alcohol and tobacco.
(i.e., race cars, cartoons, stuffed animals, sports-related icons).
Three small grocery stores, including Westpark Chevron
(Bremerton), Bethel Chevron (Port Orchard) and M & N Market & Deli (Port
Orchard) will be recognized at a Kitsap County Board of Commissioners
meeting on November 28 for their “responsible marketing, merchandising and
sales of alcohol and tobacco products that demonstrates a commitment to the
safety, health and well being of the youth in Kitsap County.”
"Hands Off Halloween" is a national initiative that was started in 1994 by
Laurie Leiber, Director of the Center on Alcohol Advertising, to stop beer
promotion to children. According to Leiber, "An adult product like beer and
a children's holiday don't mix. . . . If the beer manufacturers were telling
the truth when they say they only want to reach adults with their
advertising and promotions, they would agree to stop exploiting images
associated with a children's holiday."
For more information about the survey results, or how retail
stores can help reduce underage use of adult products, contact Mary Ellen de
la Pena at 360-337-4878.