Cigarette point-of-sale advertising is highly prevalent in the capital cities of Guatemala and Argentina, indicating that these two Latin American countries need comprehensive tobacco advertising bans that include point-of-sale restrictions. The findings are based on a study conducted in Guatemala City and Buenos Aires.

All 240 stores in the study sold cigarettes in close proximity to candy. It has been suggested that such placement encourages teenagers to see tobacco as harmless and as common as candy.

Sixty percent of stores in Guatemala and 80 percent of stores in Argentina had cigarette ads. In Guatemala, cigarettes were displayed on top of the counter in 100 percent of big stores, 54 percent of small stores and 83 percent of supermarkets. Only in gas stations, most (56 percent) cigarettes were displayed behind the counter, but still in sight. In Argentina, cigarettes were displayed on top of the counter in 90 percent of big stores and in 77 percent of small stores.

Tobacco point-of-sale advertising has been found to increase brand recognition and teenagers’ perception about the ease of purchasing cigarettes.

1. Barnoya J, Mejia R, Szeinman D, Kummerfeldt CE. Tobacco point-of-sale advertising in Guatemala City, Guatemala and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Tobacco Control 2010; 19: 338-341. (open access)