It may be illegal to advertise cigarettes to kids, but tobacco companies are still trying to start kids on smoking because they know that once they hook them, it will be incredibly hard for them to quit.

A new Canadian study reports that tobacco marketers have found a way around tobacco advertising restrictions, by reaching teens through the retail shops located near high schools–and this strategy is working.

Researcher Candace Nykiforuk says, "At the time of the study, we found that, compared to retail stores near schools with low smoking prevalence, stores near schools with high smoking prevalence had significantly lower prices per cigarette, more in-store promotions and fewer government-sponsored health warnings." The tobacco marketing activity that takes place in stores, known as point-of-purchase (PoP) marketing, is a sophisticated strategy designed to counter positive public health initiatives such as tax increases on tobacco, policies restricting cigarette advertising, and anti-smoking legislation. US-based studies have estimated that three out of four adolescents visit retail shops at least once a week, which makes the retail store a powerful venue where teens can be exposed routinely to PoP marketing.

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