Date of Award

Spring 4-29-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Lucy Popova

Second Advisor

Xianming Fang

Third Advisor

Zongshuan Duan


Authors: Christopher Malarcher

Title: Tobacco Industry Corrective Statements in Retail Stores in Fulton County, Georgia

Background: In 2022, a federal court ordered the tobacco industry to display signs in retail stores featuring 17 corrective statements about the health effects and addictiveness of cigarette smoking. The order requires the statements to be randomly distributed and displayed in highly visible locations. The goal of the study was to examine whether the statements are correctly displayed.

Methods: One hundred retail stores in Fulton County, Georgia were randomly selected from the tobacco industry’s list submitted to the Court. Surveyors visited the selected stores during February 2024 and used an electronic survey to abstract information on the statements and tobacco promotions and sales. Logistic regression models were used to examine whether the distribution of corrective statements varied by the proportion of residents who were African American and the percent of persons with incomes below the poverty level in the store’s census tract using data from the 2020 Census.

Results: Ninety-one stores were able to be surveyed (58.2% were convenience stores). Interior signs were absent in 16.5% of the stores and 18.5% of the interior statements were not visible to the customer. Statements were randomly distributed across the stores (chi-squared p-value = 0.0613). However, statements on the health effects of smoking increased as the percentage of African Americans increased (Wald statistic p-value = 0.0343). Almost all stores had interior tobacco promotions (94.5%). In addition to cigarettes most stores also sold cigarillos (93.4%) and other tobacco products (68.1%).

Conclusions: There was high rate of noncompliance with the court-ordered corrective statements in Fulton County, Georgia. In addition, the relationship between the percent African Americans in the store’s census tract and signs about smoking’s health effects may indicate non-random distribution. Tobacco promotions and sales were ubiquitous across all stores and likely significantly detracted from the visibility and impact of the corrective statements.


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