Tobacco & Nicotine Products
Examining routes and sites: A TAPS compliance study in Brazil and China
Background: Federal and local governments forbid certain tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship (TAPS). This pilot study works with community members (college students) to explore the presence of TAPS in Brazil and China, and assess compliance with current TAPS regulations. Methods: In March 2014, local college students from Rio de Janeiro (N=28) and Shanghai (N=30) received the guide “Assessing Compliance with Tobacco Advertising, Promotion, and Sponsorship (TAPS) Bans” and attended a formal two-day training on TAPS, local regulations, and study procedures. Each student collected data on 10 different routes and 10-14 community sites (like schools, retail outlets, restaurants, and health centers). Observations on routes considered the presence of TAPS and assessed compliance with respective in-country regulations. Sites were also examined, considering exterior and interior spaces for the presence of TAPS and regulation compliance. Results: Students walked 641 routes and visited 749 specific sites. Tobacco advertisements, promotions, and sponsorships were on 7.3% of the observed routes. Most (93.7 %) of the Brazilian TAPS were deemed non-compliant, compared to a quarter (25.2%) of the Chinese TAPS (p < 0.001). Considering various sites, TAPS was found on 4.1% and 11.9% of the Brazilian and Chinese exteriors (p< 0.001). Overall, 26.7% of these TAPS were non-compliant, with no significant difference by country. TAPS appeared in 42.2% and 30.3% of the site interiors in Brazil and China (p<0.001). A fourth (25.6%) of the site interiors were non-compliant, regardless of country. Conclusions: This study offers information on natural environments, collected by community members. Walking neighborhood routes in Rio de Janeiro and Shanghai, it is likely that one will see tobacco advertisements, promotions, and sponsorships. On these routes, non-compliance for TAPS regulations was a bigger issue in Brazil than China. Few sites featured TAPS on exteriors; it was more common to observe TAPS in interiors spaces. Non-compliance in both countries was problematic with a quarter of these observations. Study strengths include the wide-range of routes and sites, done by local observers. Limitations are the narrow geography of data collection and that students worked individually, so reliability cannot be determined. Future compliance studies can provide authentic and useful information on the presence and regulation of TAPS in neighborhoods and locations.