El Dorado County health officials have released the local results of a statewide retail store survey. The survey, conducted in all 58 California counties last summer, examined the availability and marketing of tobacco, alcohol and food products in stores that sell tobacco. This was the first time all three products were analyzed together in one survey in California. Over 7,000 stores in California were surveyed; 132 of those stores were in El Dorado County.
"The goal of the survey was to help shed light on which products are available and promoted in our communities," said Christy White, Supervisor of the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency's (HHSA) Tobacco Use Prevention Program. "The survey results are important because how products are placed and marketed in stores can have a powerful influence on consumers, particularly children."
The survey was initiated as part of the new Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community campaign, a ten-year collaborative effort between tobacco prevention, nutrition education and alcohol prevention partners across the State.
Trained staff from HHSA conducted the survey in El Dorado County in August, 2013. Surveyors went to gas stations, grocery stores and other stores that sell tobacco products and documented what they found. The data for El Dorado County was compared to State data.
"As expected, we found some bright spots as well as areas of concern," said White. "On the positive side, tobacco retailers in El Dorado County offered a good selection of fresh fruits and vegetables compared to other stores in California. However, sugary drinks were more frequently located near the check-out areas at El Dorado County tobacco retailers compared to other retailers in California."
Data specific to tobacco and alcohol product placement and advertising were, unfortunately, more concerning. "El Dorado County tobacco retailers sold more tobacco and alcohol products that would appeal to children, and more often placed those products in prominent locations where children had access to or could see them, compared to some of the other stores surveyed in California," said White. "This information helps us identify areas where we can focus education and outreach efforts, and where we can partner with parents, schools and community members to create healthier environments."
A complete copy of El Dorado County's survey results is available online at www.edcgov.us/publichealth.
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