This is one of five underage drinking prevention strategies we are organizing through the Iowa Partnerships for Success (IPFS) Grant. We started by visiting grocery and convenience stores with area youth. One thing the students pointed out when going through the stores was that those who sold tobacco primarily kept ads and goods behind the counter, while alcohol products and ads tended to have a much larger presence. We also noticed that some stores already take measures to support healthy choices by the way they display ads and products. This information helped us develop recommendations to start sharing with store managers. This information was then used to update their store policies and practices. Updates were unique to each store, but included keeping alcohol ads higher up or away from candy, ice cream, or toys; keeping alcohol promotions/displays facing inside; prohibiting/removing ads that show celebrities, cartoons, or sports figures; and keeping alcohol to a designated area(s) of the store.
In 2018, we plan to continue reaching out to retailers to find opportunities to contribute to the health and well-being of our communities. We know the best way to do this is to find youth and adults from the communities to have these conversations with us. If you are willing to help with this please let us know!
The IPFS project is funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For more information on the IPFS Grant, visit https://idph.iowa.gov/substance-abuse/programs/ipfs.