Environmental Scan Toolkit

Environmental Scan Toolkit

Environmental scans provide you and your coalition with the opportunity to discover and document youth exposure to tobacco products in your community. The following are tips on what you need to get started, how to conduct a scan and what to do with all the information collected.

Environmental Scan Guide

  • Make a list of the retail stores to visit.
    • Common types of stores include convenience stores, grocery stores and pharmacies.
    • Include stores in key communities where education efforts are focused.
    • Some coalitions like to let stores know they will be conducting scans. View an Environmental Scan Sample Retailer Letter.
  • Print copies of the Data Collection Form or create your own form.
  • Review the data collection form and become familiar with information being collected. Think about how this information will be shared and how it tells a story.
  • Gather necessary materials such as pens and cameras/phone cameras.
  • You will be collecting data and photos on product availability and tobacco marketing inside and outside of the store.
  • Introduce yourselves to the clerk. Remember this is a place of business and you do not want to get in the way of any customers. Sample script:

“Hi, my name is _______________. We are working on a project collecting information on the type of advertising that is found in stores and would like to take a few pictures. We are visiting a few stores in the area collecting this type of information. Is it okay with you if we walk around your store? We will only be inside for a few minutes and won’t disrupt any of your customers.”

  • Be courteous at all times. If an employee asks you to leave, you should leave immediately.
  • As you find items, check it off your list and make notes about what you saw.
  • If you can, take a photo that tells a story about the item.
  • For more information on what to look for and what to do, review the How to Conduct an Environmental Scan video.
  • After conducting the scan, take some time to debrief and share what was found.
  • Compile your findings and photos into the Environmental Scan Results Template or make your own results sheet.
  • Findings from the environmental scan can be used in a variety of ways, including:
    • Educating community members, local leaders and state leaders during informational meetings, community forums and personal meetings.
    • Sharing highlights in earned media.

For More Information

Have a question about Environmental Scans? Contact your contract administrator.