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Standardized Tobacco Assessment for Retail Settings (STARS) Survey

The Standardized Tobacco Assessment for Retail Settings (STARS) survey was designed for practitioners to inform state and local tobacco control policies for the point of sale. The STARS form and training materials resulted from a collaboration of SCTC researchers with stakeholders from five state health departments, the CDC, and the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium. The assessment items (e.g., price, product promotions) were selected exclusively for their policy relevance; no items function as compliance checks for federal regulations. This user-friendly survey can be filled out by professionally trained data collectors, as well as self-trained youth and adults.

Available Materials

  1. STARS survey (1 page, double-sided, 20 questions)

Supporting materials:

  1. STARS One-pager Overview (print-out of the text on this screen – including Background, Materials and Getting Started)
  2. Training PowerPoint (93 slides for self- or group-administered instruction)
  3. Pocket Guide (10-page instructional review for use in the field - assembly required)
  4. Pocket Guide Assembly Instructions (brief instructions on how to assemble pocket guide)
  5. Excel Data Entry Template (used to enter survey data and compute outcomes)

Getting Started

  1. Download STARS and supporting materials. Click HERE to download. Print the STARS survey and Pocket Guide (assembly required).
  2. Identify a sample of stores. This may be a group of stores that is convenient for you and your data collectors to reach (e.g., all stores within 1 mile of school). It may also be a random sample of licensed tobacco retailers, or you might have access to a statistician who can draw a sample of stores for you. There is no right or wrong way to select your sample.
  3. Identify your data collectors. You may be the only data collector or you may have professionally-trained or volunteer data collectors, either adults or youth.
  4. Train yourself and your data collectors. Review the Training PowerPoint as a group (e.g. live presentation/webinar) or individually. Become familiar with the questions and products reviewed in the training materials. If youth data collectors are used, it may be helpful to role play the clerk/data collector interaction.
  5. Collect data using STARS. Send your data collectors into stores with the Pocket Guide and STARS survey. Note: We recommend adult supervision in stores when using youth data collectors.
  6. Enter and analyze data. Once data collection is complete, use the Excel Data Entry Template to enter survey data, view outputs, and analyze findings.
  7. Disseminate your findings to stakeholders and data collectors.
  8. Follow-up with STARS developers. We would love to hear about your experience using STARS and your findings! Email us at