TitleA comparison of three policy approaches for tobacco retailer reduction.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsMyers, AE, Hall, MG, Isgett, LF, Ribisl, KM
JournalPrev Med
Date Published05/2015
KeywordsCommerce, Geographic Mapping, Health Policy, Humans, North Carolina, Pharmacies, Schools, Tobacco Industry, Tobacco Products

BACKGROUND: The Institute of Medicine recommends that public health agencies restrict the number and regulate the location of tobacco retailers as a means of reducing tobacco use. However, the best policy strategy for tobacco retailer reduction is unknown.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to test the percent reduction in the number and density of tobacco retailers in North Carolina resulting from three policies: (1) prohibiting sales of tobacco products in pharmacies or stores with a pharmacy counter, (2) restricting sales of tobacco products within 1000 ft of schools, and (3) regulating to 500 ft the minimum allowable distance between tobacco outlets.

METHODS: This study uses data from two lists of tobacco retailers gathered in 2012, one at the statewide level, and another "gold standard" three-county list. Retailers near schools were identified using point and parcel boundaries in ArcMap. Python programming language generated a random lottery system to remove retailers within 500 ft of each other. Analyses were conducted in 2014.

RESULTS: A minimum allowable distance policy had the single greatest impact and would reduce density by 22.1% at the state level, or 20.8% at the county level (range 16.6% to 27.9%). Both a pharmacy and near-schools ban together would reduce density by 29.3% at the state level, or 29.7% at the county level (range 26.3 to 35.6%).

CONCLUSIONS: The implementation of policies restricting tobacco sales in pharmacies, near schools, and/or in close proximity to another tobacco retailer would substantially reduce the number and density of tobacco retail outlets.

Alternate JournalPrev Med
PubMed ID25689540
PubMed Central IDPMC4563823
Grant ListU01 CA154281 / CA / NCI NIH HHS / United States