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Associations of County Tobacco Retailer Availability With U.S. Adult Smoking Behaviors, 2014–2015

  • Amanda Y. Kong
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Amanda Y. Kong, PhD, Department of Health Behavior, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 135 Dauer Drive, Chapel Hill NC 275992.
    Affiliations
    Department of Health Behavior, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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  • Nisha C. Gottfredson
    Affiliations
    Department of Health Behavior, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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  • Kurt M. Ribisl
    Affiliations
    Department of Health Behavior, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

    UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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  • Chris D. Baggett
    Affiliations
    UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

    Department of Epidemiology, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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  • Paul L. Delamater
    Affiliations
    UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

    Department of Geography, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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  • Shelley D. Golden
    Affiliations
    Department of Health Behavior, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

    UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    Search for articles by this author

      Introduction

      Greater availability of tobacco product retailers in an area may be associated with smoking behaviors, and the majority of people who smoke purchase their cigarettes at gas stations and convenience stores. This cross-sectional study investigates the associations of overall tobacco retailer density and gas/convenience density with adult smoking behaviors.

      Methods

      This study built a list of tobacco retailers in 2014 and calculated the county-level number of retailers per 1,000 people. Individual-level smoking behavior data were drawn from the 2014–2015 Tobacco Use Supplement for a sample of adults (n=88,850) residing in metropolitan counties across the U.S. General estimating equation models were fit to investigate the associations between retailer density and cigarette smoking behaviors (smoking status, quit attempt, quit length). Analyses were conducted in 2020.

      Results

      A greater number of tobacco retailers (AOR=1.63, 95% CI=1.35, 1.96) and gas stations and convenience stores (AOR=3.29, 95% CI=2.39, 4.52) per 1,000 people were each associated with a higher odds of a respondent smoking every day than the odds of a respondent not smoking. In addition, both measures were associated with a higher odds of a respondent being an every-day than being a some-day smoker. Associations for gas/convenience density were similar in models that additionally controlled for other tobacco retailers (excluding gas/convenience). Study results did not support associations between retailer density and cessation.

      Conclusions

      Tobacco retailer density, especially gas/convenience density, is correlated with daily smoking, the most harmful tobacco use behavior. Calculating tobacco retailer density using gas/convenience stores may be a feasible proxy for overall tobacco retailer density.
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