Purpose: Tobacco manufacturers have targeted youth and ethnic/racial minorities with tailored advertising. Less is known about how characteristics of storefront tobacco advertisements, such as location, position, size, and content, are used to appeal to demographic subgroups.
Design: The occurrence and characteristics of storefront cigarette advertising were observed for all licensed tobacco retailers in two defined communities.
Setting: Measures were taken in two Boston, Massachusetts, area urban communities: a low-income, minority community and a high-income, nonminority community.
Subjects: No human subjects were involved in this study.
Measures: Advertisement position (attached or separated from storefront), size (small, medium, or large), mentholation, and price were recorded. Geographic coordinates of tobacco retailers and schools were mapped using ArcGIS 9.2.
Analysis: Differences between the communities in advertisement number and characteristics were assessed using bivariate analyses. Logistic regression was used to ascertain the odds of specific advertising features occurring in the low-income/minority community.
Results: The low-income/minority community had more tobacco retailers, and advertisements were more likely to be larger, promote menthol products, have a lower mean advertised price, and occur within 1000 feet of a school.
Conclusion: Storefront cigarette advertising characteristics that increase exposure and promote youth initiation were more prominent in a low-income/minority community. The findings emphasize the need for more effective regulation of storefront tobacco advertising.