Storefront cigarette advertising differs by community demographic profile

Am J Health Promot. 2010 Jul-Aug;24(6):e26-31. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.090618-QUAN-196.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Advertising / methods*
  • Black or African American
  • Boston
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Tobacco Industry*