Density of tobacco retailers and its association with sociodemographic characteristics of communities across New York

Public Health. 2013 Apr;127(4):333-8. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2013.01.013. Epub 2013 Mar 17.


Objective: To examine the association of community median income, race/ethnicity and age with the availability of tobacco products in New York State and six subareas.

Study design: Spatial regression analysis applied to licensed tobacco retailer and sociodemographic data in 2009 in New York.

Methods: This study assessed the association between tobacco retailer density and four demographic correlates (percentage African American, percentage Hispanic, percentage aged <18 years and median household income) at the census tract level in New York in 2009. Associations were modelled for New York State and six subareas: Greater New York City/Long Island, New York minus Greater New York City/Long Island (rest of State), the Capital region (containing the city of Albany and surrounding areas), Erie County (containing the city of Buffalo), Monroe County (containing the city of Rochester) and Onondaga County (containing the city of Syracuse). In total, 19,420 licensed tobacco retailers were linked to 4795 residential census tracts.

Results: In New York State, residential census tracts with higher proportions of African Americans and Hispanics generally had a significantly higher density of tobacco retailers. Census tracts with a higher percentage of residents aged <18 years and higher median household income generally had a significantly lower density of tobacco retailers. However, these associations were not statistically significant in all areas studied.

Conclusions: Tobacco retailers tend to be more densely distributed in areas characterized by high minority or low-income populations, but these associations were not found in all areas. This may suggest that policy measures to reduce the density of tobacco retailers may be more effective at reducing disparities in tobacco availability and exposure to point-of-sale advertising in some areas than in others.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Commerce / statistics & numerical data*
  • Demography / statistics & numerical data
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data
  • New York
  • Regression Analysis
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Spatial Analysis
  • Tobacco Products / statistics & numerical data*