Background: A growing body of evidence indicates that the density of tobacco retail outlets around the home residence may influence tobacco use among youth and adults. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of neighborhood tobacco retail outlet density on young adult initiation of different tobacco product types.
Methods: Cross-sectional data from a 2013 nationally representative sample of young adults aged 18-34 was examined in relation to a 2012 geocoded listing of all outlets likely to sell tobacco in the United States. Separate multivariable logistic regression analyses examined associations between neighborhood outlet density and past 6 months first use of cigarettes, non-cigarette combustible products, and noncombustible products among adults aged 18-24 and 25-34.
Results: Outlet density was significantly associated with recent initiation of cigarettes and other combustibles, but this impact varied for younger and older groups. Increased density was significantly associated with a higher likelihood of initiating cigarette use among adults aged 25-34 (OR = 3.75, 95% CI = 1.18, 11.90), and of initiating non-cigarette combustible use among 18-24 year olds (OR = 3.16, 95% CI = 1.03, 9.74). There was no impact of outlet density on recent noncombustible product initiation among either group.
Conclusion: This study is the first to examine the impact of tobacco outlet density on young adult initiation of cigarettes and other tobacco products. Findings demonstrate that residential neighborhood outlet density is associated with recent initiation of combustible products and this effect varies by product type and age. The tobacco outlet environment may be a critical factor in promoting young adult tobacco use initiation.
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