Considerable research has examined how cigarette point-of-sale advertising is closely related to smoking-related disparities across communities. Yet few studies have examined marketing of alternative tobacco products (e.g., e-cigarettes). The goal of the present study was to examine external point-of-sale marketing of various tobacco products and determine its association with community-level demographics (population density, economic-disadvantage, race/ethnicity) in urban and rural regions of Ohio. During the summer of 2014, fieldworkers collected comprehensive tobacco marketing data from 199 stores in Ohio (99 in Appalachia, 100 in Columbus), including information on external features. The address of each store was geocoded to its census tract, providing information about the community in which the store was located. Results indicated that promotions for e-cigarettes and advertising for menthol cigarettes, cigarillos, and cigars were more prevalent in communities with a higher percentage of African Americans. Cigarillos advertising was more likely in high-disadvantage and urban communities. A greater variety of products were also advertised outside retailers in urban, high-disadvantage, African American communities. Findings provide evidence of differential tobacco marketing at the external point-of-sale, which disproportionately targets urban, economically-disadvantaged, and African American communities. There is a need for tobacco control policies that will help improve equity and reduce health disparities.
Keywords: Advertising; Cigarillos; Cigars; Disparities; E-cigarettes; Menthol; Policy; Smokeless tobacco; Tobacco.
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