While most ecological studies have shown that higher levels of point-of-sale (POS) cigarette marketing are associated with larger proportions of residents from lower socioeconomic and minority backgrounds in neighborhoods, there are no studies that examine individual-level social disparities in exposure to POS cigarette marketing among smokers in the United States. Our aim was to examine these disparities in a Midwestern metropolitan area in the United States. We conducted a telephone survey to collect data on 999 smokers. Cigarette marketing was measured by asking respondents three questions about noticing advertisements, promotions, and displays of cigarettes within their respective neighborhoods. The questions were combined to create a summated scale. We estimated ordered logistic regression models to examine the association of sociodemographic variables with exposure to POS cigarette marketing. Adjusted results showed that having a lower income (p < 0.003) and belonging to a race/ethnicity other than "non-Hispanic White" (p = 0.011) were associated with higher levels of exposure to POS cigarette marketing. The results highlight social disparities in exposure to POS cigarette marketing in the United States, which can potentially be eliminated by banning all forms of cigarette marketing.
Keywords: income; point-of-sale cigarette marketing; race/ethnicity; social disparities.