Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) marketing expenditure is skyrocketing in the United States. However, little is understood about the geographic and socio-demographic patterns of e-cigarette advertising. We examined the associations between point-of-sale (POS) e-cigarette advertising and neighborhood socio-demographic characteristics in the Omaha Metropolitan Area of Nebraska. In 2014, fieldworkers collected comprehensive POS e-cigarette advertising data from all stores that sell tobacco (n = 463) in the Omaha Metropolitan Area. We used Geographic Information Systems to map POS e-cigarette advertisement density for the entire study area. Linear regression was used to examine the association between socio-demographic factors and POS e-cigarette advertising density. E-cigarette advertising density exhibited an obviously uneven geographic pattern in Omaha. Higher level of POS e-cigarette advertising was significantly related to lower median household income, higher percentage of Hispanics, and higher percentage of young adults. However, after adjusting for covariates, only median household income remained significantly associated with POS e-cigarette advertising. We found geographic, socioeconomic, and racial and ethnic disparities in exposure to POS e-cigarette advertising in Omaha, Nebraska. Future studies are needed to understand how these disparities influence e-cigarette adoption by different social groups and how to use such information to inform e-cigarette prevention strategies.
Keywords: Electronic cigarette; GIS; Kernel density; Point-of-sale advertising; Race and ethnicity; Socioeconomic status.