Sociodemographic inequities in tobacco retailer density: Do neighboring places matter?

Health Place. 2021 Sep:71:102653. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2021.102653. Epub 2021 Aug 27.


We apply a spatial perspective to measure the extent to which the 2018 U.S. racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic composition of census tracts were each associated with tobacco retailer density within a tract and in its neighboring tracts (n = 71,409). A 10-percentage point increase in the Black population was associated with 0.07 (p < 0.05) more retailers per square mile within a focal tract and 0.35 (p < 0.001) more retailers per square mile in its neighbors on average. A greater percent of Hispanic/Latino residents was associated with more retailers per square mile, both within a focal tract (b = 0.95, p < 0.001) and in its neighbors 0.39 (p < 0.001). Inverse associations were observed for percent white. We also observed inequities by socioeconomic status. The overall magnitude of inequities may be underestimated if the spatial dependence between focal tracts and their neighbors are not taken into consideration. Policymakers should prioritize interconnected geographic areas experiencing high racialized and socioeconomic segregation when designing and implementing policies to reduce retail tobacco product availability.

Keywords: Built environment; Inequities; Segregation; Spatial regression; Tobacco retailer density.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Commerce
  • Humans
  • Nicotiana*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Tobacco Products*
  • Tobacco Use