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The economic impact of state cigarette taxes and smoke-free air policies on convenience stores
  1. Jidong Huang1,
  2. Frank J Chaloupka2
  1. 1Health Policy Center, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  2. 2Department of Economics, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Division of Health Policy and Administration, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jidong Huang, Health Policy Center, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1747 West Roosevelt Road, Room 422, Chicago, IL 60608, USA; jhuang12{at}


Objectives To investigate whether increasing state cigarette taxes and/or enacting stronger smoke-free air (SFA) policies have negative impact on convenience store density in a state, a proxy that is determined by store openings and closings, which reflects store profits.

Methods State-level business count estimates for convenience stores for 50 states and District of Columbia from 1997 to 2009 were analysed using two-way fixed effects regression techniques that control for state-specific and year-specific determinants of convenience store density. The impact of tax and SFA policies was examined using a quasi-experimental research design that exploits changes in cigarette taxes and SFA policies within a state over time.

Results Taxes are found to be uncorrelated with the density of combined convenience stores and gas stations in a state. Taxes are positively correlated with the density of convenience stores; however, the magnitude of this correlation is small, with a 10% increase in state cigarette taxes associated with a 0.19% (p<0.05) increase in the number of convenience stores per million people in a state. State-level SFA policies do not correlate with convenience store density in a state, regardless whether gas stations were included. These results are robust across different model specifications. In addition, they are robust with regard to the inclusion/exclusion of other state-level tobacco control measures and gasoline prices.

Conclusions Contrary to tobacco industry and related organisations' claims, higher cigarette taxes and stronger SFA policies do not negatively affect convenience stores.

  • Cigarette tax
  • smoke-free air policies
  • convenience store density
  • economics
  • taxation
  • price
  • public policy
  • surveillance and monitoring
  • advertising and promotion
  • smuggling
  • taxation and price

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.