Article Text

Download PDFPDF
The added value of accounting for activity space when examining the association between tobacco retailer availability and smoking among young adults
  1. Martine Shareck1,2,3,4,
  2. Yan Kestens2,3,4,
  3. Julie Vallée2,3,4,5,
  4. Geetanjali Datta2,4,
  5. Katherine L Frohlich2,3
  1. 1London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  2. 2Département de médecine sociale et préventive, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  3. 3Institut de recherche en santé publique de l'Université de Montréal (IRSPUM), Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  4. 4Centre de recherche du centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  5. 5Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), UMR Géographie-Cités, Paris, France
  1. Correspondence to Dr Martine Shareck, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 15–17 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9SH, UK; martine.shareck{at}


Background Despite a declining prevalence in many countries, smoking rates remain consistently high among young adults. Targeting contextual influences on smoking, such as the availability of tobacco retailers, is one promising avenue of intervention. Most studies have focused on residential or school neighbourhoods, without accounting for other settings where individuals spend time, that is, their activity space. We investigated the association between tobacco retailer availability in the residential neighbourhood and in the activity space, and smoking status.

Methods Cross-sectional baseline data from 1994 young adults (aged 18–25) participating in the Interdisciplinary Study of Inequalities in Smoking (Montreal, Canada, 2011–2012) were analysed. Residential and activity locations served to derive two measures of tobacco retailer availability: counts within 500 m buffers and proximity to the nearest retailer. Prevalence ratios for the association between each tobacco retailer measure and smoking status were estimated using log-binomial regression.

Results Participants encountering high numbers of tobacco retailers in their residential neighbourhood, and both medium and high retailer counts in their activity space, were more likely to smoke compared to those exposed to fewer retailers. While residential proximity was not associated with smoking, we found 36% and 42% higher smoking prevalence among participants conducting activities within medium and high proximity to tobacco retailers compared to those conducting activities further from such outlets.

Conclusions This study adds to the sparse literature on contextual correlates of smoking among young adults, and illustrates the added value of considering individuals’ activity space in contextual studies of smoking.

  • Disparities
  • Environment
  • Prevention

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.