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A Simulation of the potential impact of restricting tobacco retail outlets around middle and high schools on tobacco advertisements
  1. Udoka Obinwa1,
  2. Keryn E Pasch2,
  3. Katelyn K Jetelina3,
  4. Nalini Ranjit1,
  5. Adriana Perez1,
  6. Cheryl Perry1,
  7. Melissa Harrell1
  1. 1 The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), School of Public Health in Austin, Austin, Texas, USA
  2. 2 Kinesiology and Health Education, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA
  3. 3 The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), School of Public Health in Dallas, Dallas, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Keryn E Pasch, Kinesiology and Health Education, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA; kpasch{at}


Objective To examine (1) if tobacco retail outlets (TROs) closer to middle and high schools have more tobacco advertisements than TROs farther away and (2) the potential impact of two place-based tobacco control strategies on tobacco advertisements: a simulated ban of TROs (1) within 1000ft of schools and (2) within 500 ft of other TROs.

Methods TROs within half-mile of 53 middle and high schools in the four largest Metropolitan areas in Texas were audited for all tobacco marketing. ArcGIS was used for mapping and grouping TROs by distance from the schools and simulating the ban. Mean differences in the number of tobacco advertisements were examined with t-tests. Percentage reductions in tobacco advertisements were calculated after simulation of both bans, reported by school type and by location, product and flavour.

Results TROs within 1000 ft of schools had significantly more tobacco advertisements as compared with TROs located within 1000-2000 ft (p=0.03) for all schools combined and middle schools. Simulation of the 1000 ft ban of TROs led to a slightly greater reduction in advertisements (19.4%) as compared with the 500 ft ban of TROs from other TROs (17.9%). The reduction in all advertisement types was greater around middle schools and greatest for e-cigarettes (23.6%).

Conclusion Students can be exposed to a great deal of tobacco advertising in TROs around their schools. The implementation of a 1000 ft ban of TROs, or at minimum a ban on tobacco advertising outside and within these outlets, is one way to prevent or reduce the use of tobacco among adolescents.

  • advertising and promotion
  • prevention
  • public policy
  • tobacco industry
  • priority/special populations

Data availability statement

No data are available.

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  • Contributors UO, KEP and MH conceived of this study. UO completed all analysis and drafted the manuscript. KEP, KKJ, NR, AP, CP and MH helped to interpret the findings. KEP, KKJ, NR, AP, CP and MH provided critical review and revision to manuscript. MH and CP obtained funding for the larger project.

  • Funding The National Cancer Institute (R01-CA239097) and National Cancer Institute and the FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) (1 P50 CA180906).

  • Competing interests None declared.

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