Background Associations between retail tobacco availability and tobacco use have been mixed. This study examined associations between school-based retail environment exposures and current use of cigarettes, cigar products and e-cigarettes among middle school youth in Cleveland, OH.
Methods Retailers selling tobacco products were identified using the 2015 Cleveland Food Retail Database (n=639 stores). Youth survey data were drawn from the 2016 Cleveland Youth Risk Behavior Survey, administered to all 7th/8th graders across the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (n=3778, response rate=83.0%). Past 30-day cigarette, cigar product and e-cigarette use were assessed. Student demographics, number of days walking to/from school each week and number of times youth stopped at a retailer to/from school each week were included. For each school (n=63), tobacco retail density (TRD) and proximity (TRP) to nearest retailer were calculated for each product. Multiple regression analysis assessed associations between retail exposures and youth tobacco use.
Results Across all schools, 3.9%, 10.2% and 8.6% of students currently use cigarettes, cigar products and e-cigarettes, respectively, and 15.2% currently use at least one tobacco product. TRD and TRP were not associated with current use; frequency of walking to school and stopping at retailers were strongly associated with current use.
Conclusions Although TRD and TRP were not significantly associated with tobacco product use, youth who reported regularly walking to/from school or who reported stopping at a retail store before/after school were significantly more likely to be a current tobacco product user. This may be due to increased exposure to exterior and point-of-sale marketing.
- non-cigarette tobacco products
- priority/special populations
- public policy
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