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Exploring associations of population characteristics and tobacco and vape retailer density and proximity in Australia: a scoping review
  1. Hollie Bendotti1,2,
  2. Coral E Gartner3,
  3. Henry M Marshall2,4,
  4. David Ireland5,
  5. Gail Garvey1,
  6. Sheleigh Lawler1
  1. 1School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2Thoracic Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Chermside, Queensland, Australia
  3. 3NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence on Achieving the Tobacco Endgame, School of Public Health, The University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  4. 4Department of Thoracic Medicine, The Prince Charles Hospital, Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Chermside, Queensland, Australia
  5. 5Australian eHealth Research Centre, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hollie Bendotti, School of Public Health, The University of Queensland, Herston, QLD 4006, Australia; h.bendotti{at}


Objective This scoping review synthesises Australian evidence on associations between tobacco and vape retailer density/proximity and various population measures and smoking behaviour to identify research gaps and inform future policy and strategies.

Data sources Following Joanna Briggs Institute methodology, relevant studies published in English since 2003 were identified via searches of eight databases in March and August 2023.

Study selection Two reviewers independently completed screening procedures. Eligible studies were from Australia and described associations between tobacco or vape retailer density/proximity and adult or youth smoking/vaping prevalence or behaviours, neighbourhood socioeconomic status, geographic location, school locations and/or Indigenous status.

Data extraction Results are reported according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews checklist.

Data synthesis Of 794 publications screened, 12 studies from 6 Australian states were included. Six studies from five states reported statistically significant associations between neighbourhood-level socioeconomic disadvantage and tobacco retailer density, yet only two studies from two states found a significant relationship between retailer density and adult smoking prevalence. Increasing retailer density was consistently significantly associated with increasing geographical remoteness in three states. No studies explored associations with tobacco retailer proximity or vape retailer density/proximity.

Conclusions Despite a moderate number of studies overall, state-level evidence is limited, and unknown for Australian territories. Evidence from five Australian states reflects the international evidence that increasing retailer density is significantly associated with increasing socioeconomic disadvantage and remoteness, supporting the need for tobacco supply-based policies. Further research is required to understand the impact of retailer density and adult and youth smoking prevalence in Australia.

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  • public policy
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Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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  • Contributors Conceptualisation: SL, HB, CG. Study design and protocol: HB, DI, SL. Screening and data extraction: HB and SL. First draft of manuscript: HB. Revision of manuscript: SL, HB, CG, HM, DI, GG. Guarantor: HB.

  • Funding HM receives funding from National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Investigator Grant (GNT1178331). CG receives funding from NHMRC grants (GNT1198301, GNT2019252) and is supported by an ARC Future Fellowship (FT220100186). No funders had involvement in this study.

  • Competing interests CG is the President of Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco Oceania Chapter. HM is the Convenor of the Tobacco Control Specialist Interest Group, Thoracic Society of Australia & New Zealand, and a member of the Cancer Council Victoria Quit Centre Advisory Committee, the IASLC Tobacco Control Committee and the APSR Tobacco Control section chair.

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

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.