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Exploring associations of population characteristics and tobacco and vape retailer density and proximity in Australia: a scoping review


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.

  • advertising and promotion
  • public policy
  • surveillance and monitoring
  • tobacco industry
  • disparities

Data availability statement

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

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