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A Public Health And Social Justice Concern: Proximity of Tobacco & E-Cigarette Point of Sales Retailers to Educational Institutions and Communities in Davidson County, Tennessee

April 4, 2022

Retailers are the primary marketing venue for tobacco and E-Cigarette products, driving sales and use. These retailer’s tobacco promotions work to increase impulse purchases among users, particularly among youth. They are strongly associated with initiation of smoking among youth who make up most new users. With that point-of-sale advertising more common in neighborhoods that are, on average, younger, more racially diverse, and lower income. Easily accessibility to tobacco sales outlets is known to be a factor in smoking rates both in adults and children, these findings raise public health and social justice concerns about the spatial distribution of tobacco sales tobacco product is more likely associated with increased tobacco use.  Previous studies have also found that even perceived accessibility is associated with tobacco use among youths. The impact of these tobacco retailers’ locations to these communities at higher risk for adverse health outcomes. The purpose of this study is to evaluate geographic distribution of tobacco and e-cigarette retailers and its proximity to schools and universities located in Nashville, Davidson County. We use GIS analysis to measure geographic and potential accessibility of tobacco and e-cigarette retailers to school and college students. A measure of accessibility will involve network connectivity where a network is represented as a connectivity matrix, which expresses the connectivity of each node with its adjacent nodes in GIS. This study will assume that a travel time of three minutes or less by car to a Convenience Store is considered easily accessible. Results from this study will provide important information on how many convenience stores are located within less than a 500-foot minimum distance requirement between tobacco retailers & 1000-foot minimum near-schools in study area. The information will help residents and policy makers to implement bans and policies to regulate where tobacco and e-cigarette retailers can be located to each other, or to schools and neighborhoods where these vulnerable populations of youth live and play.

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