Monday, February 9, 2015

Use of tobacco retail permitting to reduce youth access and exposure to tobacco in Santa Clara County, California

      In Santa Clara County, GIS methods were used to analyze the effectiveness tobacco permitting policies targeting youth smoking. The legislation was implemented in order to curb the access of middle-school and high-school students to tobacco retailers, especially in and around school and housing areas. The specific reasoning behind the restrictions was that "44% of middle school students and 51% of high school students reported that they were not refused purchase because of their age" (Coxe et al. 2014) in a survey conducted in 2011.

     So, how does this have anything to do with GIS so far? Well, the focused area was the unincorporated portion of the county (not cities) which are spread out and hard to enforce. GIS was used in order to see the relation between stores that closed down or did not renew their license and areas with high population densities of people under 18. In many areas, there is the problem of having different types of stores (grocery, gift shops, donut shops)  selling tobacco products and increasing ease of access to minors. These non-traditional tobacco stores incidentally were the worst offenders when it came to letting minors purchase cigarettes at a 20% youth success rate. They also saw effects of stores being too close to one another after the restrictions, which usually caused one to not renew its license due to competition.

               This table shows the compliance with regulations before and after the new tobacco retail permitting (TRP). The retail outlets not in compliance after regulation were stripped of their permits.


     The GIS mapping results showed that of the 36 retailers before the intervention, 11 discontinued selling tobacco products. Of the retailers that discontinued due to the restrictions on advertising and sale, one was within 500ft of another retailer. Three of the four located within 1000ft of a K-12 school discontinued selling tobacco as well. Ten of the eleven that discontinued were non-traditional outlets. This shows a relationship between tobacco sales and ease of access to minors, the "normal" tobacco retailers where not the ones to shut down and they were not located in areas with high minor density.

These findings could be a big step in curbing the problem that is youth smoking. This GIS approach can be used in other parts of the country to map out tobacco retail licenses in relation to schools and minor populations.


                                                   


Source: Coxe, N., Webber, W., Burkhart, J., Broderick, B., Yeager, K., Jones, L., & Fenstersheib, M. (2014). Use of tobacco retail permitting to reduce youth access and exposure to tobacco in Santa Clara County, California. Preventive medicine67, S46-S50.

7 comments:

  1. Since non-traditional outlets are more likely to sell to minors this could be effective in cutting down smoking. This type of permitting process may be a good blueprint to follow.

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  2. Great study conducted in rural parts of the county. Now it would be very interesting to see the same study conducted in a major city within the same county and compare the results.

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  3. Its amazing how one legislative law can affect the selling of tobacco to minors. Due to the new implemented law and how well it was followed by these stores, it would be very interesting to see a follow-up research experiment done on how well these stores continue to follow this new law or whether they just moved back to their old ways.

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  4. Very interesting article! It is great to see how GIS data can be used to accurately assess a problem in order to find an effective solution to that problem. It would be interesting to see a similar study conducted in a larger, more densely populated region such as a large city.

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  5. While this study shows great promise reducing tobacco-related status offenses, I believe there needs to be further research into the relationship of the intent for placement of these nontraditional outlets. I would be interested to see a GIS spacial analysis of youth travel patterns in the city in relation to outlets, and the colloquial understanding of placement of tobacco outlets. It would be cool to track where the youth views lenient establishments, and focus more after school enrichment programs or other integrative institutions in these areas.

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  6. How does this one law have such a huge affect on how minors can get a hold of tobacco. I think that this alone in crazy just because of one legislative law.

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