Longitudinal Trends in Tobacco Availability, Tobacco Advertising, and Ownership Changes of Food Stores, Albany, New York, 2003–2015
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Longitudinal Trends in Tobacco Availability, Tobacco Advertising, and Ownership Changes of Food Stores, Albany, New York, 2003–2015

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  • Alternative Title:
    Prev Chronic Dis
  • Description:

    Frequency of visiting convenience and corner grocery stores that sell tobacco is positively associated with the odds of ever smoking and the risk of smoking initiation among youth. We assessed 12-year trends of tobacco availability, tobacco advertising, and ownership changes in various food stores in Albany, New York.


    Eligible stores were identified by multiple government lists and community canvassing in 2003 (n = 107), 2009 (n = 117), 2012 (n = 135), and 2015 (n = 137). Tobacco availability (all years) and advertising (2009, 2012, and 2015) were directly measured; electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) were included in 2015.


    Percentage of stores selling tobacco peaked at 83.8% in 2009 and declined to 74.5% in 2015 (P for trend = .11). E-cigarettes were sold by 63.7% of tobacco retailers. The largest decline in tobacco availability came from convenience stores that went out of business (n = 11), followed by pharmacies that dropped tobacco sales (n = 4). The gain of tobacco availability mostly came from new convenience stores (n = 24) and new dollar stores (n = 8). Significant declining trends (P < .01) were found in tobacco availability and any tobacco advertising in pharmacies and in low (<3 feet) tobacco advertising in convenience stores and stores overall. Only one-third of stores that sold tobacco in 2003 continued to sell tobacco with the same owner in 2015.


    The observed subtle declines in tobacco availability and advertising were explained in part by local tobacco control efforts, the pharmacy industry’s self-regulation of tobacco sales, and an increase in the state’s tobacco retailer registration fee. Nonetheless, overall tobacco availability remained high (>16 retailers per 10,000 population) in this community. The high store ownership turnover rate suggests that a moratorium of new tobacco retailer registrations would be an integral part of a multi-prong policy strategy to reduce tobacco availability and advertising.

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