Spatial Disparities in School Proximity to Tobacco/Vape Outlets

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Raphael E. Cuomo et al.


Objective:  We sought to determine school and community characteristics associated with proximity to tobacco and ENDS storefronts within a 0.5-kilometer radius in California.

Methods:  A list of licensed tobacco retailers was obtained from the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration; retailer names and addresses were used to scrape Yelp in order to determine sub-categorization of business as a vape or tobacco shop. US Census Bureau data was used to assess characteristics at the census tract level, and the California Department of Education provided school characteristics. Logistic regression with backward selection was used to assess for associations.

Results:  The final regression model included six community variables which were all negatively associated with retailer proximity (percent male, percent age 5-10, percent age 15-20, percent age 25-30, percent age 55-60, and percent age 60-65) as well as four school characteristics which were all positively associated (percent female students, percent Hispanic students, percent White students, percent eligible for free and reduced priced meals [FRPM]).

Conclusions:  Variation in demographics reflected most of the risk associated with school proximity to tobacco retailers. FRPM was associated with storefront proximity indicating that schools with lower socioeconomic status may be at higher exposure to tobacco retailing.

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