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The ASPiRE Center is an
NCI-funded collaborative of tobacco control researchers, practitioners, and legal experts investigating how tobacco retailer density and innovative retail tobacco interventions impact people and communities.

Tobacco use still causes
in the United States.

Reductions in tobacco use have
actually stalled as e-cigarette
use has rapidly grown
into an epidemic.

Most tobacco is purchased from neighborhood stores, where the tobacco industry spends nearly $1,000,000 every hour on advertising
and marketing.

Communities have become hubs of local innovation to reduce tobacco marketing and limit access to tobacco products.

This is especially important in neighborhoods with more people of color or low-income individuals, as these are the groups who continue to face higher rates of tobacco use, disease, and death.

More research is needed to evaluate these recent and novel efforts so others can learn what works to reduce tobacco use, especially among these
specific groups.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the ASPiRE Center is a group of researchers and practitioners from three of the nation’s top universities and
30 big cities working together
to do just that.


Fill gaps in the evidence about how different aspects of the
retail environment—like retailer density—affect tobacco use and disease.

Look at the potential of different retail policies to raise the cost of tobacco products, reduce tobacco use, and increase cessation, especially for populations with the highest rates of tobacco use.

Help communities implement scientifically sound, legally defensible,
and practically feasible retail policies in retail settings by translating and
sharing evidence about what works.

To do this, the ASPiRE Center is undertaking three major, interrelated research projects:

Retailer Density and Disease
Big City Tobacco Control
Tobacco Town

Researchers at UNC are mapping 275,000 tobacco retailers across the U.S. and exploring the relationship between their density and tobacco-related illness.

Led by Stanford, this project seeks to understand how the tobacco retail environment in a city may impede efforts to quit smoking. Researchers are surveying a panel of 2,400 adult smokers over 30 months and examining changes over time.

Researchers at Washington University are using agent-based modeling to study the impact of innovative retail policies in different types of communities, especially those with low-income and minority populations.

Latest News & Updates

Oakland bans sale of flavored, menthol tobacco products in tobacco stores, pharmacies

Oakland, California skyline and bridge

The Oakland City Council unanimously voted May 12 to ban the sale of flavored and menthol tobacco products at all tobacco retailers, closing the so-called “tobacco store” loophole in the city’s 2017 ordinance. The exemption had permitted retailers to continue selling flavored tobacco at “adult-only” tobacco stores. As detailed by ASPiRE CAB member Paul Cummings [...]

ASPiRE D&I Pilot Research Program accepting applications

The ASPiRE Center is awarding pilot grants of $10,000 each for the 2020-2021 grant cycle to fund developmental or early stage work, with the purpose of advancing D&I science and building capacity for D&I research in evidence-based tobacco retail policy. More information and downloadable application materials are available here. [...]

Learn more about the ASPiRE Center or explore our Resources.