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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 375,000 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

    As Tobacco 21 became federal law, most tweets were neutral or negative

    research article icon

    ASPiRE’s Page Dobbs co-authored a study of tweets following the Dec. 20, 2019 law immediately raising the minimum legal sales age of tobacco products to 21 years. Researchers examined more than 4,600 tweets in the three months leading up to the date of the law and found that most were neutral (46.2%) or negative (38.8%), with most [...]

    “If you just tell me you’re 18, I’ll still sell to you”

    research article icon

    Research assistants aged 18-20 in New Jersey, New York, and North Carolina were interviewed about their attempts to buy tobacco products. Among the findings: non-chain stores lacked consistency in verifying ages; however, retailer education, adoption of ID scanners and enforcement could increase consistency. “Training for underage buyers in research and compliance assessments should focus on [...]

    CTFK videos show more mayors supporting flavor restrictions

    Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids logo

    At its annual meeting on June 5, the U.S. Conference of Mayors approved a resolution supporting the prohibition on sales of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes, menthol cigarettes, flavored smokeless tobacco, and flavored cigars. In a previous newsletter, we shared videos of some supportive mayors, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has shared [...]

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    Learn more about our Tobacco Retailer Mapping study in 30 large U.S. Cities.

    Learn more about the ASPiRE Center or explore our Resources.