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Menthol marketing in LA: A challenge to health equity

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A study in Preventing Chronic Disease found a disproportionate number of ads and price promotions for menthol cigarettes in stores located in predominantly Black neighborhoods in Los Angeles. The lowest advertised menthol pack price was also found in these neighborhoods. These findings support implementation of policies that restrict retail menthol cigarette sales. See the paper. [...]

Tobacco, alcohol sales increase during pandemic

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A paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that alcohol and tobacco sales increased in all demographic categories in 2020 compared with 2019. Relative increases in tobacco sales were higher among higher-income households, younger adults, larger households, households with children under 18, and ethnic minorities. This is consistent with the demographic subgroups, who report [...]

Study finds inequities in neighborhood tobacco retail density

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A new paper in Health Education & Behavior by ASPiRE’s Amanda Kong and other members of the UNC team discusses several implications for pro-equity tobacco control, focused on the built environment. The paper updates the previous literature documenting national inequities in tobacco retailer density. The authors also found there may be an inequitable impact of [...]

May 2021 retail tobacco-related literature search results

Library shelves

At the beginning of each month, we conduct a search of the PubMed database for new peer-reviewed articles on the retail tobacco environment and policy.  Many of these articles are available for FREE. The May 2021 PubMed search results are now available. Check them out! And check back after the first Tuesday of each month [...]

Many vape shops didn’t comply with COVID closure orders

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A report in Tobacco Control by ASPiRE’s Lisa Henriksen, Trent Johnson, and Nina Schleicher looked at vape shop closures during COVID-19 in six metro areas (Atlanta, Boston, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, San Diego, and Seattle) using data from the Public Health Law Center. They found that many vape shops did not comply with state COVID-19 orders. [...]

Local legislation can reduce adolescent tobacco use

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Researchers at Boston College examined the associations between tobacco control policies in several Massachusetts counties and adolescent tobacco use. They found that counties with greater implementation of flavored tobacco product restrictions were associated with a decrease in the level of cigarette use, with the largest reductions among 14- and 18-year-olds. Increasing flavored tobacco product restrictions [...]

OSU study reviews density-reduction approaches

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A literature review in Health & Place by researchers at The Ohio State University School of Public Health synthesized evidence on density-reduction policies. Findings indicate that prohibitions on tobacco sales in pharmacies reduced retailer density, but perhaps not equitably. Prohibiting the sale of tobacco near schools produced greater density reductions in higher-risk neighborhoods, and a [...]

Reductions in retail density can reduce youth smoking

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A review by ASPiRE’s team at Stanford, reported in Health & Place, looked at international peer-reviewed literature with evidence of the density and proximity of tobacco retail outlets to homes, schools, and communities and their association with smoking among youth in 1990-2019. The review found evidence of a relationship between the density of tobacco retail [...]

In Providence, a prohibition on flavored products shows a shift to concept flavors

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A case study in Tobacco Control looked at restrictions on the sale of non-cigarette tobacco products with a flavor other than tobacco, menthol, mint, or wintergreen. Researchers compared scanner data from Providence and the rest of Rhode Island, which illustrated the cigarillo industry’s response to the sales restriction. They found that Providence consumers were exposed [...]

AHA releases interactive map of retail licensing in 50 states

American Heart Association logo

The American Heart Association has developed Tobacco Retail Licensure, an interactive map with licensing information for all 50 states. Scroll over the map for a summary (license provisions, fees, renewal terms) and click on the state for more information. The page includes policy recommendations and additional resources, including two from ASPiRE: Tobacco Retail Policy Trends [...]

CAB’s Ryan Coffman: Keep Flavor Restrictions to Protect Kids

The Philadelphia Inquirer logo

The Philadelphia Inquirer recently published a powerful op-ed by Ryan Coffman, tobacco policy and control program manager for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health – and a member of our Community Advisory Board. Ryan blasted the tobacco industry for suing to overturn legislation passed by the Philadelphia City Council that restricts the sale of candy-flavored [...]

ASPiRE, Tobacco-Free Kids team up to spread the word about retail density

front door of tobacco retailer

ASPiRE recently joined the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to conduct a nationwide media campaign to publicize the center’s research on tobacco retail density in 30 U.S. cities. The two-week campaign reached over 3 million broadcast viewers, radio listeners and on-line readers in more than two dozen of the nation’s largest media markets. It also resulted [...]

July 2020 retail tobacco-related literature search results

Library shelves

At the beginning of each month, we conduct a search of the PubMed database for new peer-reviewed articles on the retail tobacco environment and policy.  Many of these articles are available for FREE. The July 2020 PubMed search results are now available. Check them out! And check back after the first Tuesday of each month [...]

June 2020 retail tobacco-related literature search results

Library shelves

At the beginning of each month, we conduct a search of the PubMed database for new peer-reviewed articles on the retail tobacco environment and policy.  Many of these articles are available for FREE. The June 2020 PubMed search results are now available. Check them out! And check back after the first Tuesday of each month [...]

CDC call for papers

Call For Papers

In its call for papers, “Addressing Health Disparities and Improving Population Health in Diverse Communities and Settings,” Preventing Chronic Disease invites authors to submit manuscripts describing innovative and effective work that addresses factors contributing to health disparities and improvement of population health. The CDC cites a range of community-based, technically innovative, and clinically driven prevention [...]

ASPiRE D&I Pilot Research Program accepting applications

ASPiRE New Logo

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. [...]

COVID-19 puts some tobacco control efforts on hold

COVID-19 Virus Graphic

The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be having a dramatic effect on local tobacco-control efforts across the U.S. Personnel have been repurposed in whole or in part to focus on responding to the virus, while the enforcement of tobacco regulations has been put on the back burner, if not entirely frozen. In Philadelphia, for example, the [...]

CDC: Smokers at higher risk from COVID-19

illustration of group of 5 people of different races and ages

Smokers are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, according to recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking can compromise the immune systems of smokers, which is why they are at higher risk, according to the agency’s list of People at Higher Risk for Illness. [...]

Federal Tobacco 21 and the FDA flavors guidance

Public Health Law Center at Mitchell Hamline School of law logo

On December 20, 2019, the federal legal minimum age of sale for tobacco products was raised to 21. On January 2, 2020, the FDA finalized a guidance that attempts to combat the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use. Both of these actions have raised many questions about what will happen next and how these policies will [...]

New FDA flavor guidance has exemptions

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids logo

New FDA guidance on flavors went into effect on Feb. 6, prohibiting sales of cartridge-based e-cigarettes that are not flavored with menthol or tobacco. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids warned that exemptions in the flavor restrictions mean the new rules “will not stop the youth e-cigarette epidemic that is addicting a generation of our kids.” Learn [...]

FTC, TFK track big tobacco spending on ads, promotion

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids logo

The FTC has released 2018 data on marketing expenditures from the major cigarette and smokeless tobacco companies, finding that the tobacco companies spent $9.1 billion on advertising and promotion, or over $1 million per hour. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has tobacco marketing fact sheets with this new data. TFK also has new estimates of [...]

Licensing reduces retail density in Philadelphia

Aerial view of city of Philadelphia, PA

Three years after retailer licensing regulations were implemented in Philadelphia, tobacco retailer density declined by more than 20%, according to a new paper co-authored by ASPiRE CAB member Ryan Coffman of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, concluded that licensing can reduce tobacco marketing, lessen disparities in retail [...]

Retail density associated with smoking prevalence in metro areas

Exterior of 7-Eleven corner store

A group of ASPiRE researchers, led by Shelley Golden, co-PI of ASPiRE’s Density & Disease project, have a new study out in Preventive Medicine Reports showing an association between tobacco retailer density and adult smoking prevalence in metropolitan counties. The authors suggest that jurisdictions interested in new ways to reduce smoking and smoking disparities consider strategies to reduce [...]

States led the way on T21

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By the time Congress enacted a federal T21 law on December 20, a total of 19 states, the District of Columbia, and two U.S. territories had enacted T21 laws, including 13 in 2019, according to a recent CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, co-authored by ASPiRE CAB Chair Maggie Mahoney. Several state and territorial T21 [...]

Pilot research grants take off

Stanford Medicine logo

We’re excited to announce our award of two pilot grants: Youth Perceptions and Counter-Messages to the E-Cigarette Retail Environment. A team at Stanford, led by Shivani Mathur Gaiha and Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, will investigate how youth and young adults perceive the e-cigarette retail environment and what factors increase the likelihood that youth will use e-cigarettes. Effects [...]

Preemptive strikes


As of June 30, 2019, 32 states have enacted at least one type of preemptive tobacco law related to smoke-free indoor air, local tobacco retail licensing, and/or youth access, according to a new study co-authored by ASPiRE CAB chair Maggie Mahoney. The study, published in Public Health Management & Practice, includes case studies of preemption [...]

Tobacco 21 goes nationwide, but …

Tobacco 21 logo

Federal rules went into effect on Dec. 20 setting the minimum age at 21 for tobacco purchases nationwide.  However, the Public Law Health Center (PHLC), an ASPiRE CAB organizational member, advised that because state and local authorities won’t have the power to enforce the federal rules, efforts to pass Tobacco 21 at the state and [...]

Mapping tobacco pricing

Law Atlas has created an interactive map with state-level statutes and regulations that affect tobacco pricing. The map covers laws effective as of Sept. 1, 2019, and identifies: The type and amount of cigarette taxes The allocation of cigarette tax revenue Tobacco products that are taxed, including e-cigarettes Preemption of taxation Minimum-price policies Below-cost and [...]

Philadelphia and Massachusetts ban flavored tobacco, vaping products

Woman using an electronic cigarette

On Dec. 18, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed three bills into law to restrict the sale of vaping and tobacco products. The bills restrict the sale of vaping products to adults-only stores that require customers to be at least 18, restrict the sale of flavored cigarillos, and ban vaping on city property. The city plans [...]

Mind the gap: CA tax increase not passed along equally

Newport cigarette pack and two cigarettes

A study co-authored by ASPiRE researcher Lisa Henriksen found that California’s $2 tobacco tax increase resulted in larger than $2 price increases, with more over-shifting on premium than discount cigarettes. For Newport (menthol), however, significantly less tax was passed on to smokers at convenience stores in neighborhoods with higher proportions of African-American residents. The study, published [...]

Tobacco-free pharmacies may encourage smokers to quit

CVS logo

A new paper co-authored by our ASPiRE CAB Chair, Maggie Mahoney, reported findings from research in the wake of the CVS drug store chain’s decision to stop selling tobacco products in 2014. The study found that quit attempts increased in areas with a high density of CVS locations. The study was published Nov. 21 in [...]

Using a computational model to explore tobacco retail policies: Tobacco Town

Using a computational model to explore tobacco retail policies: Tobacco Town

A new study with ASPiRE authors Ross Hammond, Todd Combs, and Douglas Luke, published Dec. 20 in Health and Place, suggests that agent-based modeling may be an effective way to test the impact of retail-based tobacco control strategies. The paper concludes that context matters: limiting access to tobacco through retailer density reduction has varying results [...]