Longitudinal Trends in Tobacco and Vape Retail Density in California (2015-2019)
- Author(s): Purushothaman, Vidya Lakshmi
- Advisor(s): Strong, David
- et al.
Identifying the changes in the retail density of specialized tobacco and/or vape shops and general tobacco vendors can help understand trends in the density of retail markets and inform effective policy approach to reduce the availability of tobacco. Data on licensed tobacco retailers within California from 2015-2019 was obtained from the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. Store type was categorized and annotated using Yelp, a crowd-sourcing business directory service. Geolocations were aggregated at the county level for visualizing and analyzing trends in tobacco retail density. Repeated measures ANOVA and mixed effects model were used to analyze the longitudinal trend in retail density before and after adjusting for covariates such as age, gender, income, race and ethnicity. The number of active tobacco retailer licenses increased from 19,825 in 2015 to 25,635 in 2019. The highest percent increase in tobacco retailer licenses (9.1%) was observed in 2017. The retail density was highest in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Riverside counties for specialized tobacco storefronts. The mixed effects model demonstrated a significant increase in the number of active licenses under all store categories after controlling for population. The time effect was significant for increase in the number of active licenses for non-specific tobacco retailer stores after adjusting for covariates. Significant covariates included female population, median household income, Hispanic population. Monitoring the distribution of tobacco retail density and associated sociodemographic factors for change over time can help identify the type, location, and point-of-sale marketing exposures to tobacco products.