Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Tobacco retail availability and cigarette and e-cigarette use among youth and adults: a scoping review

  • Author(s): McDaniel, Patricia A
  • et al.

OBJECTIVE: States and localities are formulating strategies to reduce the widespread retail availability of tobacco products. Evidence of associations between retailer density/proximity and tobacco use outcomes can help inform those strategies. We conducted a scoping review on tobacco retail availability and cigarette/e-cigarette use in adults and youth, and considered variations in spatial units, measures of retailer exposure and outcomes across studies. 

METHODS: A systematic search for studies examining the association between retailer density/proximity and youth and adult cigarette/e-cigarette use was conducted across MEDLINE (PubMed), Web of Science and Google Scholar through August 27, 2020 with no restrictions.

RESULTS:  Thirty-five studies were included in our qualitative synthesis. While there were differences in neighborhood definitions (e.g. egocentric versus administrative), there is evidence for a positive association between higher retailer density in egocentric neighborhoods around homes and current smoking in adults and adolescents. Administrative unit measures in some studies showed associations with adult current smoking, and adolescent lifetime and current smoking. Studies on tobacco outlet proximity to homes obtained mixed results. Density/proximity of tobacco outlets around schools showed no or inverse association with adolescent smoking, but suggest higher susceptibility to smoking. Evidence of an association between e-cigarette retail availability and e-cigarette use is limited due to a small number of studies.

CONCLUSION: The current literature provides limited empirical evidence of the association between tobacco retailer availability and smoking or e-cigarette use. More research with uniform measures of environmental exposure to tobacco retailers is needed to allow for greater comparability between studies.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View