Online Program

Impact of 'Convenience' on Food and Tobacco Availability: Policy Implications

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Jessica King, MS, CHES, Department of Behavioral Science and Community Health, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
William Parker Hinson, MPH, CPH, Department of Behavioral Science and Community Health, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Esther Piervil, MPH, CHES, Department of Behavioral Science and Community Health, College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Background: Availability and marketing of tobacco products are key factors in the initiation of tobacco use by minors. Likewise, the availability of positive food options is a crucial factor in the development of positive nutrition behaviors among minors. Nearly 70% of youth visit a convenience store each week. Previous research suggests areas nearer to schools may experience heavier tobacco marketing and lack positive food sources. This study addressed two research questions: 1) Are there more advertised tobacco discounts in areas closer to schools?  2) Are there differences in food availability and price within convenience stores closer to schools? Additionally, we explored the possible impact of neighborhood socioeconomic status as a factor for food and tobacco availability.

Methods: Data were collected as part of a pilot project on tobacco retailer product availability. Locations with a tobacco license (N=2971) in six counties were surveyed using a 42-item observational survey. Stores designated as “convenience stores” were analyzed (n=1218). Spatial analyses were performed using ArcGIS (v. 10.3) to assess food and tobacco product availability in relation to school locations and distance from convenience stores.

Results: Currently, thirty store surveys have been completed, with the remaining 1188 surveys to be completed by March 2015. Preliminary analyses indicate a high density of convenience stores that offer discounted tobacco and lack positive food options within a 2-mile radius of schools.  

Conclusions: This study introduces a novel method to survey convenience stores and demonstrates their potential negative impact to minors. Results will be used to inform recommendations for future research and potential policy change within the state.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe how GIS mapping can be used in advocating for policy

Keyword(s): Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Health Assessment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked as a research assistant in tobacco prevention/cessation for the last three years and conducted work in policy the last three as well. I have training and experience in this matter and worked as part of the data collection team on this project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.