Tobacco Retail Outlet Density in King County: Implications for Health Equity and Youth Access to Tobacco
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Preventing youth access to tobacco, and decreasing the likelihood of youth smoking experimentation, remains an essential component in the fight against tobacco. Disparities exist in the amount of tobacco advertising lower-income and minority youth are exposed to. Youth who are in areas of higher tobacco outlet density and are more heavily exposed to advertising are more likely to try cigarettes. This thesis explores the potential relationship between King County census tract demographics, tobacco outlet density and retail violation rates. An association could indicate inequity in youth access to tobacco between communities. A moderate, but statistically significant, negative correlation was found between tobacco retail outlet density and median household. Correlations for demographics by race/ethnicity (African-American and Hispanic) were weaker but still statistically significant. No correlation was found to exist between retail violation rate and the demographic variables. These findings indicate that youth in census tracts with lower household incomes and a greater proportion of minorities are exposed to higher densities of tobacco retail outlets. Further research can determine if smoking rates are higher for youth in these King County census tracts, and can indicate if zoning to limit outlet density or location could work towards preventing youth tobacco initiation.
- Health services