Date of Award

12-2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisor(s)

NALINI RANJIT

Second Advisor

MELISSA HARRELL

Third Advisor

ADRIANA PÉREZ

Abstract

Retail outlets that sell tobacco (ROST) are the leading channel of advertisements and promotional efforts for tobacco companies. Tobacco companies strategically target youth, young adults, racial and ethnic minorities and individuals in lower SES areas with more advertisements, which in turn influences their tobacco use behavior. Researchers have proposed instituting place-based restriction strategies as a way to control tobacco use. This dissertation examined the potential impact of i) restricting the sale of tobacco at ROST within 1000ft of schools and 2000ft of colleges and ii) restricting the sale of tobacco at ROST within 500ft of other ROST, on the number of tobacco advertisements around schools and colleges. We also examined if there were more tobacco advertisements around middle and high schools with a higher enrollment of White, Black, Hispanic or economically disadvantaged students. Methods: For paper 1, we utilized advertisement data at 130 convenience stores and gas stations audited around Public, Private, and Charter schools that participated in the Texas Adolescent Tobacco and Marketing Surveillance Study (TATAMS 2014-2015, n=53). For paper 2, we utilized the advertisement data at 151 convenience stores and gas stations audited around colleges that participated in the Marketing and Promotions across Colleges in Texas (M-PACT 2014-2015, n=22). For paper 3, we utilized the advertisement data at 103 convenience stores and gas stations audited around Public and Charter Schools that participated in TATAMS (n=42) and linked this with their enrollment data. The ROST were audited for tobacco advertisements in 2017. The ArcGIS software was used for the mapping procedures and Independent Sample T-tests and Mann-Whitney U Test were used for testing mean difference where appropriate. Results: For paper 1, we found that ROST within 1000ft of schools had a significantly higher mean number of advertisements in comparison to ROST located 1000ft – 2000ft of the schools. Implementing the 1000ft ROST ban around schools led to more reduction in advertisements in comparison to the 500ft ROST ban. For paper 2, we also found that the mean number of tobacco advertisements at ROST within 2000ft of the colleges was slightly higher than that at ROST located 2000ft – 4000ft of the colleges. For paper 3, we found that the mean number of tobacco advertisements at ROST around schools with a higher enrollment of Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students was significantly higher than that of schools with lower enrollment of these sociodemographic groups. In congruence, the mean number of tobacco advertisements was significantly lower for schools with a higher enrollment of White students. Implementation of the 1000ft ban led to a slight reduction in this marketing disparity among the Hispanic enrollment group. Conclusion: More tobacco advertisements were observed at ROST closest to schools and colleges. We strongly recommend implementing a 1000ft ban on sales of tobacco as a way to control exposure to tobacco marketing to, in turn, reduce tobacco use among youth, young adults, racial-ethnic minorities and individuals of low SES.

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