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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

SUNY Albany: Where There’s No Smoke There’s Fire

A new University at Albany-led study finds that while subtle declines in tobacco availability and advertising can be partially explained by local control efforts and the pharmacy industry’s self-regulation of sales, overall tobacco availability remains high, with higher rates in racial/ethnic minority neighborhoods. The rise of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) is a growing concern.

Published in Preventing Chronic Disease, the long-term study tracked 12-year trends in tobacco availability, advertising, and ownership changes in various food stores in Albany, N.Y. Analyzing trends from 2003 through 2015, the study found that subtle declines in tobacco sales could be traced to the increase of state tobacco registration fee. All tobacco retailers are required to complete New York’s tobacco retailer registration.

“The high store ownership turnover rate suggests that a moratorium of new tobacco retailer registrations would be an integral part of a multi-prong policy strategy to reduce tobacco availability and advertising,” said Akiko Hosler, associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at UAlbany’s School of Public Health and lead author of the study.

The setting of this study encompassed six zip code areas in downtown Albany. The region had been designated as a priority community of University research since 2002 because of elevated chronic disease risks of its residents, including a high prevalence of smoking.

To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to examine long-term trends of directly measured tobacco availability, tobacco advertising, and ownership changes in retail stores selling food in a defined community,” said Hosler. “A longitudinal design allowed us to investigate how and why tobacco availability and advertising changed over time.”

Breaking Down the Data