A researcher milestone: Tobacco retailer reduction paper is in press.

I’ve been told by a board member at Counter Tools to create a “brag book”, which I admit feels very strange. Still, this is a milestone worth mentioning: My first, first-author scientific publication is “in press”.

Here it is. Special thanks to my co-authors, too!


Why would anyone care about reducing the number and density (think “concentration”) of tobacco retailers? I can give you a list of reasons. First, we know that retailer density in a neighborhood is related to the tobacco use behaviors of the people in the neighborhood: the residents have greater physical access to tobacco, reduced retrieval costs, and therefore higher consumption. Second, if tobacco retailer density is high, the presence of branded advertisements and price discounts is also high, and we know that these two marketing strategies give smokers or people who are trying to quit a reason to “buy now”. Third, tobacco retailers are clustered in high minority and lower income neighborhoods, and this is the social or neighborhood justice aspect I hope we all can get our heads around. Some people hardly have an opportunity to be or stay tobacco free, simply because of the neighborhood where they live, work or play.

What to do about it? Concerned citizens in a community can likely (unless they’re preempted) change their local policies to regulate the number and locations of tobacco retailers. Three options are (1) to prohibit tobacco sales in pharmacies, (2) to prohibit tobacco sales within 1,000 feet of schools, or (3) to prohibit tobacco retailers from being within 500 feet of one another. Any policy will make an impact. Pick one that stakeholders in your community can accept and implement.

PS. San Francisco is doing just this!

For health,


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