Restricting youth access to tobacco is a central feature of US tobacco regulatory policy, but impact of local tobacco retail licensing (TRL) regulation on cigarette smoking rates remains uncertain. A newly published study examined the effects of TRL on other tobacco product use and use as adolescents reach the age to legally purchase tobacco products. Prevalences of ever and past 30-day cigarette, electronic cigarette (e-cigarette), cigar, and hookah use were assessed in a survey of a cohort of 1553 11th- and 12th-grade adolescents. An American Lung Association (2014) youth access grade was assigned to each of 14 political jurisdictions in which participants lived on the basis of the strength of the local TRL ordinance.
· At baseline, participants living in 4 jurisdictions with “A” grades (ie, with most restrictive ordinances) had lower odds of ever cigarette use and past 30-day use than participants in 10 D- to F-grade jurisdictions.
· At follow-up at legal age of purchase, lower odds of cigarette use initiation occurred in jurisdictions with stronger TRL policy.
· Lower odds of e-cigarette initiation at follow-up and of initiation with past 30-day use were also associated with better regulation.
The researchers concluded that strong local TRL ordinance may lower rates of cigarette and e-cigarette use among youth and young adults.
Source: Astor et al. (2019). Tobacco Retail Licensing and Youth Product Use. Pediatrics, Jan 7. pii: e20173536. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-3536. [Epub ahead of print]
A newly published study whether self-reported and geographically estimated tobacco retailer exposures differ by participant or neighborhood characteristics among urban and rural adolescents. The data for this study were part of a cohort study of 1220 adolescent males residing in urban and rural (Appalachian) regions in Ohio. The baseline survey asked participants how often they visited stores that typically sell tobacco in the past week (self-reported exposures). The number of tobacco retailers between home and school was determined using ArcGIS software (potential exposures).
· Adolescents who were non-Hispanic black or other racial/ethnic minority, had used tobacco in the past, and lived in rural areas had higher self-reported exposures.
· Urban adolescents, non-Hispanic black or other racial/ethnic minority, and those living in neighborhoods with a higher percentage of poverty had more potential exposures to tobacco retailers in their path between home and school.
The researchers concluded that rural adolescents had more self-reported marketing exposures than urban adolescents. However, urban adolescents had more potential tobacco exposures between home and school. Thus, point of sale marketing limitations might be a more effective policy intervention in rural areas whereas limits on tobacco retailers might be more effective for urban areas.
Source: Burgoon et al. (2019). Exposures to the tobacco retail environment among adolescent boys in urban and rural environments. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Jan 2:1-10. doi: 10.1080/00952990.2018.1549562. [Epub ahead of print]
A newly published study conducted focus groups with low-income smokers in order to understand the tobacco acquisition practices of low-income smokers in New York State in light of high cigarette prices due to high cigarette taxes. The qualitative data analysis revealed that some smokers switched to untaxed cigarettes from Native American reservations, whereas low-income smokers in NYC described convenient sources of bootlegged cigarettes (packs or loosies) in their local neighborhood stores, through acquaintances, or on the street. Familiarity with the retailer was key to accessing bootlegged cigarettes from retailers. The researchers concluded that access to cheaper cigarettes discouraged quit attempts and allowed continued smoking. The availability of lower priced cigarettes may attenuate public health efforts aimed at reducing smoking prevalence through price and tax increases.
Source: Curry et al. (2018). How Low-Income Smokers in New York Access Cheaper Cigarettes. American Journal of Health Promotion, Oct 9:890117118805060. doi: 10.1177/0890117118805060. [Epub ahead of print]
A newly published study examined the effects of cigarette price on intention to quit, quit attempts, and successful cessation among African American smokers in the U.S. and explored whether price effects differed by income level and menthol use status. Researchers analyzed cross-sectional data from 2006-2007 and 2010-2011 Tobacco Use Supplements to the Current Population Survey from 4,213 African American recent active smokers.
· There was no indication that price was associated with quit attempts or successful cessation, but price was positively associated with increased odds of intending to quit among African American smokers.
· In contrast, prices were positively associated with intention to quit and quit attempts for White smokers.
· The association between price and intention to quit was significantly positive for African American low-income and menthol smokers but was not statistically significant for African American high-income and non-menthol smokers.
· There was no evidence of a price effect on quit attempts and successful cessation for each subgroup of African Americans.
The researchers concluded that tobacco tax policy alone may not be enough to increase quit attempts or successful cessation among African Americans. Community-based cessation programs tailored towards African American smokers, especially low-income menthol smokers, are needed.
Source: Keeler, Max, Yerger, Yao, Wang, Ong & Sung (2018). Effects of cigarette prices on intention to quit, quit attempts, and successful cessation among African American smokers. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Jul 18, [Epub ahead of print].
Three cigarette smoking behaviors influence lung cancer rates: how many people start, the amount they smoke, and the age they quit. California has reduced smoking faster than the rest of the US and trends in these 3 smoking behaviors should inform lung cancer trends. A newly published study examined trends in smoking behavior (initiation, intensity, and quitting) in California and the rest of US by regression models using the 1974-2014 National Health Interview Surveys (n=962,174).
· Among those aged 18- 35 years, California had much larger declines than the rest of the US in smoking initiation and intensity, and increased quitting.
· In 2012-14, among this age group, only 19% had ever smoked; smokers consumed only 6.3 cigarettes/day; and 46% of ever-smokers had quit by age 35.
· Each of these metrics was at least 24% better than in the rest of the US.
· There was no marked California effect on quitting or intensity among seniors. From 1986-2013, annual lung cancer mortality decreased more rapidly in California and by 2013 was 28% lower than in the rest of the US.
· California’s tobacco control efforts were associated with a major reduction in cigarette smoking among those under age 35 years.
The researchers concluded that these changes will further widen the lung cancer gap that already exists between California and the rest of the US.
Source: Pierce et al. (2018). Trends in lung cancer and cigarette smoking: California compared to the rest of the United States. Cancer Prevention Research, Oct 10. pii: canprevres.0341.2018. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-18-0341. [Epub ahead of print]
A newly published study examined attitudes toward four potential U.S. Federal tobacco regulations (banning menthol from cigarettes, reducing nicotine levels in cigarettes, banning candy and fruit flavored electronic cigarettes, and banning candy and fruit flavored little cigars and cigarillos) and associations with individual and state variables. A nationally representative phone survey of 4,337 adults assessed attitudes toward potential policies.
A recently published study (Preventive Medicine, December 2017) examined how cigarette excise tax rates differ for population groups defined by race, ethnicity, poverty status, and sexual orientation, and how these differences have evolved over time.
- In 2014, the average U.S. resident was required to pay $2.68 in cigarette taxes, more than 60% of which was due to state and local taxation.
- On average, Asian/Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander populations faced the highest average tax ($2.95), which was $0.44 more than American Indian populations.
- Local taxes disproportionately augmented state and federal taxes for non-White populations, same-sex couples, and people living in poverty.
- Geographic variation in cigarette excise taxes produces sociodemographic variation in cigarette tax exposure.