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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 12:00 PM

Surrounded by temptation: Documenting retail access to tobacco in NSW Australia

Christine Paul, PhD1, Kathleen Mee, PhD2, Raoul Walsh, PhD1, Flora Tzelepis, BSc(Psych)(Hons)1, Tanya Judd2, Anita Tang3, and Afaf Girgis, PhD1. (1) Centre for Health Research & Psycho-oncology, University of Newcastle & Cancer Council NSW, Locked Bag 10, Wallsend NSW 2287, Newcastle, Australia, (2) Centre for Urban & Regional Studies, University of Newcastle, (3) Health Strategies Division, Cancer Council NSW

Objective: A small number of studies have identified a relationship between retail access to tobacco and smoking. The objective of this study was to explore:

1. Current retail access to tobacco in the Hunter Region of NSW, Australia 2. Potential associations with retail access including smokers' sociodemographic characteristics, purchasing patterns, consumption patterns and quitting behaviours.

Methods: First, databases of tobacco retail outlets were obtained. The distribution of outlets was then explored through the use of MAPINFO. The relationships identified on the maps were investigated using correlation analyses. A buffering process using 500m, 1km and 5km buffers was used to explore population coverage. Second, quota sampling via the NSW Electronic White Pages was used to identify adult participants for a telephone survey of community perceptions and practices in relation to tobacco. Of the 3503 participants, 539 were current smokers and therefore were eligible to complete a series of items relating to retail access to tobacco.

Results: A total of 1270 tobacco outlets were found, giving one outlet per 474 persons, or one outlet per 107 smokers. Very low correlations were found between tobacco outlet density and the socio-economic status of areas. In most urban areas, residents lived within 500 m of at least one tobacco outlet. Almost three quarters of smokers reported there was a tobacco outlet within walking distance of their home. Univariate and multivariate analyses of survey data identified some groups as being more likely to be affected by reduced availability of tobacco through certain outlet types.