Associations of Alcohol and Tobacco Retail Outlet Rates With Neighborhood Disadvantage
Tobacco causes 29% of cancer-related deaths while alcohol causes 5.5% of cancer-related deaths. Reducing the consumption of these cancer-causing products is a special priority area for the National Cancer Institute. While many factors are linked to tobacco and alcohol use, the placement and density of retail outlets within neighborhoods may be one community-level risk factor contributing to greater use of these products.
To elucidate associations between tobacco, alcohol, and tobacco and alcohol retail outlets (TRO, ARO, and TARO) and neighborhood disadvantage over a large geographic area, this study employed a novel Bayesian index modeling approach to estimate a neighborhood disadvantage index (NDI) and its associations with rates of the three types of retailers across block groups in the state of North Carolina. This study used a novel extension of the Bayesian index model to include a shared component for the spatial pattern common to all three types of outlets and NDI effects that varied by outlet type. The shared component identifies areas that are elevated in risk for all outlets.
The results showed significant positive associations between neighborhood disadvantage and TROs (relative risk (RR) = 1.12, 95% credible interval (CI = 1.09, 1.14)) and AROs (RR = 1.15, 95% CI = 1.11, 1.17), but the association was greatest for TAROs (RR = 1.21, 95% CI = 1.18, 1.24). The most important variables in the NDI were percent renters (i.e., low home ownership), percent of homes built before 1940 (i.e., old housing stock), and percent without a high school diploma (i.e., low education).