Tobacco retailers in low-income areas of Philadelphia that accepted nutrition assistance programs were more likely to have tobacco advertisements in and around their stores compared to stores that didn’t accept the assistance programs, a University of Pennsylvania study finds.
According to the report, tobacco advertising is widespread in urban areas with racial/ethnic minority and low-income households that participate in nutrition assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Tobacco sales and advertising are linked to smoking and may add to the health issues low-income families face.
Researchers surveyed more than half of the 4,639 stores included in the February 2012 version of the Philadelphia Tobacco Retailer Database. Of the stores with tobacco licenses, nearly 46 percent were authorized to accept SNAP and about 82 percent of SNAP stores were licensed to sell tobacco. Nearly all WIC-authorized stores (97.7 percent) were also authorized to accept SNAP benefits, but only one in three SNAP-authorized stores (35.1 percent) were also authorized to accept WIC. Most WIC-authorized stores (72.3 percent) were licensed to sell tobacco.
Of the 3,356 tobacco retailers identified as open and selling tobacco products, just over 50 percent had at least one exterior tobacco advertisement. Of stores with exterior tobacco advertisements, 18.4 percent were within 500 feet of a school. Of the 2,805 stores where surveys were completed, nearly 70 percent had at least one interior tobacco advertisement and nearly 20 percent had tobacco advertisements near products targeted to children.
Article: Concentration of Tobacco Advertisements at SNAP and WIC Stores, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2012, Amy Hillier, PhD, University of Pennsylvania School of Design, Preventing Chronic Disease, published 5 February 2015.