Background: Reducing the retail availability of tobacco has been proposed as a component of tobacco endgame, yet it is not known whether retail availability has a direct impact on smoking behaviours. A narrative review and a meta-analysis have been undertaken to examine the density and proximity of tobacco retail outlets, but were limited in scope, exposure and outcome variables. The aim of this current study was to undertake a systematic review of the international literature on the density and proximity of tobacco retail outlets to homes, schools and communities and their association with smoking behaviours among youth. Methods: We reviewed and critically appraised the evidence documenting the association between density or proximity of tobacco retail outlets and smoking behaviours among school-age youth (18 and under), between 1 January 1990 and 21 October 2019. We reviewed original quantitative research that examined the associations of tobacco retail outlet density and proximity with individual smoking status or population-level smoking prevalence; initiation of smoking; frequency of tobacco use; sales to minors; purchasing by minors; susceptibility to smoking among non-smokers; perceived prevalence of smoking, and quitting behaviours. Findings: Thirty-five peer-reviewed papers met the inclusion criteria. This review provided evidence of a relationship between density of tobacco retail outlets and smoking behaviours, particularly for the density near youths’ home. A study using activity spaces also found a significant positive association between exposure to tobacco retail outlets and daily tobacco use. The review did not provide evidence of an association between the proximity of tobacco retail outlets to homes or schools and smoking behaviours among youth. Conclusions: The existing evidence supports a positive association between tobacco retail outlet density and smoking behaviours among youth, particularly for the density near youths’ home. This review provides evidence for the development and implementation of policies to reduce the density of tobacco retail outlets to reduce smoking prevalence among youth.
- Tobacco retail
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Life-span and Life-course Studies