Tobacco retail outlets and vulnerable populations in Ontario, Canada

Michael O. Chaiton, Graham C. Mecredy, Joanna E. Cohen, Melodie L. Tilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Interest has been increasing in regulating the location and number of tobacco vendors as part of a comprehensive tobacco control program. The objective of this paper is to examine the distribution of tobacco outlets in a large jurisdiction, to assess: (1) whether tobacco outlets are more likely to be located in vulnerable areas; and (2) what proportion of tobacco outlets are located close to schools. Retail locations across the Province of Ontario from Ministry of Health Promotion data were linked to 2006 Census data at the neighbourhood level. There was one tobacco retail outlet for every 1,000 people over age 15 in Ontario. Density of outlets varied by public health unit, and was associated with the number of smokers. Tobacco outlets were more likely to be located in areas that had high neighbourhood deprivation, in both rural and urban areas. Outlets were less likely to be located in areas with high immigrant populations in urban areas, with the reverse being true for rural areas. Overall, 65% of tobacco retailers were located within 500 m of a school. The sale of tobacco products is ubiquitous, however, neighbourhoods with lower socio-economic status are more likely to have easier availability of tobacco products and most retailers are located within walking distance of a school. The results suggest the importance of policies to regulate the location of tobacco retail outlets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7299-7309
Number of pages11
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 17 2013


  • Availability
  • Disparities
  • Geospatial analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Retail
  • School
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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