Protocol - Tobacco Retailer Density/Proximity - To Schools
The Luke et al. protocol uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to assess the tobacco retailer proximity to schools.
Collectively, this measure for tobacco retailer density/proximity includes the following components:
- Valid data sources providing the location of tobacco product retailers are required.
- Proximity of tobacco retailers may be computed for residence, schools, or other locations (e.g., distance between two retailers). Both the Duncan et al., and Young-Wolff et al., protocol measure the distance from a known residence to the nearest tobacco retailer in roadway miles and the latter contains a discussion about data confidentiality.
For any density/proximity measure, the WG suggests using GIS software, such as ESRI ArcGIS version 10.1 (ESRI, Redlands, CA). Investigators without such software or expertise may employ a third party vendor to compute these measures for a nominal cost. Multiple steps are required:
- Obtain address data for licensed or likely tobacco retailers: Where there are state or local tobacco retailer licensing requirements, the investigator may obtain retailer addresses from the appropriate licensing authority. When licensing is not required or unavailable to researchers, address lists for likely tobacco retailers may be obtained from commercial vendors (e.g., Dun & Bradstreet), along with some determination of whether or not they sell tobacco products, or investigators may use on-the-ground assessments to identify tobacco retailers in communities.
- Geocode the latitudes and longitudes of addresses for tobacco retailers and participants’ residences (and/or schools and workplaces). Mapping rates of 90% or greater are typical, but the mapping rate depends on the individual data set and one would expect lower rates in rural areas. When geocoding residential address data to a random shift may be employed to avoid incidental disclosure for shared data.
- Define neighborhood: Egocentric neighborhoods (also referred to as "egocentric buffers" and "egohoods") are defined by a radius around a particular location, such as a residence, and these definitions are preferred by both the Young-Wolff and Duncan protocols. Network-based data better captures the travel distance necessary to obtain tobacco products from retailers nearest to participants’ residence. The appropriate distance (400m, 500m, 800m, 1km) depends on the research question. Street-network buffers excluding highways and ramps are created by using software similar to ESRI’s ArcGIS 10 Buffer tool, ArcGIS 10 Data and Maps, and ArcGIS Network Analysis Extension. According to the Duncan protocol, when residential address data are unavailable, alternative definitions of neighborhood are administrative units, such as census block group, tract, zip code tabulation area, city or county.
- Extract census data to characterize each neighborhood: Use data from decennial census or intercensal estimates to compute the land area (or other attribute, such as roadway miles, population size). When buffers overlap multiple tracts, buffer characteristics are weighted in proportion to tract area inside the buffer.
- Compute density: Use software (such as ArcGIS Spatial Join tool) or third-party vendor to calculate the count of tobacco retailers in each neighborhood, and compute retailer density by dividing by the count of retailers by the area attribute of interest (e.g., acres or roadway miles or population size).
- Compute proximity: Use ArcGIS Closest Facility tool (or comparable tool in alternate software) to determine the distance between two points, such as the straight-line distance between a school boundary and a tobacco retailer.
Proximity of Tobacco Retailers to Schools
1. The Luke protocol obtained data for tobacco retailers from the state departments of education (school location data may also be obtained from local or federal departments of education). GIS shapefiles for parks and city schools were also obtained. The shapefiles allow mapping of the actual park and school boundaries.
2. GIS analysis was then performed by entering all data into ArcMap 9.3. A proximity analysis was conducted to assess the potential impact of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA) 1000-foot ban on retailers near schools and parks. Buffer zones of varying distances (350, 500, 1000 feet) around all local parks and parcels containing schools were constructed. The count and percentage of tobacco retailers falling within these buffers were then calculated. This analysis was just done for select cities because GIS shapefiles were not available statewide for all school boundaries.
3. To perform the statewide analyses (where actual school perimeter data were not available), the Luke protocol used radial buffers that were constructed around the school address center points to approximate the perimeter buffers. The recommended approach, when possible, is to use the actual school property boundary shapefile as described in the description in #2 above rather than the radial buffer approach described here.
Personnel and Training Required
Personnel must have GIS expertise as a result of training or education (e.g., GIS Specialist).
Knowledge of census data products and websites such as American Factfinder (http://factfinder.census.gov) and/or commercial geospatial data products
After extracting the necessary data, statistical methods are used (e.g., principal component analysis (PCA) and factor analysis).
Geospatial Data Prouducts
|Specialized requirements for biospecimen collection||No|
|Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individual||Yes|
Mode of Administration
Secondary Data Analysis
Infant, Toddler, Child, Adolescent, Adult, Senior, Pregnancy
The Luke et al. protocol provides examples of using geolocation data to measure the spatial relation of tobacco retailers to a respondent’s school.
|caDSR Common Data Elements (CDE)||Tobacco Retailer Proximity to School Distance in Meter Value||5519691||CDE Browser|
Process and Review
Protocol Name from Source
N/A, see source.
Luke D, et al. Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act: Banning Outdoor Tobacco Advertising Near Schools and Playgrounds, Am J Prev Med. 2011; 40(3)295-302.
Young-Wolff K, et al. Tobacco Retailer Proximity and Density and Nicotine Dependence Among Smokers With Serious Mental Illness, Am J Public Health. 2014;104:
Duncan D, et al. Examination of How Neighborhood Definition Influences Measurements of Youths’ Access to Tobacco Retailers: A Methodological Note on Spatial Misclassification, Am J Epidemiol. 2014;179(3):373-381
Frank LD, Schmid TL, Sallis JF, Chapman J, Saelens BE. Linking objectively measured physical activity with objectively measured urban form: ﬁndings from SMARTRAQ. Am J Prev Med. 2005;28(suppl 2):117---125.
Timperio A, Crawford D, Telford A, et al. Perceptions about the local neighborhood and walking and cycling among children. Prev Med. 2004;38(1):39-47.
Colabianchi N, Dowda M, Pfeiffer KA, et al. Towards an understanding of salient neighborhood boundaries: adolescent reports of an easy walking distance and convenient driving distance. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2007;4:66.
|Variable Name||Variable ID||Variable Description||dbGaP Mapping|
|PX741203030100||What is the number of tobacco retailers more||N/A|
|PX741203030200||What is the density? (Divide count by land more||N/A|
|PX741203010100||What is the number of tobacco retailers more||N/A|
|PX741203010200||What is the density? (Divide count by land more||N/A|
|PX741203020100||What is the number of tobacco retailers more||N/A|
|PX741203020200||What is the density? (Divide count by land more||N/A|
Tobacco Retailer Density/Proximity
October 17, 2016
Using geospatial data, density measures the spatial concentration of tobacco retailers in a neighborhood, defined by either an area centered on a respondent’s residence, school/workplace, or an administrative area, such as counties, school districts, or census tracts. Proximity measures distance to the nearest tobacco retailer from a point of interest (e.g., residence, school/workplace, or another retailer).
There is growing evidence that tobacco retailers are concentrated in areas of economic disadvantage, and that greater physical access is associated with increased tobacco use, particularly among youth. There is some evidence that proximity to tobacco retailers is associated with lower efficacy to quit and less success with quitting. This measure describes the retail availability of tobacco products by characterizing the quantity and location of retailers with respect to a respondent’s residence, school or workplace.
Residence, Neighborhood, Tobacco Retailer, Tobacco Advertising, Proximity, Density, retail, geocode, geocoding, geographic information systems, availability, access.