New research funded by the National Institute for Health Research indicates that young individuals residing in Scotland’s poorest neighbourhoods were more likely to be exposed to tobacco products in their area.
Ever since the ban on in-store displays of tobacco products in Scotland (known as point-of-sale legislation) came into force in 2013, the exposure to cigarettes and associated products has reduced among adolescents, the inequalities in availability and visibility have risen.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh, University of Stirling and University of St Andrews evaluated the tobacco retailer density between 2013 and 2017 and the changes in product visibility over the same period. They also surveyed >5000 adolescents to assess their exposure to tobacco products.
The findings published in Tobacco Control showed that although the density of tobacco retailers witnessed an initial drop in all areas after the ban, it has shown a steady increase in Scotland’s poorest neighbourhoods since 2015. Teenagers in deprived Scottish neighbourhoods had an increased likelihood of encountering tobacco products compared with their counterparts living in more affluent parts of the country post the ban. The likelihood of the youth in the poorest neighbourhoods encountering tobacco products was highest in nearby shops or on their way to school.