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Reimold, Alexandria E.; Kong, Amanda Y.; Delamater, Paul L.; Baggett, Christopher D.; & Golden, Shelley D. (2023). Urban-Rural Differences in Tobacco Product Availability in Food Retailers, United States, 2017. Journal of Rural Health, 39(2), 338-346. PMCID: PMC9755460


PURPOSE: Tobacco use prevalence is higher in rural compared to urban settings, possibly due to differences in tobacco availability, including the option to purchase food and other essential items in stores that do not sell tobacco (tobacco-free food retailers). The goal of this research is to determine whether tobacco-free food retailer availability varies by urbanicity/rurality.
METHODS: Using the 2017 National Establishment Time-Series database, we identified food retailers across all census tracts containing food retailers in the United States (n = 66,053). We used multivariable logistic and linear regression models to test whether tobacco-free food retailer availability varied across 4-levels of census tract urbanicity/rurality (urban, suburban, large town, and small town/rural) for 2 outcomes: (1) the presence of at least 1 tobacco-free food retailer and (2) the percent of all food retailers that were tobacco-free.
FINDINGS: Compared to urban core census tracts, suburban census tracts had a lower odds (aOR = 0.77, 95% CI = 0.73, 0.81) of having at least 1 tobacco-free food retailer, while small town/rural census tracts had greater odds (aOR = 1.23, 95% CI = 1.15, 1.32). Suburban census tracts (B = -2.29, P < .001) and large town census tracts (B = -1.90, P < .001) also had a lower percentage of tobacco-free food retailers compared to urban census tracts.
CONCLUSIONS: Compared to urban cores, tobacco-free food retailers were less prevalent in suburban and large town areas, though similarly or slightly more available in rural areas. Future research should assess whether these differences depend on varying store types.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Rural Health


Reimold, Alexandria E.
Kong, Amanda Y.
Delamater, Paul L.
Baggett, Christopher D.
Golden, Shelley D.

Article Type




Data Set/Study

National Establishment Time-Series Database


United States of America




Delamater - 0000-0003-3627-9739
Reimold - 0000-0001-6159-9414