Characteristics of tobacco purchases in urban corner stores

Hannah G. Lawman, Jennifer Dolatshahi, Giridhar Mallya, Stephanie Vander Veur, Ryan Coffman, Cheryl Bettigole, Alexis Wojtanowski, Judith Wylie-Rosett, Gary D. Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Introduction: To examine the prevalence and patterns of tobacco purchases at low-income, urban corner stores. Methods: Data on tobacco products and other purchases were collected through direct observation of customers' purchases (n=6369) at 120 urban corner stores in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from April to September 2012. Results: Overall 13% of corner store purchases included tobacco products. The majority (61%) of tobacco purchases did not include any other products, and 5.1% of all purchases from corner stores included a food or beverage and tobacco product. Approximately 24% of tobacco purchases were for lower-cost tobacco products such as cigars and cigarillos, and nearly 5% of tobacco purchases were an illegal purchase of a single, unpackaged tobacco product that is not intended for individual sale (ie, loosies). There was no difference in the average amount spent on food or beverages when purchased with (US$2.55, 95% CI: 2.21 to 2.88) or without (US$2.55, 95% CI: 2.48 to 2.63) tobacco products. Conclusions: In low-income, urban corner store settings, 87% of purchases did not include tobacco; most tobacco purchases did not include the sale of non-tobacco items and spending on non-tobacco items was similar whether or not tobacco was purchased. These findings can help inform retail-level tobacco sales decisions, such as voluntary discontinuation of tobacco products or future public health policies that target tobacco sales. The results challenge prevailing assumptions that tobacco sales are associated with sales of other products in corner stores, such as food and beverages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)592-595
Number of pages4
JournalTobacco Control
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • environment
  • non-cigarette tobacco products
  • public policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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