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Implementing smoke-free laws in the context of the tobacco retail environment in Allegheny county: a geospatial analysis

Furek, Alexa (2019) Implementing smoke-free laws in the context of the tobacco retail environment in Allegheny county: a geospatial analysis. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Introduction: Low-income populations have a disproportionately high exposure to smoking and secondhand smoke. In 2018, a federal rule required all local public housing agencies (PHAs) in the U.S. to implement a smoke-free policy. Public housing is designed to provide rental assistance to low-income populations, and in theory, the smoke-free housing policies should increase smoking cessation and reduce secondhand smoke exposure. However, characteristics of the macroenvironment can affect residents’ smoking behaviors and compliance. For example, the high concentration of tobacco retailers in Allegheny County poses challenges to smoke-free policy implementation.
Objective: This research will assess the tobacco retail environment around public housing buildings in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, PA, as the smoke-free policy is implemented.
Methods: In 2018, 16 Pittsburgh Summer Institute interns collected data on tobacco retail locations using the Standardized Tobacco Assessment for Retail Settings (STARS). 1,467 licensed tobacco retailers and 990 public housing buildings in Allegheny County were geocoded and mapped in ArcMap Version 10.6.1 for spatial analysis. ArcMap was also used to perform point pattern analyses and create a multi-distance spatial buffer around Murray Towers. The Optimized Hot Spot Analysis tool was used to aggregate tobacco retailer points and map statistically significant hot spots using the Getis-Ord Gi* spatial statistic.
Results: Out of 130 total municipalities in Allegheny County, 33 (25%) had hot spot features at 99% confidence intervals. Hot spots were largely concentrated in the city of Pittsburgh. Using Pittsburgh as the study area, 18 (20%) of 90 neighborhoods had hot spots at 99% confidence intervals. Neighborhoods with hot spots include those on the North Side, Central Business District, East End, and Southside.
Conclusions: This research demonstrates the public health significance of lessening public housing residents’ exposure to the tobacco retail environment and the potential of using geographical information systems (GIS) as a tool for tobacco control policy research. To ensure resident compliance with the smoke-free policy, the city of Pittsburgh and other municipalities with zoning authority may need to consider laws that prohibit tobacco from being sold within a certain distance of public housing buildings.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Furek, Alexaamf180@pitt.eduamf180
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairAlbert,
Committee MemberJarlenski,
Committee MemberTulikangas, MeganMegan.Tulikangas@AlleghenyCounty.US
Committee MemberWeinstein,
Date: 20 June 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 15 April 2019
Approval Date: 20 June 2019
Submission Date: 4 April 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 45
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: geospatial analysis, tobacco
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2019 17:51
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2019 17:51


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