Retail store cigarette display showing special offer for Camel cigarettes


Washington University (CPHSS), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Stanford University are recipients of a 2018 five-year $11.6 million National Institutes of Health multi-institutional grant, Advancing Science & Practice in the Retail Environment (ASPiRE). The project’s goal is to build a strong scientific evidence base for effective policies in the retail environment to help reduce tobacco use, tobacco-related disparities, and the public health burden of tobacco, including cancer.

Results from three unique research projects will combine to advance the retail tobacco control evidence base. Led by Washington University researchers Dr. Luke and Dr. Ross Hammond the Tobacco Town project will use agent-based modeling to study innovative policies in the retail setting and their impact in different types of communities, especially those with low-income and minority populations.

National Cancer Institute

Staff Contact:
Todd Combs

Project Duration:

Methods or Strategies Used

In the Density and Disease project, researchers at UNC will map 275,000 tobacco retailers across the U.S. from 2000 to 2016 and explore the relationship between the density of these retailers and tobacco-related illness, like cancer.

The Big City Tobacco Control project led by Stanford seeks to understand how the tobacco retail environment in a city may impede efforts at quitting smoking. This study will further evaluate the benefits of local policies to regulate and limit retail availability of tobacco. Stanford researchers will survey a panel of 2,400 adult smokers 5 times over 30 months and will examine changes over time.

In addition to three distinct synergistic research projects, the ASPiRE Center has three shared resource cores. The Dissemination & Implementation core, co-led by Dr. Luke and Dr. Ross Brownson, will promote integration across the three projects and enhance the efficient translation and reach of findings.

The ASPiRE group continues its “team science” approach, building on a strong, multidisciplinary 6-year collaboration that began in 2012 with funding from the National Cancer institute’s State & Community Tobacco Control Initiative to address important under-studied aspects of state and community tobacco control policy and media interventions.

Project Publications