When the Tobacco Town project started in 2013, CPHSS and partners from Brookings Institution, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, and Stanford Prevention Research Center used agent-based modeling to examine interplay between built and consumer environments for tobacco and patterns of purchasing and use.
The three-year project examined the best way to reduce density of tobacco retailers in U.S. cities. Using data from representative American cities and suburbs, we built an agent-based model that simulated how different types of policies could 1) reduce tobacco retailer density and 2) increase cost and difficulty of obtaining cigarettes. Results showed policies affect different contexts (urban or suburban, wealthy or low-income) in different ways.
As a continuation of the work, our team worked with New York City and then ClearWay Minnesota and the Public Health Law Center to estimate impacts of various tobacco retail policies on retailer densities, consumer costs, and cessation rates for priority populations in communities in Minnesota.