Tobacco Town

Group of evaluators looking at tobacco advertisement outside of gas station


On the Tobacco Town project, CPHSS and partners from Brookings Institution, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Public Health, and Stanford Prevention Research Center use 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 this project, our team has done similar work with New York City, and is now working with funding from ClearWay Minnesota to estimate impacts of various tobacco retail policies on retailer densities, consumer costs, and cessation rates for priority populations in communities in Minnesota.

Funder: National Institutes of Health

Staff Contact: Todd Combs

Project Duration: July 2013-present

Methods or Strategies Used

Project Publications