Objectives. We examined the density and proximity of tobacco retailers and associations with smoking behavior and mental health in a diverse sample of 1061 smokers with serious mental illness (SMI) residing in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. Methods. Participants' addresses were geocoded and linked with retailer licensing data to determine the distance between participants' residence and the nearest retailer (proximity) and the number of retailers within 500-meter and 1-kilometer service areas (density). Results. More than half of the sample lived within 250 meters of a tobacco retailer. A median of 3 retailers were within 500 meters of participants' residences, and a median of 12 were within 1 kilometer. Among smokers with SMI, tobacco retailer densities were 2-fold greater than for the general population and were associated with poorer mental health, greater nicotine dependence, and lower self-efficacy for quitting. Conclusions. Our findings provide further evidence of the tobacco retail environment as a potential vector contributing to tobacco-related disparities among individuals with SMI and suggest that this group may benefit from progressive environmental protections that restrict tobacco retail licenses and reduce aggressive point-of-sale marketing.
View details for DOI 10.2105/AJPH.2014.301917
View details for PubMedID 24922145