Unequal Access: Tobacco Retail in the Indianapolis Metro Area

Report by Karen Frederickson Comer, Kelly Davila, Deb Hollon, Matt Nowlin
June 2017

The Polis Center   (Indianapolis)

Retail access to tobacco products can be an important consideration when discussing possible action to improve community health.  Studies have shown that tobacco access is linked both to initiation of tobacco use and failure of cessation efforts–particularly in poor and minority areas.  To inform local action, we used data on the locations of tobacco retail outlets from the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission in combination with socioeconomic data culled from the SAVI community information system to examine the density and accessibility of tobacco outlets relative to vulnerable communities in the Indianapolis metropolitan area.  We found disparities in tobacco access similar to those found in other parts of the country.  This report presents our methodology and findings and discusses potential state and local action to address tobacco access.