Why alcohol and tobacco environment matters?
Alcohol and tobacco consumption are drivers of non-communicable diseases which is a global public health concern contributing significantly to preventable morbidity and mortality. In Scotland, over 11,000 deaths and 66,000 hospitalisations annually were attributed to alcohol or tobacco use. Despite these alarming figures, alcohol and tobacco products remain very accessible in our day-to-day environment.
Previous studies by SPECTRUM researchers have identified several pathways through which alcohol and tobacco availability is related to higher consumption rates and health related problems 1, 2. First, higher concentration of alcohol and tobacco retailers in an area may lead to a higher physical accessibility to these products, with people travelling shorter distances to purchase them. It may also enhance market competition making these products more affordable due to price reductions. Moreover, the presence of alcohol and tobacco retailers can contribute to the normalisation and social acceptance of their use, potentially leading to higher rates of use.
The availability of alcohol and tobacco and its health-related consequences vary across different geographies. In Scotland, the most deprived neighbourhoods have 2 and 1.4 times larger densities of tobacco and alcohol retailers respectively compared with the least deprived neighbourhoods 3. Similarly, deaths resulting from alcohol and tobacco use were 5.6 and 16.8 times greater in more deprived neighbourhoods 4, 5.
All data at a glance: a small tour across the mapper
The CRESHMap provides a user-friendly interface for interacting with diverse data. A step-by-step menu allows selection of different topics, including alcohol and tobacco retail availability and sociodemographic information. Within each topic, you can choose from various outcomes. For example, in the alcohol retail option, you can explore different forms of alcohol availability, filtering by off-trade (e.g., convenience stores), or on-trade (e.g., restaurants) retailers.
The multi-step menu enables exploration of availability across different geographies and years. Data can be displayed for 14 different geographies, including Scottish Government data zones, Local Authority Government, and NHS Health Boards. Additionally, the CRESHMap included three specific time-points (2012, 2016 and 2020) for temporal analysis.