Spatial analysis of tobacco outlet density on secondhand smoke exposure and asthma health among children in Baltimore City

Parisa Kaviany, James Paul Senter, Joseph Michael Collaco, Anne E. Corrigan, Emily Brigham, Megan Wood, Han Woo, Chen Liu, Rachelle Koehl, Panagis Galiatsatos, Kirsten Koehler, Nadia Hansel, Meredith McCormack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale: Tobacco outlets are concentrated in low-income neighbourhoods; higher tobacco outlet density is associated with increased smoking prevalence. Secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure has significant detrimental effects on childhood asthma. We hypothesised there was an association between higher tobacco outlet density, indoor air pollution and worse childhood asthma. Methods: Baseline data from a home intervention study of 139 children (8-17 years) with asthma in Baltimore City included residential air nicotine monitoring, paired with serum cotinine and asthma control assessment. Participant addresses and tobacco outlets were geocoded and mapped. Multivariable regression modelling was used to describe the relationships between tobacco outlet density, SHS exposure and asthma control. Results: Within a 500 m radius of each participant home, there were on average six tobacco outlets. Each additional tobacco outlet in a 500 m radius was associated with a 12% increase in air nicotine (p<0.01) and an 8% increase in serum cotinine (p=0.01). For every 10-fold increase in air nicotine levels, there was a 0.25-point increase in Asthma Therapy Assessment Questionnaire (ATAQ) score (p=0.01), and for every 10-fold increase in serum cotinine levels, there was a 0.54-point increase in ATAQ score (p<0.05). Conclusions: Increased tobacco outlet density is associated with higher levels of bedroom air nicotine and serum cotinine. Increasing levels of SHS exposure (air nicotine and serum cotinine) are associated with less controlled childhood asthma. In Baltimore City, the health of children with asthma is adversely impacted in neighbourhoods where tobacco outlets are concentrated. The implications of our findings can inform community-level interventions to address these health disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number056878
JournalTobacco control
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • cotinine
  • disparities
  • environment
  • nicotine
  • secondhand smoke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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