Study: alcohol, tobacco more available than milk, fresh fruit in Nevada County | TheUnion.com

Back to: Local News

Study: alcohol, tobacco more available than milk, fresh fruit in Nevada County

A recent survey showed 98 percent of 83 random stores surveyed in Nevada County sold sweet, fruity malt liquor beverages also known as Alcopops.

This survey also shows that availability of e-cigarettes has grown over 22 percent since 2013.

These findings are part of new research recently released on the availability and marketing of tobacco products, alcohol, condoms and healthy and unhealthy food options in California stores that sell tobacco.

The scientific survey, the largest of its kind, builds upon initial research released three years ago in March 2014 and provides insight into changes in the availability and marketing of the studied products during this time. Information was collected in the summer of 2016 from more than 7,100 stores in all 58 California counties including pharmacies, supermarkets, delis, convenience and liquor stores as well as tobacco-only stores.

“Overall, the findings show a continuing and alarming discrepancy in our county in the accessibility and marketing between products that promote a healthy lifestyle, and those that don’t.”Jill BlakeNevada County Public Health director

"Overall, the findings show a continuing and alarming discrepancy in our county in the accessibility and marketing between products that promote a healthy lifestyle, and those that don't," said Jill Blake, Nevada County Public Health Director. "Stores play a critical role on our community's health, and this survey shows offerings and messaging are out of balance, tipping heavily toward unhealthy options. Our goal is to help re- calibrate the balance toward health."

The survey found the following for Nevada County:

In addition to selling cigarettes, 94 percent of stores sell sweet flavored "Little cigars" or cigarillos, but only 64 percent of stores sold fresh fruits or vegetables. What's more, 74 percent of stores sold these sweet flavored "little cigars" individually for under a dollar, less than the cost of a candy bar or bottle of water.

• 54 percent of stores sold non- or low-fat milk, but 90 percent sell alcohol.

• E-cigarettes saw a significant increase in Nevada County in stores from the last time the survey was conducted, up more than 22 percent.

"The expanded availability of e-cigarettes are of particular concern and reflect the spike in use by teens and young adults in the last three years," said Dr. Ken Cutler, Nevada County Health Officer.

Another goal was to examine the accessibility and marketing of healthy and unhealthy products to youth, and this survey found that our community's youth are inundated with unhealthy messages and choices.

The survey found the following for Nevada County:

• Only 9 percent of stores advertised healthy products on their storefronts, but 67 percent of storefronts advertised unhealthy products. Forty percent of stores near schools have storefronts advertising for unhealthy products.

More than 42 percent of stores place tobacco products or ads in kid-friendly locations, such as tobacco ads at "kid-level" (three feet or below) or tobacco products near candy or toys.

• More than 76 percent of stores sell sugary drinks at the check-out counter.

"Nevada County Public Health is committed to continuing to work with local health advocates and partners to provide accurate information and help make the healthy choice the easy choice for our residents and visitors," said Blake.

Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community is a statewide campaign formed by tobacco prevention, nutrition, alcohol abuse prevention and STD prevention partners collaborating to improve the health of Californians by informing them about the impact of unhealthy product availability and marketing in the retail environment.

For state and county-specific data and more information on Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, please visit http://www.healthystoreshealthycommunity.com.