Individual mobility patterns and real-time geo-spatial exposure to point-of-sale tobacco marketing

Thomas R. Kirchner, Jennifer Cantrell, Andrew Anesetti-Rothermel, Jennifer Pearson, Sarah Cha, Jennifer Kreslake, Ollie Ganz, Michael Tacelosky, David Abrams, Donna Vallone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Health-related behaviors occur as part of a broad socio-ecological context that unfolds dynamically over time. Yet systematic quantification of the way individuals come into contact with health-related features in their local environment remains a difficult challenge. Doing so requires a multi-tiered approach that integrates both individual geo-location data and comprehensive community-level information about health-related features in the local built environment. This report describes the implementation of a system for quantification of real-time exposure to point-of-sale tobacco marketing via mobile phone geo-location tracking. Individual mobility patterns from a longitudinal cohort of DC residents (N=486) were overlaid on an existing community-level point-of-sale surveillance geodatabase (N=1,080 stores). Participants were DC residents who carried a geolocation tracking device over the first 8-weeks of a smoking cessation attempt. Tracking data were then used to produce a mobility "signature," physically linking each person to their surrounding point-of-sale marketing environment in real-time. Results demonstrate the dynamic nature of an individuals' experience of the point-of-sale environment. We identify substantial between-person differences in tobacco product pricing exposure, and find that these correspond to clusters of individuals whose price exposures vary systematically over time of day. These data suggest that perceptions of the point-of-sale environment as relatively static fail to account for the mobility and preferences of individuals as they actively engage with their neighborhoods over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - Wireless Health 2012, WH 2012
StatePublished - 2012
Event3rd Conference on Wireless Health 2012, WH 2012 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Oct 23 2012Oct 25 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings - Wireless Health 2012, WH 2012


Other3rd Conference on Wireless Health 2012, WH 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Geo-spatial Exposure
  • Mobility Patterns
  • Point-of-Sale Marketing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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