Accessibility of chewing tobacco products in England

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BackgroundThe carcinogenicity of chewing tobacco is well established. It is predominantly used by the South Asian community in England. Little is known about the accessibility of the products available for use in England.MethodsWards with high proportions or numbers of residents from the South Asian community were identified using 2001 Census data. Within each ward product purchasers identified retail outlets and purchased chewing tobacco products from them.ResultsChewing tobacco products were found in a broad variety of premises in all but one ward, and were easily accessible. Ninety-eight products were identified and purchased with a mean price of £1.82. Of the ninety four pre-packaged products purchased only 15% (95% CI: 8%, 22%) complied with legal health warning requirements.ConclusionThe study indicates the need to improve compliance with legal controls and enforcement to protect the South Asian community from health risks associated with chewing tobacco products.

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