New data shows most stores in Kern County promote smoking, alcohol products

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A new study on health in the Central Valley has little good news for Kern County.

The large survey collected information from more than 7,300 diverse retail stores – including convenience, supermarket, liquor, tobacco, small market, discount, drug and big-box stores – shedding light on what products are available and promoted in our communities.

In Kern County:

  • 80% of stores that sell candy, mint, and liquor flavored non cigarette tobacco products are located within 1000 feet of schools
  • 74% of stores sell the most popular brand of cigarillos for under $1
  • 36.6% of stores surveyed sell any fresh fruit or vegetables
  • 70% of stores have advertising for unhealthy products on the outside of stores
  • 88% of stores sell alcohol and coolers
  • 40% of stores that sell alcohol have alcohol ads near candy/toys or below 3 feet
  • 42% of stores sell electronic-cigarettes

“Kern County ranks one of the highest in deaths due to heart disease in California. This survey allows us to face the awful indicators giving us insight to the ongoing challenges here in Kern County,” said Matt Constantine, Director of Public Health Services.

"Over the years schools have become increasingly concerned about the health of their students and the impact of outside influences on student behavior”, said Christine Lizard Frazier, Kern County Superintendent of Schools. “Anti-tobacco education and similar efforts in Kern County have made a significant difference in educating students and their families about the importance of making healthy choices.

Number of stores surveyed:
California 7,393
Fresno 271
Kern 238
Tulare 195
Merced 110
Madera 109
Kings 107
Mariposa 28

Nearly 700 public health representatives, community volunteers and youth participated in the survey, which was conducted from July through October 2013.

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