The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Center for Public Health Systems Science at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis (CPHSS) published a new addition to the best practice user guides for state tobacco control programs: Tobacco Where You Live – Mapping Techniques. The resource was developed for tobacco control program managers, staff and partners. It is a guide for creating commercial tobacco prevention and control maps which allow people to assess differences in commercial tobacco use throughout their communities and to reduce disparities. It begins with a history of maps in public health and explains the important role that maps play in commercial tobacco control. The resource walks users through the benefits of a map, shares existing example maps, lists tools for creating a map (i.e., software) and walks through six action steps to developing a map.  

Six Action Steps:  

  1. Decide What to Map  
  2. Find Data 
  3. Choose Software 
  4. Design Your Map 
  5. Test Your Map 
  6. Use Your Map  

Creating a map for commercial tobacco control allows tobacco control programs and partners to identify patterns of use, accessibility of commercial tobacco products, areas where interventions have been implemented, and see changes over time. This guide walks users through the steps to building a map in a user-friendly way, making it possible for more tobacco control programs and partners to create maps to support their work.  

The guide: Tobacco Where You Live – Mapping Techniques can be found on the CDC website and on the CPHSS website. If you are interested in viewing more of the evidence-based guides for state tobacco control programs, please visit this section of the CDC website 

Author: Kellen Schalter, Public Health Manager, GHEA