Point-of-sale based policies target the accessibility of tobacco products through strategies like advertisement limitation and restrictions on tobacco retail locations. Across the country, many municipalities use zoning codes to limit where tobacco can be sold. For example, Dover, Delaware, does not allow tobacco shops in its neighborhood commercial zone. Limiting the approved zoning areas for tobacco sale can reduce the total number of shops that sell tobacco and help increase the distance people need to travel to access tobacco.
While zoning laws can help limit the locations of tobacco shops, another option is to limit the amount of business licenses given to stores to sell tobacco in a defined area. This option limits the density of tobacco shops, so that the overall number of tobacco shops decreases and people need to travel farther to access tobacco. These policies can help address the fact that zones in which tobacco sales are approved may be concentrated in certain areas. By restricting the number of approved tobacco vendors, the overall retail accessibility of tobacco decreases even in areas where commercial zoning may allow for tobacco sale.
People are less likely to initiate tobacco use and more likely to successfully quit smoking when tobacco is harder to access. Delaware uses tactics like increased taxes to make tobacco more expensive, so that it is harder to access. Land use and retail approval are highly dependent on local legislation, so it is important to combine state and local efforts to reduce access to tobacco.