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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Local Land Use Regulation for the Location and Operation of Tobacco Retailers


Abstract The best predictor of adolescent experimentation with cigarettes is the perception by youth that cigarettes are easily available. Not only does youth smoking have life-long and life-ending health implications, but it is also a leading indicator of other high-risk behaviors among youth. As a result, local communities have a vested interest in the availability and placement of tobacco products, particularly with respect to youth access and exposure to these products. One option to reduce youth access to tobacco may be to use local land use regulations, such as zoning laws, to control the location and operation of tobacco retailers. This law synopsis describes local authority for land use regulation, lists types of local land use regulation, presents examples in which California communities have employed land use regulation to control the placement of tobacco-only stores, and briefly reviews two important issues local governments should consider in this area of the law. Finally, the author highlights the manner in which land use regulation has been successfully applied to other areas of public health.

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