Skip to main content


Myers, Allison E.; Hall, Marissa G.; Isgett, Lisa F.; & Ribisl, Kurt M. (2015). A Comparison of Three Policy Approaches for Tobacco Retailer Reduction. Preventive Medicine, 74, 67-73. PMCID: PMC4563823


BACKGROUND: The Institute of Medicine recommends that public health agencies restrict the number and regulate the location of tobacco retailers as a means of reducing tobacco use. However, the best policy strategy for tobacco retailer reduction is unknown.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to test the percent reduction in the number and density of tobacco retailers in North Carolina resulting from three policies: (1) prohibiting sales of tobacco products in pharmacies or stores with a pharmacy counter, (2) restricting sales of tobacco products within 1000 ft of schools, and (3) regulating to 500 ft the minimum allowable distance between tobacco outlets.
METHODS: This study uses data from two lists of tobacco retailers gathered in 2012, one at the statewide level, and another "gold standard" three-county list. Retailers near schools were identified using point and parcel boundaries in ArcMap. Python programming language generated a random lottery system to remove retailers within 500 ft of each other. Analyses were conducted in 2014.
RESULTS: A minimum allowable distance policy had the single greatest impact and would reduce density by 22.1% at the state level, or 20.8% at the county level (range 16.6% to 27.9%). Both a pharmacy and near-schools ban together would reduce density by 29.3% at the state level, or 29.7% at the county level (range 26.3 to 35.6%).
CONCLUSIONS: The implementation of policies restricting tobacco sales in pharmacies, near schools, and/or in close proximity to another tobacco retailer would substantially reduce the number and density of tobacco retail outlets.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Preventive Medicine


Myers, Allison E.
Hall, Marissa G.
Isgett, Lisa F.
Ribisl, Kurt M.