Zoning rules should change

Cole Schreck, Opinion Editor

Zoning restrictions for stores that sell tobacco and liquor products should have a zoning restriction of at least a mile.

The Nebraska legislature has routinely updated state statute 53-177 to make it harder to get these restricted substances. This statute states that businesses with a liquor license in Nebraska have gained a zoning restriction to a church, school, hospital, or home for indigent persons or for veterans and their wives or children” at a range of 150 feet from the aforementioned establishments. This range, however, does not affect tobacco license holding businesses.

Though tobacco and liquor companies cannot advertise their products directly to minors, they can still do so inadvertently whether it be from proximity or by storefronts. While it is still legal, putting a store that sells tobacco and/or liquor near a school still advertises to the students at the school.

The Generation V store near Bellevue West is a good example of this. This tobacco store is about 0.3 miles from Bellevue West and many students from Bellevue West drive or walk by this store.

Unfortunately, one of the target demographics of stores like Generation V is teenagers, even though it is illegal for teens to have tobacco. This store’s location is in a spot that allows access to a large number of teens and should be relocated to a new area.

If a liquor store is not welcome in a school environment, then tobacco stores that sell massively popular e-cigarettes should not be welcome either.