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Why Tasmanian retailers stop selling tobacco and implications for tobacco control

Melody, SM ORCID: 0000-0002-6692-739X, Martin-Gall, VA and Veitch, MG 2020 , 'Why Tasmanian retailers stop selling tobacco and implications for tobacco control' , Tobacco Control , pp. 1-4 , doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2019-055588.

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Introduction: The retail availability of tobacco is at odds with the health harms associated with tobacco smoking and undermines tobacco control efforts. Evidence suggests ease of access to tobacco through retail outlets contributes to smoking prevalence.Objective: This study aimed to understand why retailers stop selling tobacco and explore possible implications for tobacco control.Methods: The Tobacco Licensing Database maintained by the Department of Health Tasmania was used to identify and recruit past retailers who no longer held licences. Semistructured interviews were conducted to explore business demographics and the reasons they stopped selling tobacco. Interview findings were analysed using a thematic framework.Results: Twenty former tobacco retailers participated, representing all business types except specialist tobacconists and large supermarkets. Retailers gave multiple reasons for ending tobacco sales, related to business considerations, security, tobacco regulations, ethics and health. Most often, the decision was business-related; health or ethical considerations were rarely a factor. Most retailers felt they played no role in mitigating tobacco-related harm.Conclusions: This study provides insights into factors that make tobacco sales unattractive or unfeasible for low-volume outlets and may inform supply-focused tobacco control policy. A campaign that emphasises the possible business benefits of ending tobacco sales in favour of other higher-margin products may support retailers to transition away from tobacco sales. The regulatory obligations of selling tobacco are disincentives and create a less favourable retail environment.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Melody, SM and Martin-Gall, VA and Veitch, MG
Keywords: end game, harm reduction, public policy
Journal or Publication Title: Tobacco Control
Publisher: B M J Publishing Group
ISSN: 0964-4563
DOI / ID Number: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2019-055588
Copyright Information:

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020

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