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Article | New Zealand tobacco retailers’ attitudes to selling tobacco, point-of-sale display bans and other tobacco control measures: a qualitative analysis

What do tobacco retailers think about selling tobacco? How do they feel about the point of sale display ban and other tobacco control interventions? This ASPIRE2025 research investigates retailers views in New Zealand.



We aimed to explore New Zealand tobacco retailers’ views on selling tobacco, the forthcoming 2012 point of sale display ban and two other potential tobacco control interventions in the retail setting: compulsory  sales of nicotine replacement therapy and licensing of tobacco retailers.


We carried out in-depth interviews with 18 retailers from a variety of store types where tobacco was sold. Stores were selected from a range of locations with varying levels of deprivation. We used thematic  analysis to analyse the data.


All but four of the retailers were ambivalent about selling tobacco, would rather not sell it, or fell back on a business imperative for justification. Only one retailer was explicitly unconcerned about selling tobacco  products.

Most participants had few or no concerns about the removal of point-of-sale displays. Issues which were raised were mainly practical and logistical issues with the removal of displays. Only three thought sales would definitely be reduced. The majority of the retailers were not opposed to a possible requirement that nicotine replacement therapy products be made available wherever tobacco products are sold. Ten supported a licensing or registration scheme for tobacco retailers, and only three were opposed.


We found widespread ambivalence about selling tobacco. There was considerable support for the licensing of tobacco retailers and other potential tobacco control measures. The retailers’ attitudes about  potential financial costs and security issues from a tobacco display ban were at odds with the tobacco industry predictions and the views of retailers’ organisations. Some retailers appear to be potential allies for tobacco control. This is in contrast to retailer organisations, which may be out of step with many of their members in their strong opposition to retail tobacco control interventions.


Jaine, R., Russell, M., Edwards, R., Thomson, G. (2014). New Zealand tobacco retailers’ attitudes to selling tobacco, point-of-sale display bans and other tobacco control measures: a qualitative analysis. New Zealand Medical Journal, 127(1396).

The full article can be viewed here (password access required until January 2015)

For more information please contact:
Richard Jaine
University of Otago, Wellington

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