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Article | How would the tobacco retail landscape change if tobacco was only sold through liquor stores, petrol stations or pharmacies?

This article, published today in the Australian and New Zealand Medical Journal of Public Health, undertook a geospatial analysis of policy options for restricting tobacco policy in New Zealand. The research examines the potential impact of tobacco being available only from pharmacies, only from liquor stores or only from petrol stations.

Lead author, Dr Louise Marsh, says substantially reducing tobacco availability has been identified as a crucial tobacco control strategy both internationally and in New Zealand and the study shows there would be an important reduction in overall availability of tobacco if sales were restricted.

The research identified a total of 5243 tobacco retail outlets in New Zealand with convenience stores (46 per cent), liquor stores (17 per cent) and supermarkets (13 per cent).  Based on 502,000 current adult smokers, this means there is about one tobacco outlet for every 115 smokers.

That would reduce to one tobacco outlet for every 692 smokers if only sold through liquor stores, 582 smokers if only sold through pharmacies or 576 smokers if only sold through petrol stations.

“Reduced density of the sale of tobacco around schools would reduce curiosity and temptation concerning tobacco, diminish the normalising of smoking in the community and provide fewer opportunities and cues for adolescents to attempt to purchase tobacco,” Dr Marsh and her colleagues conclude.

In addition to the overall reduction in the availability of tobacco, the positive aspects of tobacco being only available through pharmacies are the potential for reduced opportunity for the sale of tobacco to minors and that pharmacists are already trained to provide brief smoking cessation interventions.

For more information please contact:

Dr Louise Marsh
Co-Director Social and Behavioural Research Unit
Department of Preventative and Social Medicine
Tel 03 479 7209
Email: louise.marsh@otago.ac.nz

Citation:

Marsh, L., Doscher, C., Cameron, C., Robertson, L. and Petrović‐van der Deen, F.S. (2020), How would the tobacco retail landscape change if tobacco was only sold through liquor stores, petrol stations or pharmacies? Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. https://doi.org/10.1111/1753-6405.12957