Cancer Council calls for tobacco licence for businesses
Around 10,000 businesses would be required to purchase a licence to continue selling tobacco products under a new proposal to reduce smoking-related cancer deaths.
Cancer Council has called on the New South Wales government to introduce a ‘tobacco licence’ to reduce the number of stores selling the controversial item in the state.
According to a study that the non-profit organisation conducted with the University of Sydney and Western Sydney University, an annual licencing fee would help discourage stores from selling cigarettes and other tobacco products.
In Western Australia, the only state in the study that has licencing fees, around one in eight former tobacco retailers said the licence was the reason they stopped selling the product.
The research surveyed more than 4,500 businesses in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia, with about 1,830 of these selling or having previously sold tobacco.
“Tobacco is among the most widely available consumer goods in Australia, and this wide distribution increases consumption, maintains smoking and undermines smokers’ quit attempts,” said Christina Watts, Cancer Council NSW’s tobacco control senior project officer and lead author of the research.
“This research shows that a fee-based tobacco licence can contribute to a reduction in the availability of tobacco.”
Currently, retailers in Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory have to pay between $242 and $297 to sell tobacco products. NSW, Victoria and Queensland do not require businesses to pay any annual fee for tobacco sales.
“Licensing can be used to restrict the number of retailers within areas, limit the types of outlets that can sell tobacco and/or deter retailers from selling or continuing to sell,” said Watts.
The survey found up to 45 per cent of NSW tobacco retailers to be in support of an annual fee if the money was put towards greater enforcement and education of laws.
“Smoking still places a huge burden on the community and on people’s lives,” Watts said.
“If the NSW Government are to achieve the goal of restricting the availability and supply of tobacco, as outlined in their tobacco strategy, the introduction of an annual licence fee for retailers is a common-sense next step,” she concluded.
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