Despite the devastating harm that tobacco causes the Victorian population, tobacco is sold in over 8,000 Victorian retail outlets, is more available than bread and milk and can be sold by anyone, almost anywhere.
Despite the devastating harm that tobacco causes the Victorian population, tobacco is sold in over 8,000 Victorian retail outlets, is more available than bread and milk and can be sold by anyone, almost anywhere. This widespread availability can contribute to the dangerous perception that tobacco is a normal part of everyday life and is relatively harmless. Tobacco is not a normal grocery product; it is a product that kills one in two of its long term users when used as intended. The lack of controls on where and how tobacco can be sold stand in stark contrast to the regulation of other dangerous goods such as pharmaceutical products, poisons, firearms, pesticides and dangerous chemicals which are subject to a wide variety of restrictions.
One of the important and feasible next steps in tobacco control is controlling the supply of tobacco by reducing access and availability of cigarettes in order to further support quitting rates and cut smoking-related cancer deaths. There are a range of potential benefits underlying the reasons to decrease the availability of tobacco products in Victoria. These include reducing the prevalence of smoking among young people, enhancing the effectiveness of smoking cessation by supporting recent quitters and those who want to quit, and reducing the health and economic disparities observed in smoking behaviours.
The Decreasing the availability of tobacco products in Victoria position statement recommends the introduction of a positive licensing scheme for tobacco retailers as a priority amongst other recommendations.