Published: 1 April 2016
Authors: Robertson, L., Cameron, C., McGee, R., Marsh, L., Hoek, J.
Despite New Zealand’s reputation as a leader in tobacco control, the retail environment for tobacco is relatively unregulated, particularly when compared to the licensing regimes for alcohol products and psychoactive substances (eg, synthetic cannabis and other ‘legal highs’). There are currently no restrictions on who can sell tobacco, nor where it can be sold. The lack of an accurate tobacco retail register presents a challenge for those enforcing retail legislation. This paper summarises tobacco retail licensing schemes implemented in overseas jurisdictions, as these represent precedents on which New Zealand policies could be based. We also review how effective these schemes might be as part of a comprehensive tobacco control strategy.
We conclude that a positive licensing scheme could increase compliance with existing smokefree legislation, and enable the introduction of further measures to control the supply of tobacco. Reducing tobacco availability is an important part of the range of interventions needed to achieve a smokefree New Zealand, and we urge the Government to redress the lack of progress in this area
The existing evidence supports a positive association between exposure to POS tobacco promotion and smoking. This review provides evidence to support the continuation of POS tobacco display bans in those jurisdictions where such legislation has been introduced and strengthens the evidence encouraging similar policies in jurisdictions without a POS display ban.
Children and adolescents more frequently exposed to POS tobacco promotion have around 1.6 times higher odds of having tried smoking and around 1.3 times higher odds of being susceptible to future smoking, compared with those less frequently exposed. Together with the available evaluations of POS display bans, the results strongly indicate that legislation banning tobacco POS promotion will effectively reduce smoking among young people.
In contrast to claims made by industry-related organisations, a proposed licensing policy is unlikely to be met with blanket opposition from tobacco retailers. Advocacy efforts may garner more support for tobacco retail policies if the purpose of policies was framed in terms of protecting young people from smoking.