Decreasing temptation: attitudes to tobacco sales by alcohol-licensed premises and policy implications
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Western Sydney University, Australia
Cancer Council NSW, Australia
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A41
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In response to evidence that tobacco retailers contribute to smoking by creating environmental cues to smoke and by making cigarettes accessible, multiple commentators have called for a review of tobacco retailing, and a decrease in the number of retailers. Among tobacco retailers, outlets licensed to sell alcohol are particularly problematic, due to the strong association between consuming alcohol and smoking. Yet policy action to decrease the number of tobacco retailers is rare, leaving voluntary cessation of selling tobacco as the most likely mechanism to decrease an observed over-supply of tobacco retailers. This study investigates the attitude of alcohol-licensed premises to selling tobacco, to inform potential policy options for stopping tobacco sales at such premises.

Data were collected by a telephone survey of 1,042 bars, pubs and packaged liquor outlets in NSW Australia. The response rate was 86.1%. Qualitative and quantitative data were obtained. Logistic and linear regression were used to determine factors associated with the probability of selling and stopping selling, and the importance of cigarette sales.

While there were differences in the reported importance of tobacco sales by different types of alcohol-licensed outlets, more outlets rated tobacco sales as ´unimportant´ than ´important´, and nearly a third considered that tobacco sales would be banned in alcohol-licensed premises within five years. Qualitative responses showed that many outlets thought that such a ban would have little effect on profits, and that smokers would adjust.

Despite claims by tobacco companies that tobacco sales are important for many Australian retailers, tobacco sales appear to be of very limited importance for alcohol-licensed premises. This means that opposition to stopping tobacco sales where alcohol is consumed may be less than expected, and a licensing scheme with an annual fee may provide a mechanism to encourage such outlets to cease tobacco sales.

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