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Did smokers shift from small mixed businesses to discount outlets following the introduction of plain packaging in Australia? A national cross-sectional survey
  1. Michelle Scollo,
  2. Kerri Coomber,
  3. Meghan Zacher,
  4. Melanie Wakefield
  1. Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michelle Scollo, Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, Cancer Council Victoria, 615 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia; mscollo{at}

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Opponents of plain packaging (PP) in Australia1–4 and elsewhere5–8 have claimed that the legislation would create confusion for retailers attempting to locate packs of uniform appearance. This, it was claimed, would result in increases in pack retrieval and overall serving times,9 ,10 impatience with queuing among customers, and a consequent shift in patronage, sales and profits from small mixed businesses to large discount outlets such as supermarkets.10 ,11 Surveys of retailers funded by tobacco industry groups reported perceived negative effects among retailers shortly after implementation of the legislation.12 However, studies of retail outlets conducted across Australia over the period of implementation of legislation found no lasting effects on retail serving time13 and a study conducted in the Australian state of Victoria 1 year before (2011) and 1 year after (2013) introduction detected no changes among current smokers in usual place of purchase of tobacco products.14 We aimed to repeat and extend this analysis using a large national data set.

We used data from continuous national cross-sectional telephone surveys conducted between 9 April 2012 and 30 March 2014 with about 100 respondents per week aged 18–69 years, described fully in Wakefield et al15 (this volume).

All respondents were asked ‘Do …

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