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Towards tobacco-free retailers: feasibility of an intervention encouraging retailers to stop selling tobacco in Tasmania


Background Despite calls for greater emphasis on tobacco supply reduction strategies, limited evidence of interventions (regulatory and non-regulatory) to reduce tobacco retailer numbers exists. This study investigated the feasibility of a real-world, non-regulatory intervention to encourage low volume tobacco retailers to stop selling, in a jurisdiction with a tobacco retailer licensing system.

Intervention Between December 2018 and 2019, low volume tobacco retailers (n=164) were exposed to multiple intervention elements (eg, postcard and letter mail-out, onsite visit) focused on the business benefits of stopping selling, in the lead up to their tobacco licence expiry date. The intervention was delivered in Tasmania, Australia in a region characterised by socioeconomic disadvantage, high smoking rates and density of tobacco retailers.

Methods For this mixed-methods study we collected data through implementation records on 164 retailers and postintervention interviews with 21 retailers to explore intervention implementation, awareness, acceptability, usefulness and actions taken.

Results Retailers were able to recall the intervention, specifically messages focused on the business-related reasons to stop selling tobacco. Of the 107 retailers that the project officer spoke with onsite or via telephone, the majority (72%) accepted phase I components. The intervention introduced some retailers to the concept of ending tobacco sales, which made them stop and consider this option. Of the 164 retailers exposed to the intervention, 18 (11%) retailers ended tobacco sales.

Conclusion Our study suggests that a non-regulatory intervention targeting low volume retailers to end tobacco sales may help to reduce the retail availability of tobacco.

  • environment
  • public policy
  • advocacy

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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