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Restricting supply of tobacco products to pharmacies: a scoping review
  1. Heewon Kang1,2,3,
  2. Kathryn J Steadman3,4,
  3. Janet Hoek3,5,
  4. Wayne D Hall6,
  5. Coral E Gartner2,3
  1. 1Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, Gwanak-gu, Seoul, Korea (the Republic of)
  2. 2School of Public Health, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  3. 3NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence on Achieving the Tobacco Endgame, The University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  4. 4School of Pharmacy, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  5. 5Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  6. 6National Centre for Youth Substance Use Research, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Coral E Gartner, School of Public Health, The University of Queensland Faculty of Medicine, Herston, QLD 4006, Australia; c.gartner{at}


Objective We synthesised the published literature on proposals to restrict tobacco supply to pharmacies, covering (1) policy concept/rationale/attempts, (2) policy impact and implementation and (3) policy and research recommendations.

Data sources We searched eight databases (PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus, Web of Science, Embase, IPA, ProQuest and OATD) for publications with at least an English-language abstract. We searched reference lists of included publications manually.

Study selection One author screened all publications, and a second author reviewed a 10% subset. We focused on approaches to restrict the supply of tobacco products to pharmacies, without any restrictions on study design, location, participants or publication date.

Data extraction Data extraction adhered to the JBI Scoping Review Methodology and Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews checklist.

Data synthesis We included 18 publications. Among the 13 studies conducted in specific geographical contexts, 8 were from Aotearoa/New Zealand. Most publications (n=8) focused on effectiveness domains, indicating potential reductions in retailer density, smoking prevalence, disease burden, cost and increased opportunities for cessation advice. Seven explored policy acceptability among experts, pharmacists and people who smoke. Publications noted that pharmacy-only supply aligns with other programmes involving pharmacists, such as needle exchange programmes, but conflicts with efforts to phase out tobacco sales from the US and Canadian pharmacies.

Conclusions Progress in tobacco retailing policy (eg, licensing, retailer incentives) and research (eg, assessment of policy equity and durability, application in other geographical contexts) are needed before a pharmacy-only tobacco supply model would be feasible.

  • Public policy
  • End game
  • Health Services

Data availability statement

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

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Data availability statement

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

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  • X @CoralGartner

  • Contributors CEG and KJS conceived the study. HK, CEG, KJS, JH and WDH designed the search with contributions from Ms Georgia Carstensen. HK refined and ran the final searches and completed the screening, data extraction and wrote the first draft. CEG assisted with data quality control with screening. All authors contributed to interpretation of the data and revision of the manuscript. HK and CEG are guarantors for the study.

  • Funding This study was funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grant (GNT1198301). HK is supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MSIT) (No. 2021R1C1C2094375). CEG is supported by an ARC Future Fellowship (FT220100186).

  • Competing interests No, there are no competing interests.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.