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Tobacco Free Retailers Project

Encouraging retailers to stop selling tobacco in Tasmania

You don’t make a lot of money selling tobacco these days, we make more money selling Dim Sims with less hassle"

Takeaway outlet, Launceston

The Project 

The Retailers Project aims to support retailers in the North and North West regions of Tasmania, who may be thinking of not selling tobacco anymore, to become a ‘tobacco free zone’. Many retail businesses across Tasmania have already transitioned to no longer selling tobacco due to a number of factors including the low profit margin of tobacco products, increasing licence fee and increased security risks.

As part of the Project, Cancer Council Tasmania (CCT) developed the ‘This could be a good thing for your business’ campaign, including a range of free resources for businesses. These have been developed with input from Tasmanian businesses who have successfully made the transition to not selling tobacco.

Tobacco free zone green and blue logo.

Why should my business become a ‘tobacco free zone’?

  • You may not make a lot of money selling tobacco these days.
  • Becoming a tobacco free retail business may be a great decision for the health of your business.

The licence fee to sell tobacco in Tasmania has increased substantially to nearly $1200/year. Coupled with the low profit margin of tobacco products, increased security issues and higher insurance costs, many retailers are choosing to no longer sell tobacco as a good business decision.

An online poll conducted by CCT in 2018 showed that 75%, or 3 out of 4 people, would still support their local store if they stopped selling tobacco – in fact some said it would make them support them more.

Retail availability of tobacco

There are more than 700 retail outlets that sell tobacco in Tasmania. These include newsagencies and post Offices, petrol stations, licenced venues and cafes, general stores/supermarkets, and takeaway outlets.

Recent research conducted in Tasmania identified a disproportionate concentration of tobacco outlets in regional and remote Tasmania and in areas of lowest socio-economic disadvantage – that is a higher number of places to purchase tobacco in more disadvantaged areas.

Selling tobacco anywhere anytime: Harmful not helpful.

This video from our colleagues at Cancer Council NSW Selling tobacco anywhere, anytime: Harmful not helpful also provides a great summary of why decreasing the number of tobacco retailers can be good for the health of the community. Research shows there are higher rates of people smoking when there are more places to buy tobacco, and people who smoke find it harder to quit when tobacco is sold close to home. The location of tobacco outlets near schools can also increase the rates of children smoking tobacco.

Selling tobacco anywhere, anytime: Harmful not helpful

Watch the video (2.5 minutes)

What do Tasmanian businesses say?

To develop the campaign materials we spoke with businesses from across Tasmania who have successfully transitioned to not selling tobacco. Here are some of the direct quotes from Tasmanian businesses:

“It’s a business choice we made [no longer selling tobacco], don’t be scared to make a business decision, one that is good for the business. It’s not a personal decision” – General store/Supermarket, Northern Tasmania

“Our insurance is about $500/year cheaper now we’ve stopped selling tobacco which is a huge difference” –General store/Supermarket, Northern Tasmania

“I’m happy with the decision [to no longer sell tobacco], much easier now, not a security risk and don’t have to worry about young kids coming in asking for smokes from our younger staff and having to ask them for ID” –Takeaway outlet, Northern Tasmania

“We possibly lost a few customers [when stopped selling tobacco] but not too many, and less hassle outweighs this” – Takeaway outlet, North West Tasmania

For more information

If you are a retail business in Tasmania and thinking of transitioning to no longer selling tobacco, please contact us on 03 6169 1943 or [email protected] for more information.


Cancer Council Tasmania has made every effort to ensure that the content provided in this resource reflects the evidence base and information expressed by some Tasmanian businesses that no longer sell tobacco.  All figures are indicative estimates only and are subject to variation. Users should not rely on this resource to make decisions. We will not be liable for loss or damage sustained by any person acting in reliance on these resources.

Learn more about how Cancer Council researchers are helping Australia in leading the world in tobacco control.