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

Abby L. Smith*, Seema Mihrshahi, Veronica A. Martin-Gall, Marina Brkic, Mark G. Veitch, Becky Freeman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbertc-2022-057374
Number of pages8
JournalTobacco Control
Early online date14 Sept 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Sept 2022


  • advocacy
  • environment
  • public policy


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