2nd June 2017, Volume 130 Number 1456

Lindsay Robertson, Louise Marsh, Janet Hoek, Rob McGee

New Zealand tobacco control advocates have consistently called for reductions in tobacco retail availability.1–5 Higher tobacco retailer density promotes youth smoking6 and reduces the odds of smoking cessation7 by making…

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Summary

We undertook a qualitative research study, which involved in-depth interviews with 25 smokefree experts throughout New Zealand, to explore their views about the importance of reducing tobacco retail supply, on different policy options, and barriers to policy adoption. In the long-term, participants envisaged tobacco only being available at a small number of specialised outlets, either pharmacies or adult-only/R18 stores. To achieve that long-term scenario, participants suggested a sinking-lid policy on licences or a zoning approach could be adopted to gradually reduce outlet density. Policies banning sales at only certain types of outlet were not considered feasible.

Abstract

Aim

Higher tobacco retailer density promotes smoking by making cigarettes more accessible and available, and by increasing environmental cues to smoke. We aimed to examine tobacco control experts’ views on policies that could reduce tobacco retail availability.

Method

Telephone interviews with 25 individuals drawn from academia, non-governmental organisations, Māori and Pacific health, smoking cessation services, district health boards and other public health-related organisations. We used a semi-structured interview guide to explore the perceived importance of reducing tobacco retail supply, views on different policy options and barriers to policy adoption. Qualitative content analysis was conducted using transcripts as the data source.

Results

Participants believed tobacco retailer licensing was an important short-term step towards the 2025 goal. In the long-term, participants envisaged tobacco only being available at a small number of specialised outlets, either pharmacies or adult-only stores. To achieve that long-term scenario, participants suggested a sinking-lid policy on licences or a zoning approach could be adopted to gradually reduce outlet density. Policies banning sales at certain types of outlet were not considered feasible.

Conclusion

There is tension between the tobacco retail reduction policies seen as more likely to be politically acceptable, and the need to make substantial changes to the tobacco retail environment by 2025. Future research could investigate possible legal mechanisms for requiring existing tobacco retailers to transition out of selling tobacco.

Author Information

Lindsay Robertson, Cancer Society Social & Behavioural Research Unit, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin; Louise Marsh, Cancer Society Social & Behavioural Research Unit, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin; Janet Hoek, Department of Marketing, University of Otago, Dunedin; Rob McGee, Cancer Society Social & Behavioural Research Unit, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin.

Acknowledgements

We wish to extend a sincere thank you to the individuals who took the time to participate in an interview. Funding for this study was provided by New Zealand Lottery Health and the New Zealand Asthma Foundation. LM, RM and LR are supported by the Cancer Society of New Zealand.

Correspondence

Miss Lindsay Robertson, Cancer Society Social & Behavioural Research Unit, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054.

Correspondence Email

l.robertson@otago.ac.nz

Competing Interests

Dr Robertson reports that NZ Asthma Foundation provided project funding, and her PhD stipend was provided by NZ Lottery Health. Dr Robertson is based in The Cancer Society Social and Behavioural Research Unit. Dr Marsh is supported by The Cancer Society of New Zealand. Professor Rob McGee is based in the Cancer Society Social and Behavioural Research Unit and is supported by the Cancer Society of New Zealand.

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