Media Room

Cigarette sales no longer important for business, say clubs, hotels and liquor outlets

27th September 2018 - Cancer prevention Advocacy

A survey by Cancer Council NSW and Western Sydney University has revealed that cigarette sales in alcohol-licensed premises are no longer important to business, but retailers continue to sell them.

A total of 1042 clubs, hotels and liquor outlets in NSW took part in the survey which aimed to determine if selling tobacco is the norm for alcohol-licensed premises, provide insight into the importance of tobacco sales, and identify retailers’ attitudes to stopping the sale of tobacco. Of the 64% of premises that sold cigarettes, more rated cigarette sales as financially ‘unimportant’ than ‘important’.

“Right now, there are still 5500 smoking related deaths in NSW each year. If pubs and clubs are telling us that cigarette sales aren’t an important part of business, we need to encourage them to stop selling tobacco products altogether” said Cancer Council NSW’s Tobacco Control Senior Project Officer, Christina Watts.

In light of these findings, Cancer Council NSW is calling on the next NSW government to ban tobacco vending machines and introduce a licence fee to sell tobacco. Licence fees have been successfully introduced to discourage retailers from selling cigarettes in the majority of other states and territories in Australia. This topic forms part of the charity’s new pre-election advocacy campaign Saving Life 2019.

“Alcohol-licensed outlets have a disproportionate effect on people trying to quit by creating environmental cues to smoke and making cigarettes easily accessible. We need to see a reduction in the number of retailers selling cigarettes to help support the majority of smokers who want to quit to do so successfully quit and drive current smoking rates down,” Ms Watts continued.

The study also found that a significant estimated proportion of alcohol-licenced premises have stopped selling tobacco (28% of clubs and 19% of hotels).

“Despite claims made by tobacco companies and front groups that tobacco sales are important for many Australian retailers, tobacco sales appear to be of little importance for alcohol-licensed premises. A retailer fee will help encourage these retailers to exit the tobacco market for good,” Ms Watts concluded.

– ENDS –

Media contact: Eden Patrick, Cancer Council NSW, T: (02) 9334 1903; M: 0421 517 245;

Notes to editor

About the study

  • To sell or not to sell: cigarette sales in alcohol-licenced premises is a Cancer Council NSW and Western Sydney University study published in Tobacco Control.
  • Data was collected by a telephone survey of 1042 clubs, hotels and packaged liquor outlets in New South Wales, Australia.

Saving Life 2019

This topic forms part of Cancer Council NSW’s pre-election campaign: Saving Life 2019:

  • Saving Life 2019 is the Cancer Council NSW pre-election advocacy campaign that will call on the next NSW government to protect the community from tobacco, tackle childhood obesity, and support people with lymphoedema. Key policy proposals:
    • Strengthen the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 to ensure that people working or socialising in a bar or club in NSW will be protected from second-hand smoke.
    • Ban tobacco vending machines and introduce an annual licence fee to encourage retailers to stop selling and reduce the risk of young people developing this fatal habit.
    • Remove junk food advertising from NSW Government owned or leased property, in particular public transport, to ensure parents’ efforts to promote healthy eating are not undermined.
    • Increase funding for public lymphoedema services across NSW to ensure timely access to care, regardless of where people live.
Cancer prevention Advocacy