The National Retail Association (NRA) has outlined a plan to help both smokers and retailers to quit cigarettes.
The NRA has previously expressed alarm over the current plan to allow smoke-free to be either purchased on the internet without restriction or only sold in pharmacies by prescription. Today it has made a submission to the Senate Inquiry with an alternate proposed business model that would allow small businesses to transition away from cigarettes, which would require strict regulation, in line with existing cigarette sales laws.
The submission proposes a regulatory framework developed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to regulate smoke-free tobacco products, based on three principles – reducing harm, helping Australian smokers, and protecting Australian kids.
“This model recognises that 20,000 retailers – who already have trusting relationships with Australia’s three million smokers – are well placed to act as the frontline in helping customers move to a less harmful product category,” the NRA submission says.
“And in time, with the right regulation, this model will result in Australia to becoming the first country in the world to eliminate the sale of cigarettes completely.”
The proposed framework would include age verification, regulated packaging, advertising bans, and ingredient and quality standards. Suitable models already exist globally with New Zealand recently adopting what is considered a best practice approach.
The NRA’s submission follows comments by a senior Department of Health official at a Senate hearing last month that smoke-free nicotine products are safer alternatives than cigarettes.