Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2008 Review

The Government is taking submissions until 20th December, for the review of the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2008 (the legislation that deals with how tobacco is sold in NSW).

This time last year, many of you worked on the audit of tobacco retailers. Our research shows there are over 9,500 places to buy tobacco in NSW – that’s 5 times as many places to buy prescription medications.

Evidence suggests that changing the retail availability would reduce the number of young people taking up smoking and help smokers who are trying to quit.

At the moment, any business can sell tobacco without prior approval. The only requirement is that the business complete an online form under the tobacco “Retailer Notification Scheme” (RNS) administered by the Government. Under the RNS, neither the community nor Government has any say over whether there are too many businesses selling tobacco in any given area or whether there are places where we think tobacco shouldn’t be sold (e.g close to our children’s schools).

But it doesn’t have to be this way. A positive tobacco retailer licensing scheme would enable some community standards and expectations to be applied to the selling of tobacco, similar to the licensing of alcohol outlets.

Our submission to the legislative review will focus on:

  • the need for “reducing availability and supply of tobacco” to become one of the stated aims of the act (Q2),
  • calling for the addition of a positive tobacco retailer licensing scheme as a provision of the act (Q3),
  • demonstrating how inadequate the RNS is as a record of who is selling tobacco and where (based on our research); and the problems this poses for effective monitoring of compliance with tobacco control legislation (Q6)


You can make your submission by 20th December:

The full discussion paper from the Government can be found here…

Click to access tobacco-act-review-discussion-paper.pdf

The discussion paper covers a broad range of issues, some you may feel strongly about while others you may not. We would encourage you to answer those you have a view on and explain your personal story or motivation for your position. Maybe you’re a smoker trying to quit or cut down, perhaps you’re a parent who hopes their child will never take up the habit, or perhaps you worked on the audit and saw the state of the data on retailers collected through the RNS. Whatever your motivation, we encourage you to have your say, and please flick us an email at once you’ve done so.

IMPORTANT: Some tips from our experience using the online submission portal…

1. There is no “submit” button so keep an eye on the scale at the bottom of the page as this will indicate how far through the submission process you are. When you are at 83% of the submission (Q 10) – it is the final question and page.

2. There are “back” the “next” buttons at the bottom so you can go through and change your answers if needed.