On 1 July 2009 new laws came into force regarding the sale and display of tobacco products in New South Wales following the passing of the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2008.
Some aspects of the new laws are effective from this date, but others will be phased in over the coming years. To comply with the new laws retailers need to make a few changes.
British American Tobacco has had experience working through similar transitions in other markets and is partnering with retailers to assist them to prepare for and transition to the new trading environment in Australia.
The new tobacco laws – overall summary
- All tobacco products must be stored out of sight. Retailers that employ more than 50 people will have six months to comply, and other retailers will have twelve months to comply from July 1, 2009.
- Specialist tobacconists (business which generate at least 80% of their turnover from tobacco related sales) will have to comply with limited display sizes from 1 July 2010 and need to apply to be classed as a specialist tobacconist through this website: www.licence.nsw.gov.au .
- Tobacco will be restricted to a single point of sale in all retail outlets.
- Tobacco products will be removed from all shopper-loyalty programs.
- A negative licensing scheme will be introduced for tobacco retailers meaning that tobacco retailers operating in NSW from 1 October 2009 must not engage in tobacco retailing unless they have notified the Director-General of the NSW Department of Health.
- Advertising tobacco products, selling tobacco products to minors and the sale of tobacco products without health warnings will be met with significantly increased fines.
- Advertising and tobacco promotion offences, by corporations in particular, will now attract maximum fines of $660,000 for a first offence and $1.1 million for subsequent offences (previously this figure was $44,000).
- Smoking in cars when children are passengers will be banned and attract a $250 on-the-spot fine.
A phase-in approach
Some of the new laws apply to all retailers from July 1, 2009, with no phase-in period. Other laws are subject to phase-in periods to provide retailers with sufficient time to prepare for the required changes.
Restrictions on the display of tobacco products, non-tobacco smoking products and smoking accessories will be phased-in over different periods depending on the type of business.
- Tobacco retailers that employed 50 or fewer employees, as at 25 September 2008, have until 1 July 2010 to comply with the display ban. Retailers that employed greater than 50 employees as at 25 September 2008 have until 1 January 2010 to be compliant.
- Tobacco in vending machines is subject to a display ban from 1 January 2010.
- Retailers classified as "specialist retail tobacconists" through the Tobacco Retailer Licensing System have a longer phase-in period in view of the increased impact of the display ban on these retailers.
- Tobacco retailers need to start planning for the commencement dates for the new Act provisions. Retailers also need to ensure the necessary changes for selling tobacco are in place for the effective commencement dates, taking into account the respective phase-in periods.
Definitions from the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2008
How does the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2008 define these terms?
Non-tobacco smoking product means any product (other than a tobacco product) that is intended to be smoked, and includes any product known or described as herbal cigarettes.
Tobacco product means tobacco, or a cigarette or cigar, or any other product containing tobacco and designed for human consumption or use.
Smoking accessories includes cigarette papers, pipes, cigarette holders, hookahs, water pipes or any other smoking implement.
For more information on retail display bans go to www.keepingitbusinessasusual.com