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Journal article

Accessing the most lethal product on the market: community perceptions of tobacco accessibility in NSW, Australia

Tobacco control New South Wales


Aim: This study aims to describe the perceived ease of accessing tobacco retail outlets in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, and the sociodemographic factors associated with reported higher density of tobacco retail outlets.

Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was conducted with a sample of NSW adults in February 2019. The accessibility of cigarettes was assessed and a binary logistic regression model was used to examine characteristics associated with having four or more retailers within a 5-minute drive of their home.

Results: A total of 3213 NSW adults completed the survey. The vast majority of participants, 89.9% (= 2888), described cigarettes as being easily accessed from where they live. Half of the participants (50.7%) reported having four or more tobacco retail outlets within a 5-minute drive of their home. Never-smokers were significantly less likely than daily smokers to report four or more tobacco retailers within a 5-minute drive of their home, although non-smokers may be less likely to identify tobacco retailers. Females, those living in regional areas of NSW and those with a university qualification were also less likely to report having four or more tobacco retailers within a 5-minute drive of their home.

Conclusion: The ease of access to tobacco retailers in NSW is incongruent with the significant health risks associated with tobacco use and highlights the need for measures to reduce the supply of tobacco, such as a fee-based tobacco licensing system.

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