'Tobacco traps' hook local smokers


THOUSANDS of Mid North Coast smokers would quit or cut down if less ‘tobacco traps’ sold cigarettes on every street corner.

A new study from Cancer Council’s behavioural research centre in Newcastle reveals that nine out of 10 NSW smokers are snared by the temptation of cigarettes being available within walking distance of their daily routine.

Smokers say these traps prevent them from quitting, with nearly a third signalling that they would flick the addiction or at least cut down on how often they lit-up if cigarettes were less available.

The difficulty of avoiding tobacco traps is exemplified by a study in the Hunter, where more than 1200 outlets sell cigarettes, the equivalent of one shop for every 77 smokers.

By comparison, the same region has just 150 post offices, making it easier to buy cigarettes than a stamp.

The regional programs co-ordinator at the Cancer Council’s Coffs Harbour office, Vanessa Crossley, said the study confirmed the need for licensing to be introduced for any business wanting to sell tobacco – just like alcohol.

“Smokers want to quit, they have good intentions to quit but tobacco traps torment them every day, killing their chances of success,” Ms Crossley said.

“The solution is simple and possible; introduce tobacco licensing to discourage sellers, reduce the accessibility of cigarettes, and help thousands of smokers to quit one of the toughest addictions around.”

Cancer Council NSW recently released ‘Saving life; why wouldn’t you?’, a report calling for tobacco licensing to be introduced in NSW, with four other cancer control steps for NSW politicians to support before next year’s state election.

“The NSW Government has set itself a goal of reducing smoking, and spends over $40 million per year to drive down smoking rates. These efforts would be much more effective if it was not so easy to buy tobacco,” Vanessa added.

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