The issues

Lifestyle Choices - Smoking


Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disability.

Retail workers represent a high proportion of smokers and smoking rates are no longer going down.

  • US research has found that the smoking rates for retail workers are approximately 16% higher than the broader average.
  • Retail workers are finding it hard to quit yet less harmful alternatives are not approved for sale in Australia.
  • Over 50 countries have legalised less harmful alternatives like nicotine e-cigarettes, but Australia has not properly regulated alternatives.
  • This is despite over 200,000 Australians using nicotine vapes or e-cigarettes, often illegally imported.

Did you know? Retail workers are more likely to be smokers than many other workforce groups.



Retail workers are finding it hard to quit smoking and current policies like price rises are no longer working.

  • Retail workers are using less harmful alternatives to smoking like nicotine vaping but these are actually illegal in Australia.
  • Retail workers who fail to quit smoking continue to face long-term serious health impacts.
  • Research has shown alternatives to be 95% less harmful than smoking and that they could provide a more effective way for retail workers to quit.

Did you know? Unlike over 50 countries, less harmful alternatives to smoking are not yet properly regulated and available for sale in Australia.


Retail workers deserve access to less harmful alternatives to help them quit smoking.

As smoking rates in retail workers are no longer going down, Australian governments need to consider the more effective methods being properly regulated and available around the world.

Thousands of Australians are importing illegal nicotine vapes. Regulating nicotine alternatives such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco in Australia would have the additional benefit of reduce the risk of unsafe illegal imports.

Australians want change

In 2020, the National Retail Association performed research with over 20,000 Australians to gauge public support for initiatives to improve the health and wellbeing of retail workers.

The study found that the majority of the Australian public agrees that leaders should consider appropriate regulation of smoke-free alternatives, such as nicotine vaping products, to help smokers quit.

The study also found that many Australians are not aware that these alternatives are not properly regulated in Australia, with many assuming that importing nicotine vaping liquids from overseas was legal - it is currently illegal without a doctor's script.

The National Retail Association is championing awareness and change to address issues impacting the health & wellbeing of retail workers.

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The National Retail Association is championing awareness and change to address issues impacting the health & wellbeing of retail workers.

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