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Victorian tobacco retail licensing scheme commitment

28 Mar 2024
Media Release 3 min read
Young person smiling at the camera

Quit, VicHealth, and Cancer Council Victoria applaud today’s announcement from the Victorian Government to introduce a retail licensing scheme to protect Victorians from the harms of tobacco.  


The licensing scheme for wholesale and retail sales announced today will give authorities stronger powers to protect Victorians from retailers selling illicit tobacco products.  

The scheme will require tobacco retailers and wholesalers to obtain a license and will ensure authorities have information on where these harmful products are being sold across the state.  

Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable deaths and years of life lost in Victoria and Australia and is the leading single cause of disability-adjusted life years.  

It’s estimated to kill more than 50 Australians every day – more than 20,000 every year in Australia and 4,000 every year in Victoria.  

VicHealth CEO, Dr Sandro Demaio said a licensing scheme is a critical step in protecting future generations of Australians from the harms of tobacco and nicotine dependency.


“Today’s announcement from the Allan Government is a crucial step in protecting Victorians from the scourge of tobacco and its enormous disease toll. 

“Crucially, a tobacco retail licensing scheme will ensure that retailers are held accountable to existing laws.  

“Too many retailers have been selling illicit tobacco, including to kids in school uniforms. A licensing scheme will help us protect children and young people from dodgy operators who are putting profits ahead of the health of our kids,” said Dr Demaio.


Quit Director, Rachael Andersen added this announcement will see Victoria positioned alongside other Australian states with similar schemes.  

“Data from the 2022 Victorian Smoking and Health Survey1 shows that 8 out of 10 Victorian adults support a law for Victorian retailers to obtain a license to sell tobacco products.  We welcome the Allan Government’s significant announcement today,” Ms Andersen said.

Cancer Council Victoria CEO, Todd Harper AM concluded that this scheme will better protect Victorians from the reaches of Big Tobacco.

“The introduction of licensing schemes in other states in Australia and elsewhere around the world is indicative of their success. Licensing schemes enable government to enact and enforce laws that prevent retailers from promoting products in the community, particularly in ways which make it more difficult for people to quit.  

“We want people to ideally not start smoking, and we want those who smoke to be supported to quit. So this scheme is another step forward which will ultimately save lives,” said Mr Harper.  

We look forward to the passage of the Australian Government’s recently announced Therapeutic Goods and Other Legislation Amendment (Vaping Reforms) Bill 2024 which will end the domestic manufacture, supply, commercial possession and advertising of all non-therapeutic and disposable vapes for retailers under a single national framework.

Quit, VicHealth and Cancer Council Victoria are committed to working alongside all levels of government and see no reason this scheme should be delayed from being implemented.

For free confidential support to quit smoking or vaping, contact Quitline on 13 78 48. You can also visit Quit to request a call back, chat online or to find updated resources to support quitting smoking and vaping. 


Media Contacts:

VicHealth media phone: 0485 938 328

Or email one of our staff: 

James Lindsey
e: [email protected] 

Sean Munaweera  
e: [email protected]

Artwork by Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022
VicHealth acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land. We pay our respects to all Elders past, present and future.
This website may contain images, names and voices of deceased people.

VicHealth acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.

Artwork Credit: Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022, acrylic on canvas. Learn more about this artwork.