NSW's new Single Point of Sale for tobacco products debacle

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As the No BuTTs team heads back to Melbourne from the Going Green Expo in Brisbane, and we've made our way down the Pacific Highway through NSW towards Melbourne, we've encountered the most ridiculous piece of  anti-smoking legislation we've ever seen.

Retailers in NSW are now limited to selling tobacco products at a single location (cash register) at their premises.  This is causing havoc, hassles and irritation at service stations, convenience stores and supermarkets across the State.

Example: We pulled into the BP Service Station in Coffs Harbour to fill up with fuel, drinks, snacks - and for some of our team, cigarettes.  There were two cashiers open but one line had 2 people in it and the other had around 10.  We couldn't figure it out so of course we all lined up at the smaller line.  One of our crew paid for our petrol and then also requested a packet of cigarettes.

The cashier got an embarrassed (exasperated?) look on his face and said that he couldn't sell him cigarettes - and he would have to move to the other queue.  When we asked why he explained that although they have 2-3 cashiers open at all times, they were now restricted to selling cigarettes from only one cashier.

NSW Govt's ridiculous Single Point of Tobacco Sales signs"I don't know" he said, "I guess they think that by creating a pain in the arse for everyone involved and causing me and my staff to cop an earful from pissed off customers every few minutes, that maybe they may somehow reduce people smoking."

Just then No BuTTs Glorious Leader Jack addressed the crowd in the long line:

Jack: How many of you are here to buy cigarettes?
Crowd: We all are!
Jack: And how may of you think these new laws are idiotic?
Crowd: We all do!
Jack: And how many of you are so pissed off with this stupidity that as soon as you finally get your hands on the smokes you're trying to buy, you're going to need a smoke even more?
Crowd: All of us!
Jack: And how many of you have been inspired by this ridiculous farce to quit smoking?
Crowd: None of us!
Man at front of short line: In fact, I'm so amazed I'm thinking of taking it up!

Even the NSW Govt's own web site fails to specifically explain WHY this moronic legislation has been implemented.  Sure, they are very explicit in explaining WHAT and WHERE.  But apart from the usual catch phrases and political spin such as "committed to reducing smoking in our community" and "comprehensive community consultation process supported the discussion paper" there is no logical explanation as to what they specifically expect to achieve from stuffing people around, wasting their time and making life more difficult for retail staff and customers alike.

Pardon our cynicism, but it can all be explained by the Govt's official statement: 

"These new laws place NSW as the Australian leader in tobacco control. While other jurisdictions have in place some of the reforms, no other State or Territory has the strong and responsible package NSW has introduced."

...Oh, wow...

We ask what's so strong and responsible about causing delays in service, creating stressed customers and staff, inconveniencing everyone involved and ultimately creating a situation where in view of the above, smokers are going to end up smoking more than they would have in the first place...

Check out this link::

...Resellers can download a free sign from the NSW Govt's website.  Here's the link to that too:

...Just make sure that:

"The sign must conform to the following requirements: wording of "Tobacco sold at this cash register only", black lettering on a white background and be no larger in size than 60 point type, and the total sign size no larger than 21cm high X 30 cm wide (A4)." 

Here's the link for that too: (and yes we are serious)




  By No BuTTs Team members Belinda, Glenn, Jodie, Glen [25th September 2009]


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