The study by The University of Auckland’s Clinical Trials Research Unit found retailers back the promotion of nicotine replacement therapy or NRT in shops and dairies.
Lead author Dr Jonathan Williman says grocery stores could be an untapped way of distributing quit smoking products (such as patches and gum) and information about quit smoking services.
“Retailers told us grocery stores should have a role in the promotion of quit smoking products. However they indicated customer demand needs to increase to make NRT sales profitable. Many people may not be aware that grocery stores can legally sell NRT,” said Dr Williman.
Two-thirds of retailers supported indirect promotional activities about quitting smoking, such as displaying posters, giving out free samples of NRT or having educational pamphlets for customers, but many were reluctant to offer customers verbal quitting advice.
Several retailers expressed interest in taking an online course to become a registered Quitcard provider. Quitcard providers can offer advice and access to government subsidised NRT products, including patches, gum and lozenges.
“It’s pleasing to see retailers are positive about promoting quit smoking products and services in their stores. Small independent grocery shops are keen to serve their local communities and this is another way to do this,” said ASH director Ben Youdan.
“People visit grocery stores every day to buy cigarettes, yet four in every five smokers wished they’d never started smoking. Grocery stores could help people choose their health over cigarettes by hiding tobacco from view and instead promote quit smoking products and services,” said Dr Williman.