By Aimee Chanthadavong

The recommendation to introduce a new licensing levy to cover the sale of tobacco products in Victoria has left the Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) fuming.

Australian Medical Association Victoria president Dr Harry Hemley has proposed that all cigarette vendors in Victoria be charged an annual licensing fee of $2000.

AACS executive director Sheryle Moon told Retailbiz that while she believes it’s necessary to cut down the level of smoking in Australia, small businesses should be burdened with the cost.

“I think the suggestion will have a disproportionate impact and it’s obvious that a lot of thought has not gone into this. Any cost is always disproportionate for small businesses then it is for large supermarkets so regardless of the cost it’s disproportionate relative to size and turnover of an organisation,” she said.

“The suggestion of this kind makes out as if convenience stores were the only source of tobacco sales and that’s blatantly not true.

“They have failed to take into account that a large quantity of tobacco sales comes from the large supermarkets, which offer incentives for purchases such as discounts on petrol prices.”

The AACS has however applauded the government for its investment in education campaigns, such as Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon’s anti-smoking campaign specifically targeting teenage girls.