Unplanned purchasing of tobacco products: Beyond point of sale display

Lisa Wood, Angela Gazey, Kevin Murray, Kelly Kennington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Issue addressed: Tobacco products remain widely available and unplanned purchasing of tobacco has been implicated in cessation relapse. Little is known however about the frequency of consumers’ unplanned tobacco purchases or the type of retail outlets where this is more likely to occur. Methods: Questions on cigarette purchasing were added to a post-campaign telephone survey for the Make Smoking History Campaign in Western Australia. Respondents (n=200) were aged 25 to 54 years and were either current smokers or had quit in the last 4-5 weeks. Two-thirds of respondents had tried to quit in the past 2 years. Survey responses were analysed to look at place of purchase (the usual and after cessation relapse) and frequency and reasons for unplanned purchases. Results: Supermarkets were the “usual” purchase location for the majority of respondents overall (78%), but the proportion who reported buying cigarettes from a supermarket after taking up smoking again declined substantially (52%), while purchases from convenience stores and service stations increased. Nearly a third (30%) of respondents indicated that they sometimes bought cigarettes unplanned or on impulse, and for 16%, this was at least once a week. Conclusions: Among smokers who have tried to quit but not succeeded, unplanned cigarette purchases are common. There is evidence to suggest that when people resume smoking after a cessation attempt, the cigarette purchase is not necessarily made at their “usual” type of retail outlet. So what?: The banning of point of sale tobacco display has not eliminated the pervasive availability and retail presence of tobacco, and unplanned purchasing of cigarettes is an impediment to successful smoking cessation. This study adds weight to growing momentum internationally and in Australia to reduce the widespread availability of tobacco products and decrease the barriers to quitting use of a product that kills over half of its consumers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-144
Number of pages5
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Issue number1
Early online date18 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Unplanned purchasing of tobacco products: Beyond point of sale display'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this