As a retailer selling smoking products, it pays to be aware of and adhere to the relevant laws and rules around their purchase, sale, advertising and promotion. Keeping up-to-date on the latest information can help you avoid hefty fines.
Smoking product retailing
No matter what type of business you have, you must adhere to the proper marketing practices and display the correct signage when selling smoking products. Read these rules carefully to ensure you are following what is required under State law.
Smoking products can include tobacco products, herbal cigarettes, loose smoking blend, personal vaporisers (such as electronic or e-cigarettes, e-cigars, vape pens), personal vaporiser-related products, smoking related products or a package or carton of any of these things.
From 1 March 2022 smoking related products include:
- a cigarette paper (whether or not the paper is pre-rolled)
- another product sold to enclose loose tobacco or a loose smoking blend
- flavouring sold for the purpose of flavouring a tobacco product or a loose smoking blend
- a machine for injecting loose tobacco or a loose smoking blend into a pre-rolled paper or another product sold to enclose loose tobacco or a loose smoking blend
- a cigarette filter
- a cigarette tip
- a machine for rolling a cigarette or herbal cigarette
- a mouthpiece used to hold a cigar, cigarette or herbal cigarette
- a cigar cutter
- a pipe used for smoking loose tobacco or a loose smoking blend and a filter, grate or screen for a pipe.
Smoking product retailing laws state that:
- smoking products must not be sold to children (under 18) and the supplier must take measures to ensure their employees also do not supply smoking products to children (see training)
- all smoking products must be kept out of sight of customers and be concealed by an opaque covering (viewed only incidentally by the extent required to carry out a transaction)
- only one point of sale is allowed at a retail outlet
- smoking products cannot be sold from a temporary retail store
- a mandatory sign must be displayed at the single point of sale
- smoking products must only be kept at a retail outlet on the seller’s side of the point-of-sale, above or below the counter, but not on the counter, in a room or other place not accessed by customers (except for cigars in humidified rooms that can be accessed by customers only when accompanied by the supplier or employee)
- information about smoking products can only be provided in a way specifically provided for in the Act. Special price tickets, price lists, selection aids, price boards, advertising of discounted smoking products, or signage relating to smoking or smoking products that is not specifically provided for in the Act is banned
- objects and entitlements, giveaways or competitions promoting or associated with smoking products are banned
- a business name cannot contain anything about the price of smoking products
- images that promote a person or thing consuming, using or being associated with a smoking product cannot be displayed at a retail outlet
- cigarettes or herbal cigarettes, loose tobacco and loose smoking blend can only be sold in a package and the package must meet the minimum quantity requirements.
The requirements for the mandatory sign that must be displayed by all smoking product retailers changed on 1 September 2021.
If a supplier immediately prior to 1 September 2021 displayed a mandatory sign at a relevant point of sale or on the front or near a tobacco vending machine that complied with the Tobacco and Other Smoking Product Regulation 2010 (now expired), this sign can remain until it needs to be replaced or 1 September 2023 whichever is earlier.
The new mandatory sign is available for free by calling 13 QUIT (13 7848).
The Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Regulation, sets out requirements for price tickets at relevant points of sale and tobacco product vending machines, including size, form, colour and the information that can be included.
From 1 March 2022, there will be a new requirement for smoking product price tickets to use the same spacing between words and letters as price tickets all other smoking products being sold at the retail outlet or from the vending machine.
For further information about the specific requirements for price tickets in Queensland, download the Laws for retailing smoking products information booklet.
A person must not sell, commercially supply or display ice pipes or bongs in or near a shop, including market stalls, in Queensland.
Retailers who sell or display these implements must comply with the laws and remove all ice pipes and bongs, including their components, from sale or display.
Queensland Health Environmental Health Officers and Queensland Police Officers are authorised to enforce the ice pipe and bong prohibition.
Further a person must not:
- display more than 3 hookahs
- supply a smokeless tobacco product to another person
- as part of a business activity, supply to a person an object, other than a tobacco product, that resembles a tobacco product; or
- sell a cigarette that is confectionary-flavoured or fruit-flavoured
As a retailer you are responsible for the appropriate sale of smoking products. Both the employee and the retailer can be liable for any breach of the laws regardless of who breaches it. Therefore, it is important to train staff appropriately.
Staff training requirements
A retailer must train their employees about the sale of smoking products, either over-the-counter or from accessing a tobacco vending machine. Training is required by law.
For over the counter sales the employee training must:
- instruct staff not to sell smoking products to children in any circumstances, and to sight acceptable evidence of age for a person before selling a smoking product to them, unless staff are satisfied the person is an adult
- warn staff that selling smoking products to a child is a breach of the smoking laws and penalties apply; and
- obtain written acknowledgement from each employee that they have received the instructions and warning relating to the sales of smoking products.
The Employee information and training acknowledgement form is used to show written evidence of this training. This form can also be requested by calling 13 QUIT (13 7848).
Employee information and training acknowledgement form
Staff training information about selling smoking products over-the-counter or from vending machines, according to Queensland’s smoking laws
Laws for retailing smoking products – Requirements for retailers
Explanations and definitions for retailers about the laws for selling smoking products in Queensland