The Queensland Parliament’s move to strictly licence and police the sale of tobacco products has been welcomed by the nation’s peak body for convenience stores.

Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) CEO Theo Foukkare said the move would finally give authorities the power to prosecute and shut down renegade operators that deliberately break the law.

One in five packets of cigarettes sold in Australia today are from the black market, and all nicotine vaping products are being sold illegally – they’re also being brought in and distributed by these criminals.

“We’ve been working collaboratively with the Queensland State Government’s working group and calling for this for a long time, we are happy to see the new legislation now passed” Mr Foukkare said.

Under the new laws strict rules will be put in place for any business that applies for a licence to sell tobacco products.

“As part of AACS recommendations to the working group, in order to obtain a license to sell tobacco, retailers will need to undertake a “fit and proper persons test” and pass criminal background checks to be able to trade,” Mr Foukkare said.

“This is a massive step forward in the fight against the black market that is targeting kids with black market vapes and tobacco products.”

Victoria is now the only jurisdiction in Australia that does not have strict tobacco licensing laws in place.

“AACS stands ready to work with the Victorian government to address this,” Mr Foukkare said.

“We know that strict regulation and strict policing works – we just need to make sure that police and authorised health authorities have the legal powers to enforce it.

“Queensland now has – in our opinion – the strongest laws in any state or territory to properly address the illicit market & reduce access to youth,” he said.

Theo Foukkare is available for interview on 0423 003 133.

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