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Tobacco retailing

To reduce the number of people taking up smoking, Victorian laws limit the size and number of tobacco displays in public places and prohibit tobacco advertising in retail outlets.

In addition, buzz marketing and non-branded tobacco advertising are prohibited. Buzz marketing is the use of colours, images and props to create an environment consistent with a brand's identity. Non-branded tobacco advertising includes backlit posters directly above cigarette displays, depicting images of smoking paraphernalia such as matches or lighters.

The City of Melbourne carries out regular compliance checks to ensure businesses selling tobacco are meeting their responsibilities.

Sale to minors

The sale of tobacco to people under 18 years of age is illegal in Victoria.

To minimise tobacco sales to people under 18 years of age, the City of Melbourne operates a 'test purchasing program’ to educate businesses about their legal responsibilities.

Young people under 18 years of age are employed to carry out 'test purchasing' at tobacco outlets across the municipality. Each young person is educated about Victoria’s tobacco laws and instructed to follow procedures developed by the Victorian Department of Health.

If a business sells tobacco to a person under 18, a Tobacco Officer undertakes an educational visit to ensure the proprietor understands their legal obligations. Further tobacco sales to people under 18 could lead to fines or prosecution.

Black market tobacco

The sale of black market tobacco is illegal in Victoria.

Black market tobacco includes unrefined, shredded tobacco leaves or ‘chop chop’, unpacked tobacco, unpacked individual cigarettes and incorrectly labelled cigarettes that do not have a health warning.

Report a business

To report businesses that breach tobacco retailing laws, contact the City of Melbourne on (03) 9658 9658.

More information

For further information, download the following fact sheet:

Cigarette Sales to Minors (PDF, 396kb)
Cigarette Sales to Minors (Text only, 42kb)

Tobacco Retailing (PDF, 50kb)
Tobacco Retailing (Text only, 41kb)

For further information on tobacco retailing visit the Department of Health.