Consumers can buy tobacco products from online retailers, but tobacco retailers don’t charge the same prices as cigarette and cigar makers do, a study shows.
It comes as tobacco companies are set to launch a new model of tobacco retailing.
The University of Oxford, which carried out the study, said tobacco retailers and the industry in general were in the “middle” of a “reform of retailing” that had been under way since the mid-1990s.
Its report said that consumers should be able to buy tobacco product directly from their local tobacco store and then have the retailer “pick up and deliver” to them via a web portal.
The study found that the industry was also seeing a “significant shift” in retail pricing between retail outlets and the tobacco products that they sell.
The report said there was “evidence of an increase in tobacco price inflation since the late 1990s”.
The survey found that retail prices for cigarettes and cigars in Australia had increased by a “substantial amount” since 2005, the report said.
“In Australia, the increase has been more pronounced than in other developed countries, although in the United States, tobacco prices have increased by about 6 per cent per annum between 2004 and 2013,” it said.
The research also found that “further increases in retail prices could lead to higher prices for tobacco products, with a number of studies indicating that the increase in prices may be the main driver of tobacco consumption in Australia.”
The report found that in the US, tobacco companies had been able to charge higher price tags for tobacco product and packaging, because the tobacco industry was in the middle of a reform of retail pricing.
The review also found there was a “large degree of uncertainty” about how tobacco companies planned to manage the tobacco market, and how they planned to change their products to reflect changing consumer preferences.