To effectively combat tobacco use and abuse, one helpful tool is the licensing and regulation of tobacco retailers. If those retailers are subject to licensing requirements, regular inspections, and restrictions, it helps reduce the number of available tobacco purchase outlets and makes the available outlets less likely to sell to unauthorized buyers.
This is especially important when it comes to protecting young people from tobacco consumption. If tobacco retailers are subject to licensing requirements and can lose their licenses for selling to unauthorized buyers, including minors, then they are less likely to run the risk of selling to somebody they can’t verify is authorized to buy tobacco. That reduces the availability of tobacco products for those who shouldn’t be able to access them.
Fines and fees for the licensing regulatory structure can also be used to fund public health campaigns, especially those targeted to prevent or reduce tobacco use. Harm reduction and prevention is always our top priority, so while the extra income from a licensing program would be nice as a general proposition, that money should always be reinvested into public health education and diversion programs. This will ensure that nobody will profit unfairly off of a licensing program, that the fees and fines will be kept at an appropriate level, and that the public is the ultimate beneficiary of any such program.