No smokes sold to young people

22 January 2016

It appears that tobacco retailers in Gisborne are complying with the law regarding sales of tobacco to young people.

This is the conclusion from a recent controlled purchase operation that was carried out in Gisborne in December. During the operation, volunteer teenagers under the supervision of a Smokefree Officer from Hauora Tairāwhiti, visited all the tobacco retailers in Gisborne and were not able to purchase any cigarettes.

The Tobacco Control Team at Hauora Tairāwhiti is extremely pleased with this result. “Previously every time we have done a controlled purchase operation since 2009, we have had at least one retailer selling tobacco products to our volunteer,” said Dr Bruce Duncan, Hauora Tairāwhiti’s Medical Officer of Health. “In Tairāwhiti, while our youth smoking rates are dropping, we still have 15 percent of our rangatahi smoking daily. With responsible retailers we can make it harder for young people to begin smoking. This will help improve our poor smoking rates.”

District Health Boards regularly run tobacco controlled purchase operations, using non-smoking volunteers aged 14 to 17 years of age who attempt to buy tobacco from local shops. The volunteers carry no identification and are required to tell the truth about their age if asked by the retailer. The Smoke-Free Environments Act prohibits the sale of tobacco to anyone aged under 18 years of age. Hauora Tairāwhiti and the New Zealand Government are committed to a goal of New Zealand becoming smokefree by 2025.

If a person or a company is found to be selling tobacco to minors the maximum fine that can be ordered is $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for a company.

Further information and free resources on the Smoke-free Environments Act can be obtained from the Population Health team at Hauora Tairāwhiti’s Community Health Centre, 110 Peel Street.