Taranaki tobacco retailers fail undercover operation
28 May 2021
Two local retailers failed an undercover tobacco-controlled purchase operation (CPO) in New Plymouth recently after selling cigarettes to a person aged under 18 years.
The CPO was carried out by Taranaki DHB’s Public Health Unit, with retailers Blagdon Four Square and Highlands the Local Dairy failing to comply.
Carly Stevenson, Smoke-free Enforcement Officer for the Public Health Unit says it’s illegal to sell cigarettes to children.
“Eradicating the sale of tobacco to minors is an important step towards achieving a Smoke-free Aotearoa by 2025. If they look under 25 ask for ID.”
A retailer who sells tobacco products to anyone aged under 18 will be referred to the Ministry of Health and may be issued with an infringement notice including a $500 fine, and/or face prosecution.
Smoking kills more people in New Zealand each year than road crashes, alcohol, other drugs, suicide, murder, drowning and earthquakes all together.
Mrs Stevenson says “Taranaki has high smoking rates compared with the rest of the country. In 2018 our smoking prevalence for people aged 15 years and older was 15.7% compared with the national rate of 13.2%.
“All businesses selling tobacco products need to be certain of their obligations under the Smoke-Free Environments Act, and pass on this important information to staff members.”
Retailers are reminded to always ask anyone who looks younger than 25 years for identification when selling tobacco products. The only acceptable forms of identification are a New Zealand drivers’ licence, passport, or valid 18+ card.
The Public Health Unit continues to monitor retailers of tobacco products who have sold to underage buyers and will carry out further CPO’s targeting those retailers.
For more information on compliance with the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 or discuss concerns about retailers selling tobacco to minors (under 18’s), please contact Taranaki DHB’s Public Health Unit on 06 753 7798.
Last updated: Friday, May 28, 2021