Gisborne retailers ‘mostly compliant’ with sales of cigarettes and legal highs

1 May 2013

Gisborne retailers are generally complying with the law regarding sales of cigarettes and legal synthetic cannabinoid products to young people, say public health workers in the district, but one or two shops continue to break the rules.

Tairawhiti District Health’s operations manager of the population health team, Kate Sykes, said a number of controlled purchase operations or “stings” were carried out recently in Gisborne. 

“The operations showed that, mostly, retailers are complying with the law. However, our volunteer was able to purchase a single cigarette from one premises, which is illegal. And our 15 year old volunteer was also able to buy a herbal smoking product – synthetic cannabinoid – at a different premises.”

Ms Skyes said these two instances were “extremely disappointing”. Those retailers will now face the legal consequences of their actions, she added.

“Despite attempts at educating retailers and a reminder that the purchase operation would be carried out, some retailers continue to break the law. In this district there is a huge waste of life years from smoking-related illnesses.  Preventing young people from taking up smoking is the single most important action we can do to improve the health of our community.  The Government recognised this and required retailers to remove displays of tobacco from public view. Retailers must play their part by requiring age ID from anyone who looks under 25 years old.”  

In a sting, under the supervision of Smoke-free Enforcement Officers, young people aged between 13 and 16 years old are sent into shops to buy cigarettes or herbal smoking products.

The Smoke-Free Environments Act 1990 bans the sale of cigarettes or herbal smoking products to persons under the age of 18.  To comply with the law the retailer needs to request proof of age (such as a driver’s license).  It is also illegal for a retailer to sell single cigarettes to anyone.  If a sale is made the retailer faces prosecution and if convicted may be fined up to $5000.

Any enquiries regarding smoke-free legislation can be directed to Health Protection Officers at Tairawhiti District Health (telephone 869-1311).



For more information

Kathy McVey, Communications Manager

Tairawhiti District Health, 06 869-0500 ext 8115 or 021 223-7094