Most East Coast shops not selling smokes to young people

15 June 2016

Most retailers on the East Coast are complying with the law regarding sales of tobacco to young people; however two retailers have sold to minors.

This is the result of a recent controlled purchase operation that was carried out on the Coast in June. Volunteer teenagers under the supervision of a Smokefree Officer from Hauora Tairāwhiti visited all the coast based tobacco retailers. They were refused a sale in most shops, but were able to purchase cigarettes from two retailers.

The Tobacco Control Team at Hauora Tairāwhiti is disappointed that there were any failures, but was pleased that most retailers did not sell. “The team visited all Tairāwhiti retailers over the past year to help them meet their legal obligations and it is great that most are not selling to minors. The previous controlled purchase operation in Gisborne City had no sales and so it is a little disappointing that a couple of retailers have sold to our under age volunteer,” said Dr Bruce Duncan, Hauora Tairāwhiti’s Medical Officer of Health. “While our youth smoking rates are dropping In Tairāwhiti, 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 reduce the number of people smoking.”

All District Health Boards run tobacco controlled purchase operations regularly, using non-smoking volunteers aged 14 to 17 years of age who attempt to buy tobacco from 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 under 18. Hauora Tairāwhiti and the New Zealand Government are committed to a goal of New Zealand becoming smokefree by 2025.

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.