A Palmerston North retailer has been fined $500 by the Ministry of Health for selling tobacco products to an underage buyer.
The infringement notice was issued following a recent Controlled Purchase Operation carried out by MidCentral Public Health Services, which involved a volunteer under 18 being sent into retail outlets and asking to buy cigarettes.
During the Controlled Purchase Operation, 13 retailers in Palmerston North were visited. Only one - BP Connect Blue Moon in Fitzherbert Avenue - sold cigarettes to the under 18-year-old.
MidCentral Public Health Services SmokeFree Enforcement Officer Brett Munro congratulated those 12 retailers which did not sell to the under 18-year-old.
Mr Munro stressed the need for retailers to ask customers for identification if they looked under 25 years of age.
“Don’t rely on appearance - if they look under 25, ask for ID,” he said.
“Eradicating the sale of tobacco to minors is an important step towards achieving a Smoke-free Aotearoa by 2025”.
Mr Munro said a positive trend emerging was retailers choosing to go tobacco-free. To date, 10 retailers in the MidCentral DHB region had chosen to stop selling tobacco in their premises.
Any retailer wanting more information on how to become tobacco-free, how to comply with the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 or with concerns about retailers selling tobacco to minors (under 18’s) please contact a SmokeFree Enforcement Officer at MidCentral Public Health Services on 06 350 9110.