Three retailers sold tobacco products to a 15-year-old volunteer during recent controlled purchase operations carried out by MidCentral DHB Public Health Services.
The retailers were Lite Up Wanganui, Fitzherbert Avenue Dairy in Whanganui and Ashhurst Service Centre, Ashhurst. All three sellers were issued with a $500 infringement fine from the Ministry of Health.
Brett Munro, MidCentral DHB Smokefree Enforcement Officer congratulated the 23 retailers in Palmerston North, Ashhurst and Whanganui who did not sell to a volunteer.
Mr Munro advises retailers not to rely on appearances. “If they look under 25, ask for ID. Eradicating the sale of tobacco to minors is an important step towards achieving a Smokefree Aotearoa by 2025.
Mr Munro said a positive emerging trend in the MidCentral DHB region was retailers choosing to go tobacco free. To date, the region has ten retailers who have chosen to stop selling tobacco completely.
While smoking rates in New Zealand continue to trend downward, approximately 605,000 New Zealand adults still smoke. Tobacco use and breathing in other people’s smoke (second-hand smoke) causes about 5000 deaths every year through cancer, stroke and heart disease. It’s the leading cause of preventable death and disease in New Zealand.
“If you smoke tobacco, odds are you will be affected by it. Up to two-thirds of people who smoke today and continue smoking will eventually be killed by tobacco. Long-term smokers will die an average of 10 to 15 years early because of smoking,” said Mr Munro.
If you are a tobacco retailer and would like more information on how to be a tobacco-free retailer, or what to do to comply with the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990, please contact a Smokefree Enforcement Officer by phoning the MidCentral DHB Public Health Service on 06 350 9110.
Likewise, if you have concerns about retailers selling tobacco to minors (under 18s), please get in touch.