Four retailers have been caught selling cigarettes to children under 18 years of age following a controlled purchase operation carried out recently in Hastings and Napier.
Tobacco Controlled Purchase Operations are held to monitor the level of compliance by tobacco retailers with the Smokefree Environments Act requirement that no tobacco products be sold to any person under 18. Any breaches of this Act can result in an instant fine of up to $1000.
Flaxmere-based Four Square, Allied Fuel in Flaxmere, Taradale 1 Stop Superette in Taradale Town Centre and Railway Road Minimart in Akina, Hastings, were caught selling the cigarettes.
Hawke’s Bay District Health Board medical officer of health, Dr Rachel Eyre, said the sales were disappointing.
“Retailers need to be more vigilant. Whilst fewer young people are taking up smoking, Hawke’s Bay has higher regular youth smoking than the national average, and we are determined to improve that situation.”
“We will continue controlled purchase operations, so retailers should ensure that they and their staff understand their obligations under the Smokefree Environments Act.”
Hawke’s Bay DHB’s 2014 Health Equity report found that smoking was the single biggest cause of inequity in death rates in Hawke’s Bay, and is the most important cause of preventable ill health and premature death.