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HB retailers sell cigarettes to 14 year old

22 December 2006

Three northern HB retailers sell cigarettes to 14 year old

Three retailers, two in Mahia and one in Wairoa, sold cigarettes to a 14 year old, as part of a controlled purchasing operation carried out by Hawke’s Bay District Health Board.

It is illegal to sell tobacco and herbal smoking products to anyone aged under 18 years.

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board (HBDHB) Smokefree Officer, Theresa Husband, said a total of 38 premises were recently visited by a 14-year-old volunteer, who tried to buy tobacco. Thirty retailers visited were in the Hastings and Havelock North area and no sales were made.

Theresa said this was particularly pleasing as the DHB had received a number of complaints about underage sales in Hastings and Havelock North. “It’s great to see these premises now requesting ID. Tobacco retailers are wise to ask for ID from anyone who looks underage. I appreciate it can be hard to judge someone’s age, but checking ID only takes a minute.

“We were very disappointed by the ease with which the sales were made in Wairoa and Mahia. No ID checks were carried out. Eight retailers in the Wairoa District were visited,” Theresa Husband said.

HBDHB’s Smokefree promoter, Gevana Dean, said Wairoa has one of the highest smoking rates in the district, and by selling to underage customers these retailers are contributing to the high youth smoking rates in the district.

Ms Dean said a recent ASH survey showed the Hawke’s Bay District has the second-highest Year 10 youth smoking rate in the country. “We need retailers to help us reduce the uptake of smoking by young Hawke’s Bay people. It’s essential that retailers are trained and confident in asking for ID and saying ‘no’ when the customer is not 18,” Gevana Dean said.

Details regarding the retailers who sold cigarettes to the 14 year old has been forwarded to the Ministry of Health for a decision on whether to prosecute. The maximum fine for selling to minors is up to $2,000, while repeat offenders may be ordered not to sell tobacco products.

The Public Health Unit will continue to check retailers for underage sales and compliance with the new legislation around displaying tobacco products. For information on quitting, you can call Quitline on 0800 228 228.


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