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Lower Hutt Tobacco ‘Sting’ Results Poor

from Regional Public Health

23rd July 2008

Lower Hutt Tobacco ‘Sting’ Results Poor

Four out of eight tobacco retailers visited recently in the Petone, Wainuiomata and central areas of Lower Hutt sold cigarettes to a 15-year-old secondary school student.

This contrasts with one sale out of 25 retailers visited by the same 15-year-old in areas of Wellington a few weeks earlier.

The ‘stings’ involved staff from Regional Public Health and the Ministry of Health.

Pam Smith, Smokefree Officer, Regional Public Health, says the Lower Hutt results are poor and more needs to be done to control tobacco, a highly-addictive toxic substance that will kill half of the people that use it.

The owners of the retail premises concerned as well as the person who sold the cigarettes to the 15-year-old, face legal action by the Ministry of Health. They can be fined up to $2000 for committing the offence.

Tobacco ‘stings’ or controlled purchase operations such as these are held to ascertain the level of compliance by tobacco retailers with New Zealand’s Smoke-free Environments Act requirement that no tobacco products are sold to a person younger than 18 years.

Similar ‘stings’ are run at different times throughout New Zealand. They are one method of checking whether retailers have procedures in place and adequately train all their staff in these procedures to ensure that this requirement of the legislation is met.


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