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Single cigarettes making us sick

Single cigarettes making us sick

It’s Illegal but it's happening every day, the sale of single cigarettes.

Sick of seeing the underground trade thrive, hooking young people one single cigarette at a time from their local dairies Arnia Tamihana-Simich, Charlotte Mihaere and Tayla Albert-Jones have decided to make a stand.

“Single cigarettes are being sold all over Auckland and possibly the rest of the country” says Charlotte.

These three young Maori woman formed the Tupeka Kore Action Group made up of ex and current smokers who want to protect others especially youth from harms of tobacco. They started smoking at the age of 12 and are now completely hooked.

Tayla says “From a young age there was something about smoking that was desirable, heaps of our friends were smoking”.

One of the biggest barriers to cigarettes for young people is the price. A packet of cigarettes is expensive, and the sale of single cigarettes is a cheap way for people to feed their habit, and its undermining the government's goal to be smokefree by 2025.

“We were aware of local dairies that sell single ciggies. It was the only way we could afford it. It has contributed to why we have a tobacco addiction. Arnia has tried several times to quit but the craving for nicotine has been too strong. I’m a smoker and I don't want to be a smoker, but what motivates me is that I don't want my little sister to be a smoker, I don't want other kids to fall into the same trap as me. We all know that the biggest percentage of smokers are young Māori women”, says Arnia.

The Tupeka-Kore Action Group are planning a rally against the sale of single cigarettes. The addiction to tobacco starts with a single cigarette, and to maintain that addiction you need supply. The Action Group is putting all dairies on notice. If they sell single cigarettes, owners are breaking the law and the community is watching them.

“It’s about protecting our young people. Affordable cigarettes make it easier for young people to start smoking and that’s what gets them hooked, one cigarette at a time”.


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