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Stratford tobacco retailer fails undercover operation

May 30, 2019

A Stratford retailer has failed a recent tobacco controlled purchase operation (CPO) carried out by Taranaki DHB’s Public Health Unit by selling cigarettes to a minor.

Northern Dairy in Stratford did not follow correct procedure and sold cigarettes to a volunteer minor who was briefed to give their correct age if asked.

Carly Stevenson, Smoke-free Enforcement Officer, says selling to minors is illegal. “The Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 prohibits the sale of tobacco products to persons under 18 years of age. If a retailer defies this they will be referred to the Ministry of Health and may be issued with an infringement notice including a $500 fine, and possibly face prosecution.”

All businesses selling tobacco products need to be certain of their obligations under the Smoke-Free Environments Act, and pass on this important information to staff members.

Mrs Stevenson adds “Retailers are advised to always ask anyone who looks younger than 25 years for identification when selling tobacco products. The only acceptable forms of identification are a New Zealand drivers licence, passport, or valid 18+ card.”

In addition, the Public Health Unit congratulates the 21 retailers in Stratford, Opunake, Oakura, Rahotu, Manaia and Kaponga who did not sell to a volunteer minor.

“Eradicating the sale of tobacco to minors is an important step towards achieving a Smoke-free Aotearoa by 2025,” says Mrs Stevenson.

The Public Health Unit will continue to monitor retailers of tobacco products who have sold to underage buyers and will carry out further CPO’s targeting these retailers.

For more information on compliance with the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 or to advise of concerns about retailers selling tobacco to minors (under 18’s), please contact a Smoke-free Enforcement Officer by phoning Taranaki DHB’s Public Health Unit on 06 753 7798.


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