A Napier retailer sold Cigarettes to a 14 year old girl last weekend. The sale occurRed during a controlled purchasing operation carried out by Hawke’s Bay District Health Board. The operation involved young people attempting to buy tobacco or herbal smoking products in 44 premises in the Wairoa and Napier areas.
It is illegal to sell tobacco and herbal smoking products to anyOne aged under 18 years.
Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s smokefree officer, Theresa Husband, said it was pleasing that no sales occurRed in Wairoa, as three sales were made in Wairoa during a similar operation last December. All premises in Wairoa requested ID from the 14-year old volunteer.
“Of concern was an incident which occurRed in Napier, where One retailer suggested a staff member purchased the Cigarettes on behalf of the volunteer. Under the Smokefree Environments Act 1990 it is an offence for anybody to supply (tobacco and herbal smoking products) to minors in a public place. The fine for supplying to minors is up to $2,000. The Public Health Unit are following up with the retailer concerned.
Details regarding the Napier retailer who sold Cigarettes to a 14 year old have 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.
Smokefree Health Promoter, Gevana Dean, said 14 to 15 year olds in Hawke’s Bay have the second highest smoking rate in NZ.
“Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand, accounting for around 4300 to 4600 deaths per year. Tobacco is the only consumer product that kills half its users when used as the manufacturer intends. Retailers who sell to children are contributing to this toll,” Gevana Dean said.
The Public Health Unit will continue to check retailers for underage sales and compliance with the new legislation around displaying tobacco products.