Nelson Marlborough Health News and Notices

Retailer sold cigarettes to minor in Marlborough


A tobacco retailer in the Marlborough area was caught selling cigarettes to a 16-year-old volunteer in a tobacco controlled purchase operation which was undertaken by the Nelson Marlborough Public Health Service (PHS) this week. 

19 retailers in the Marlborough region were visited by the volunteer on Wednesday with the volunteer attempting to buy cigarettes from retail premises under the supervision of PHS employees.

Public Health Service Operations Manager Sonya Briggs said ideally they would have liked there to be no sales at all, but are pleased that the majority of retailers asked the volunteer for their ID.

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 a suitable 18+ card.

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.

Background information
Controlled purchase operations are conducted by Smoke-Free Enforcement Officers using an underage volunteer to ensure tobacco retailers comply with the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 which prohibits the sale of tobacco products to persons under 18 years of age.

A retailer who sells tobacco products to underage buyers will be referred to the Ministry of Health and will be issued with infringement notices that carry $500 fines.

The Public Health Service continues to monitor retailers of tobacco products who have sold to underage buyers and will carry out further controlled purchase operations targeting those retailers.

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