Tairāwhiti retailers contributing to smokefree Aotearoa

Our local retailers are making a significant contribution to keeping our youth safe from the harm of smoking. Once again, not one retailer sold tobacco to underage buyers during Hauora Tairāwhiti’s latest tobacco operation.

Hauora Tairāwhiti Chief Executive Jim Green said: “Retailers deserve so much credit for this fantastic result. They are really contributing well towards a smokefree Aotearoa.”

Hauora Tairāwhiti Medical Officer of Health Dr Anura Jayasinghe also credits retailers for their commitment: “Retailers are to be commended for their continued vigilance in reducing access to tobacco products for youth in our community.” Dr Jayasinghe was also pleased our assistants were asked for ID every time they attempted to purchase cigarettes.

The result extends an encouraging trend in the reduction tobacco being sold to youth. During the operation at the same time last year, not a single one of 40 retailers sold tobacco to underage buyers.

Aporina Chapman, Senior Health Promotion Advisor Tobacco Control, is delighted with the results. “Given that two years ago eight of 22 retailers sold to underage customers, this is an indication that our retailers genuinely care about making a difference. Nationally, the uptake of smoking for youth has reduced markedly which we credit to our robust tobacco control programmes.” 

Controlled purchase operations are carried out twice a year.

All District Health Boards run tobacco controlled purchase operations regularly, using non-smoking volunteers aged 14 to 17, who attempt to buy tobacco from shops under the supervision of a smokefree officer.

The Smoke-Free Environments Act prohibits the sale of tobacco to anyone under 18.

Hauora Tairāwhiti and the New Zealand government are committed to a goal of New Zealand becoming smoke-free by 2025.

Further information and free resources on the Smoke-Free Environments Act can be obtained from the population health team at the Hauora Tairawhiti Community Health Centre, 110 Peel Street.

People wanting help to quit smoking should visit the new online and face-to-face smoking cessation service at www.onceandforall.co.nz(external link) or phone Quitline on 0800 778 778. 

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