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No sales from tobacco, herbal products sting

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Retailers made no sales to under-aged volunteers in the most recent Controlled Purchase Operation carried out in Nelson and Marlborough

Nelson Marlborough Public Health Service (NMPHS) put 47 retailers to the test in operations carried out in Nelson/Tasman on April 18 and in Marlborough on April 19.

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.

Public Health and Oral Health Service Manager, Stephanie Read said, "No sales occurred during the operation.

"This is a great result and reflects the ongoing work the Public Health Service undertakes with the district's retailers.

"Retailers are aware of their legal obligations and these operations minimise the chances that our young people are purchasing cigarettes or herbal smoking products from these retailers."

Ms Read said, "Premises visited were selected based on factors such as proximity to schools, whether the premises has sold during previous controlled purchase operations and whether complaints had been received about the premises.

"We are extremely pleased that no sales were made to the under aged volunteers in the most recent operation. We have contacted retailers individually and complimented them on the outcome of the audit."

Retailers are visited regularly by a Smoke-Free Health Promoter and provided with resources to ensure they fully understand their legal responsibilities.

Ms Read said the important message to tobacco retailers is that they should always ask for ID from young people, and if they cannot produce identification then don't sell.

During a previous Controlled Purchase Operation in October 2011 one retailer sold cigarettes to the under-aged volunteer and now faces prosecution.

In that case the officers used a 15 year old to approach retailers across the Top of the South including dairies, service stations, supermarkets and specialist tobacconists.

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