Four Taranaki retail outlets fail compliance test
31 January 2017
Four Taranaki retailers are facing possible fines of up to $5,000 after selling tobacco to a person under 18 years of age.
Taranaki District Health Board’s Public Health staff visited six retail premises in New Plymouth during January as part of a Tobacco Control Purchase operation to identify and stop retailers selling tobacco to people under the legal age.
The retail premises targeted had all been previously visited by Public Health staff, at which time the need for identification and age checks were reinforced with each retailer.
Smoke-Free Enforcement Officer, Nicky Simmons said “Staff at only two of the retail premises visited had followed correct procedure and refused to sell tobacco to the 16 year old volunteer when they were unable to provide identification.”
Mrs Simmons has contacted those retail premises whose staff complied with the legislation to advise them of their employees’ performance.
However, four employees of tobacco retailers were caught selling cigarettes to the under age volunteer. Reports on these cases have been sent to the Ministry of Health in Wellington, whose policy is to either issue an infringement notice in the form of a warning or a fine, or to prosecute in appropriate cases.
Mrs Simmons said “We are disappointed with the four tobacco sales to a person underage in Taranaki and hope this serves as a warning to all tobacco retailers that breaking the law will not be tolerated.”
Further operations of this nature would be conducted on an ongoing basis, so employers and their staff members need to ensure they are fully familiar with their obligations under the Smokefree Environments Act.
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Last updated: Wednesday, February 1, 2017