Māori women praised for filing complaint against the selling of single cigarettes

  • Auckland

Auckland Regional Public Health Services (ARPHS) has praised a trio of young Māori women for taking a stand and filing a complaint against a West Auckland dairy owner selling single cigarettes.

The Tupeka Kore Action Group was formed by the three young ladies who wanted to shine a light on retailers who are putting their own profits ahead of the well-being, health and lives of young people.

ARPHS has reiterated that selling cigarettes to young people is against the law and needs to stop if we’re to help them avoid smoking.

Dr Brad Novak says, “The price of a pack of cigarettes is high to help discourage smoking, and anyone who sells single cigarettes (to anyone) is deliberately undercutting that barrier and breaking the law. Nicotine is addictive, and selling single cigarettes gives young people a harmful shortcut to what may be a lifelong smoking addiction.”

The group of women, with support from Maori health organisation Hapai Te Hauora, is raising public awareness of the illegal practice of selling single cigarettes and bringing the requirements of the law to everyone’s attention.

Dr Novak says “We appreciate Tupeka Kore Action Group’s campaign, as it is hard to catch retailers in the act of selling single cigarettes, as they usually sell single cigarettes to customers they know.”

“We’d love to hear from any community groups or individuals who are opposed to this practice and who want to take action. Working together can only help stop these illegal and damaging sales.”

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service, in addition to many routine checks, carries out around 300 special controlled purchase operations a year to check that retailers are following the rules, and in the past year 16 of these led to infringement notices or prosecutions.

Retailers can be fined up to $2000 for the sale of single cigarettes or up to $5000 for sales to minors.