Single Cigarette Sales - Not on our Watch

“Stopping our future generations from becoming a generation of smokers” is what motivates Anya Tamihana – Simich, Tayla Jones and Charlotte Mihaere . “It’s very disappointing to know that throughout Auckland and probably New Zealand, young people have access to single cigarettes" says Anya.

These young woman have formed the Tupeka Kore Action Group (tobacco free action group) which differs from other anti-tobacco groups as it is made up of mostly current and ex-smokers. Sometimes referred to as a ‘consumer group’, the TAG knows only too well the consequences of smoking. They also believe the key to reaching the aspirational 2025 goal of a smoke free New Zealand requires that smokers themselves take ownership.

As young teenagers Anya, Tayla and Charlotte were aware of which diaries sold smokes to minors and which diaries sold single cigarettes. "It was just something that all of us young smokers knew” says Tayla.  “At the time we thought they were a good thing, but now we realise they just helped feed our addiction” says Charlotte.

Under the Smoke-free Environments Amendment Act 1990, single cigarettes are not allowed to be sold. A minimum of 20 cigarettes is required. “Most young people can’t afford $30 a packet but at $1.50 per cigarette it’s cheaper than a can of coke” says Anya.

"We hope that by doing our rally we let communities know that this practice is illegal, that this practice can be the gateway for young people to become addicted to tobacco. We want communities to know that this practice is unacceptable and to let authorities know".

Boyd Broughton of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) says “ASH strongly supports a tobacco licensing regime and the ability for retailers to lose the right to sell tobacco indefinitely should they flout the smokefree laws. Essentially, a strict licensing process could lead to higher retailer compliance and less tobacco available to our young people via retail outlets.

 

If you know of dairies who sell single cigarettes or cigarettes to minors contact Auckland Regional Public Health Service, (09) 623 4600. Outside of Auckland try your local District Health Board.