Palmerston North cigarette retailers have fallen at the first hurdle with the new smokefree legislation with 25 per cent of retailers involved in a sting operation selling cigarettes to underage buyers.
MidCentral Health Smokefree enforcement officer Julie Beckett said the department were "extremely disappointed" with the result.
"We work closely with tobacco retailers educating them to always ask for ID and not one of our 14 to 15-year-old volunteers was asked."
Ms Beckett said retailers should insist on a form of photo identification from anyone who looked under 25.
"No photo identification, no sale. It is that simple."
MidCentral Public Health Service is the first Public Health Unit in the country to use a new infringement notice option during controlled purchase operations where people under the age of 18 try to buy tobacco products.
MidCentral Health co-ordinator for health protection Tui Shadbolt said she had been sceptical that any of the city's retailers would fail the test because normally there were no problems of underage selling.
Ms Shadbolt said her department worked with retailers to minimise young people's access to tobacco.
This was the first time retailers had failed in a controlled purchase operations since July 2011 and the three offending retailers could face infringement fines of $500.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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