Parents are rewarding their children with cigarettes for doing homework, a tobacco control advocate says.
Levin-based smoking cessation trainer Sue Taylor said the "carrot and stick" lure was a national problem and had created a "schoolyard blackmarket" where children as young as 12 were selling individual cigarettes for up to $2 to other pupils.
Parents wanting their children to get ahead at school were buying them cigarettes as an incentive to get good grades. Mrs Taylor, chairwoman of the Maori Tobacco-Free Coalition, said her evidence was purely anecdotal, with many stories coming from whanau members.
She made a submission to a parliamentary select committee hearing yesterday on the Customs and Excise (Tobacco Products - Budget Measures) Amendment Bill, which proposes a 40 per cent hike on tobacco products during the next four years.
Horowhenua College principal Brenda Burns said she was not aware of the Levin school having an issue with parents rewarding children with cigarettes.
The school had identified a core of 30 problem smokers on its roll of 735, half of whom had taken up stop-smoking programmes offered by the school, she said.
Levin's Waiopehu College vice-principal Guy Reichenbach said parents rewarding children for doing homework, or a schoolyard tobacco black market, had "absolutely not" come to the school's attention. Fairfax NZ
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