Vape retailers selling to minors disheartening
In December, Smokefree Enforcement Officers from Te Whatu Ora’s National Public Health Service (NPHS) carried out Controlled Purchase Operations (CPOs) on ten specialist vape retailers, where seven of the ten premises sold vaping products to a minor.
CPOs are designed to monitor retail outlets who may be selling vaping or tobacco products minors.
“It is very disappointing to see that retailers in Invercargill, Edendale and Gore all sold vaping products to a minor,” said Stephanie Bekhuis-Pay, Smokefree Enforcement Officer for NPHS Southern.
“One of the retailers sold to a minor twice over two days and this retailer also sold flavoured vape products in the general store area. The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990 (SERPA) prohibits the sale of vape products to minors.
“Additionally, none of the retailers took steps to prevent under 18 year-olds entering their premises, aside from the standard R18 signage on the entrance. Under the SERPA, retailers must take all practicable steps to prevent a person under the age of 18 years from entering their premises.”
The National Public Health Service runs education training sessions with tobacco and vaping retailers so that they are aware of their obligations under the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990.
“We will continue to run CPOs in Southland,” said Ms Bekhuis-Pay. “No one wants to see children in our communities vaping.”
If you are concerned that a retail outlet is selling vaping or tobacco products to a minor, please contact your local public health team. A full list of public health phone numbers can be found here.