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ASH calls for tobacco sellers to be licensed

Wednesday 13 May 2009 8:46 p.m.

A dairy owner with multiple convictions for selling cigarettes to children under 18 is proof New Zealand needs to introduce a tobacco licence, anti-smoking lobby group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) says.

Turangi dairy owner Sanjay Malaviya was fined $750 and prohibited from selling tobacco products for a month after pleading guilty on May 7 to breaching an order not to sell tobacco products.

It was his fifth conviction under the Smokefree Environments Act, after last year being fined and banned from selling tobacco products for two months.

He sold cigarettes to children as young as 12, ASH said.

ASH director Ben Youdan said retailers such as Malaviya didn't take the law seriously and New Zealand needed to look at options such as a licensing system.

He said options such as suspension or cancellation of licences would be a better solution rather than legal action through the courts.

"With a licensing system in place his supply of tobacco products would have been cut off long ago," he said.

Licensing of tobacco retailers and outlets existed in much of Australia and the US, as well as parts of Canada and in Singapore.

NZPA

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