A petrol station in Auckland’s rural north-west will stop selling tobacco on World Smokefree Day today in a bid to reduce the availability of tobacco in the neighbourhood.
The station is located in the town of Kaupakapaka and is owned by Brett Peachy and Julie Wakefield.
It’s a first for a Gull petrol station and Peachy says they “did this for our community”.
“We might have taken a hit financially, but when you’ve got friends and community members saying they want to quit smoking, it didn’t feel right to be the one supplying it," he says.
“Luckily we’ve had no complaints and I think customers who come in looking for smokes are still happy to be given the complimentary chocolate fish instead!”
Gull Kaupakapaka. Photo/File
According to the Health Promotion Agency, smoking has been particularly damaging for Māori, who have higher smoking rates and higher rates of death and tobacco-related illness than non-Māori. Māori are 2.6 times more likely to be smokers than non-Māori.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua Māori Public Health Coordinator and Kaukapakapa local, Marama Pairama, worked with the petrol station to become smoke-free.
"The whole community is behind Brett and Julie. I’ve been living here in this community for ten years and this is a massive step,” she says.
Peachy says not only is it going smoke-free, but the station has an environmentally-friendly building that is in keeping with the Kaukaupakaupa community, “which is environmentally sustainable and protective of its Māori and early heritage”.
“Our Gull building uses approved materials, including wood and is visually like other structures in Kaukapakapa,” says Peachey.
Hāpai Te Hauora and the Cancer Society of New Zealand have used this month to start a national conversation around tobacco supply in New Zealand communities and are promoting the pledge as part of its new campaign, ‘Stop the Stock’.