Warning to Roma smokers sparked by kids harvesting tobacco
A warning has been issued to Roma smokers by police officers to be wary that young teenagers are picking up used cigarette butts to harvest the tobacco.
A community member, who has asked not to be named, has also expressed his concerns about teenagers getting their hands on tobacco from discarded cigarettes after he was shopping at a local supermarket and saw a teenager pick up leftover butts from the carpark.
The teen reportedly collected the unburnt tobacco and put it in a small plastic clip-sealed bag.
The community member said it was difficult to watch because he has children of his own and was worried about the impact it could have on the health of others in the community.
“But now when it comes to kids, we need to bring up kids in a way that is responsible,” he said.
He said smokers and other community members should be mindful of where and how they dispose of cigarette butts.
He also said more needs to be done to educate kids and adults about the dangers of unthoughtful disposal.
This issue has come to the attention of police too, with Constable Rory Akermanis aware of young people that pick up used cigarettes in town.
“We know who the kids are too,” Constable Akermanis said,
“They go around picking up dumpers and are making their own cigarettes.
“We inform relevant government departments and try to give kids education and to the parents.”
Under Queensland law, it is illegal to supply tobacco products to children under the age of 18, and police can confiscate cigarettes if they have reason to believe you’re a minor and you either just bought them or were given them by someone who was breaking the law.
He said while kids will inevitably still go bin diving, the community should make it much harder for them to score usable tobacco.
Constable Akermanis recommended putting butts in a bottle of water so they can’t be reused for the time being.