26 Jul 2013

Imperial Tobacco prosecuted over free cigarettes

9:24 am on 26 July 2013

A tobacco company that gave away 1500 cigarettes a day over a decade to its workers has been prosecuted.

Imperial Tobacco and the Ministry of Health reached a settlement after the ministry took the company to court for breaching the Smoke-Free Environments Act 1990.

A ministry investigation in 2012 found that 141 Imperial Tobacco workers were being given free cigarettes to test the product.

Under the Act it is illegal to distribute or supply free tobacco and a breach carries a maximum fine of $50,000.

Charges against Imperial Tobacco have now been dropped and the parties have reached a settlement, which includes the company donating $5000 to charity.

The company said it stopped giving away cigarettes to product test in May 2012.