Woolworths to lock up everyday item to combat deadly trend

·News Reporter
·2-min read

Woolworths will be moving a common bathroom item behind lock and key in stores across Cairns to combat a long-running problem in the city.

Cairns, in Far North Queensland, joins several other Australian cities in the struggle to fight the dangerous trend of "chroming".

Also known as "huffing", "sniffing" and "rexing", chroming is a form of substance abuse that involves inhaling deodorants, solvents and other chemicals, which can be fatal.

To prevent youths stealing aerosol deodorants to use for chroming, which occurs with alarming regularity in Cairns, Woolworths will be moving the products into locked cabinets in four of its Cairns stores.

Woolworths logo signs above supermarket shelves
Woolworths will be moving aerosol deodorants behind lock and key in stores across Cairns to tackle the scourge of "chroming" in the city's CBD. Source: Getty Images

Growing problem across Australia

The move by Woolworths follows several reported deaths associated with chroming in Australia, including that of a 16-year-old NSW girl who was found dead in her bedroom, with a deodorant spray can and a tea towel underneath her.

This isn't the first time Australian supermarkets have been forced to lock away aerosol deodorants. Last year, both Woolworths and Coles locked up aerosols after they discovered children as young as seven were openly sniffing the substances in the mining town of Mount Isa, also in Queensland.

Cairns business owners welcome trial

Woolworths' plan to lock away aerosol deodorants has been welcomed by Cairns business owners who have noticed the long-running problem of both adults and children chroming in plain sight around the CBD, Cairns Post reports.

Cans of Rexona deodorant
Popular deodorant brand Rexona is reportedly preferred by teenagers for the dangerous inhaling practice. Source: Getty Images

People of all ages engage in chroming, but wellbeing support service CAREinMIND notes that this kind of solvent abuse often occurs among young people and teenagers as "many chemicals used for chroming can be purchased as over-the-counter household goods".

Woolworths expects to have secure deodorant cabinets in the health and beauty aisle in its stores across Cairns by the end of May, and customers intending to purchase these products will need to notify a team member by pressing a button located on the side of the cabinet.

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