July 21, 2008 – As of Saturday, July 15, 2008, there have been no charges laid under the Province of Ontario’s new legislation prohibiting the display of tobacco products prior to sale. Inspection results show a 99.9% compliance rate, with only minor modifications required in a few locations.
“We are very pleased with the way tobacco retailers have accepted this new legislation and have worked with the Health Unit to ensure that they meet the necessary requirements”, says Ken Ranta, Manager of Tobacco Programs at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit. “We have made great efforts over the past 8 months to ensure that retailers would be ready for this change. The tobacco vendors, both independent stores and the chains have successfully adapted their tobacco storage.”
As of May 31, 2008, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act prohibits any display of tobacco products — including cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, pipe tobacco and other specialty tobacco products, including chewing tobacco, Snus, and snuff, and most notably what are currently known as tobacco PowerWalls – large displays of tobacco products typically positioned in front of customers at retail establishments.
The PowerWall display ban is the latest evidence-based policy by the province. Each part of the Smoke Free Ontario Strategy is designed to prevent young people from starting to smoke, help smokers quit, and protect the public from second-hand smoke.
“Tobacco manufacturers will no longer be able to use these PowerWalls as a way to market to young people and influence smokers — especially smokers who are trying to quit — to buy on impulse,” said Ranta. “Banning the display of tobacco products is an important and necessary step in tackling the leading cause of preventable death - tobacco use.”
“We will continue our commitment to work cooperatively with all tobacco vendors to support this transition,” added Ranta. “The tobacco display ban is just the latest step in an ongoing effort by the province, our health unit and our community partners to protect people from second-hand smoke, help smokers quit and prevent youth from starting”.