- Ban would complement existing restrictions on tobacco sales and add a
deterrent to the allure of contraband tobacco
- Same underage possession and use rules should apply to both tobacco and
TORONTO, Jan. 21 /CNW/ - In a letter sent today to Premiers across
Canada, the Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA) called on
provincial governments to legislate a ban on underage tobacco possession and
use as the next important step in reducing youth smoking. Existing laws
prohibit regulated retail outlets from selling tobacco to minors, but the
alarming and fast-growing trade in illegal cigarettes means that young people
are getting widespread access to cheap, unregulated and untaxed cigarettes.
"Banning on the possession and use of tobacco for anyone under the age of
majority would complement existing laws - and is just simply a good idea,"
said Dave Bryans, President of the Canadian Convenience Stores Association.
"Some may think it's a drastic measure, but with the rate at which youth are
bypassing government controls on the sale of tobacco and getting access to
illegal, unregulated tobacco, sold from basements and cars, we think it's a
necessary measure to protect our youth."
A study late in 2007 by the Canadian Convenience Stores Association's 'We
Expect ID' of cigarette butts collected from around 105 high schools in
Ontario and Quebec showed an alarming presence of contraband tobacco. It
revealed that in Ontario 24% of high school smokers' cigarette butts were
contraband, while in Quebec, contraband made up 35% of school yard cigarettes.
The results were punctuated by contraband rates of 50% in Newmarket and 47% in
Aurora in Ontario and spikes of contraband in Quebec in the Anjou and
Côte-des-Neiges regions - 74% and 60% respectively.
"If it's illegal for someone under 19 to have a beer, the same rules
should apply for cigarettes - it just makes sense," added Steve Tennant,
Director of the CCSA's 'We Expect ID' program. "And from a broader
perspective, we think this kind of legislation would give authorities an
important tool to help fight the sale of illegal contraband tobacco to youth.
We know this is a growing problem and it's happening outside all government's
current anti-smoking rules and regulations. There's no easy solution to this
problem, but we think this ban is a step in the right direction."
'We Expect ID' Program
Launched in 2007, the 'We Expect ID' Program is the CCSA's tough age
verification program to control the sale of age restricted products. Now in
over 5,000 stores in Ontario, the program takes a zero-tolerance approach to
keeping restricted products away from youth. With this system, anyone that
appears under the age of 25 who intends to purchase a restricted product must
present their driver's license and have it swiped as proof of age.
In each and every case, store employees must swipe customers' licenses
through the lottery terminal. The terminal reads the age information from the
magnetic stripe on the back of each license and presents the person's age
prominently on the terminal's display. The small minority of OCSA members
without terminals must, in every case, visually verify age from the consumer's
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