Hey Ottawa: Want to really protect youth from the dangers of tobacco? Ban them from smoking.



    
    Bans on youth possession and use of tobacco are effective in reducing
    smoking
    

    TORONTO, May 28 /CNW/ - Just ahead of World No Tobacco Day, the Canadian
Convenience Stores Association (CCSA) is calling on the federal government to
beef up its new anti-smoking bill, which targets tobacco marketing, by passing
a law banning youth tobacco possession and use to help eliminate youth
smoking.
    "It seems foolish to have to say it in this day and age, but I'm certain
everyone agrees that tobacco should never be marketed or sold to kids. And
since the government is constantly trying to chip away at the youth smoking
problem, we think it's time for Canada to become a true global leader in
protecting youth from the dangers of cigarettes by introducing an outright ban
on youth possession and use of tobacco," said Dave Bryans, President, Canadian
Convenience Stores Association. "If it's illegal for someone under 19 to have
a beer, the same or stricter rules should apply for cigarettes - it's just
common sense."
    Current laws forbid regulated retailers from selling tobacco to minors,
but a fast-growing trade in contraband cigarettes means that young people are
getting widespread access to cheap, unregulated and untaxed cigarettes. 2008
surveys showed nearly 50% of cigarettes in Ontario were illegal. Contraband
provides no warning labels, no age checks, just quick, easy and cheap access
to tobacco.
    Youth cigarette possession bans, when used in conjunction with other
smoking reduction programs, have shown to be effective. A 2009 study by Depaul
University, the University of Florida and the US National Cancer Institute
that shows the combination of tobacco purchase, use and possession laws,
combined with existing tobacco control measures can reduce youth smoking
(http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/6/1/1/).
    "Youth shouldn't smoke and retailers in Ontario perform over 130,000 age
checks every day to make sure kids don't buy cigarettes," said Bryans. "But
when we see the growth of contraband tobacco and youth smoking rates stopping
their decline, it's time to look at new tools to prevent kids from smoking.
More and more jurisdictions are turning to youth bans including Alberta and
Nova Scotia and many U.S. states have also adopted these kinds of laws
including Ohio, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Colorado. Let's act now. Why
wait?"
    Possession bans alone won't solve the problem, but the experience of
convenience stores with the sale of controlled products and findings like the
Depaul University study show that a carefully implemented ban on youth
possession and use of tobacco, in conjunction with retailer age checks and
existing youth prevention and tobacco control laws can make a difference.





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For further information: Media inquiries: John Perenack,
perenack@primestrat.com, (416) 238-2576

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Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA)

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