Retailers make new call for Ontario to ban youth possession of tobacco; New
evidence suggests youth tobacco prohibitions may also reduce drug use

- Ban would complement existing restrictions on tobacco sales and awareness programs

TORONTO, Jan. 18 /CNW/ - The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) is calling on the provincial government to strengthen existing youth smoking restrictions by banning youth tobacco possession - giving advocates a new tool to help stop youth from smoking. Currently Alberta and Nova Scotia are the only provinces to have such a ban in place.

"Kids shouldn't smoke, it's that simple. As a retailer, and also a parent, I can tell you we take the responsibility of selling tobacco very seriously. Convenience retailers in Ontario perform over 100,000 age checks every day to make sure kids don't buy cigarettes," said Wendy Kadlovski, Chair, Ontario Convenience Stores Association. "But it's time for government to get serious - the system to keep tobacco from kids is being undermined and breaking down. With the growth of contraband tobacco and the number of kids who have easy access, we've got to look at new tools to prevent kids from smoking. That's especially important because, as police have indicated, the same contraband smugglers bringing cigarettes to schools are also often selling drugs."

The need for a youth tobacco ban has become more critical for three reasons:

    
    1. Strict retailer enforcement of tobacco age restrictions has led teen
       smokers to increasingly obtain tobacco from social sources. (U.S.
       Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2002(1))
    2. The fast-growing trade in contraband cigarettes has given young people
       widespread easy access to cigarettes. Surveys show nearly 50% of
       cigarettes in Ontario are illegal. (GfK Research Dynamics, 2008)
    3. Surveys by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the National
       Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco show that at least 30% of
       cigarettes obtained by Ontario teens are contraband.
    

2009 research from Depaul University and the US National Cancer Institute showed that when tobacco possession prohibitions are enforced alongside existing restrictions on the sale of tobacco, youth smoking declined. (http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/6/1/1/)

A follow-up study published in 2010 that included researchers from the U.S. National Cancer Institute, shed further light on the links between youth access to tobacco and other restricted items such as drugs (http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/123215876/abstract). A study of 24 communities with well enforced youth tobacco Purchase, Use and Possession (PUP) laws revealed that the likelihood of a child currently using drugs, ever having used drugs or illicit drug offers was lower than in communities without well enforced PUP laws.(2)

The initial 2009 Depaul University and US National Cancer Institute led study evaluated the effects of tobacco Purchase, Use and Possession (PUP) laws on tobacco use patterns among students in 24 towns, which were randomly assigned into an experimental and a control group. The experimental group involved both PUP law enforcement and reducing minors' access to commercial sources of tobacco, and the condition for the control group involved only efforts to reduce minors' access to commercial sources of tobacco. The study found the control group had a significantly greater increase in the percentage of youth who smoked 20 or more cigarettes per day when compared to the experimental group.(3)

    
    (1) Jones, S.E., Sharp, D.J., Husten, C.G., & Crossett, L.S. (2002).
        Cigarette acquisition and proof of age among US high school students
        who smoke. Tobacco Control, 11, 20-27.
    (2) Jason, L.A., Pokorny S.B., Adams M.L., Nihls, A., Kim, H.Y., & Hunt
        Y. Cracking down on Youth Tobacco May Influence Drug Use. Journal of
        Community Psychology, Vol 38, No. 1, 1-15 (2010).
    (3) Jason L.A., Pokorny S.B., Adams M.L., Topliff A., Harris C.C., Hunt
        Y. Effects of Youth Tobacco Access and Possession Policy
        Interventions on Heavy Adolescent Smokers. International Journal of
        Environmental Research and Public Health. (2009); 6(1):1-9.
    

SOURCE Ontario Convenience Stores Association

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


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