Ontario convenience stores conduct over 100 million youth ID checks since 2008

Call once again on 'Premier Dad' to prohibit youth from purchasing, possessing or using cigarettes

OAKVILLE, ON, Jan. 17 /CNW/ - The Ontario Convenience Stores Association is marking Non-Smoking Week 2011 by announcing it has done well over 100 million youth ID checks since 2008. Convenience store retailers sell more age restricted products than any other store and use the industry's tough age verification program, 'We Expect ID', to prevent youth from getting access to products like tobacco.

"Because there are no laws that prevent youth from purchasing, possessing or using tobacco products, our members have the duty to make sure kids don't get the chance to start smoking by access to these age-restricted products," said Dave Bryans, President of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA). "We take this responsibility very seriously and are committed to being responsible community retailers. The fact our industry has diligently checked for ID over 100 million times since 2008 demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our youth never have the chance to start smoking."

Using 'We Expect ID', OCSA member convenience stores take 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 swipe customers' licenses through the lottery terminal. Eliminating the need for mental age calculations, 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. 

"OCSA members are performing well over 100,000 age checks every day, but when it comes to something as serious as stopping kids from smoking, we believe more needs to be done," added Bryans. "We think it's long overdue for Premier McGuinty and the Ontario government to become true leaders in protecting youth from the dangers of cigarettes by introducing an outright ban on youth purchase, possession and use of tobacco. More and more jurisdictions are turning to bans, including Alberta and Nova Scotia, and many U.S. states have adopted these kinds of laws including Ohio, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Colorado."

Scientific studies have shown that youth cigarette possession bans, when used in conjunction with other smoking reduction programs, are effective. Studies by researchers at Depaul University, the University of Florida and the US National Cancer Institute, show that 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/). 

"This issue takes on more urgency when you look at how many kids are accessing contraband cigarettes. Thousands of young people, who shouldn't be smoking at all, are getting widespread access to cigarettes through black market sellers who certainly don't check for ID," added Bryans. 

SOURCE Ontario Convenience Stores Association

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