Western Convenience Stores Association (WCSA)

Western Convenience Stores Association (WCSA)

April 17, 2014 15:01 ET

Manitoba Retailers Support Keeping Youth Smoke-Free

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwired - April 17, 2014) - The Western Convenience Stores Association (WCSA) would like to commend the Manitoba government for its dedication to keeping tobacco out of the hands of youth through Bill 52: The Non-Smokers Health Protection Amendment Act.

The WCSA is dedicated to working with the government to ensure strict age testing requirements continue to be upheld by each retailer, as its members bear sole responsibility under legislation.

"Our Association takes pride in its responsible retailing mandate and is an active partner in reducing youth consumption of tobacco products," said Andrew Klukas, President of the WCSA. "Our retailers receive extensive age-testing training and it's our responsibility to ensure youth do not have access to tobacco products."

Based on recent experience, the WCSA would also like to address the unintended consequence of product bans that are best evidenced by the results of the federal government's ban on little cigars. The RCMP saw nearly a 1000% increase in the number of little cigars seized between the federal ban in 2010 and 2011 (140,000 seized in 2010 vs. 1,164,000 in 2011).

"We are concerned that a ban on flavoured tobacco products will drive growth in the contraband market," warns Klukas. "While the sale of legal tobacco products in our stores is heavily regulated, no controls exist in the illegal tobacco market, making the products more accessible to minors."

The WCSA is hopeful that the Manitoba government will consider introducing appropriate legislation to prevent the growth of the illegal tobacco market within the province, which has seen increases in the past year since the tobacco tax increase. Specifically, the Association recommends the adoption of legislation to increase resources for contraband tobacco enforcement and the introduction of increased penalties for those convicted of contraband tobacco offences.

"Our retailers share the government's concerns about the sale of tobacco products to youth, and our Association looks forward to helping to address those concerns. Efforts to prevent the emergence of an uncontrolled market in banned products will be a critical part of any effective solution to support our shared goal of reduced youth tobacco consumption. We look forward to discussing the challenges presented by a flavour ban with the government moving forward," said Klukas.

About the WCSA: The WCSA advocates on behalf of more than 6,500 retailers throughout Western Canada. These retailers employ more than 40,000 people and contribute over $10 billion in sales to the local economy.

For more information visit www.thewcsa.com.

Contact Information

  • Michele Austin
    Summa Strategies Canada