Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA)

Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA)

January 19, 2015 09:33 ET

Ontario Retailers Recognize National Non-Smoking Week, Vow to Continue Keeping Tobacco Out of Youth's Hands

Encourage government to act by implementing tobacco possession/consumption ban for minors

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 19, 2015) - In recognition of National Non-Smoking Week, the Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) is highlighting the many ways retailers are working to eliminate youth tobacco consumption. The association is also asking the Ontario government to help eliminate youth tobacco consumption through adopting its proposed recommendation to ban the purchase, possession and consumption of tobacco products by minors.

"Retailers are on the frontlines every day preventing youth from accessing age-restricted products," said Dave Bryans, Chief Executive Officer of the OCSA. "Our goal is to partner with the Ontario government and, through adaptations to the Smoke-Free Act, restrict the possession, consumption and purchase of tobacco products to youth – as is the case for alcohol."

Unlike black market operatives who sell illegal tobacco to youth in alarming numbers, retailers are trained to ask for I.D from anyone who appears under the age of 25. Under regular mystery shops, convenience stores continually come out on top as checking for age most frequently, when compared to other sellers of age restricted products. Convenience store retailers also comply with all regulations regarding point of sale display bans on tobacco products, and ensure these products are not marketed in store or enticing to young people.

The OCSA believes that youth tobacco consumption is not adequately addressed through additional regulations on the legal tobacco market, including a ban on flavours like menthol, which penalize adult consumers and unintentionally supports the contraband tobacco market. Instead, retailers are emphasizing the importance of their role as gatekeepers to tobacco products and encouraging the province to apply the same rules to minor consumption of alcohol as they do to tobacco.

"Currently in Ontario, it is illegal for a retailer to sell tobacco to a minor, but there is no restriction on young people from possessing or consuming these products," said Bryans. "We all agree that no youth should smoke, and instituting these proposed laws would provide an opportunity to educate youth on the dangers and consequences of smoking tobacco."

The OCSA is hopeful that such a ban through the Smoke Free Act would discourage any youth from smoking for threat of a fine or greater, as seen within the Liquor Control Act.

About

The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) represents more than 7,000 convenience store operators throughout the province who are committed to Responsible Community Retailing. More than 3 million people visit convenience stores in communities across Ontario every day.

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