- Dec 10, 2007
- Reaction score
Apr 20, 2008 02:33 PM
THE CANADIAN PRESS
Ontario smokers will soon have to thumb through a binder to pick the brand of their choice at convenience stores as the province ushers in a ban on cigarette displays which the government says is necessary to save lives despite growing concern among store owners.
While Ontario's 10,000 convenience stores say half of them won't be ready to hide all their smokes by the province's May 31 deadline,...
The new ban prevents all tobacco products from being displayed in any way and prohibits customers from even touching them before they're paid for. The province says store owners have to make sure tobacco products aren't displayed to any potential customer at any time, including during restocking or inventory checks.
Store owners can't put cigarettes behind "garage-style" or cupboard doors that open to display the entire inventory. Curtains or blinds are also not acceptable. The province suggests overhead containers or below-the-counter drawers that are only visible behind the counter.
But many say the switch is going to be anything but smooth. While Best said enforcement officers have visited over 5,000 Ontario stores to prepare them for the new law, many say store owners need more time and government support.
Although the display ban was passed under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act two years ago, store owners didn't get the specific requirements until the end of January.
The Ontario Convenience Stores Association says it's going to cost many retailers up to $2,500 to build new storage units and dismantle the so-called "power walls."
Quebec's display ban also comes into effect at the end of May, so the limited number of companies that make the required storage units are already backed up, association president Dave Bryans said.
All tobacco products will be covered up in some way by May 31, using shower curtains if necessary, said Bryans. But that won't be enough to protect store owners from over-zealous tobacco enforcement officers, he added.
The province could replace tobacco advertising with some healthy advertising of its own and boost the commission store owners get from lottery tickets to make them less dependent on tobacco sales, DiNovo said.
"The government can't just leave them out to dry," she said. ``You can't just do it on the backs of retailers. You've got to help them out."