Algoma Public Health routinely checks stores who sell cigarettes, and tobacco products to ensure they are not selling to youth under the age of 19. Tobacco retailers, in addition to being responsible for their own actions are responsible for the actions of their employees to ensure they comply with the requirements under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.
For the first half of 2016 we have a 100% compliance rate across the district of Algoma. Of the 101 stores checked, no charges were laid. In the last half of 2015, there was an 87% compliance rate with 9 charges laid.
“These checks are conducted regularly throughout the year” says Algoma Public Health tobacco control enforcement officer Terry Kennedy. “We would like to congratulate our retailers for protecting our youth.”
More spot checks will be planned throughout 2016 to ensure retailers continue to comply with the legislation year round. “Before selling tobacco to any person who appears to be less than 25 years of age, a retailer must request identification and be satisfied that the person is at least 19 years old,” explains Kennedy. “Acceptable identification must include a photograph of the person accompanied by the person’s date of birth and it must reasonably appear to have been issued by a government.”
Fines for retailers can be as high as $10,000 for a first offence and $150,000 for three or more offences- retailer staff who sell tobacco to a minor the maximum fine under the legislation is $4,000 for a first offence and up to $100,000 for three offences or more.
With the implementation of the provincial Electronic Cigarettes Act this year, APH tobacco enforcement officers will also begin conducting enforcement checks of electronic cigarette vendors in 2016 to ensure they are not selling to youth under the age of 19.
Learn more about the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.