March 27, 2008
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Displays of cigarettes and the advertising of tobacco products inside and outside most retail stores will be banned under amendments to the Tobacco Sales Act introduced today by Health Minister Michael Murphy.
"Our government is committed to encouraging New Brunswickers to be healthy and stay healthy," Murphy said. "One of the biggest threats to good health - and one that is almost entirely within our means to control - is the use of cigarettes and other tobacco products."
The bill, An Act to Amend the Tobacco Sales Act, will ban point-of-sale tobacco advertising, except in specialty tobacco shops.
Point-of-sale tobacco advertising is usually in the form of large racks or displays of tobacco products and signs, which are sometimes referred to as powerwalls.
"Health advocates say that point-of-sale tobacco advertising encourages tobacco sales by increasing impulse buying by smokers, by triggering ex-smokers to start smoking again, and by enticing young people to pick up this deadly habit," Murphy said. "Powerwalls and other point-of-sale advertising seek to create a belief that everyone smokes and tobacco is a harmless, everyday product, which it isn't."
It is estimated that the tobacco industry spent $100 million across Canada in 2005 on point-of-sale advertising.
"There's an old saying, 'out of sight, out of mind,'" Murphy said. "The amendments I have introduced will keep all tobacco products out of sight, and it is hoped out of mind - especially out of the minds of young, impressionable New Brunswickers."
The amendments will ban point-of-sale advertising for tobacco products in all retail stores except specialty tobacco stores. This includes a ban on displaying tobacco products within stores. Cigarettes and other tobacco products will have to be kept in a drawer, under the counter or in another part of the store that cannot be seen by customers. Advertising of tobacco products outside stores would also be prohibited.
These amendments will create a new class of business, known as a tobacconist shop. This new category will allow tobacco specialty shops to display their products and advertise them within and outside their store. No one under the age of 19 will be permitted to enter the specialty stores unless accompanied by an adult.
The amendments will make related violations of the Tobacco Sales Act a Category E offence under the Provincial Offences Procedures Act. Anyone who violates the new rules will be subject to a fine of between $240 and $2,620 for a first offence. A second offence can result in a fine of up to $5,120 and up to 30 days in jail.
If passed, the restrictions on point-of-sale advertising will take effect Jan. 1, 2009, which gives retailers time to make the necessary modifications to their stores.
MEDIA CONTACT: Johanne Le Blanc, communications, Health, 506-457-3513.