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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Five Tobacco Retailers Penalized for Repeated Tobacco Sales to Youth

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London, ON – The Middlesex-London Health Unit has issued Automatic Prohibition notices to five local tobacco retailers convicted at least twice of selling tobacco products to persons under the age of 19 within the last five years. The orders against four tobacco retailers in London and one vendor in Strathroy remain in effect for the period of six months starting on August 1, 2012 and ending on February 1, 2013. The prohibition orders are issued by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and forbid the operators from having or selling any form of tobacco in their stores.

The London stores under prohibition are OK Variety on Hale Street, Beckworth Mini Mart on Beckworth Avenue, Hasty Market on Belmont Drive, and Dundas Convenience on Dundas Street. McRobert Fuels Limited on Egremont Drive in Strathroy is also prohibited from having or selling any form of tobacco in their store for the next six months.

"The restrictions that are in place to prevent youth from having access to tobacco are important components of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and the penalties for not complying can be severe,” says Wally Adams, Director of Environmental Health and Chronic Disease Prevention with the Middlesex-London Health Unit. “Restricting youth access to tobacco products is an important strategy to reduce youth experimentation and uptake of tobacco use.”

The Middlesex-London Health Unit conducts regular compliance inspections of all tobacco-selling establishments in the City of London and the County of Middlesex. Charges are laid against stores found to be selling tobacco products to anyone under the age of 19. After two or more convictions within a five-year period, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care issues an Automatic Prohibition Order. The operator must also post signs in the store notifying the public of the prohibition.

"According to the Canadian Community Health Survey, smoking rates for young adults ages 18 to 19 have dropped from 23.5% in 2003 to 13% in 2009,” says Adams. “If youth don’t have access to tobacco products and they don’t see others using tobacco products, the greater the likelihood that young people will remain tobacco-free.”

To assist local retailers in their efforts to conform to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, Health Unit staff visits all tobacco retailers to provide information on the law. Retailers are also educated as to their responsibilities under the Act at vendor workshops organized by the Health Unit. The next workshop will be held August 8, 2012. Retailers can register for the workshop by calling the Tobacco Information Line at 519-663-5317 ext. 2673.

Media Contact:
Alex Tyml, Online Communications Coordinator, Middlesex-London Health Unit, 519-663-5317 extension 2560 or 226-236-1941 (cell.)

Wally Adams, Director, Environmental Health and Chronic Disease Prevention, Middlesex-London Health Unit

Tags: news, media release, tobacco retailer, prohibition