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    Ontario Convenience Stores Clarify Position on Tobacco

    Operators support government's anti-smoking objectives.

    TORONTO -- The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) announced Thursday that it shares the government's goals and objectives as they strive to create a smoke-free Ontario. "We share the government's objectives to reduce smoking among young people and to ensure that no person under the age of majority ever purchases a tobacco product from any of our stores,” Dave Bryans, executive director of the OCSA, said in a press release.

    As reported in CSNews Online Thursday, the Ontario government introduced legislation that prohibits countertop tobacco displays in convenience stores and also limits the size of behind-the-counter displays, banning so-called "power wall" cigarette displays.

    Although OCSA, which represents more than 7,000 convenience stores, has some concerns about banning tobacco displays, because it puts convenience store employees at risk of crime, they appreciate the government's consultative approach. "We had an opportunity to sit down with Ministry officials to express our concerns about a complete display ban, the risk that that would put our members under, and the financial hardship that it would cause,” said Bryans.

    OCSA is committed to working with the government on age-restriction programs and has agreed to work with its members to voluntarily remove all countertop displays of tobacco products prior to the legislation coming into effect. “Many of our members have already agreed to voluntarily remove countertop displays. And we will soon have every one of our members on board,” said Bryans.

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