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July 28, 2005
For immediate release

Amendments to Tobacco Sales to Minors Act Result in Stronger Legislation Designed to Protect Island Families from Harmful Effects of Tobacco Products

Health and Social Services

Amendments to the Tobacco Sales to Minors Act will result in stronger legislation around the accessibility to tobacco products. These amendments focus primarily on restricting venues where tobacco products can be sold, with particular focus on places where young people may be present.

To reflect a broader application of the legislation, the title of the Act has been changed from the Tobacco Sales to Minors Act to the Tobacco Sales and Access Act. Health and Social Services Minister, Chester Gillan, announced today that the amendments will come into effect as of August 1. In addition, regulations under the Act have been approved and will become effective as of August 1 as well.

“We know that tobacco use is a burden on the public health system – it costs our system about $10 million dollars a year in direct costs and another $43 million in lost productivity,” said Minister Gillan. “As the report from the Standing Committee on Social Development has stated, ‘The human costs of tobacco dependency, disease and death are incalculable.’ This legislation will contribute to a comprehensive strategy to reduce tobacco use in PEI.”

In December 2003, the Legislative Assembly directed the Standing Committee on Social Development to hold public hearings across the province as a means of soliciting input from Islanders on the issue of retail sales of tobacco products.

Public presentations were made to the Standing Committee in February and March, 2004 from many private citizens and organizations concerned about this crucial health issue. The Standing Committee then proposed amendments that would strengthen this legislation and prohibit tobacco sales in designated places. Given the health risks associated with the use of tobacco, the amendments would ban the sale of tobacco products in places that provide healthcare and places where youth are generally present. These recommendations were forwarded to the Legislative Assembly in April, 2004, and the new Act received Royal Assent on December 16, 2004.

As of August 1, 2005:

▸ The Tobacco Sales to Minors Act will be known as the Tobacco Sales and Access Act;

▸ The definition of tobacco will include tobacco-related products such as a cigarette paper, a cigarette tube, a cigarette filter, a cigarette maker, a cigarette holder, a pipe, a pipe cleaner and a cigar clip;

▸ Tobacco dispensing machines will no longer be permitted in PEI (currently, they are allowed in licensed establishments);

▸ Tobacco products will not be sold in designated places, including municipal and provincial buildings; school board buildings; post-secondary institutions; that part of a sport facility containing a rink, bowling alley, gym, etc; and entertainment venues such as theatres, arcades and amusement parks;

▸ Any person may now be prosecuted for selling or supplying tobacco products to a person under the age of 19.

Repeat offenders are subject to suspension or removal of vendor’s registration certificates under the Revenue Tax Act which permits the sale of tobacco products.

“By reducing the accessibility of tobacco products, these amendments made to the Tobacco Sales to Minors Act support the government’s commitment to encourage healthy lifestyles and to reduce tobacco use, particularly among our youth,” said Minister Gillan.

Similar legislation is present in other jurisdictions. Tobacco vending machines are now prohibited in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario.

Since 1999, the Department of Health and Social Services has been a member of PEI Tobacco Reduction Alliance (PETRA) and is committed to working with community partners to reduce tobacco use.

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Media Contact: Darlene Gillis
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