General News

Health Unit aims to reduce access to tobacco and vapour products for youth

February 2, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is launching an eight-week tobacco and vapour product retailer education and enforcement campaign.

This initiative is in collaboration with public health units across central eastern Ontario to ensure compliance with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA).

In Ontario, the province gives public health tobacco enforcement officers authority to enforce the SFOA and ensure that local businesses, public places, schools and workplaces follow the law. This includes inspecting premises to ensure that tobacco and vapour product retailers are following advertising regulations, proper signage is posted, and youth are not able to purchase tobacco or vapour products.

“Non-compliance with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act among some tobacco and vapour product retailers is an ongoing concern,” said Tony Makrostergios, manager of enforcement with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “In the second half of 2022, our enforcement officers were involved with 250 investigations related to the illegal sale of tobacco and vapour products by retailers in Simcoe Muskoka and an additional 90 investigations in response to the illegal use of vapour products by youth at area secondary schools during the fall school term. Our goal is to protect youth and achieve retailer compliance by eliminating he sale of vapour and commercial tobacco products to youth, including the sale of illegal products and flavoured vape e-juices at locations in Simcoe Muskoka.”

SMDHU tobacco enforcement officers will be conducting compliance inspections at tobacco and vapour product retailers to ensure SFOA requirements are being met.

Inspectors will be checking that staff are trained on the legal age for sale of vapour and tobacco products. They will also check to ensure retailers are not selling illegally flavoured or improperly packaged products and that retailers comply with indoor and outdoor advertising restrictions.

During an inspection, if a retailer is found to be non-compliant, the Health Unit may proceed with enforcement measures.

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