Medical Professionals Online

Tobacco Display Bans Don't Work, Says Canadian Convenience Stores Association

November 07, 2017

Following the UK Department of Health's announcement on 9th December that cigarette displays in shops would be removed, Dave Bryans, the President of the Canadian Convenience Stores Association said:

"I have watched with interest the development of the UK Government's strategy to follow the Canadian market by banning the display of tobacco products. Retail display bans were first introduced to the Canadian market in the province of Saskatchewan in 2004. There is no evidence that the removal of tobacco displays from retail stores in Saskatchewan has had any impact on the sale of tobacco. Tobacco sales volumes have remained consistent in the four years since the ban was introduced. Teen smoking rates are reportedly on the rise -- the result of rampant illegal contraband tobacco sales. In fact the only measurable outcomes of the retail display ban in Saskatchewan appear to be negative impacts on the convenience store industry itself."

Retailers in Canada subject to tobacco display bans have seen:

- Increased safety concerns for retail employees from theft
- Increases to capital costs as retailers must now install and maintain covered shelving units
- Operating cost increases as employee training requirements grow
- Increased regulatory burden to be born by retailers who must now ensure that their products are never in sight

"What does have a great effect on reducing youth smoking is a zero-tolerance approach to age verification. Our association has been vigilant in introducing and applying a strict program of age checks in convenience stores to stop youth from getting access to a product they should not have. Our We Expect ID program is among the world's best in this regard."

"While government is acting with good intentions, by failing to address the economic impact of retail display bans on small businesses, many family-run stores are being consigned to a bleak future. Bans may work well in principle, but when in place, they do not produce the intended effect."

"In my role as president of the Canadian Convenience Stores Association, I speak for the small retailer and take exception to government placing new regulatory burdens on an important segment of small business, that's already under great strain. As the UK walks down this road that Canada has already taken, there should be pause to reflect on both the absence of any measurable benefits from tobacco display bans and also the great likelihood that this action will mean many small convenience stores will soon be forced to shutter their doors."

In Canada (since the inception of display bans) we have seen unprecedented growth of contraband/illegal tobacco and now one in every two cigarettes sold are sourced through the black market.

The CCSA represents the economic interest of over 25,000 convenience store operators in Canada on an array of issues and interests affecting the channel.

Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA)